City Manager Blog

Each week I send out an FYI Update to City Council and staff on the latest happenings within the City of Maplewood.  I would like to share this information with the residents of Maplewood, as well. 

Follow my blog if you would like to be kept up to date on the behind the scenes happenings within the City. 

Jun 17

June 14th, 2019

Posted on June 17, 2019 at 9:06 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:  

  • Next Council Workshop and Meeting is Monday, June 24th.  Workshop start time is 5:30 pm.  We will continue our report on the CIP as well as a presentation on the Communications Plan and Department Presentation. (please bring your CIP document).                                                                                                      


Wakefield Grand Opening

We had a beautiful night for the Grand Opening/ Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The parks staff served Root Beer Floats to attendees and put up displays about the new ADA play equipment that will be installed this summer.  Mayor Abrams welcomed guests and talked about all of the planning and coordinating involved to get to this new wonderful community park and new building.  I visited with several residents, most of which had lived a long time in the neighborhood, some 40 -66 years! Many talked about swimming and fishing in Wakefield lake and they were happy to hear about our partnership with the Watershed District to clean up the lake.  Special thanks to Audra and her staff for shepherding this project from vision to building!


Celebrate Summer Event: Maplewood Summer Challenge

It was a picture perfect night Wednesday for the first of our Celebrate Summer Events. Over 500 people flocked to Afton Heights Park to test their skills on the inflatable challenges, wrestle a raccoon, perform science experiments, learn hands only CPR and grab a hot dog with the family.  Parks & Rec and Public Safety staff had a blast interacting with the community and are looking forward to the rest of the summer’s events.  Thank you to everyone who filled our collection boxes with donations for Second Harvest Heartland and to GOGO SqueeZ and Ramsey County Health for giving out great freebies to the crowd!


Hmong Nature Walk

The first of a new series of Translated Nature Walks at Maplewood Nature Center, started out great on June 7th!

The Hmong interpreter  was recommended by gardeners at the Edgerton Community Garden and did an excellent job creating a fun, cross cultural connection with staff and participants.

Topics included woodland wildflowers, pond plants, dragonflies, and pollinators during the walk and all participants, including the instructor, interpreter, and the kids reached their goal of learning at least 3 new  nature concepts.



Rush Line – Tuesday on the Trails

The following is a list of dates, times, and locations of upcoming Tuesday on Trails public engagement events for the Rush Line project:

  • Tuesday, June 18: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Frost Avenue, 4-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 25: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Gervais Avenue, 4-6 p.m.

News from local sources or partners

https://www.twincities.com/2019/06/14/152-unit-apartment-development-underway-at-former-country-view-golf-course-in-maplewood/ Regarding the new Trails Edge Apartment project



Jun 10

June 7th, 2019

Posted on June 10, 2019 at 6:26 AM by Chad Bergo

Meetings and Announcements:   


Next Council Workshop and Meeting is Monday, June 10th.  Workshop start time is 5:30 pm.  Items include the Preliminary CIP review and update on the North End Study. Dinner will be available at 4:30 pm.

Updates from Staff and Council:



The following is an traffic control update related to the Xcel’s gas main replacement project on County Road B and Century Avenue:


  • Intersection of White Bear Avenue and County Road B

o   The crossing of White Bear Avenue at County Road B is being done in thirds

o   Monday, June 10, 2019

§  Crews will be shifting traffic control early Monday morning in order to start work on Phase 3 (east third of White Bear Avenue crossing)

·         A copy of the traffic control plan for Phase 3 is attached to this email

·         City Hall entrance will be open and accessible from Van Dyke Street (see attached access map)

·         Phase 3 is anticipated to be completed by 6/27 (weather dependent)

·         Crossing of City Hall entrance is anticipated to be done some time between 6/19-6/27

o   As we get closer to this crossing I will update everyone on the dates, how long the crossing will take, and how you will be able to access City Hall.

§  Phase 2 Traffic Control Changes

·         South bound traffic on White Bear Avenue – No Access to County Road B

·         North bound traffic on White Bear Avenue – No Access to County Road B

·         County Road B west of White Bear Avenue – Open, Full Access to White Bear Ave, and No Access to County Road B East of White Bear Ave.

