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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. 

May 15

May 15th, 2020

Posted on May 15, 2020 at 2:45 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: May 15th, 2020

Meetings and Announcements:   

The next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 26th at 7 pm.  We will hear an update on the Ponds of Battle Creek from Ramsey County staff. In addition, city staff will be presenting an outline for a community engagement process for possible redevelopment scenarios should the County decide to sell the property. 


Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

The Minnesota State Legislature is expected to end on May 18th. While there are many unknowns this session, here’s a brief update on matters relevant to Maplewood.

 

Tobacco 21 – 

The Minnesota Legislature (House and Senate) have voted to approve raising the statewide tobacco age to 21 and the bill is headed to the Governor for his signature. I will be removing this from our project list in the Council Calendar.

 

https://kstp.com/minnesota-news/minnesota-senate-passes-bill-raising-statewide-tobacco-age-to-21-sending-it-to-governor-walz/5728975/

 

Omnibus Tax Bill 

The provision for our Sales Tax Exemption is included in the Omnibus Tax Bill. We will watch over the weekend for any new developments. League of Minnesota Cities staff have been hugely helpful in our efforts and Gary Carlson and his team deserve kudos and thanks. 

 

https://www.lmc.org/news-publications/news/all/omnibus-tax-bill/

 

Legislative Updates:

For more information on happenings at the Capitol please visit the League page here: https://www.lmc.org/news-publications/news/all/federal-covid-funds-to-local-governments/

  

Salvation Army Closes Maplewood Locations

The announcement means 9 full- and part-time staffers are out of a job. 

By Tim Harlow Star Tribune

 

MAY 15, 2020 — 9:52AM

The Salvation Army has permanently closed it adult daycare program in Maplewood and says financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus are to blame.

The program serving seniors with chronic physical and cognitive conditions originally shut down in March amid concerns over COVID-19. On Wednesday, the nonprofit said the program housed at the Lakewood Service Center would not reopen.

Without revenue coming in, the Salvation Army said it could not continue to pay staff and cover other program expenses. It also said new rules being placed on programs for vulnerable adults as a result of COVID-19 made unclear if there was going to be feasible to reopen.

“These are always difficult decisions to make, and we are deeply saddened because of the effect they have on staff, clients, and the communities we serve,” said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “With the loss of revenue and the added cost of new program requirements, we just couldn’t find a way to make this program financially feasible in the COVID-19 era.”

The adult daycare program had run for nearly 30 years and provided 30 to 35 seniors with a place for fellowship, exercise, Bible lessons and worship, to play games and participate in a variety of other events, said spokesman Dan Furry.

The closure means nine full- and part-time staff members will be out of a job.

Food, housing, emergency assistance and other social service programs at the Maplewood center at 2080 Woodlynn Avenue will continue.

The Lakewood service center will be looking at ways to add additional programming for seniors once it’s safe for seniors to be mobile again, Furry said.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

Please see a new video highlighting challenges for restaurants during COVID-19

https://www.facebook.com/MaplewoodMN.gov/videos/246526023328188/

 

Kevin and Molly did a great job producing and editing this video.

 

Here is a full list of places open for takeout:

https://maplewoodmn.gov/covid19

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

CDRB and Planning Commission Meetings – Prerecorded Presentations

The CDRB (5:30 p.m.) and Planning Commission (7 p.m.) will be meeting via Zoom next Tuesday. There will be two notable land use projects being reviewed at each meeting. ISD 622 is proposing a new elementary school on the site of the existing Maplewood Middle School. Slate Asset Management – owner of the Maple Ridge Shopping Center, 2501 White Bear Avenue – is proposing to build a new 4,200-convenience store and make changes to the access points along White Bear Avenue and Gervais Avenue.

