OCTOBER 17,th 5:30PM


The objective of this project is to develop a commercial/retail strategy that the City can use to maintain a vibrant commercial market. RESIDENT and BUSINESS input can provide important guidance that can impact business retention, expansion, and recruitment including suggest prospective retail tenants based on community needs.



School has officially started, so we wanted to share some reminders when approaching a school bus displaying flashing lights.

AMBER Warning Lights * This is a cautionary message that the bus is coming to a stop and will soon be activating its RED warning lights. Traffic is allowed to bypass the school bus with CARE.

RED Warning Lights * Stop at least 20 feet from the bus and remain stopped until the bus resumes motion or the driver extinguishes the flashing red warning lights.

A vehicle that approaches a stopped school bus that is displaying flashing red warning lights must stop, regardless if the stop arm is out or not.




           Attention City of Black River Falls residents!  The City has CDBG funds available to assist low to moderate income persons with housing rehabilitation.   These funds are distributed as interest-free deferred loans.  There are no monthly payments!  The homeowner pays the loan back when the property is sold or no longer their primary residence.

The Community Development Block Grant funds can be used for housing rehabilitation, including but not limited to:  re-siding, fixing or replacing a roof, replacing inefficient windows and doors, correcting plumbing and electrical issues.  Funds can also be used to correct any lead hazards in the house. In some cases, funds may be used to make homes or apartments more accessible for disabled individuals.

Are you looking for help with down payment assistance?  Income eligible persons may apply for a loan to help pay eligible closing costs and provide up to 50% of the required down payment.  Assistance is not to exceed 10% of the purchase price of the home.

Landlords who rent to LMI tenants can also receive assistance through the City’s CDBG Housing program.  The CDBG funds will be offered to Landlords as a 0% interest installment loan.  Monthly payments are made to the City of Black River Falls housing program and the repaid funds will be used to finance other housing rehabilitation projects within the City of Black River Falls.

Eligibility requirements state that all occupants of housing units to be rehabilitated under this program must meet the County Median Income limits as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Jackson County.

Persons: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Income Limits: $35,100 $40,100 $45,100 $50,100 $54,150 $58,150 $62,150 $66,150

The City of Black River Falls Housing Coordinator will provide housing rehabilitation applications to eligible persons.  To receive an application or for more information, please contact Renee Swenson at (715) 235-9081 or-1-800-472-7372 or in person at the City of Black River Falls Office at 101 S. 2nd Street Black River Falls.  The City of Black River Falls wants to help those in unsafe or unhealthy conditions first; therefore, loans will be prioritized by need.

Discounted Attraction Tickets

We are selling discounted attraction tickets for the Milwaukee Zoo, Six Flags Great America and several places in Wisconsin Dells.  Stop in to City Hall Monday-Friday between 8 and 430 to buy your tickets today!


In an effort to serve organizations in need, Black River Memorial Hospital (BRMH) provides donations through its weekly Dress Down Day Donation program. During the first quarter of 2018, BRMH employees selected three organizations to receive $250. (l-r) Receiving the donation to the Black River Falls Foundation Trail maintenance fund is City Administrator, Brad Chown. Representing Network for Youth is Donna Sigler. Network for Youth is an organization focused on meeting the needs of youth who are aging out of foster care, homeless or without family support. BRMH Executive Assistant Erin Wyss presented the checks to the organizations. On behalf of the Boys and Girls Club-Jackson County Center is Program Coordinator, Kelly LaBar.

Courtesy of Black River Memorial Hospital  02/28/2018



Officer Ethan Shaffer has been assigned as the Black River Falls Police Department’s new canine handler.  Officer Shaffer and the department’s new canine, Ilo, are currently training at Jessiffany Kennels, Iron Ridge, Wisconsin. I anticipate that Officer Shaffer and canine Ilo will be certified and working by the middle of March.

It is clear that the community wants and needs a canine program.  Having an efficient, effective, competent, and well respected canine program is the mission of the police department.  I am confident that Officer Shaffer is a good choice for the canine assignment.  Officer Shaffer is dedicated to this department and to making Black River Falls a great community.

After speaking to different canine trainers and handlers it was decided we would not be bringing canine, Mattis, back into the department.  Jessiffany Kennels agreed to trade Mattis for a different fully trained canine of our choice.  It can be difficult to bring a former canine back into the same department with a new handler, but more importantly the canine needs to be a good fit for the handler.  I believe that Officer Shaffer and canine, Ilo will make an excellent team.

Although a canine will never replace and officer, a trained canine is a valuable asset, which enhances law enforcement performance.  Because of a canines superior sense of smell, hearing and physical capabilities they are an asset in making the community safer environment for the citizens. Our canine is a valuable asset in fighting crime.  I look forward to what Officer Shaffer and Ilo will do for the community.

Chief Kelly Bakken


Officer Ethan Shaffer and Ilo


Trick-or-Treating will be from 5-7 on Oct. 31st.

