Find all of the Mayor's Messages on this page below:


 November 27, 2023 Message

As I sat down to write my last column of the year for the Forest Lake Times, my calendar made me realize how fast a year flies by in Columbus.

I would like to take this opportunity to recap some of the progress and other notable items that have taken place in our City this year.

We have extended high-speed Internet services to large areas of the City (just under 200 households) that have historically been underserved or not served at all — a special thank you to Council Member Janet Hegland and City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko for the hours of meetings and negotiations that were necessary to make this happen so that citizens were not bearing the cost of this necessary infrastructure. More negotiations for more Internet upgrades and additions are currently underway.

Love's Travel Stop & Country Store entry

In the business corridor, our new Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store (pictured right) has proven to be a great addition to our City and to any traveler who needs to top off their tank. For anyone who has questioned the placement of a world-class Travel Plaza at this intersection, they should be re-assured by the low fuel prices, high-volume of customers, smooth flowing traffic and the substantial tax revenue to the City of Columbus. Purportedly, Love's has also increased sales for the Holiday station by double digits. Columbus has gotten the reputation as the “best fuel prices in the Metro area."

Columbus’ first Fall Fest (pictured below) since the COVID pandemic was a rousing success thanks to good weather, our outstanding support from the business community, City staff participation, the Columbus Lions and the extraordinary efforts of the Fall Fest leadership team which included Lynn Carver-Quinn, Karen Fleming and Janet Hegland. It was a great weekend of fun family activities including a drive-in movie and Columbus Race Night on Friday evening hosted by Running Aces, a myriad of exciting activities and business displays at Columbus Park on Saturday and a wonderful Columbus Lions Pancake Breakfast on Sunday.

The Columbus EDA was pleased to host two ColumBiz events this year. We were pleased by the attendance of the business leaders who took time from their busy schedules to interact with their City, county and state officials (Senator Michael Kreun, Rep. Nolan West, County Commissioner Jeff Reinert and Forest Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nannette LaNasa), as well as with other staff member from Anoka County and Columbus.

More good news! According to the Anoka County proposed 2024 property tax statement received by everyone in the past week or so, Columbus was the only taxing entity that had a flat or negative proposed property tax levy for 2024. Twenty-one cities, Linwood Township and nine school districts including the Forest Lake School District have raised their proposed levies by up to 24.36 percent while the City of Columbus was able to lower its levy by a remarkable 0.02 percent. This is a result of an intentional focus on economic development in Columbus over the past 5 years coupled with a conservative fiscal approach to budgeting — again thanks to the City Administrator, the EDA and the City Council for looking out for the taxpayers of Columbus.

Perhaps the only issue that is not a positive to share is that our City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko has announced she will be leaving her position in Columbus early next year. Administrator Mursko has served Columbus for more than 24 years.

It has been my privilege to have worked with Elizabeth professionally during her lengthy tenure in Columbus—as business owner, Planning Commissioner and Mayor. Columbus became a City in 2006 and has grown and progressed with her at the helm. On behalf of Columbus residents, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly say thank you for doing so much for our City and best wishes in the next chapter of your life.  Stay tuned, there will be a public gathering to allow all to express their best wishes to Administrator Mursko after the holiday season.

Lastly, we are currently searching for a new City Administrator to take over her multitudinous responsibilities that are involved with running the City of Columbus. The Personal Committee is working diligently to ensure a smooth transition which will take place over the next 6 months and includes hiring an experienced Interim City Administrator to bridge the gap until a search is conducted and a permanent replacement hired.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jesse Preiner, Mayor of Columbus

 January 12, 2023 Message

Message from Mayor Jesse Preiner

On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, the Columbus City Council met for our first meeting of the year. Our first order of business was an Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting from 5-6 p.m. Karen Flemming was welcomed as a new at-large member, Sue Wagamon was appointed as Vice President and Rob Busch was appointed as Treasurer.

Our new EDA mission statement is: “To facilitate responsible economic growth and re-development that contributes significantly to Columbus’ tax base with a goal of maintaining an affordable rural lifestyle for our residents.”

