Chatfield's mayor, Russ Smith, addresses the gathered attendees at the Chatfield Economic Development Authority's gala.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Chatfield's mayor, Russ Smith, addresses the gathered attendees at the Chatfield Economic Development Authority's gala. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
"I'd like to thank you for coming," said Chatfield Mayor Russ Smith, addressing attendees of the Chatfield Economic Development Authority's (EDA) 2013 gala, held last Tuesday, Nov. 25, at the Chatfield Center for the Arts (CCA). During the event, the accomplishments of various city entities, local businesses and individuals were recognized.

First, Chatfield Police Department officers Grace McCallum and Steve Schmeideberg received recognition for serving five years with the department.

Smith also introduced Chris Giesen of the EDA, who then introduced Megan Kleven, who has been serving as a volunteer program director for the CCA. She has been learning how to manage the former elementary school's social schedule now that it serves as a hub for the arts.

Smith and Giesen expressed their appreciation to Kleven for her willingness to take on the task, as progress on the building's restoration and transformation into a destination venue is ongoing.

The city representatives acknowledged that another transition is also in progress, as the city's engineering firm, McGhie & Betts, Inc., is merging with WSB & Associates, and a change of engineers attending city council meetings might be underway.

Businesses and individuals recognized during the gala for improvements and growth include Chosen Valley Canoe and Accessories, Chatfield Body Shop for its recent building updates, Jackie's Health and Fitness for its move to a new location, Kwik Trip for the construction of a new station, Springer and Gumbel for purchasing the former Opat Law practice following Matt Opat's advancement to the Fillmore County judicial bench, EZ Fabrication for its intended expansion that will create approximately 17 jobs and Norma Gathje for assisting with the Twiford improvement projects.

EDA representatives noted it has been a really good year for Chatfield and that upcoming projects, such as the possible addition of a national retail store, can only enhance the town's valuable positive characteristics.

Attendees of the gala included Sen. Carla Nelson and Rep. Greg Davids, Smith, Chatfield City Clerk Joel Young and members of the city council, who had come from the annual legislative forum held down the hall to address councilmembers' and school district administrators' concerns about changes in legislation.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Chatfield's own Chatfield Brass Band Combo, a jazz spin-off of the Chatfield Brass Band, which often performs in the CCA's Potter Auditorium.