River Bend Nature Center Annual Meeting to be Held Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


The 2020 Annual Meeting of River Bend Nature Center will be held virtually at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 30. Given the complications of an in-person gathering, the board decided to hold the meeting online.

There will be the election of two board members.  Executive Director Breanna Wheeler will give the Annual Report, including the adjustments the Center is making in its programing in response to the challenges the pandemic has created. She and staff will also talk about how they are planning for the year ahead.  The Center’s Gambling Manager, Stacy Dupont will give the annual Charitable Gambling Star Report.

For more information about how to join the meeting and for copies of meeting documents, contact:

Breanna Wheeler, Executive Directot

Phone 507-332-7151







Governor Walz Mandates Face Coverings in Minnesota, Supersedes and Terminates City of Northfield Ordinance

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Executive Order effective Saturday, July 25, 2020

Northfield, MN (July 23, 2020) -

On July 22, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-81 (EO 20-81) mandating face covering use in many public spaces.  Under EO 20-81, Minnesotans must wear a face covering in indoor businesses, indoor public settings, and outdoors when it is not possible to maintain social distancing; they must also follow related industry guidance on the Stay Safe Minnesota Website.


The Northfield City Council had requested the Governor mandate indoor facial coverings statewide at their July 7th meeting.  Additionally, the City Council recently approved an indoor mandated facial covering Ordinance for the City of Northfield at their July 21, 2020 meeting but is now null and void due to the Governor’s action.


Early Months of Opioid Response Project Yield Success, Hope

MOST Update

The Rice County Integrated Opioid Response Project has made impressive strides in addressing the impact of opioid drug misuse throughout Rice County. In its first six months, it addressed the local availabililty of Medication-Assisted Treatment, and it referred more than 50 people to local services that support opiate use disorder treatment and recovery.

"Providers in Rice County have been desperate for these services for over 10 years, and we have worked with clients in crisis who have struggled to get the services they need and deserve," said Yvette Marthaler, Rice County chemical health social worker. "The Opioid Response Project provides treatment and hope for people and our community."

RiverBend Nature Center Seeks Board Members


Do you care about environmental education, outdoor recreation and restoration of natural lands? 

River Bend Nature Center is looking for new members to serve on the Center’s Board of Directors.  Candidates will be voted on at the 2020 Annual Meeting on July 30.

RBNC board members may serve two three-year terms. The board meets once a month to work with Center staff to establish programs to implement the Center’s mission:  “ . . . to help people discover, enjoy, understand and preserve the incredible natural world that surrounds us.”  

Located in Faribault on the Straight River, RBNC is comprised of over 700 acres of forest, prairie and wetlands. Extensive trails provide places to walk, ski and bicycle.  During the school year, staff provides environmental education programs for schools and other groups. During the summer, various camps with environmental themes attract children of all ages. 

Overnight construction on Seventh Street

Concrete crews will be on-site during the early morning hours of Friday, June 5 to complete concrete sawing and sealing on Seventh Street concrete parking bays between Water Street and Washington Street. This work will require the parking bays to be closed between midnight and 6 a.m. on Friday, June 5, 2020. 

Swenke Ims Contracting LLC of Kasson, Minnesota is the prime contractor for the $3.72 million project.

TH 246 & Jefferson Parkway Intersection Project

The intersection of Trunk Highway 246 and Jefferson Parkway will close to all traffic beginning on Monday, June 8, 2020 to begin construction on the main road project. Access to Bridgewater Elementary School, Northfield Middle School, and Northfield High School will be maintained throughout construction.

Eastbound and westbound traffic on Jefferson Parkway will be detoured to Woodley Street via Highway 3 and Maple Street while northbound and southbound traffic on Trunk Highway 246 will be detoured to Highway 3 via Woodley Street and County Highway 1. The detours are anticipated to stay in place throughout the summer and into October.

Northfield curfew is not extended to Monday or Tuesday nights

On Sunday, May 31, Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell signed a proclamation declaring a local emergency and curfew starting 8:00 p.m. Sunday, May 31. The proclamation included the possibility of the curfew being extended to Monday, June 1 and/or Tuesday, June 2 if deemed necessary. City Administrator Ben Martig and Chief of Police Monte Nelson have reviewed information and decided not to extend the curfew at this time.