 

Staff has recorded its presentations prior to the meetings in order to allow interested parties to learn more about the projects prior to next week’s Zoom meetings. The presentations can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

 

Presentation – https://youtu.be/xK2dKVxr4rc

 

Maple Ridge Convenience Store, 2501 White Bear Avenue

Presentation – https://youtu.be/tTRxtgkaOCA

 

Finance and Commerce published an article on the Augusta Development (Saints North site) project approved by the Council on Monday: https://finance-commerce.com/2020/05/maplewood-oks-senior-housing/

  

PUBLIC SAFETY 

Public Safety Community Outreach:

On 5/13/2020 Police and Fire held their second day of appreciating healthcare workers from St. John’s Hospital who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic.  Public Safety staff held signs and offered their appreciation to employees during the morning shift turnover (6:30am to 7:40 am) and again in the afternoon (2:30pm to 3:45pm).  It was a positive and well received event, and it was meaningful to recognize some of those who have the difficult job of working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

 

COVID-19 Related Activity

On 5/12/2020 Maplewood Fire/EMS was requested to do a number of transports from a managed care facility as residents had been exposed to a person known to be infected by COVID-19 and others began to experience symptoms.  Chief Mondor and Captain DaBruzzi helped to coordinate the effort to have multiple people transported to area hospitals who could accept them, and worked with other cities and a private sector ambulance company to provide a number of safe transports in a responsible period of time.  It was a great display of planning, partnership, concern for patients, and execution of a plan.

 

Large Drug Cases in the North Metro

Despite the pandemic we have seen a number of significant drug cases in the north metro, and Maplewood staff have been involved in a number of cases.  One recent case included Detective Tauzell, who is assigned to the Ramsey County VCET, where he has assisted in investigations that included 4 pounds of methamphetamine and a stolen gun, a second case 7 pounds of methamphetamine, heroin, and $23,000 was recovered, and in a third case a kidnapping victim was located and the suspect arrested (in Bloomington).  

 

Police Week Tribute

As stated by Councilmember Juenemann, this week is National Police Week where law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty are remembered and honored.  In most years there are a number of memorial services on the City, County, State, and National levels.  Due to obvious concerns surrounding COVID-19 the memorial events were cancelled, but there were a number of Bagpipers who visited Police memorials at Midnight (Wednesday night to Friday morning).  Retired Maplewood Officer Steve Heinz visited the Maplewood Police Memorial at midnight to pay tribute to fallen officers, to include our own Sgt. Joe Bergeron.  A small, socially distanced, crowd was on hand to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

  

PUBLIC WORKS

On Monday May 18th, staff will be adjusting our parks as related to Covid-19:

 

  • Basketball Courts
    • Staff will begin removing the different devices that were installed to prevent use of the courts
    • Social distancing signs will be put up
  • Playgrounds
    • Staff will begin removing playground closed signs and caution tape
    • Social distancing signs will be put up
  • Picnic Tables
    • Tables will be available for use

 

Parks and Recreation staff will be posting on their webpage and sending out through social media updates about the parks and recommendations for safe use.  Communications staff will also be posting on social media.

 

Next week we will be evaluating if there are any athletic programs that can be implemented under the new Governor’s orders and what that might look like.

  

This is the news for this week. I hope you enjoy this beautiful weekend. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. I will be reaching out to schedule a phone meeting early next week with individual Council members.  I want to get your input on budget priorities and process. Thanks, Melinda

May 08

May 6, 2020

Posted on May 8, 2020 at 4:47 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: May 8th, 2020

Meetings and Announcements:   

The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, May 11th at 7 pm.  Please note that you will be receiving an updated staff report on the Bond Sale this afternoon. It is additional information to add to your packet for Monday night. We will have presentations and residents that may wish to speak on agenda items. We are getting better at presentations on these zoom meetings. I still hope that we will get back to having live meetings someday soon. 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

Sales Tax Exemption

The city’s legislative proposal seeking a Sales Tax Exemption for the First Station is included in the latest version of the House Omnibus Tax Bill. This is good news for the City of Maplewood and we’ll be monitoring closely. This exemption lowers the overall cost the project. For more information please check out the bill here:

 

https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/0f939a15-2a49-4db0-afc3-f2640fd90a50.pdf

 

COVID-19 Flexibility 

The bill also includes provisions for COVID-19 response and the League of Minnesota Cities, Metro Cities, and Municipal Legislative Commission have all written in support of the House Omnibus Tax Bill

 

https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/8b1245e4-e168-4cca-8c85-df4b5e7b904d.pdf

 

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

New Rental Licensing Specialist

Sam Drewry joined the community development team on Monday as the new Neighborhood Preservation Specialist for Rental Licensing. Sam is looking forward to the challenge of getting this program up and running. She has a passion to help ensure our city’s renters have access to safe, high quality rental housing. 