·         County Road B east of White Bear Avenue – Full closure between White Bear Ave. and City Hall entrance/Van Dyke Street

  • City Hall Access During Phase 3 (see attached map)

·         From the White Bear Avenue and Castle Avenue/Cope Avenue Intersection

o   East on Castle Avenue to Van Dyke Street

o   South on Van Dyke Street across County Road B to City Hall

·         From the White Bear Avenue and County Road B Intersection

o    No Access

·         From the White Bear Avenue and MCC entrance road intersection

  • County Road B (between Van Dyke Street and McKnight Road)

o   Road closed to through traffic

o   Two crews are working on County Road B

§  County Road B between White Bear Ave. and McKnight Road is anticipated to be completed by early August

  • Century Avenue

o   A crew is working on Century Avenue between County Road B and Holloway Avenue

§  Harvester Avenue fully closed at Century Avenue

§  See attachment for detour route


For more information on Xcel’s gas main replacement project please see their project website.



Rush Line – Tuesday on the Trails


The following is a list of dates, times, and locations of upcoming Tuesday on Trails public engagement events for the Rush Line project:

  • Tuesday, June 11: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Larpenteur Avenue, 4-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 18: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Frost Avenue, 4-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 25: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Gervais Avenue, 4-6 p.m.



City-Owned Buildings in Gladstone 

As part of the city’s redevelopment strategy in Gladstone two buildings have been purchased within the last year – the former Gladstone House (1375 Frost) and the former Moose Lodge (1946 English). Staff is aware there is an eagerness in removing these two unattractive buildings but there are a couple of considerations that need to be made before demolition can begin. First, Public Safety is looking at running training sessions within the Moose Lodge building before it is torn down. Next, the biggest barrier with demolishing either building is there is development impacts in terms of the use of tax increment financing (TIF). Based on state statute, once the building has been removed, the property owner - in both cases here the city - has three years to implement a TIF district. Anything beyond three years is then not TIF eligible because the "blight" has been removed. So again, while staff does want the buildings removed for aesthetic reasons we're also being cautious to not inadvertently eliminate the potential use of TIF from our toolbox as we work on getting these sites redeveloped.


2040 Comprehensive Plan

This week the Metropolitan Council notified staff it has found Maplewood’s draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan complete and will begin its formal approval process. Metropolitan Council is allowed by state statute to take 120 days to complete its formal review. The full Metropolitan Council is scheduled to approve Maplewood’s plan on August 28, 2019. Staff will then bring the plan to the Maplewood City Council in September for formal adoption which will also complete the comprehensive plan update process. 

Staff submitted Maplewood’s draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan to the Metropolitan Council on December 21, 2018 – meeting the required deadline for plan submission. The city received feedback from the Metropolitan Council on January 23, 2019 requesting minor revisions to the plan’s sanitary sewer chapter. Staff worked with the Metropolitan Council to make the required minor changes to this chapter. It should be noted that while the city staff only had to submit two revisions to the entire draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan, each submission resets the clock in which the Metropolitan Council is required to respond to the city’s submittal. This has resulted in the amount of time it has taken from plan submission last December to the anticipated approval in August. The Metropolitan Council’s timeline for Maplewood’s comp plan approval is consistent with the timeline for other cities that submitted their plans by the end of 2018.



News from local sources or partners


http://eastsidereviewnews.com/articles/2019/06/05/maplewood-backs-pair-affordable-housing-projects  Reference:  Mayor Abrams






Jun 03

May 31st, 2019

Posted on June 3, 2019 at 1:53 PM by Chad Bergo

Meetings and Announcements        

·         Next Council Workshop and Meeting is Monday, June 10th.  Workshop start time is 5:30 pm.  Items include the Preliminary CIP review and update on the North End Study.

Updates from Staff and Council:


Annual Employee Appreciation Event, took place Wednesday, May 29th.  Here is a list of Employees honored for their years of service:


 Administrative Staff:

Christine Evans-  15 years,

Lois Knutson- 15 years.



