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Barbian leaves city post

Robert Barbian, who has been with the City of New Richmond for 15 years, has left his post and is looking for a new professional opportunity. (Photo by Jeff Holmquist)

After 15 years of employment with the City of New Richmond, Robert Barbian is moving on.

Most recently the city's planning and community development director, Barbian resigned June 10 in the midst of a recent departmental reorganization effort.

"With these changes, the city has accepted the resignation of Bob Barbian," said City Administrator Mike Darrow in a press release last week. "We are appreciative of Bob's years of service to the City of New Richmond."

In an interview following his resignation, Barbian called it a "great pleasure" to work with and for the people of New Richmond.

"I came to work for the City of New Richmond in November of 1997 when the population was approximately 4,500," he said. "Since then, the city has almost doubled in size to just over 8,000 and added approximately 1,700 homes. As the director of economic development and planning in New Richmond."

During his tenure here, Barbian said he was always amazed at the ideas that local residents came up with that led to community improvement efforts.

"And then, miraculously, rising up and putting the idea into action," he said of the can-do attitude of many local leaders and volunteers.

One specific example of a good idea turned into reality was the discussion related to the west side of Hatfield Lake. At first, the idea was to simply put a trail around Hatfield Lake.

"It ended up being a 100-acre park that will be a jewel for future generations," he said.

Barbian added that the city's trail system has also been a great idea that came to fruition over the past 15 years.

"I am proud to have been on the ground floor to nurture, implement and grow the trail system, which was another great citizen idea," he said.

Barbian said he also had a hand in many major infrastructure projects that will allow New Richmond to continue to grow for years to come. Among the projects were Richmond Way, 140th Avenue improvements, the downtown facade redevelopments, the Skoglund redevelopment project, the hospital expansion and renovation, New Richmond Clinic expansions, and many new subdivisions.

Barbian said he was also thrilled to be a part of many business expansion projects, building projects and renovation efforts through the years.

Among the city-assisted efforts Barbian had a hand in were projects at Federal Foam, Presbyterian Homes, Phillips Plastics, Isometric Tool & Design, Brady's Brewhouse, Balsam Millwork, Lakeside Foods, Bosch, Countryside Plumbing & Heating, National Refund & Marketing, Walmart, Maurices and Liquid Waste Technology.

"The amazing progress that has occurred over the last 15 years would not have happened without countless people working together and for the good of New Richmond," he said. "I want to thank my co-workers, elected and appointed officials, the many business owners and managers that have been part of my success."

Overall, Barbian said he feels good about his years as a city employee.

"I hope I left the community in better shape than when I first came," he said. "That's all anyone can hope for in the end."

As for the future, Barbian said he's exploring several employment opportunities in the region, although none has materialized just yet.

"I plan to stay here at this time," Barbian said. "It's a great community with lot of opportunities."

He said New Richmond treated him and his family well through the years. His three children -- Tyler, Maggie and Julia -- all are New Richmond High School graduates.

"They got a great education here," he said. "So many good teachers."

With the city's reorganization, Darrow said, all planning and economic development questions should now be directed to him, at, or Beth Thompson, community development director, at Or by calling 715-246-4268.







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business, New Richmond, Wisconsin

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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