COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: May 13th, 2022
Meetings and Announcements:
The next regular City Council Meeting will be on May 23rd and will begin at 7 pm. We will have a report from staff at the Y/MCC under presentations at the Council meeting. We will have a workshop at 6:00pm to discuss General Fund Surplus Allocations.
Groundbreaking at SPRWS
I attended the St Paul Regional Water groundbreaking event on Thursday. The utility is set this year to start on the new facility after the first water treatment opened in 1916. There were also additions added in the 1920”s, 30” and late 1950’s. The project will not be completed until 2026.
Ramsey County has released funding recommendations for their housing solicitation. The county is releasing a total of $27.1 million county-wide that will allocate federal CDBG and HOME funding as well as county HRA Levy, ARPA, and GO Bond funds. Maplewood is receiving a significant amount of funding towards important projects in the city. In total, projects in Maplewood are receiving over $6.3 million in funding. Here is the list of projects that are recommended for funding:
- Gladstone Village – JB Vang Partners
- 1310 Frost Ave E, Maplewood
- Gladstone House Project – Beacon Interfaith Collaborative
- 1375 Frost Ave, Maplewood
- Emma’s Place – 2163 Van Dyke, Maplewood
- Youth Support Services
- Community Center Improvements
- Cobblestone Court Renovations – AEON
- 2585-2613 Conway Avenue E., Maplewood
- Golden Sun Renovations- AEON
- 1721 Marion Street, Roseville and 321 Larpenteur Avenue E, Maplewood
In addition to the specific projects in Maplewood, the county is also recommending funding for services in all of suburban Ramsey County that will benefit Maplewood:
Scattered Site Portfolio Acquisition - Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity - $800,000
Twin Cities Habitat is proposing to acquire a portfolio of single-family homes located in the communities of White Bear Township, White Bear Lake, Maplewood and Saint Paul. The homes would be renovated and sold to low-to-moderate income homebuyers. The project is recommended for an award of $800,000 of HRA levy funds. Acquisition is expected to take place in 2022.
Rapid Stabilization Homeless Prevention - Ramsey County - $124,600
The Ramsey County’s Housing Stability Department (HSD) believes that using their rapid stabilization model and experience to the create a new Social Service program to serve families struggling with housing instability in suburban Ramsey County would greatly reduce the number of families entering and experiencing homelessness. HSD will utilize funds to pay for a new rapid stabilization employee to help clients identify a barrier reduction plan and then assist them with connecting to resources and completing their plan. Rapid stabilization works under the ideal that success is most achievable when people have the identified resources and encouragement to have an active role in paving their own pathway to success.
Sergeants Swearing in Ceremony
It is always so fun to get to meet our staff’s family and celebrate their promotions. New sergeants include: Rachel Murray, Derek Fritze, Brian Tauzell and Joe Demulling. Congratulations to all.
PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Nature Center Programming Update
The Nature Center has hosted a few programs offered through our partnership with ISD622 Community Ed and we are excited for the upcoming offerings! We have had a birding hike and native plants seminar with the second birding hike taking place on May 14th.
From our bird hike instructor: The first bird hike of the series was a great success. With 12 participant’s eager to bird, we began our exploration around the nature center pond. The weather was sunny and beautiful, bringing to us quite a surprise of early migratory birds. Bird hikes offer participants the opportunity to enjoy the changing seasons, witness nature in action, and a chance to share a common interest with others.
ISD622 is also hosting classes at the Nature Center for their Community Bridge program, a program for adults with cognitive developmental disabilities. Maplewood's naturalists have offered customized classes at the Nature Center for Community Bridge participants for many years, and now we will continue the inclusion through hosting their own programs at the Nature Center. For example, this summer, Community Bridge staff are planning an Outdoor Adventure Hunt at the Nature Center where participants and staff/family will solve clues to figure out the items they need to find and then head off around the grounds to locate the items.
Spring Clean Up – Saturday, May 21, 2022, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Clean Up allows residents to recycle or dispose of large bulky items that are difficult to handle in the curbside trash and recycling service. Modifications have been made to the pricing schedule and internal layout to address some of the issues we had last year. Since we have not had long-term Covid-19 shutdowns similar to 2020 and were able to hold a Spring Clean Up in 2021, we do not anticipate the large number of vehicles and materials; but we will be ready if that happens again.
The City Council is invited to assist in the Spring Clean Up. We now have a two-tiered entry gate system with Republic Services writing out the invoices, and City staff taking the money. This makes the usual City Council greeting of vehicles challenging. I would recommend greeting residents as they wait in line, and asking if they have any food shelf donations (cash or food) and distributing some materials from the City and County. This would be a huge assistance, since last year we received a large amount of food and cash donations, all of which were handed to various people at the entry gate making the collection difficult.
Edgerton Community Garden Art Project
The Parks and Natural Resources Department held a garden art project day at the Edgerton Community Garden on May 6. Edgerton Elementary School is located right next to the Community Garden and creates a good learning opportunity. Richard Wallin’s sixth grade class painted signs that will be installed around the Community Garden. The highlight of the event was a tour of the Community Garden. Several gardeners were present and stopped to talk with the kids and answer their questions about gardening. One gardener offered to assist with the next program, which will be a garden pollinator-planting project later in May.
Gethsemane Playground Replacement
We are happy to report that the playground at Gethsemane is back open for fun after being closed down last summer due to an arson event. The students at Gethsemane Lutheran School are especially happy and were there to test it out the day it reopened.
New CIP Project Communication Tool Coming Soon
Staff has been working on the development of a new communication tool for 2022’s street reconstruction projects. The solution is very similar to the FIXIT program that was recently launched for receiving requests from the public on issues related to Public Works and Park assets.
The program has a map each project showing the project area streets. Property owners will be able to select a location, type in a description of their request/concern, add a picture, and provide their contact information. The red dots show new/open reported requests and the green dots show closed requests. The dots shown in the picture below are issues we entered as we tested the system and trained staff. Below is a screen shot showing what the site will look like.
The system is tied into Cartegraph our asset management program. When a new request is enter into this system Cartegraph will send out an email notifying the City’s project management and inspection team. This year we have two project being managed by City staff and one by Bolton and Menk (City Consultant). We have also setup this system to provide notifications to Bolton and Menk staff who are managing and inspecting the McMenemy Street Improvement project.
We anticipate wrapping up testing and training in the next few weeks. After that, we will be including a link to this solution on project webpages and in future communications to property owners within the project area.
MnDOT Highway 36 Project Update
Starting Friday night and running to early Monday morning MnDOT will be working on the westbound lanes of Highway 36 between Highway 61 and Edgerton Street. During this time, the westbound lanes will be closed to traffic. MnDOT will have this section opened back up in time for Monday’s morning commute traffic.
For more information about the project, please see MnDOT’s project website listed below. https://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy36littlecanada-stillwater/index.html
IN THE NEWS
Ramsey County- Arden Hills Land Use plan: Pioneer Press and Star Tribune Articles
Have a great weekend everyone,