 

Sam joins us from Cottage Grove, where she ran their rental license program and oversaw code enforcement issues.  She worked in a similar role for the City of Mounds View prior to that. A Stillwater resident, Sam grew up in Hugo and graduated from Winona State. She has three dogs, two cats, and enjoys the outdoors, going on hikes and gardening. We look forward to working with her and rolling out the rental housing program after more than two years of planning.


 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Community Outreach:

In addition to the Birthday Patrols that are happening daily, as time allows, Public Safety Staff held an appreciation event for staff at St. Johns Hospital on 5/7/2020 during shift change both in the morning and afternoon.  Chief Mondor has been working with hospital administration and it was decided that we would partner on two different dates and the second date is next week.  The staff at the hospital was very grateful for the recognition and public safety staff were joined by some hospital administrators and supervisors who thanked those working “on the front lines” of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The event also attracted some positive comments on social media (see photo attached).

 

Police Flooring Project

Over the last week the Police Department completed its epoxy flooring project and the results were great.  The timing worked  well with police staff being out of the building due to social distancing and their spending most of the time in their vehicles.  Attached are some before and after pictures, where you can see areas that had different colored concrete, patching  or where tile had been removed in the “before” pictures are have now been treated with a durable and professional finish.  Another benefit is ease of cleanup and reduced slip resistance.  Since furniture had to be removed for the project we also did some limited painting and wall repair and furniture maintenance.  We appreciate the assistance of building maintenance, I.T., and Finance as the planning and implementation of this project has taken about a year and worked well.

 

COVID-19

Public Safety continues to follow recommended guidelines and is going through PPE at anticipated rates.  The Police department is happy to report that of the two Officers who were infected with COVID-19 one has made a complete recovery and returned to work while the other one is recovering and working from home.

 

PUBLIC WORK

Dennis-McClelland Area Improvements – On-Street Parking Discussion

During the public hearing, a number of residents within the project area voiced opposition to the proposed restriction of parking to one side of each project street, as guided by the City’s Living Street’s Policy. At that time, staff was directed to further investigate the need for restricting parking to one-side in this neighborhood.

 

Since that meeting, staff have visited the neighborhood a number of times, at various times of the day, and during different days of the week (including weekends). During the majority of those visits, there were less than 10 vehicles parked on the street throughout the neighborhood. Staff did note, however, a couple of instances in which a concentration of vehicles were parked along neighborhood streets, closest to Upper Afton Road and Carver Elementary. This concentration was occurring during pick-up and drop-off times for the school.

 

Staff also consulted with the Fire Department to discuss the proposed street width as it pertains to the on-street parking discussion. In the worst-case scenario of having vehicles parked on both sides of the 29-foot wide street, utilizing a typical 8-foot wide parking space; 13-feet would be available for emergency vehicle access. The Fire Department noted that this width is adequate, although tight, for fire truck access. For reference, a standard fire truck is 10-feet in width.

 

After considering the input from the Fire Department and the unique nature of this neighborhood being in close proximity to Carver Elementary; staff is recommending that on-street parking remain on both sides of the street at this time. Staff further recommends that the parking situation in the neighborhood be monitored in the future and parking restrictions be reconsidered if issues should arise.

 

MnDot I-94 East Metro Interchange Public Engagement

MnDOT is studying the I-94 East Metro Interchange. The interchange connects I-94 to I-494 and I-694 in Woodbury and Oakdale.  They are looking for community feedback on the proposed project.  The following link is to the project information webpage:

 

https://i-94-east-metro-interchange-study-wsbeng.hub.arcgis.com/

 

The online engagement runs through May 17 and MnDot is looking to have the public share their voices as MnDot develops the long-term vision for the interchange.