Remember to keep your front light on if you want kiddos to stop.


The most important part of any good animal shelter is having a safe and clean space for cats, dogs and pets of all shapes and sizes.

Jackson County’s animal shelter has been looking at possible remodeling of their site to help update the building to better handle the animals they take in.

Over the past few months though, as fundraisers have been held and money has been raised, the better option might be to build a completely new building.

 The current facility has serviced its volunteers well, but with a number of sanitary, sound and space issues, the better option seems to now be to start from scratch.

Some of the initial problems with this proposal was finding a place to go, moving outside of Black River Falls means the city would no longer pay for the utilities of the building.

Its proximity to the high school also allowed a lot of Tiger students take mini field trips to the animal shelter, so leaving Black River Falls meant leaving the help as well.

“After some discussion we’ve come up with utilizing a small portion of land, maybe an acre and a half, behind the Veterans Memorial Park and across from the DHHS,” county chairman Ray Ransom said at the meeting.

 That new location keeps the animal shelter right in the sweet spot of being able to have volunteers and students from the BRF school district and keeps it within city limits.

It’s an ideal move for both the county and the animal shelter as the county isn’t really having to sell or transfer the land to anyone and the shelter is moving almost laterally from its current position.

No construction has started yet as the funds for a new building still need to be raised, but it’s one step forward for the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

Jackson County Chronicle / August 16, 2017 / By: Stephen Knoll


On July 19, 2017, the Hiring Committee for the city of Black River Falls named Kelly B. Bakken as the new Chief of Police / Criminal Investigator for the City of Black River Falls Police Department.  Bakken has been employed with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department since 2005 as a patrol officer (2005-2010), a detective (2010-2016), and most recently as a Captain (2016). She has 19 years of law enforcement experience previously serving 2 years as Chief of Police for the Village of Merrillan, 4 years as patrol officer and investigator for the City of Baldwin, and 3 years as a Deputy Sheriff Jail Officer with the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department.  Bakken earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Upper Iowa University and her Associate Degree in Police Science from Chippewa Valley Technical College.  The City’s Hiring Committee received 9 applications and interviewed 4 candidates for the position.  The two finalists were Kelly Bakken and former City of Black River Falls Interim Chief of Police Patrick LaBarbera.  Bakken will begin her tenure as Chief of Police / Criminal Investigator for the City of Black River Falls Police Department on September 5, 2017, and one of her first tasks will be to hire a full-time patrol officer and additional part-time patrol officers for the department.



Black River Falls Street Department Supervisor Todd Gomer fills a tank Tuesday to haul to Clifton and Forrest streets to water down gravel and keep the dust in check. He said de-watering of Gordon Street should begin next week if all goes as planned.






Dennis Jelinek, shown in front of his home Tuesday, has lived on Gordon Street for 45 years. He looks forward to a reconstruction project for the street which is long overdue, he said.




Gordon Street resident Dennis Jelinek said though he didn’t like how the city handled a reconstruction project at first, he is happy knowing that it is moving forward and hopes it will alleviate the “river of water, sand and grass clippings” the street turns into during heavy rain.

If all goes as planned, “de-watering” will begin on the street next week, Street Department Supervisor Todd Gomer said. Then comes reconstruction and sewer work.

“At first they didn’t handle it right because they kept promising they’d do it,” Jelinek, a 45-year-Gordon Street resident, said of the city’s failure to get the project going. But they didn’t. Jelinek started a petition, gathering about 60 signatures, asking Black River Falls’ leaders to make the street a priority.

The city listened, he said. That’s a relief for Gomer. “I hope I don’t have anybody upset anymore,” he said Tuesday while pointing out issues with the street that cause runoff and water back-up problems. Plans were made to fix neighboring Forrest and Clifton streets before Gordon, leaving neighbors upset. Gomer encouraged citizens to go to city meetings and they did, which got the ball rolling. “They actually know everything that’s going on now.”

Then came rain, rain and more rain, which seeped its way into the construction project before it even began.

The Common Council was given good and bad news in the same announcement from Gomer that there was a fix for the street’s issues, but it would come at a cost.

A company could be brought in to de-water the area and make things workable, but the city would have to pay $20,500, putting the street department over budget. Gomer stressed that the Gordon Street project was the biggest concern for his department at the time though as the de-watering needed to happen before any construction could take place and there wasn’t much of an option to put it off.

The official decision from the Common Council had to be put off until the next meeting, leaving the residents waiting for an answer.

At a council meeting July 6 it was time for the council to make a decision, but one question lingered.

“How will we pay for it?” Alderperson John Ross said.

The new project was set to put the Street Department over budget, but City Administrator Brad Chown said it would still remain within the city’s planned borrowing.

The council approved it in hopes crews could get back to work.

Jelinek hopes once the project is complete his neighbors don’t have to worry about sewage backups and he doesn’t have to worry about his home when he goes on trips.
Stephen Knoll & Jennifer McBride River Valley Media Group / Jul 12, 2017