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. 

Mar 13

March 6, 2023

Posted on March 13, 2023 at 8:04 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:  
The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, March13th. There is not a workshop on the 13th.

Purple Line
Our next Purple Line meeting will be March 22nd, 2023.  I will be collecting responses from the Met Council, NRLC, City staff and Ramsey County staff. Responses are due back to me by March 17th. I will also send all other emails and web page posts as well.

It is suggested that the Council ask the Advisory Committee to come prepared to discuss their perspectives and frame up a recommendation to the Met Council on the Purple Line Project. After hearing from the Advisory Committee the Council may discuss the information received from all interested parties. Audience participation is not on the agenda. After all discussion it is recommended that the Council thank the Advisory Committee for their work. Council is not able to take action on this until an upcoming Council meeting. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Ramsey County Job Fair
The City of Maplewood was front and center at the Ramsey County Job Fair earlier this week.  Beyond meeting with job seekers about the many benefits of working for our city, we rolled out our streamlined process for recruiting.  Job seekers were asked to sign up for periodic e-blasts about upcoming jobs.  Our new database of potential employees will allow us to be a step ahead for recruiting.  Additionally, the City is offering free interview prep for job seekers interested in learning how to get an edge-up in the job seeking process. 

DEI Training for Board and Commissioners
Gaining Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) tools to empower commissioners and board members

Folks came in expecting a 90-minute power point, others were concerned about the content. Those who participated in the City’s DEI training for board members and commissioners left excited and felt better prepared to help make the city a more welcoming inclusive place. The session included a demographic overview of those we serve then shifted into how their works can support our non-majority community members. Big thanks to Shawn Sorrell who led the discussion, our liaisons who coordinated scheduling, and the people who attended… And of course the fire department for hosting. We stole some of your paper plates.   

Community survey results expected early April
Through the past six weeks, the city’s survey partner sent about 2200 surveys to a random, scientific sampling of residents, hopping to get a return of about 400. The survey portal officially closed Tuesday, March 7th. They are still inputting paper results and will analyze the numbers through the end of March. We expect to have preliminary data early April. We could likely schedule a council/manager workshop to present the results in May.

Radatz and Southlawn Sidewalk Preliminary Survey Results
Following the Public Hearing for the Woodlynn-Southlawn Area Street Improvements, City Project 22-17, a survey was sent out to property owners on Radatz Avenue and Southlawn Drive.  The survey asked the following two questions:

  • As a part of the improvement project, would you like a sidewalk installed on Radatz Avenue from White Bear Avenue to Southlawn Drive?   
  • As a part of the improvement project, would you like a sidewalk installed on Southlawn Drive from Beam Avenue to the cul-de-sac (Mesabi Avenue)?                        

The survey is currently still open throughout the weekend.  On Monday staff will close the survey, compile the data, and provide an update at the City Council meeting.  This is an update on results that we have received as of Friday, March 10, 2023. 

The following is a summary of voting based on all Responses (Includes Radatz and Southlawn Responses):

Number of Survey Responses (Includes Radatz and Southlawn Properties)


Total Number of Properties on Radatz (32) and Southlawn (24) = 56
Total Number of Responses = 11 (19.6%)
Total Number of Responses on Radatz = 9 (28.1%)
Total Number of Responses on Southlawn = 2 (8.3%)

In Favor of a Sidewalk on Radatz (Includes Radatz and Southlawn Properties)
Total Number of “Yes” Responses = 8 (72.7%)
Total Number of “No” Responses = 3 (27.3%)

In Favor of Sidewalk on Southlawn (Includes Radatz and Southlawn Properties)
Total Number of “Yes” Responses = 6 (54.6%)
Total Number of “No” Responses = 5 (45.4%) 

The following is a summary of voting based on only Responses from Radatz properties:
In Favor of a Sidewalk on Radatz
Total Number of “Yes” Responses = 6 (66.7%)
Total Number of “No” Responses = 3 (33.3%)

In Favor of Sidewalk on Southlawn
Total Number of “Yes” Responses = 6 (66.7%)
Total Number of “No” Responses = 3 (33.3%)

The following is a summary of voting based on only responses from Southlawn properties:
In Favor of a Sidewalk on Radatz
Total Number of “Yes” Responses = 2 (100.0%)
Total Number of “No” Responses = 0 (0.0%)

In Favor of Sidewalk on Southlawn
Total Number of “Yes” Responses = 0 (0.0%)
Total Number of “No” Responses = 2 (100.0%) 


