Richfield’s new public works director has a big job to do — make that several big jobs — but she’s eager to tackle them.
Kristin Asher last week was named to succeed Mike Eastling, who retired in the spring after some 30 years with the city. Asher, a civil engineer, has been with the Public Works Department since 2004, most recently as city engineer. She’ll oversee about 50 employees and a budget of about $14 million.
A Minneapolis native and University of Minnesota graduate, Asher said she’s excited to head the department in “a period of renewal” for the city.
Richfield is in the midst of several ambitious public works projects, notably the rebuilding of 66th Street and Portland Avenue, along with utilities work through the city.
The city also will resurface about 85 miles of roadways in the next few years and coordinate with private developers on several major apartment and senior living projects. Penn and Nicollet avenues also may be in for major rebuilds in the near future.
“It’s an exciting time for Richfield and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” Asher said. Many of the current and anticipated road projects include bike lanes, sidewalks, boulevards and other elements aimed at making the streets more accessible to bikes and pedestrians.
“We’re going to have a new look and feel on our major roadways,” she said. “We have embraced active living. So with our complete streets program and our community-driven process, these reconstructions are really a game-changer for Richfield.”