 

Gladstone Phase 3 – Project Update 

The finishing touches are being placed within the Gladstone Phase 3 project area this spring, which included improvements along Frost Avenue between English Street and White Bear Avenue. The most prominent feature of this project was the narrowing of Frost Avenue from over 50-feet wide to 26-feet in width, providing more greenspace along the corridor and reducing stormwater runoff. That additional space also allowed for the placement of a sidewalk along the north side of Frost Avenue, and multi-use trail on the south-side, improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Significant improvements were also made within Wakefield Park, including the installation of two large infiltration basins, a sidewalk connecting the Frost Avenue sidewalk system to the Wakefield Park building, a walking bridge over an infiltration basin, and stepping stone paths through the basin to allow residents to interact with the water quality feature.

 

The contractor recently installed the pavement markings along Frost Avenue, finished shaping up the infiltration basins, and placed trees and shrubs throughout the project area. In the coming weeks, final grading, the installation of seed and sod, and final project cleanup will be wrapping up. Staff is excited to note that this marks the completion of the Frost Avenue Corridor Improvements in Maplewood.

 

 

PARK AND RECREATION

Tree Sale

Plans for the Tree Sale pickup on May 16th and 18th are moving forward! On Monday, postcards with pickup details and a map showing traffic flow were mailed out to residents who ordered trees. We are collaborating with Tree Trust to send out a follow up email a few days before the sale to further outline contactless pickup procedures. See attached photo-Pickup steps will include:

1.         Check in with Tree Trust staff

2.         Pull into Public Works garage and drive forward to the sign for the tree(s) they ordered

3.         Stay in the car, keep windows closed, and open their trunk/hatch

4.         Staff load the tree(s) in their car

5.         Pull to the end of the garage and staff load a bag of mulch

6.         There will be a designated spot in the yard for cars to stop and tie down their tree

 

 

Morel Mushroom Webinar

Seventy-two people attended the Morel Mushroom Webinar on Thursday, May 7. Nature Center staff co-hosted the event with Ron Spinosa, a mushroom expert and former president of the Minnesota Mycology Society.  Morel mushrooms, a highly sought after edible mushroom, are the state mushroom of Minnesota. Found only in the spring from late April to mid- May, they are eagerly collected by mushroom hunters. They are covered with pits and ridges, completely hollow inside and are relatively easy to identify and fun to find.  People were very pleased with the program!  Kudos to Karen Wachal for her technical help, and Ron Spinosa for his informative presentation.    See attached photos. I have to say I was a bit envious of their mushrooms!

 

 

In the news: 

In case you didn’t know yet:  https://www.twincities.com/2020/05/07/ramsey-county-fair-canceled-in-july-due-to-coronavirus/  Ramsey County Fair has been cancelled for this year.

 

This is the news for this week. I hope you enjoy this spring/chilly weekend and happy Mother’s Day for the mom’s reading this. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. Melinda

 

 

 

May 01

May 1, 2020

Posted on May 1, 2020 at 3:25 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: May 1, 2020

 

Meetings and Announcements:   

 

The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, May 11th. 

There are updates from various departments below.

 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

Notice of Election Filing

The notice of filing for city offices is running in the Pioneer Press today Friday, May 1st and will appear in the May issue of Maplewood Living. The two-week filing period runs Tues, May 19th to Tues, June 2nd.  Because Maplewood City Hall is not yet open to the public, drop-in visits are not yet available. Rather, this year there are different filing options being provided due to social distancing guidelines as well as an option to file at Ramsey County Elections on Plato Blvd W. The forms and specifics are available at maplewoodmn.gov/filing. The filing fee is $5.