Steve Lukin 20 years

Information Technology:

Nick Franzen- 15 years

Parks and Recreation:

Audra Robbins- 20 years

Public Works:

Don Jones-20 years
Doug Edge-25 years
John Ducharme- 30 years


Brian Touzell- 10 years

Tony Gabriel- 15 years

Glen McCarty- 15 years

Michael Nye- 15 years

Dan Busack- 20 years

Julie Olson- 20 years

Jay Wenzel-20 years

Kevin Johnson- 25 years


It was a really great event held at our new Wakefield Community Building.

Below are the links to the completed Employee Recognition 2019 video named ‘Looking Back & Moving Forward’.


YouTube Link (v1, 4m22s):  https://youtu.be/ir-edCswIig

Vimeo Link (v1, 4m22s):  https://vimeo.com/338994683





Comcast Internet Essentials

At the last City Council meeting Comcast’s Internet Essentials program was discussed and staff was asked to look into promoting the program within our community.  Since that discussion we’ve registered as a partner on the programs website, www.internetessentials.com.  As a partner we now have access to professionally created flyers, postcards and brochures all explaining the program and how to learn more/sign up for the service.  Many of the marketing materials are available in multiple languages as well (Spanish, Hmong, Somali and many more).  Now that we have access to these materials we are now discussing how and where to utilize them.  Stay tuned for a future FYI on how we plan on using these materials.


Update on Sharepoint Council Calendar

Staff presented to City Council that online access to the Council calendar will be coming soon, and it will be.  However, as we continued discussions on the logistics of managing the various calendars, we need to change the configuration of a few calendars so that the items are presented accurately.  Those changes are taking place now and will be done by June 7th.  Once they are completed and testing confirms that the new configuration operates the way we need it to, instructions will be sent to Council on how to access the new calendar.  Until then, please continue to view upcoming events via the FYI and Council packets.



Notice of the new LGA distribution under the new Omnibus Tax Bill (SS HF 5), which is expected to become law this year.  The bill was approved during the May 24 special session and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.  The bill restores LGA to 2002 levels.  Maplewood is expected to receive $1,102,768 in 2020, which is an increase of $227,086 over the amount of $875,682 received in 2019. This is really great news for the City.




Maplewood wins Silver in statewide media competition

 Congratulations Kevin Schmitz (Communications) on winning a Silver prize from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) for his video on the Fire Department’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Training. The City entered the video in the Public Health and Safety Video category. This is the second straight year MAGC has recognized the communications team for its video work. Firefighter/Paramedics Rochelle Hawthorne and Charlie Smith and Battalion Chief Shawn Conway added insightful commentary to help explain the importance of the training. 

Please take a minute to watch the video: Youtube.com/watch?v=QOkAiq9Wcsk




Rental Housing Licensing

Staff is planning on setting the public hearing for the new rental housing licensing ordinance at the council meeting on July 8. We will send notices again to all property owners and include an article in the July Maplewood Living.  Council can then adopt on July 8 or bring it back to the July 22 meeting if they wish to make changes.  We did hold an open house for the rental community. Over 800 notices were sent out and 3 people attended the open house. Renters were also given an opportunity to send in their comments to staff or do an on-line survey. Staff tells me that they received no additional input from the renters.


Elk Ridge Alzheimer's Special Care Center

Tuesday, June 4th at 4:30pm
1700 Beam Ave., Maplewood

 Join us for a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Celebration for Elk Ridge Alzheimer's Special Care Center! This is going to be a GRAND celebration with live music, great food and special tours of the new facility. We will meet the leadership of JEA Senior Living, the team members from Elk Ridge and learn more about their philosophy of care.


Hillcrest Golf Course Update

Attached is a Mpls/St Paul Business Journal article about the Saint Paul Port Authority looking to purchase this site and master plan it for development.  

The 112-acre golf course is located at the southwest corner of McKnight and Larpenteur – in Saint Paul. Many Maplewood residents are obviously interested in the future of this land and redevelopment will have impacts on the viability of other projects in Maplewood. Saint Paul guides the north third of the course as Mixed Use and the remaining area is Urban Neighborhood.


