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The Community Development Department is beginning to host quarterly neighborhood meetings in an effort to create a strong partnership between City Hall and downtown.

The first meeting is from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Monday Feb. 1, in the River's Edge Apartments — Community Room, 150 E. Main St.

The goal of the meetings is to share plans, ideas and projects in the downtown, ranging from the rebranding efforts (which Fortin expects to be unveiled in June and road construction this spring and summer).

Future meetings are planned for May, August and November.

Alderman Erik Helgestad, whose district includes downtown, is pleased to see partnerships fostered with those in the downtown.

When he became alderman last year Helgestad said communication with his constituents was his No. 1 priority.

"You're getting better community engagement with businesses and residents directly," Helgestad said of the city holding neighborhood meetings. "That's what we've been needing for a while, especially in the central city.

"Any way we can improve community engagement and feedback is vital, not just from attracting new businesses but helping our residents and our current businesses and retain them as well. Having that direct feedback is critical."

"I want to make sure everyone's voice is being heard."

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