 

The three offices are: 

Mayor Special Election (2-year term);

Councilmember (4-year term) – 2 seats;  

Councilmember Special Election (2-year term) – 1 seat

 

Due to COVID-19 and following Ramsey County’s lead, these are the four filing options:

1.       Mail: Your affidavit of candidacy must be notarized by an authorized notary. Mail to Maplewood Elections – 1830 County Road B East – Maplewood, MN 55109

 

2.       Drop Box: Your affidavit of candidacy must be notarized by an authorized notary. Drop box location is outside Maplewood city hall – 1830 County Road B East

 

3.       Scheduled Appointment: Schedule a 15-20 minute appointment with filing staff following social distancing guidelines and recommendations.

a.       Maplewood Elections: Please call 651-249-2000 to schedule your appointment with the City of Maplewood; or

b.      Ramsey County Elections: Please call 651-266-2171 to schedule your appointment with Ramsey County. Address:  90 Plato Blvd. W. – Saint Paul

 

4.       Drop-in visit with Ramsey County: One candidate will be queued to file at a time per social distancing guidelines. People may need to wait in a building services queue until staff is available.

 

Legislative Updates – Tobacco 21

The House Ways and Means Committee passed HF 331 - Edelson, a bill that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco in MN to 21. The bill will make MN in compliance with federal law and includes changes to penalties for selling tobacco or other regulated products to those under 21. 

Legislative Updates – COVID-19

SF 4486 (Sen. Rosen) passed the Senate this week, on a vote of 42-25. The bill creates an account for federal COVID-19 funds, from which the Legislature would appropriate funding from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Legislative Updates – Elections

The House State Government Finance Committee heard HF 1603 (Dehn), the elections omnibus bill. A separate elections bill was heard in Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday morning. 

Xcel Energy is offering programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear government and chamber leaders:

 

I hope the return of warm weather, songbirds and greenery are buoying your spirits on the first day of May.  This week I have some good news to share, as well as some good-to-know news.

 

Customer Savings: late last week we made two filings to the MN Public Utilities Commission which will benefit Xcel Energy customers.  The first is a Fuel Cost Adjustment – taking advantage of lower than expected fuel costs, we are proposing a $25 million dollar credit to electricity customers.  These credits will process automatically, just in time for the high energy usage months when air conditioners are running.  The second request would provide help for commercial customers who have seen significant reduction in their energy usage due to the pandemic.  This program is for mid-size businesses as they restart production.  Businesses can reach out to their account manager, or contact our Business Programs and Rebates center at www.xcelenergy.com or 855.839.8862 to see if they qualify.

 

Entering Homes: sometimes a job requires us to enter a home, so we have developed processes to protect our employees and customers.  It starts every day, as employees self-screen before coming to work.  They are instructed to remain home, with pay, if they feel unwell.  In the field, employees will follow precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.  This means employees will wear standard safety glasses and non-surgical cloth mask face coverings.  When they arrive, they will ask if anyone in the home is sick, and if the answer is yes, they may decline to enter the home.  For everyone’s safety, we will remind customers that face masks do not change the need for social distancing.  Unfortunately, employees will not shake hands at the conclusion of the visit, but we expect our customers will understand that these changes are in place to help keep everyone safe. 

 

Feel free to reach out with questions and concerns, Jake.

 

Jake Sedlacek
Xcel Energy | Responsible By Nature

Manager, Community Relations and Economic Development

 

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

New Senior Living Building – 1818 & 1832 Gervais Court

Augusta Development has submitted land use applications requesting approval to build a new 119-unit senior housing structure at 1818 and 1832 Gervais Court. This project would result in the demolition of the existing Saints North Roller Rink and an adjacent office building. The project requires a comprehensive plan amendment, planned unit development, lot combination and design review. The project was reviewed by the Community Design Review Board and Planning Commission on April 21, 2020 and both groups recommended approval. This project will be before the City Council on May 11, 2020.

 

New Elementary School – 2410 Holloway Avenue 

ISD 622 has submitted land use applications requesting approval to build a new elementary school on the existing site of Maplewood Middle School at 2410 Holloway Avenue East.  After the new school is constructed, the middle school will then be demolished. The new building will house approximately 800 Pre-K through 5th grade students, and will also include Special Education programming. A conditional use permit and design review are required. The project is scheduled to go before the Community Design Review Board and Planning Commission on May 19, 2020 with the City Council to follow in June.