The EDA is planning to reinstate our Columbus Breakfast event at Running Aces in March. The event will be similar to the past (pre-Covid) ColumBiz Breakfast and is dedicated to bringing Columbus businesses together to share ideas with each other and with the City Council in order to continue fostering a successful business climate in Columbus. Business owners should stay tuned for more information as details become finalized.

At the City Council meeting that followed, the 2023 Committee assignments were distributed to Council members:
      •     Janet Hegland: Deputy Mayor, Personnel Committee, Rice Creek Watershed Liaison, Sunrise Watershed Liaison and Park Board Liaison
      •     Rob Busch: Joint Fire Board
      •     Sue Wagamon: Personnel Committee and Forest Lake Cable Commission
      •     Ron Hanegraaf: Anoka County Sheriff’s Liaison

I would like to thank each Council member in taking on these responsibilities to serve on the various committees and boards.

After approving the organizational appointments, the Citywide recycling calendar was approved for 2023. Be sure to check our website for dates and times of the upcoming recycling events.

Our City Engineer, Kevin Bittner, reported that first-phase work on West Freeway Drive North has been completed. The next phase will resume in early spring. The project should be completed, including curbs and paving, by mid-summer. This is the final segment of the Columbus I-35/CSAH 23 Bridge Project.

Projects are lining up for another busy year in Columbus: StreetSmart, located in the Waldoch Addition, is planning for a February 9 ribbon cutting event; Blaine Brothers is planning to break ground on Hornsby Street this spring; and the Brown Beagle Industrial Park Project on West Freeway Drive is in the planning phase of development with intent to break ground later this year.

The City is looking for volunteers to help plan and participate in City events in the upcoming year. I would like to urge anyone who would be willing to share their time and talents to please check out our website, or contact a Council Member to receive more information and/or to share your ideas with us. Now is the time to plan for the upcoming year.
Santa Claus visits the Columbus Seniors Club at their monthly lunch
Santa even delivered presents to the group!

 December 21, 2022 Message

Winter Greetings from the Mayor

The holiday spirit was in the air with a surprise visit from Santa Claus at the Columbus Seniors’ December lunch at Running Aces.

As we settle into what appears to be a real, old-fashioned Minnesota winter, I would like to take time to say: “Best wishes for the holiday season to all Columbus residents.”

It’s been a busy year in Columbus: Love’s Travel Plaza, Hardee’s, Godfather’s Pizza, Caribou Coffee and Ecofun Motorsports opened their doors. In autumn, Forest Lake Contracting from Columbus began work on the final leg of the roundabout on CSAH 23, which will run on the northwest side of Interstate 35 through Columbus. The City was fortunate to secure Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) funding and we are excited for its completion by mid-summer 2023.

I would like to extend sincere thanks to retiring Councilmember Shelly Logren for her dedicated service to Columbus over the past four years, and welcome new Councilmember Ron Hanegraaf (previously Planning Commission Chairman) along with returning Councilmember Janet Hegland. We can all look forward to continued progress in Columbus over the next four years.

During the campaign season, many of the residents that we spoke to expressed a strong desire for the return of Columbus’ Fall Fest. Now that the threat of COVID-19 has lessened, the City will be reaching out to all residents and businesses who would be willing to volunteer with their time, talent or financial support to help re-imagine, plan and re-establish this great annual Columbus Get-Together. I invite you to go to the City website to volunteer in any way you can.

In closing, the Mayor, Council, and Staff of Columbus wish everyone a safe and peaceful Holiday Season.

Best Wishes for a Great 2023

Mayor Jesse Preiner

 May 11, 2022 Message

We're off to the races in Columbus as winter finally loosens its grip and the building season gets underway.

