County HRA/EDA director accepts position in Duluth

By Derrick Knutson

(l to r) Commissioners Mike Robinson, Ben Montzka, Rick Greene, Lora Walker and George McMahon presented HRA/EDA Executive Director Chris Eng with a certificate of appreciation at the meeting. Eng is leaving the county for the city of Duluth, where he’ll be director of Business and Economic Development. Photo by Derrick Knutson

Here’s the thing with Chris Eng: he’s leaving for Duluth.

Eng, the Executive Director of the county’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Economic Development Authority for the past 11 years, recently accepted a job in the northland.

He will be serving as Duluth’s Director of Business and Economic Development.

The June 20 Chisago County Board meeting he attended was the last as head of the HRA/EDA.

“I loved working with you guys and I want to thank you for having the opportunity to serve with you the past 11 years,” Eng said to the commissioners and county staff in attendance at the meeting. “It has been an honor.”

He added, “It’s hard to leave; I still feel like this is home. But I feel like I’m being called to Duluth to grow in my career as well as help the folks up there.”

Each of the board members took time to personally thank Eng for his years of service to Chisago County.

“You’ve just done a great job,” Commissioner Ben Montzka said. “You’ve been very skilled at working with various elements of the community to accomplish a number of major projects.”

Board Chairman George McMahon echoed that sentiment.

“The work you’ve done with the cities I represent has just been outstanding and you’re going to be very difficult to replace because of the way you handle yourself when you do the public’s business,” he said.

Commissioner Mike Robinson, like many of the elected officials and staff who have gotten to know Eng over the decade-plus he’s been working for the county, developed a close relationship with him.

“I guess I never considered you as an employee, you were more of a friend, and that’s the hard part,” he said. “You’ve helped me out a lot and I appreciate it.”

Dog park soon to open

County residents looking for a place for their pups to mingle with other canines and burn off energy by romping around in a fenced-in area will soon have a place to bring their dogs.

Construction of a dog park at Checkerboard Park started last week and Mary Darragh Schmitz, the county’s environmental services/zoning director, said at the meeting she expects the park to be finished by mid-July.

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