 

New Convenience Store and Grocery Store – 2501 White Bea Avenue

Slate Asset Management – owner of the Maple Ridge Shopping Center, 2501 White Bear Avenue – has submitted land use applications requesting approval to build a new 4,200-convenience store and make changes to the access points along White Bear Avenue and Gervais Avenue. The convenience store, if approved, would be owned and operated by a new grocer that would occupy the former Rainbow Foods site. The existing access to White Bear Avenue is proposed to move approximately 80 feet south to align with a drive on the east side of White Bear Avenue. The new access is proposed to be signalized. The convenience store requires a planned unit development and design review. No City Council approval is required for a grocery store to locate on this site. The project is scheduled to go before the Community Design Review Board and Planning Commission on May 19, 2020 with the City Council to follow in June.

 

Potential Multi-Family Building – Vacant Land near County Road C and Maplewood Drive

Staff continues to work with a developer on a potential multi-family building which would be built on vacant land north of the Town and Country Manufactured Home Park. This vacant land is guided by the comprehensive plan as medium density residential and would allow 70-75 units of housing. The developer who has already purchased this land outright is looking to submit for land use review later this summer.

 

FINANCE

 

Financial Implications of Covid-19

 

We continue to evaluate and modify revenue projections as events unfold.  This is necessary in order to determine actions that the City may need to take to balance the budget.  Our current revenue model for 2020 projects slightly more than $1M in revenue shortfalls in the following categories:

  

To put this into perspective, this would be significantly more than the largest shortfall in the last dozen years.  In 2010, the General Fund revenue shortfall was $670,412, or 3.6% of total revenues.  All other years in that period reflect either a positive variance or a shortfall of less than 2%.  The projected shortfall for 2020 is 4.5% of total budgeted revenues.  In addition, this projection does not reflect the receipt of any COVID-related grant proceeds, which we are almost certain to see.  For now, we feel comfortable that this projection is conservative. 

 

To date the City has taken certain steps to mitigate this shortfall, and we continue to pursue other cost-savings opportunities without compromising essential City services.  Cost savings are expected in the categories below:  

 

The largest savings is expected to be in position vacancies.  These are positions that are currently open in the organization and are being held open until the COVID crisis or the budget shortfall is resolved.

 

These projections imply that there would be a deficit of $63,800 at the end of the year.  However, this does not reflect that building permits and plan check fees are expected to be above budget.  Plan check fees are already $100K more than budget for the entire year, due to the school projects.  It also does not reflect any COVID-related grant revenue that the City may be eligible for. 

 

The City did budget for a $450K surplus in 2020, to shore up fund balance.  At this point, we expect to maintain that surplus.  However, the situation is constantly evolving and we need to be prepared for a recession lasting deep into 2021.  Several cost-saving options are being implemented right now, including an early retirement incentive program.  We will continue to monitor progress on the budget performance throughout the year and make recommendations for action where necessary.  

 

PUBLIC WORKS

Crossing Safety Policy Implementation 

Attached is an updated draft of the crossing policy implementation plan.  One major update was under proactive evaluations.  This structure gives more recognition to the fact that with limited resources there is a need to distinguish between these priorities and the city's ability to evaluate a number of crossings per year.

 

Battle Creek PFAS Update

 

This week MPCA and MDH held an update meeting regarding the presence of PFAS chemicals in the water and foam in Battle Creek.  The samples collected showed that the foam had elevated levels of PFAS.  The surface water samples had much lower levels of PFAS.     

 

MDH has evaluated the information on PFAS-containing foam on surface water and concluded it does not pose a risk to human health if skin contact with the foam is minor and infrequent.  MDH generally recommends “when in doubt, stay out”, and more specifically recommends:

 

·         People and pets should avoid contact with foam on surface waters in this area.

·         Wash skin that has come into contact with PFAS-containing foam with soap and water.

 

Drinking water has not been impacted for all homes which are supplied drinking water from SPRWS.  MPCA and MDH are able test private wells for PFAS at no cost for property owners.  The attached letter is being sent out to residents along Battle Creek.  The letter contains information about the findings, safety, and how to request testing of private wells. 

