Publisher’s Perspective

By Tim Douglass, Publisher of the Pope County Tribune

It was the fall of 2016 when the Glenwood community embarked on the great Complete Streets project that disrupted downtown Glenwood for two years.  It was an extensive project, but one that needed to be done to better position the city for the future.

In the fall of 2018, the project was completed and the town celebrated with a downtown Minnewaska Area Schools homecoming parade, a community photo on Minnesota Avenue and and lots of spectators, business owners and political dignitaries from MnDOT and the Minnesota Legislature.  The project brought beauty and functionality to the downtown, making it more pedestrian and bicylce friendly, adding beautiful amenities like tables, chairs, benches, flowers, trees and wider more accomodating sidewalks.  It was touted as a victory for a small community in Greater Minnesota.  It leveraged local funds with nearly $12 million in state transportation funding.  It was a huge win for the community and for the state.  Other towns followed Glenwood’s lead.  The next year, Starbuck embarked on a similar street project through that beautiful small town.

The accompanying opinion sums up the situation nicely.  The Waterama parade route, because of the downtown Complete Streets project, was relegated to another location on the edge of town.  It worked well for the years during the construction.  It’s time to move the parade back to the new, more vibrant and beautiful downtown streets.  Let’s show off the downtown with its vibrant businesses, its new look at its more people friendly atmosphere.  What better way to do that than to host the town’s annual Waterama Parade on those streets.

Most of us thought that after the street project was completed, the parade would move back to its orginal route.

It hasn’t.  Why?

Is the current  route better for the community?  Is it better for the spectators. Is it better for those who participate in the parade?  Does it show off our downtown and our business area to visitors?

Most local residents would answer all those questions with a decisive “No.”  Many residents have asked this newspaper staff year in and year out why the parade route doesn’t follow the traditional route and showcase Glenwood’s downtown business corridor.

There is no good answer, except that it took work and planning to move the route during the construction years and it will again take more planning and more work to change the route back now.  It’s easier to keep it where it is, we suppose.   

So the many who would like to see the parade moved to its original route should speak up now while the Waterama Board is still able to make the decision to move the route this year.    It won’t be changed unless we voice our opinions and request the parade route be moved back to its original route on the downtown streets of Glenwood.   Talk to Waterama Board members and the Waterama Brass.  Write a letter or sign a petition.  It is increasingly apparent that this community wants and deserves its annual Grande Day Parade to showcase the community in the best way possible.