Spring Clean Up  Announcement
April 22, 2023  8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Aldrich Arena Parking Lot (1850 White Bear Avenue)

There were 367 vehicles at last year’s Spring Clean Up, disposing of 32.25 tons of trash, recycling 139 mattresses, 194 electronics, 141 appliances, and more.  Republic Services, the City’s contracted residential trash hauler, also collects bulky items curbside year-round for an additional fee.  The drop off and curbside bulky item collection are part of the City’s solid waste program in place to help residents dispose or recycle large bulky items.  These programs help reduce trash and litter, illegal dumping, ensures items are processed correctly, and reduces resident’s financial burden of managing unneeded bulky items. 

Republic Services covers the Spring Clean Up at no cost to the City as part of the residential trash and yard waste contract.  Maplewood subcontracts with several other haulers for bulky items that can be recycled or require special processing such as electronics, appliances, mattresses, bikes, small engines, and used clothes.  New this year, the Police Department will be collecting unneeded and expired medicine in lieu of the City’s drop off site that closed in February.

It takes a team of employees, contractors, and volunteers to hold the Spring Clean Up.  Volunteers are needed for vehicle check ins, internal traffic management and directions, food shelf donation collections, and more. Please contact Shann Finwall, Environmental Planner, at shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov if interested in volunteering in this year’s event.    

Winter Photo Contest
To kick off 2023 we held our Winter Photo Contest during the month of January where the community took pictures of nature and submitted them online for a chance to win a prize provided by the Friends of Maplewood Nature. The winner was Lou Kotz, who took 2nd in our July 2022 photo contest, with “Blue skies smiling at me” (attached). We will be hosting another photo contest in the summer and look forward to seeing those great pictures. 

Gnome Challenge - 2023
The Friends of Maplewood Nature coordinated their 2nd annual Gnome Hunt this February. Participants hunted around the Nature Center grounds and trail looking to catch a glimpse and, for some, take a picture of a number of pinecone gnomes. The gnome spotting made for a fun outing for families and led to a number of fun pictures (attached) and great feedback (below).

  • We loved this!  This was the most enjoyable walk I have ever taken with my daughters.  They were too busy finding gnomes to complain about being bored or tired.  So fun!  We are hoping to do it again this weekend.   Thank you! Heidi Zempel
  • Our little Gnome Peter asked if we could go for a walk early in the morning with his Grandpa & Grandma in Maplewood Nature Center.  We headed out and he decided that hide & go seek was what we were going to do on the trails.  Peter, hide and we looked and looked and finally found him.  When, we looked closer, we told him we were not the only things that we playing hide and seek. Be very very quiet as a deer had heard him and woke from its slumber!  What is a deer's favorite place to get ice cream?   Deery Queen. Thanks for the fun walk!   Dawn Keller
  • We had a very nice walk and a very fun time finding gnomes!   Thank you,  Jon Drieling
  • This was a fun activity with the kids. Thank you!   Mai Chee Liamkeo
  • This was our second year. So fun!  Karrie Blees
  • There are so many cute gnomes it was hard to choose a favorite one.  BerLanda Cardona Siltman
  • Thanks for a fun hunt!  Tara Gardell

This is the news for the week.  Have a great weekend. See you Monday at the City Council meeting.

Feb 27

FEBRUARY 20, 2023

Posted on February 27, 2023 at 8:56 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:   

·       The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, February 27th.  Our Council Workshop will begin at 6:15 with a presentation on Fire/EMS staffing plan updates.   


Purple Line - Our next Purple Line meeting will be February 28, 2023.  The tentative agenda for the 28th includes:      

1.       Welcome 

2.       Presentation from No Rush Line Coalition

3.       Presentation from St. John's Hospital and other businesses

4.       Questions from City Council and Advisory Committee


Public Works 

 2023 Improvement Project Public Hearings 

The City will be holding Public Hearings for the Myrtle-Sterling Area Improvements and the Woodlynn-Southlawn Area Improvements at next Monday’s Council Meeting. Leading up to these hearings, staff have been communicating with area residents in a number of ways to ensure they understand the proposed improvements and have had a multiple opportunities to have their questions answered. This included multiple mailings, a project survey, two neighborhood meetings, and a new online tool called InputID. The InputID tool can be viewed by clicking on the following links. 

