(June 23, 2023 – St. Paul, MN)
City of Wayzata Community Development Director Emily Goellner was named the 2023 Emerging Leader Award recipient by the League of Minnesota Cities yesterday. The award was announced at the League’s Annual Conference in Duluth.
Goellner was hired in 2019 and became Wayzata’s first female community development director. Since then, Goellner has grown the department from three to five full-time positions and added several consultants. She holds a weekly staff meeting with her team and is intentional about team building and fostering the growth and development of her staff.
Goellner led the establishment and operations of one of the most complex Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts in the state, which will generate more than $20 million for redevelopment projects, city infrastructure, blight removal, and other public amenity-related improvements. Recently, Goellner has worked with the city council and Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) on a new policy that designates “left-over” TIF proceeds to eligible affordable housing projects. A 10-unit housing unit has since taken advantage of this new tool to help preserve affordable housing in Wayzata.
Goellner has also been instrumental in the city’s lakefront improvement project, Panoway on Wayzata Bay, since the start of her career in Wayzata. Her commitment and strong connection to the overall project goal and her skillsets regarding relationship building with public officials and key community stakeholders have allowed this complicated project to move forward successfully.
Recognizing the importance of cultural awareness and the harm done to communities of color in the development field, Goellner led Wayzata’s participation in the Just Deeds program, which works with homeowners to nullify discriminatory covenants on their properties. She is an active member of Women in Planning through the Minnesota Planning Association, as well as through the Urban Land Use Institute’s DEI group which provides training and instruction to increase awareness in both the public and private sector.
The League’s Emerging Leader Award is presented in recognition and encouragement of elected and appointed officials who are early in their service to municipal government, have made meaningful contributions to their city, and show promise for continuing service and leadership. Officials who have served for eight years or less are eligible for consideration for the award.
The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its 838 member cities through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.