Finishing touches and signage are being added to the new EcoFun MotorSports building located next to the new Viking Industrial building on Lake Drive. Viking Industrial will be hosting a celebratory open house on Thursday, May 12 and the Norton family will be welcoming guests to their new facility from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Councilmember Janet Hegland and City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko have been working with our lobbyists and their staffs at both the state and federal legislatures trying to obtain additional funds that will enable Columbus to continue to expand broadband access to additional Columbus residents. The need for broadband expansion is great and we are making slow, but steady progress as we explain our needs to our state and federal representatives.

Community engagement is vital to every City. And, there are great opportunities for anyone who would like to share their time and be involved in Columbus. There are currently opportunities to serve on the Park Board, the Planning Commission and a position is available to serve on the Economic Development Authority (EDA). Check out all the opportunities on the Columbus website.

At the last City Council meeting, Park Board member Kris King gave a thorough and detailed report regarding our tree planting project forwarded by the Park Board to the Council. Her in-depth research and analysis resulted in a savings to taxpayers and we will all be able to enjoy an additional row of maple trees along our walking path for years to come.

Everyone who loves the great pancakes and French toast served up by the Lions in the Columbus Community/Senior Center can mark their calendars for the return of our pancake breakfast later this year. It's been two years since the pandemic made large gatherings impossible and we are all looking forward to supporting our Lions once again. Pancakes will be on the grill again once a month September through May. Come and support our Lions who support our community by serving up great food and community fun.

Live racing returns to Columbus on Sunday, May 15 at Running Aces Harness Park. Horses have been arriving daily in preparation of the 2022 racing season with both seasoned veterans and optimistic newcomers ready to race for the Winner's Circle.

It looks like it's going to be another busy season in Columbus. Enjoy the summer season.

Mayor Jesse Preiner

 March 3rd, 2022 Message:

Spring 2022

March has finally arrived. In Columbus it feels that Spring is finally on its way—as maple syrup people prepare to tap their trees and turn maple sap into delicious golden maple syrup.


As the Covid positivity rates continue to decline, the Council and staff are eagerly looking forward to the return of our famous Columbus Lions Pancake Breakfast in the Community Center. What a delight it will be to gather once again in the refurbished Community Center to enjoy pancakes—and maple syrup—amongst friends and neighbors.


Progress has continued on several projects in Columbus throughout the winter. The EcoFun MotorSports building is an attractive addition on Lake Drive. And, the crews have worked throughout the winter on Loves Travel Plaza located on Hornsby Avenue South. Both new businesses anticipate opening this Spring to the public. The St. Clair project — a new single-family housing development — on Howard Lake also anticipates beginning construction early this Spring.


City Staff and Council have been vigorously pursuing all avenues that will improve broadband access to unserved and underserved Columbus residents. We have recently met with Anoka County EDA Director Samantha Markum as well as with Rep. Tom Emmer’s staff in pursuit of funding streams available to local cities. The Columbus City Council understands the needs of our residents and we are cautiously optimistic that progress is being made. Residents can look forward to increased connectivity this year and in 2023.


On behalf of all Columbus residents I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Rep. Bob Dettmer who has announced his retirement from the MN House of Representatives in 2023. Rep. Dettmer has represented Columbus residents prior to the previous redistricting and has been an incredible advocate for us. Rep. Dettmer was a key player in helping Columbus and Forest Lake find and obtain the funding to rebuild the Hwy. 97 Bridge and intersection between Columbus and Forest Lake. As a result we now have a beautiful intersection that will last 50+ years and that will help make the traffic flow smoothly between our two cities. Again, thank you Bob, we appreciate everything that you have accomplished for us.


In closing, we are looking forward to warmer weather, a busy building season, and life [hopefully] getting back to normal.


Jesse Preiner

Mayor of Columbus

 January 12th, 2022 Message:

2022 Kick Off

As the New Year begins, it’s great to look forward to the progress that we are anticipating in Columbus. Along with the usual wrapping up of City business in November and December, our City staff has been extra busy working with property owners and developers on building and zoning permits so they are able to begin their projects in the 2022 building season.