Myrtle-Sterling InputID 

Woodlynn-Southlawn InputID 

Feedback received on the Myrtle-Sterling project mainly focused on concerns with drainage and the slope of Myrtle Street at Holloway Avenue along with questions about assessments. Overall residents seemed to be supportive of the improvements.

Feedback received on the Woodlynn-Southlawn project focused mainly on two streets; Woodlynn and Radatz Avenues. Residents along Woodlynn Avenue noted that speeding, lack of on-street parking, gaps in the sidewalk network, street lighting, and pedestrian crossing safety were of concern. Staff took an in-depth look at Woodlynn Avenue during the design, keeping this feedback in mind. The 2040 Comprehensive plan calls out the miss sidewalk segments along Woodlynn Avenue and Ariel Street as priority segments. The proposed roadway configuration, reduces the road width from the current 4-driving lanes to 2-driving lanes with parking areas in select locations along with filling in missing sidewalk segments.  The proposed design better fits with current and future traffic demands, makes the corridor feel more constricted (which tends to reduce speeds), shortens the distance for pedestrians to cross the roadway, reduces impervious surfaces, and fills in the missing sidewalk segments called out in the 2040 Comprehensive plan.

Feedback received on Radatz Avenue focused on the condition of the pavement, speeding, cut-through traffic, and sidewalks. Overall there were a few residents that noted speeding concerns on Radatz Avenue. A request for a sidewalk along Radatz Avenue has come from one resident that is very passionate about his request. Staff took an in-depth look at Radatz Avenue and consulted with our guiding documents such as the 2040 Comprehensive plan and Living Street’s policy. We factored in items such as current traffic volumes, the area roadway and sidewalk networks, and resident feedback in designing the proposed roadway layout. The proposed layout reduces the roadway width from the current 30-31 foot width to 28-feet wide. This allows for one driving lane in each direction, parking on one side of the roadway, and space for on-street pedestrians and bicyclists. Beyond the typical width reduction guided by our Living Street’s policy, staff are proposing curb ‘bump-outs’ in a couple of locations along the street to further constrict the roadway, creating a tighter feeling to further promote slower vehicle speeds. 

When considering a sidewalk, our guiding documents do not call for one along Radatz Avenue. The 2040 Comprehensive plan does not call for sidewalks along this section of Radatz Avenue or Southlawn Drive between Beam Avenue and Radatz Avenue. Our Living Street’s policy does provide an option for sidewalks in residential neighborhoods, but these are typically placed along higher volume neighborhood collector type streets, with side-streets feeding in to them. The most recent traffic count recorded along Radatz was roughly 600 vehicles per day.  While there is likely cut-through traffic, the volume is well within a typical residential street volume of up to a 1,000 vehicles per day. Additionally, Radatz Avenue is not a neighborhood collector Street. 

Staff is not proposing to include a sidewalk along Radatz Avenue and Southlawn Drive at this time. Staff does recommend that gaps in the sidewalk network along Beam Avenue, as called out in the city’s 2040 Comprehensive plan, to be filled in during future improvements along that corridor to complete the larger sidewalk network in the area. Many good conversations have occurred with the resident requesting a sidewalk along Radatz. They were informed of the City’s reasoning behind not proposing a sidewalk along Radatz and that strong resident support would be needed to install one, as our guiding documents, traffic volumes, and the area roadway and sidewalk network do not support one. This resident said they would try to rally support from his neighbors and present it at Monday’s meeting.  

While staff is not recommending a sidewalk along Radatz Avenue and Southlawn Drive, one could be designed for these roads.  This does come with increased construction costs and the need to acquire easements over the commercial property on Southlawn Drive.  If a decision is made to include sidewalks as part of the project scope, staff would recommend doing a neighborhood survey during the design process to ensure that the majority of residents are in favor of a sidewalk as there will be significant boulevard impacts.                  

Assistance to Firefighters Grant:
Fire department staff were notified on Wednesday 2/22/2023 that the department was selected to receive a $43,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  This grant will allow the fire department to install a new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) compressor and fill station at the South Fire Station.  Firefighters wear SCBA at fire and rescue incidents where they need clean breathable air, these air tanks are worn like a back pack.  After each incident in which an SCBA is worn, firefighters have to refill the SCBA bottle with air to ensure that it is ready for future calls.  The SCBA compressor and fill station allows us to fill those bottles with clean air.

Previously, the department did not have this capability at the South Station.  This grant ensures that both fire stations now have modern technology to safely fill air bottles and the mobile air truck.  