Other cities and counties, including Dakota County, are also cancelling their curfews as the possibility of violence and/or property damage has decreased. Northfield Police staff will continue to monitor events and potential threats in the region and locally. If threats or concerns of potential violence or damaging activity resurface, the curfew could be used again. 

Northfield Mayor Pownell Declares Local State of Emergency and Curfew

For the safety and protection of life and property

Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell signed a proclamation declaring a local emergency and curfew starting 8:00 p.m. Sunday, May 31.

“I applaud all those that want to safely and peacefully protest the tragic death of George Floyd; however, we cannot control those who may take advantage of the situation and damage property or endanger the safety of our community as has happened in neighboring cities. It is out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of all of our community members that this curfew declaration is put in place,” said Mayor Pownell.

Dakota County and other greater Twin City areas have experienced continuous nights of civil disobedience, including damaged and burglarized property, since George Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25. 

Northfield EDA approves e-commerce grant for local businesses

The Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved a $15,000 grant program for restaurants, eateries and retail shops in Northfield to help them build their online commerce presence.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant stress on Northfield businesses. With fewer sit-down and in-store customers, the need for online commerce platforms has become vitally important for businesses to compete in the current economic environment.

“E-commerce platforms are cost prohibitive for some of our businesses. This grant can help alleviate costs associated with building a commerce website,” said Nate Carlson, Northfield’s economic development coordinator.

Businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible to receive a grant for 50% of costs associated with e-commerce investment up to $1,500.

The business must have been operational since January 1, 2020 and their business address must be within the Northfield city limits.

City offices gradually reopen to the public

City staff has been working behind the scenes to provide services and now city offices will gradually reopen to the public.

The DMV is open to the public and providing full services. The Police Department lobby is also open to the public.

On May 26, the Northfield Public Library and the Engineering Department within City Hall will open to the public. Building Inspections staff located in the Community Development Department will provide building and permitting services between 8 and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Shred It Right: a paper shredding and recycling event

Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m. to noon

Residents can get rid of old documents and clutter in an environmentally friendly way during the free Shred It Right event on Saturday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Maintenance Facility, 1710 Riverview Drive.

The event will maintain physical distancing practices with a no contact drop-off. Residents should bring old bank documents, contracts, or any other paper that need shredding in paper bags or boxes that can be removed from the car by event staff. Residents dropping off paper will stay in their vehicles.

Shredded paper is not recyclable in curbside pickup, but residents can bring paper to be shredded to this event where it will be recycled.

This event is for residents only, documents from businesses will not be accepted.

This event is part of the City of Northfield’s strategic goal to reduce climate change impact and to make the community more resilient and sustainable.

City prepares for restaurant and bar reopening

City departments are working together and identifying opportunities under the executive orders and state guidelines to support restaurants and bars and their outdoor service areas where possible.

The City recognizes some restaurants and bars have outdoor space on their properties that may be used for take-out drive-up lanes or customer seating and some are located in areas where that is not a viable option.

Northfield launches Renewable Energy Challenge

Northfield residents can help the City achieve the goals of its Climate Action Plan.

On Earth Day, the City of Northfield and Northfield’s Energy Action Team launched a Renewable Energy Challenge. The City is challenging Northfield households to support clean energy by covering 100% of their electricity use with wind or solar. Households can do this through a local community solar garden, through Xcel Energy’s Windsource® program, or by starting the process of installing on-site solar. By entering the challenge, Northfield residents will be supporting renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which can reduce carbon emissions.

The City set a goal of adding 100 new households subscribing 100% of their electricity use to renewable sources by June 15. Everyone who joins the Renewable Energy Challenge will be recognized on the city’s website as a Northfield Clean Energy Supporter.

City of Northfield provides additional guidelines for candidate filing for the 2020 election

The filing period for City offices begins at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19 and ends at 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 2, 2020. City offices on the ballot for 2020 include: Mayor, Council Member At-Large, Council Member Second Ward, and Council Member Third Ward.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present unprecedented and evolving challenges not only to our State, but to our City operations. To meet the current requirements in the Governor’s Executive Orders and to provide for the safety and welfare of our staff and for candidates, the following changes are being made to the filing process:

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