Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks met recently with Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative to join the initiative and to discuss Hastings? priorities relative to the Mississippi River. The MRCTI is a coalition of mayors from Minnesota to Louisiana who focus on improving the ecology and economy of the river to drive local development and opportunities. Wellenkamp, currently on a five-state tour of river towns, stated that clean water fuels the economy by creating and sustaining jobs that support tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture. Mayor Hicks expressed his enthusiasm for joining the initiative. ?Hastings residents understand our special connection to one of the world?s most vital rivers – the Mississippi River. We are historically, economically and spiritually connected to our river. The coalition of Mayors within MRCTI is dedicated to protecting, enhancing and promoting resources that are unique to a river city. I am glad to be a part of it,? he stated. In 2017, the MRCTI organization succeeded in securing millions of dollars through the Congressional Omnibus Funding Bill for grants and revolving loan funds that will secure the water supply, protect the economy and jobs, improve global export competitiveness, and sustain agricultural economy, in addition to providing seed funding to member cities. Additionally, they recently partnered with CDP, the world?s premier sustainable project database developer, to link investors and purchasers who represent over $2 trillion in potential investments, with MRCTI member city projects.