City of Rupert undergoes renovations among steady population growth
Many different amenities in Rupert are being renovated currently. The city administrator said the city had a population turnaround from the last census.
"If you were to look at the census, the last census, we were actually losing people in the city of Rupert. This was the first time that we’ve seen in all of Rupert's history like we’re seeing right now," said Kelly Anthon, the city administrator.
He said the city is not growing "for growth's sake."
"We don’t want to bring in people just to bring in people. Actually, most of us who live in Rupert like to live in a small town, so we’re not seeing that the growth that is going to change the small town nature of Rupert," Anthon continued. "But, what we are seeing is the resurgence in the economy here. Our goal has been to keep this a vibrant small town and we’re seeing that actually happen right now."
Anthon said the city is currently undergoing a "renaissance."
Currently, the town square is being renovated, the Wilson Theatre was just recently refurbished and a health clinic is coming in near downtown.
"The Rupert Square has been an absolute historic center of everything cultural and business, family events. Everything that happened in Rupert really has centered around the Rupert square. Our voter approved by 77 percent a renovation of that square which we’re carrying out now," he said.
The police department was also recently moved within the last year to a new building too.
"Our whole goal in everything that we do here is keep the taxpayer impact very, very low," he said.
The population has grown by one percent, Anthon said.
"It’s the growth that a small town is going to want. Just to show that we’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not getting too big all at once," he said.
The city also recently just announced a new seasonal, synthetic ice skating rink coming in this fall.
"We would like more people to come visit Rupert than leave Rupert to go do something else. So that’s what we’re doing with some of these amenities and some of these recreational opportunities," he said.
Anthon said their downtown is starting to come back.
"A lot of things are happening in town and this is the long game. Some of the business that return to the square that left in the years where the shopping malls were really popular," he explained.
He said the city is conscientious of all the renovations and construction going on around town, knowing that it could cause inconvenience for residents.
"Ultimately the whole scope of what we’re trying to do in Rupert is build a great place to raise a family and the best place to do business. I think we’re accomplishing that. The steps that we’re moving forward with is really making a bright future in the city of Rupert," he said.
Anthon added that this year was historic for road repairs. He said they had a bond approved and did more roadwork in 2018 than any given year in the history of Rupert.