Parks and Natural Resources  
4H Program Partnership Update

On Monday February 21st, the Nature Center was host to another schools out nature class, “Nature Crafts” conducted by Ramsey County 4H. Registration was full and the kids had a great time exploring outside for items to use on their nature lanterns and used the rooms indoors for teaching and building! 

The next session on March 10 is a DIY bird feeder!

They have been a great partner to work with and we are excited to continue to grow the relationship.

Ramsey County 4H Facebook Post:



Special thanks to our Public Works and Parks and Natural Resources crews for their excellent snow removal work this week!  


Feb 21

FEBRUARY 17, 2023

Posted on February 21, 2023 at 8:54 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:   

Reminder that there will be a Purple Line Engagement Meeting on February 22nd. Mike Sable will be facilitating the meeting. Steve Love is the contact person if you have questions or concerns about the meeting. I will be on vacation starting Monday, the 20th and returning on Tuesday, the 28th. Mike Darrow will be Acting City Manager in my absence. 

The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, February, 27th.  The Council Manager Workshop will start at 6:30 pm and staff are planning to give you an update on the TIF Plans and Development Agreement for the Enclave Project.  Ehlers and CD Director Parr will be presenting this information. In addition Chief Mondor will present information on the Safer Grant Opportunity.  

Update on Reuter Walton Project
We’ve been made aware that the MN Environmental Quality Board (EQB) was forwarded a citizen petition requesting an EAW for the Reuter-Walton project.  We have not seen the actual petition, but anticipate that the city will receive a copy in the next few days.  The EQB has five business days to determine whether the petition is complete and to forward it on to the city.  We will evaluate the petition and share additional information once we receive it.  It is possible this will cause delays in the project construction schedule and may require City Council action of some kind.

Ramsey County All Abilities 2050 Transportation Plan
Ramsey County has kicked off their public engagement effort for their All Abilities 2050 Transportation Plan this week with a press release 

Ramsey County is currently conducting an online survey through March 3rd along with opportunities to engage online through introductory videos and two virtual community conversation on March 9th and March 28th.  To learn more about this study please see the following webpage link

Ramsey County – County Road D Open House
Ramsey County will be hosting their first open house meeting for the proposed County Road D reconstruction project. The proposed project is located at the northwest corner of Maplewood and runs between Greenbrier Street and County Road D Circle. Attached is a draft version of the post card mailing that Ramsey County will be sending out for the open house meeting.  The following is information about the open house meeting:

Open House
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
5:30 – 7:30
Little Canada City Hall
515 Little Canada Road E.
Little Canada, MN 55117

Arbor Day Tree Sale and Tree Program Details

The Arbor Day Tree Sale activities have started for 2023. Hard copies of the Tree Sale order forms are ready for pickup at Maplewood Nature Center and City Hall. Calls for paper forms should be transferred to our AmeriCorps AMPACT Community Forestry Member, Dani LeMire at 651-249-2121.

Non-profit Tree Trust will be administering the Arbor Day Tree Sale again this year. Tree Trust’s online preview of tree species available for Maplewood residents begins on Monday, February 27 at 8:00 am. Residents will have a week to check details for each species before online ordering starts.

Tree Sale online ordering starts Monday, March 6 at 8:00 am. Residents should order early as some species sell out fast. Online ordering ends when sold out or May 5, whichever comes first. The website for both the Preview and Online Ordering is https://mw-tree-sale.myshopify.com/
Paper forms are due to Tree Trust by March 10 at 4:00 pm.  The Tree Sale Pickup Dates are:

Saturday, May 20, 9 am. to noon
Monday, May 22, 5 to 7 pm.

The 2023 Arbor Day event will tentatively be held at the City Hall Parking lot on Saturday, May 20, 12:30 – 3:00 pm., after tree pickup.
The annual Tree Care and Shrub Pruning Basics class will be held at Maplewood Nature Center on Friday, March 24, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

Skating with Cops
The Park Maintenance crew has been hard at work the past few weeks getting our outdoor ice back in shape after all of the challenging weather of late. The annual public safety event at Wakefield is this Saturday, February 18 and they have gone the extra mile to make sure the ice is in the best shape it can be. This includes night flooding on Thursday and Friday and coming in early Saturday morning if needed. Thanks to the crews that make this event possible.  

This is the news for the week. Please contact Mike Darrow if you have any questions or concerns. See you on the 28th at our Purple Line Engagement Process.