Our City is very excited about the progress on Lake Drive with the completion of the Waldoch Addition commercial subdivision that will include new road construction starting in early spring. We are looking forward to hearing from HyVee as to when they are expecting to begin their buildout of the new HyVee Fast’n Fresh!  The City just approved the site plan for a Caribou Coffee Cabin on Hornsby Street North. When you drive by, notice the progress being made on the Love’s Travel Plaza. The construction crews are working throughout the winter in order to be ready for a grand opening early this spring. Construction at Ecofun Motorsports is also continuing through the winter and their new building is going to be an attractive addition on Lake Drive located next to Viking Industrial. The City has issued a final plat for 21 new detached townhomes to be built at St. Clair Lakes beginning in 2022 that will be served by our City sanitary sewer and water system. I would like to thank our staff and for all the expertise, patience, and hours of effort that they have expended while processing the mountains of documents that are necessary for these upcoming projects.


The Council is making progress on several concerns raised by residents over the past year. Commissioner Hegland and Administrator Mursko have been leading the charge, working non-stop on the very complicated and expensive project of expanding Internet services to the underserved and to households with no current access. The City and the County are weighing options for addressing safety concerns at the Camp 3 and Kettle River intersection. We hope to have a recommendation for a potential solution by mid-summer. We have completed the upgrades in the Council chambers and we are able to safely hold our Council meetings every other Wednesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. (Note this new time: Previously meetings have started at 7 p.m.). The public is always welcomed to attend.


Lastly, we have had six plowable snowfalls this season and our Public Works crew have been giving our plow trucks a good workout. I would like to give a tip of the cap and a sincere thank you to the Public Works Department who under the supervision of Jim Windingstad have kept our roads in safe driving condition.


I would like to wish everyone a happy, safe, and successful 2022.


Jesse Preiner

Mayor of Columbus

 November 18, 2021 Message:

Winter 2021

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 marked a special day in Columbus. We held our first City Council meeting in the City Council Chambers since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic we held our regular meetings in the Senior/Community Center in order to take advantage of CARES Funds to renovate and update the HVAC systems and the online interactive communication systems throughout the building. In addition we upgraded technology that will enable us to continue using our hybrid interactive format well into the future. Thank you everyone who spent so much time planning and executing these much needed updates.

Progress is continuing in the Freeway Corridor and on Lake Drive—Love’s Travel Plaza is beginning to take shape and is planning a spring opening; and Muddy Paws Play + Stay (under new ownership of Joe and Olivia Lefto) have made many upgrades to their property and we are pleased to welcome them into our Columbus business community. On Lake Drive, Ecofun Motorsports has begun construction on their new building and Running Aces is continuing their renovation and update of the original building complex to harmonize with the new Running Aces Hotel. 

Perhaps the best news for Columbus residents is we are being fiscally prudent during these tough economic times. The City Council has held several meetings during August and September to determine the preliminary levy for the 2022 City Budget. As Mayor, I always appreciate the collaboration with City Staff, Council, and Commissions to better understand everything that needs to be factored into the final numbers. There is much more to the equation than services, equipment, personnel, and supplies. I believe we took a conservative approach in looking at all aspects of the budget, including the cost of inflation and balancing the needs of a growing city. The City Council voted on the 2022 levy with a relatively flat tax rate (2022 = 48.34%) compared to last year (2021 = 48.28%). This equates to a two-dollar increase over last year based on the market value for a $375,000 residence. The change has been minimal due to extra value being added from new businesses and developments coming to the City. The final tax levy for 2022 will be voted on at the City Council meeting on December 8, 2021. There will be a public open forum for Columbus residents and property owners to comment on the 2022 Budget and Levy during that City Council meeting. 

After a 6-week traffic experiment, Anoka County has removed the road closure at the intersection of Kettle River Blvd. and Camp 3 Road. Many residents had expressed concern to the City and County regarding the difficulties at this intersection. The temporary road closure was the beginning of a comprehensive study of the options available and associated costs. Over the next several months data will be analyzed and presented to the City Council for consideration.

