Richfield leaders would love to talk about the state of their community. But it seems the weather gods won't let them.
For the second time in little more than a month, officials were forced to cancel the annual event Thursday due to poor weather. The first time, it was the polar vortex; this time, ice and nearly 9 inches of snow were at fault.
"Canceling a meeting for a group of 50 to 75 people is a much different consideration than the safety of a community and families traveling," said Richfield Chamber of Commerce Director Anne Schultz. "We can't control Mother Nature, so it is what it is."
Optimism had been in the air Monday as the temperature approached 70 degrees. Hundreds were expected to flock Thursday to the Richfield Middle School auditorium.
But then the sun disappeared, and the snow and sleet made traveling a nightmare, Schultz said.
This year's State of the Community event was planned to highlight local businesses, the school district, city government and service sectors in the city, in hopes of informing and encouraging the public to work together, she said.
"You have organizations that are doing really great things, but other sectors don't know about it," Schultz said. "Schools might not know what the city is doing, or businesses don't know what the schools are up to, and we want to make sure everyone is working together."
The annual event traditionally has been focused on local businesses and the mayor. But due to the recent changes city leadership, Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez said, officials decided to open it up to the other sectors as well.
As of Friday, organizers tentatively planned to tape the presentation and possibly stage a community update rather than reschedule the entire event, Gonzalez said. She said they plan to incorporate some aspects of the event in other local gatherings.
David Mullen is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.