Maplewood Organics Collection Site
Ramsey County offers residential organics drop off at their yard waste sites.  They are expanding the organics program by partnering with cities to install satellite organics recycling collection sites throughout the County.  Maplewood has been chosen to host one of the sites.  


The organics recycling collection site will be constructed on the MCC/YMCA parking lot adjacent White Bear Avenue within three existing parking stalls.  The enclosure design includes a concrete pad, six foot high composite fencing (brown in color), with a service gate and entry door.  Organics collection recycling signage will be installed on the outside of the enclosure.

The City will enter into an agreement with the County for the construction and maintenance of the site.  The County will pay for and construct the enclosure, ongoing maintenance, hauling costs, compostable bags for residents, and promote the site to Ramsey County residents.  The City will monitor the site capacity and hauling, promote the site locally, and be responsible for snow removal.  The City Council will review the agreement on June 10.  The design of the enclosure will be reviewed by staff, Community Design Review Board, and the City Council through a minor project review which will be released once the agreement is approved.

Maplewood Trash Cart Yearly Purchase
The City purchased 10,330 trash carts in 2012 for the City’s organized trash hauling system.  The trash carts have a ten-year warranty, and could be used for 20 years.  The total cost was $404,876, which was financed through a seven-year utility bond.  The City charges residents $.75 per household per month on their trash bill to cover the cost of the trash cart utility bond.  The final payment for the trash cart utility bond will be made later this year. 

Beginning in 2016, the City has also used the collected trash cart funds to purchase new carts in addition to paying for the utility bond to pay for the original carts.  While the carts are under warranty, new carts are needed from time to time to replenish the trash cart supply due to new trash services and cart attrition due to loss of carts.  The 2019 trash cart purchase will be brought to the City Council for review in the coming month. 




Pollinator Planting at the Edgerton Community Garden

Edgerton Elementary School 6th grade students planted pollinator strips at the community gardens last Wednesday, May 29.  These pollinator strips are part of the plan for the garden and will provide a colorful entryway as well as habitat for bees and butterflies.

This was a coordinated effort between our Naturalists and Edgerton teachers Rick Wallin, Susanne Collin, Alicia Bjork.

Many of these students had never planted anything before and we were excited to introduce them to bees and to the community aspect of the garden as well. 




Gladstone Phase 3 Improvements

The first phase of the Gladstone Phase 3 Improvement project, between Prosperity Road and White Bear Avenue began this week.  The pavement has been reclaimed and work on water main replacement and sanitary sewer services is taking place.  During the first phase a detour route of White Bear Avenue to Larpenteur Avenue to English Street is available and signed.


Xcel Gas Main Replacement Project

Xcel Energy and their contractor Q3 started the process of crossing White Bear Avenue this week with their gas main replacement project.  This crossing is being done in three phases.  The first phase is taking place right now and requires a lane closure and a lane shift to the south bound White Bear Avenue traffic.  It is anticipated that phase 1 will be completed on Monday of next week.

On Tuesday morning Q3 will be adjusting the traffic control on White Bear Avenue early in the morning to begin phase 2 work.  Phase 2 includes working in between the northbound and south bound lanes on White Bear Avenue.  Therefore, there will be no east/west traffic allowed through the intersection, southbound White Bear Avenue traffic will not be allowed to turn east, and north bound White Bear Avenue traffic will not be allowed to turn west on White (see attached Phase 2 traffic control plan). Phase 2 is anticipated to take 3 to 4 days.

Phase 3 will include a lane closure and lane shift of the north bound lanes on White Bear Avenue.  Phase 3 work is anticipated to take 8 to 10 days.  It should be noted that this schedule is dependent of field and weather conditions.


Rush Line – Tuesday on the Trails

The following is a list of dates, times, and locations of upcoming Tuesday on Trails public engagement events for the Rush Line project: 

·         Tuesday, June 4: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Atlantic Street, 4-6 p.m.

·         Tuesday, June 11: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Larpenteur Avenue, 4-6 p.m.

·         Tuesday, June 18: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Frost Avenue, 4-6 p.m.

·         Tuesday, June 25: Intersection of Bruce Vento Trail and Gervais Avenue, 4-6 p.m.

 Have an enjoyable weekend. 

Thank you, Melinda