In closing, I would like to express from both the Council and the City Staff heartfelt sympathies to family and friends of long-time Columbus resident and Planning Commission Member, Barbara Hvass. Her vision and 20+ years of dedication was instrumental in the formation of our City. Her wisdom and expertise in looking to the future was key in making Columbus what it is today.

As 2021 comes to a close, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Holiday Season.


Jesse Preiner

Mayor of Columbus

Columbus City Council in the renovated Council chambers (L to R): Council Members Shelly Logren, Sue Wagamon, Mayor Jesse Preiner, Janet Hegland, and Rob Busch.

Image:  Columbus City Council in the renovated Council Chambers (L to R:) Council Members: Shelly Logren, Sue Wagamon, Mayor Jesse Preiner, Janet Hegland, and Rob Busch.

 September 9, 2021 Message:

Autumn Progress Report

It’s been a busy and productive Summer at the Columbus City Hall. I am pleased to share a progress report as we move towards the Autumn season.

First off, we are nearly ready to move back into City Hall after much-needed upgrades to the Council Chambers. Because the Council has been meeting in the Community/Senior Center, City staff has taken advantage of this time to clean, paint, install an air filtration system, and sound absorbing panels throughout the chambers in order to improve the acoustics of the room. We are waiting for the final sound and recording checks which we expect to happen this month. I invite everyone to come to a City Council meeting to see what a great job our staff has accomplished.

Columbus is another step closer to having high-speed Internet service available to several unserved and underserved areas of the City. At the August 25th City Council meeting the Council voted unanimously to allocate $450,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. This money will be going towards broadband expansion that would provide access to 198 homes. Midco will be contracted to provide the service. Discussions with CenturyLink/Lumen Technologies continue and the City is awaiting a proposal from them to service additional neighborhoods. More details on this expansion will be available on the City website. We will continue to seek other funding opportunities that will allow us to continue the trajectory we began last year—to bring high speed Internet access to all neighborhoods in Columbus. 

Earlier this Spring, a multi-car accident at the intersection of Camp Three Road and Kettle River Blvd. knocked out Internet service for 1/3 of our residents in the southern portion of Columbus for nearly a month. Anoka County has joined with the City on a safety study at the corner of Camp Three Road and Kettle River Blvd. to explore options that would improve the sight lines at the intersection. After our study is complete in mid-November, County engineers will bring their findings to the Council for review—along with input from residents—to decide on a cost-effective strategy to improve safety.

Council members have heard from many residents that they would appreciate increased communication with City Hall. We have taken many steps in this direction. A newly-designed website is nearly complete that we expect will be easier for residents to navigate and for Staff to readily update. Residents can register to receive all types of e-mail communications such as volunteer opportunities, the City newsletter, public notices, and minutes. Go to the City website home page and under “Register for Email Communications” click the link for the registration page to choose what type of communications you would like to receive. If you have problems registering for email communications or are not receiving the communications you requested, please contact City Offices at 651-419-9014 and we will help you out!

A recently completed survey by the Columbus Park Board found that 79% of respondents rated our park as “very good” or “excellent.” The perimeter walking trail has been crack-filled and seal-coated to extend its longevity and increase safety for walkers and joggers alike. The Park Board also reported a Fall planting in the park of additional deciduous and coniferous trees that will provide shade and aesthetic screening.

In closing, things are moving forward in Columbus. Best wishes for safe and productive Fall.

Jesse Preiner

Mayor of Columbus

 May 17, 2021 Message:

Spring 2021 Update

After a long and sequestered winter, the residents of Columbus are looking forward to more outdoor activities. 

Our City park has been filled with walkers, ball players and families and enjoying outdoors. In addition, Running Aces is excited for a new racing season which started on Sunday, May 16. Race days this year are Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. The new track side hotel is a great place for group events such weddings, long-awaited reunions, or you can rent a suite with family and friends for watching the races from your own private suite.

Construction is underway on Hornsby South. A note of thanks to Public Works Director Jim Windingstad and City Engineer Kevin Bittner for all the efforts that will make Hornsby South as functional, safe, and attractive as Hornsby North. In addition, the new Hwy 97/I-35 bridge has been completed including the planting of decorative trees and shrubs.

