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WEB - NEWS - Wendel's speech
Using a model train and in an apparent reference to the City of Prineville's acquisition of the Crooked River Dinner Train, newly elected Mayor Mike Wendel said the city is on the right track.
   Wendel presented his comments in the annual state of the city speech Monday evening.
   He talked first of the public works department, saying that Public Works Director Jim Mole and his crews "have been busy beavers."
   "One of their major jobs was replacing 2,200 feet of wooden water main on Main Street," Wendel said. They also replaced the Main Street Bridge on time and under budget, as the mayor pointed out.
   "This department continues to grow and is doing great things in the community," Wendel said.
   Regarding the police department, Wendel said a new, half-time ordinance officer has been added to help with nuisance issues in the city.
   Wendel also discussed the planning department.
   "In 2004 the city started the process of building a comprehensive plan and will continue to move forward with this as stated by City Planning Director Michael Cerbone," Wendel said.
   "We will be focusing on the completion of an independent comprehensive plan for the City of Prineville, including updates to the water, sewer and transportation plan as well as the creation of a drainage master plan," Cerbone said.
   Wendel also discussed progress made at Meadow Lakes Golf Course.
   "New sand has been added to all 66 of our bunkers and we also added yardage markers on all fairway sprinkler heads from 230 yards to within 40 yards of the greens," Wendel noted.
   "At the tail end of 2004, the city acquired the Crooked River Dinner Train and secured a contract in which Les Schwab will once again use rail to ship tires to Prineville," Wendel added. "In light of these accomplishments, I believe the railroad will have a very busy 2005. We have been very proactive in trying to find and recruit new businesses that would benefit from the use of our rail system. In turn, this would be beneficial to the city through much-needed jobs and a self-sustaining railroad."
   Mayor Wendel also discussed the community's future.
   "First I would like to talk about planning," Wendel said. "I hear people talk about how they don't want to lose the 'feel' of Prineville. I believe in order for us to preserve that feeling, we must work together as a community. Every member of the community needs to be involved in public meetings, ask questions and speak your mind. You see, Prineville isn't about the looks of your building, or about the size of your neighborhood. It's about the people. It's about each and every one of us. In the coming months, we will be asking for public input on our comp plan, our (transportation system plan), and our downtown plan. There will be more public meetings about the new subdivisions and other issues. In order for us to keep that 'home town' feel, we must have your input."
   Wendel also discussed the need for local government communication. "The city has a long-range plan for Prineville, as does Crook County, the school district, parks and rec and the chamber of commerce," he said. "I believe if you take all of these plans and put them together there will be many places that we are working towards the same goals, like education, transportation and quality of life. I believe that we should work closer together to fulfill these goals while running more efficiently. It isn't always about being divided; we should try and be more united."
   Wendel listed examples of this.
   "More recently, the county has acquired the services of the advanced drafting class at Crook County High School to help design the remodel of the Coffer Building," Wendel said. "Not only is this a benefit for the county, but also these students will have a project that they can use on their resumes for future education and/or jobs. If we can do projects like this now and then, why don't we try and make this a thought process for how we can do business in the future. For example, what if all of us worked together to build a new elementary/middle school complex to replace Crooked River Grade School and turn that site into a parks and rec facility, with a new pool, classrooms and an office for parks and rec. Meanwhile, we could have a new school facility with a park-like setting for the surrounding community. This is just an idea, but wasn't the new softball field just an idea once?"
   "In the coming months, I will be asking all of these agencies to come together and share their visions with the hope that we might be able to accomplish a few of these goals together," Mayor Wendel said. "My hope is that the citizens of Prineville and the surrounding community will see benefits from this type of interaction."