Looking back, looking forward
It seems hard to believe but here we are, ready to turn the calendar from 2022 to 2023.
As we get ready to move into a new year, it is natural to take a look at the year soon to be but a memory and the excitement of a new one to come.
2022 saw a continuing return to the “normal” of the pre-Covid years even though in many ways it has been a new normal. Still, for the most part Covid has not dominated our conversations and schools have certainly been returning to normal.
We got through what can sometimes seem like a never-ending election, and with the redistricting that took place last winter, discovered that all of Dodge County, as well as Byron, will be in the same legislative district with the same State Representative and State Senator. Since the last redistricting after the 2010 census the county has contained portions of four separate districts. Because of that new district layout longtime Sen. Dave Senjem found himself in a district that was totally within Olmsted County. He decided against running for re-election to the legislature in his new district and retired.
New construction boomed in in the area in 2023. Kasson City Administrator Tim Ibisch said that new housing construction in the city is continuing to increase at a rate of 40 to 50 new homes a year and a large apartment complex is also now under construction.
An apartment complex is also being built in Dodge Center where the old school was located.
New businesses have sprouted up also. Plaza 57, former location of the Shopko on Highway 57 is now fully leased with the last business, a daycare, scheduled to open in 2023. Chaotic Good Brewing has moved to the former car wash location in Kasson and a new restaurant will be opening downtown in the coming year.
West Concord got a Dollar General that opened this fall.
So all in all, 2023 has been good to Dodge County.
And 2023 is looking positive too. Highway 57 through Kasson was closed for much of the year for reconstruction of both the roadway and utilities and is now open once again to traffic. There is still work to be done, however, with two roundabouts scheduled for construction in the summer of 2023, one in the downtown area and one at the intersection by the Kasson-Mantorville High School.
There are also plans for a new Kwik Trip near the high school as well as a Family Dollar Store.
In short, Dodge County and Byron are continuing to grow, bringing new families and opportunities to the area.
So as we get ready to welcome the New Year this weekend we can be sure that the future looks bright for the area.
Enjoy the holiday weekend and stay safe.
And a very Happy New Year from the staff at the Dodge County Independent.