Building in both Thurnbeck Preserve and Preiner Preserve continues despite the rapidly and wildly increasing cost of materials. We welcome the new home owners to our community.

City staff has been compiling the results from a citywide survey sent out earlier this Spring to assess residents’ Internet connections and speed. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the survey, 22% of the households responded, which is a great response rate for any survey!  A summary of the results will be posted on the City website in the next few weeks in addition to an update of the City’s plans. The City will be using Federal funding and matching grants from Anoka County over the next two years to upgrade our broadband infrastructure and for new installations. On behalf of the residents of Columbus I would like to take this opportunity to thank Columbus Councilwoman Janet Hegland and Anoka County Commissioner Jeff Reinert who worked together to spearhead this important issue for our residents and businesses.

Columbus/Forest Lake Fire Joint Powers will be taking possession of a second new firetruck in early June built by Rosenbauer in Wyoming, Minnesota. This will complete our capital replacement and we are looking forward to our new arrival.

Due to continued concerns about Covid and its variants, and lack of time needed for planning and organizing, our Fall Fest committee has decided to postpone our annual City get-together until Fall 2022. We have been promised that when it returns it will be bigger and better than ever.

Barring any unexpected mandates from the Governor, the Columbus City Council is planning to re-open the Council Chambers for in-person meetings by the middle of June. We will be using a mixed format that will allow anyone who is uncomfortable joining an in-person meeting to continue to use the Zoom platform to participate with the Council and other residents who are attending in person. The Council is looking forward to seeing our neighbors in the City Hall once again.

-- Jesse Preiner, Mayor of Columbus

 March 12, 2021 Message:

Columbus Looks Towards Upgrades in Internet, Council Meetings

An auto accident in early February on the corner of Camp Three Road and Kettle River Blvd. demolished the CenturyLink cabinet that housed more than 450 telephone and Internet connections for the southern portion of Columbus. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to CenturyLink Technician Jamie Aho and his crew who have spent over a month replacing, repairing, and reconnecting Columbus residents’ Internet and phone services during some of the coldest weather in decades.

We know how important a reliable and fast Internet connection is, especially during this time when so many are working or schooling from home. Last Summer, the Council appointed Council Member Janet Hegland to lead this charge and we have had several meetings on this topic with our two Internet providers, the Public Utilities Commission, and DEED with the goal to develop a plan to bring dependable Internet to as many Columbus residents as possible. Within the next month the City will be sending a survey to all Columbus households asking for your input regarding your current Internet service and your broadband needs. Please take the time necessary to complete the questionnaire as thoroughly as possible to help us obtain accurate information to use in our discussions with our utility providers.

We can’t wait for the day that we can safely open City Hall, the Senior/Community Center, and the Council Chambers to the public; however, the City is pleased to announce that our audio/visual systems at City Hall have been upgraded to allow residents to virtually attend City Council, Public Hearings, and Planning Commission meetings via Zoom. This is new technology for City Hall and we are pleased to offer this new opportunity for residents to stay connected during the pandemic. Please be patient as everyone adjusts to the new technology.

Projects continue to move forward as the construction season approaches. Reconstruction of Hornsby Street South will begin this Spring and we are expecting it to be finished by mid-Summer. This will complete the reconstruction of Hornsby Street from Hwy. 97 to the junction of 145th. Another section of Furman Street near Thurnbeck Preserve is scheduled to be paved early this summer.

We are excited to welcome Loves Travel Plaza to Columbus and they are scheduled to begin construction by early Summer. Many residents have asked about the plans for the Fast and Fresh HyVee that is planned for the Northeast side of the Hornsby/Hwy 97 intersection. City Administrator Mursko recently spoke with HyVee and was told that currently they have no plans to deviate from the original plans presented to the City. We are pleased with continued development in the Freeway Corridor.

Columbus is looking forward to the delivery of the new fire engine truck before summer. At the first Fire Board meeting of the year, Chief Al Newman reported that much-needed upgrades have been completed on Fire Station No. 2 in Columbus. The walls have been repainted, the floor has been resurfaced, new gear lockers and work bench have been installed.

We are looking forward to another busy and productive season ahead. Everyone stay safe!

-- Jesse Preiner, Mayor of Columbus

 January 21, 2021 Message:

2020 City of Columbus Recap

Although 2020 was a year unlike any other in recent history, many great things happened in the City of Columbus and we are looking forward to this trend continuing into 2021. Here are a few of the recent developments:

  • Under the direction of CEO Taro Ito, the new 5-story, 116-room hotel opened at Running Aces in March of 2020.  The new hotel features a modern Scandinavian design with loads of amenities:  A divide-able meeting space for up to 150 guests, fitness center, pool, spa, and room service.  An extended breakfast center located on the first floor also doubles as a bar and lounge, with patio and fire pit offering a full view of the racetrack.


  • Viking Industrial, a construction fastener and safety equipment company, opened for business in December 2020 at 9205 Lake Drive NE. Viking Industrial Center is a family-owned business that has been of service to thousands of companies and customers since 1959.


  • Toft’s Outdoor Supply is under construction at 141st Avenue NE and Lake Drive and is scheduled to open Spring 2021. It joins a family of businesses under the CST Company brand and is locally owned and operated.  Toft’s specializes in wholesale of outdoor products as well as bulk and bagged wood mulch.


  • David’s Hydro Vac will be moving its headquarters to the former EJM Pipe Services location on Lake Drive. This move concludes a 2-year search for a new headquarters. The “welcoming leadership and multiple conversations with other businesses in the area” convinced this dynamic and high integrity business that Columbus was the perfect new home.


  • Columbus sold a piece of City property to HyVee, which plans to open a Fast and Fresh store and gas station in 2021-2022.


  • Loves Travel Stops & Country Stores was approved to build a 17-acre Travel Plaza on the southeast side of I-35, at the Hwy 97 Exit.  Construction is planned for 2021. Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores has more than 530 locations in 41 states. This center will feature two restaurants: a drive-thru Hardees with seated options and a Godfathers Pizza offering take-out and indoor dining.


  • Phase III of the residential development Thurnbeck Preserve is planned for 2021-2022. The Preiner Preserve development, located on Zurich Street near Running Aces, is also nearing completion. We are proud to welcome those who have made these new developments their home.


  • Columbus was successful in securing State of MN and DNR financing for the last leg of the roundabout on Hwy 23 and W. Freeway Drive.  Plans are in the works to construct a new road extending from the roundabout to the NW quadrant of I-35 and Hwy 23, which will terminate at the Lamprey Pass Wildlife Management Area.


  • Ventilation upgrades and other anti-viral measures were made to the City Council Chambers and the Community/Senior Center.  These updates will allow in-person meetings to safely resume as the pandemic subsides.


I would like to thank the City Council, Planning Commission, City Staff, and especially City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko, who all went above-and-beyond the call of duty to ensure City Offices remained safely open and services to our residents continued uninterrupted from the beginning of the pandemic.


Our last meeting of the year (December 30) was an opportunity for our Council to say “Thank You and best wishes for the future” to Councilmen Jeff Duraine and Denny Peterson who retired after years of service on the City Council. We welcome Sue Wagamon and Rob Busch who will be taking their places for the next 4 years.


On a personal note, I would like to thank the residents of Columbus for their overwhelming support in the last election. When I was recruited to run in the 2018 and 2020 elections I made clear promises: to bring respect back to City Hall, keep taxes as low as possible, and maintain a rural atmosphere in Columbus while also encouraging development in commercial areas which does not disrupt residents with heavy truck traffic.  Such growth will contribute substantial commercial taxes to Columbus and help offset residential taxes. As we begin 2021, my pledge remains the same.


—Jesse Preiner, Mayor of Columbus


 Pictured in photo (from left to right): Councilman Jeff Duraine, Councilman Denny Peterson, Mayor Jesse Preiner.