 

The meeting this week covered the above information, but the work is continuing on identifying the source of the PFAS chemicals.  At this time the PFAS chemicals have not been linked to the 3M drinking water settlement and the money for the study and testing is not tied to the 3M drinking water settlement.

 

Xcel Energy Gas Main Replacement Project Update

 

Xcel Energy is beginning work on the second phase of their gas main replacement project.  The second phase runs along County Road B from Prosperity Road to Rice Street.  The following is a short summary of the work that is taking place of the next several weeks (exact timing is weather and project dependent):

 

·         Week of April 27 to May 1

o   Mobilization started for jack bore equipment for boring a line along Highway.

o   Small crews are preparing to down the gas near the Edgerton Street intersection.

·         Week of May 4 to May 8

o   Small crews will be working at the Edgerton Street and the Prosperity Street intersections.

o   Traffic control and erosion control installation.

o   Crews preparing to begin removal and replacement of gas main.

·         Week of May 11 to May 15

o   Mainline crews start removal and replacement of gas main.

o   Rice Street crossing work begins

o   Work at English Street begins

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Police:

The police department is having a scheduled floor epoxy covering project completed in about half of the police department.  While the project was originally delayed due to COVID-19 related concerns it was decided that this is actually a great time to do the project since staff are not supposed to be in the building congregating and are primarily in their squad cars their entire shift.  With having to move furniture to accommodate the flooring project we also took the opportunity to do wall repair and paint the lunchroom and report writing area that were in need of maintenance, and we look forward to the end the completion of the project next week.  Despite some restrictions that have been placed on city staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the police department, building maintenance, and the I.T. department worked together well to complete necessary tasks.

 

National Night Out

It has been announced that National Night Out, which is typically scheduled for August, has been moved to October.  Police and Fire staff are making necessary notifications and adjustments and are excited to share this special night with the community when it is safer for us to gather with neighbors and friends.

 

Arrest in Hit-and-Run

The Pioneer Press carried the story of the arrest made in the November hit-and-run incident. You can read more here:

https://www.twincities.com/2020/04/30/arrest-made-in-november-hit-and-run-that-paralyzed-a-maplewood-man

 

 

Fire:

 

The fire department has adapted to the impacts of COVID-19 by embracing technology to continue to advance current projects.  In late March, the department turned to Zoom to conduct interviews for Request for Proposals (RFP) for the North Fire Station project.  Staff have subsequently served on a panel to discuss best practices for conducting RFP and other processes virtually.  This week, the fire department again utilized Zoom to conduct firefighter/paramedic interviews to fill a vacant position.  While COVID-19 is an important issue that the department faces daily, they have adapted to ensure that the department remains positioned to address community and departmental needs moving forward.

 

Cloth mask coverings: As part of Governor Walz’s statewide initiative, the fire department delivered over 1,500 masks to 12 different facilities in the community including, nursing homes, senior buildings and other community and congregate care facilities.  The team also delivered 50 children’s masks to the Ramsey County Family Service Center.  The department is continuing to work with facilities in need and will be starting another mask drive in partnership with the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative in hopes to get additional masks for local school food distribution and social service agencies.  This drive will kick off beginning May 1st and will last for two weeks.

 

PARK AND RECREATION

 

Parks and Recreation Programs and Events

With the changing programing and event landscape due to COVID-19 we have switched up our event offerings for this summer. The new Explore Maplewood Summer Challenges are designed for all ages and can be completed as an individual or household and designed to get people out in Maplewood’s parks and opens spaces in a safe and healthy way.

We have a June Fitness challenge and a July geocache challenge. Throughout the challenges we will encourage group sharing and updates for a sense of community and friendly completion (Attached are the event flyers).

Be sure to check out our new Online Activity and Resource Center where you can find these and other events, along with lists of other fun, engaging activities and learning resources all easily located in one area.

https://maplewoodmn.gov/2025/Online-Activity-and-Resource-Center

 

Parks and Recreation Staff Gardening

This week, Parks and Recreation and Nature Center staff started maintaining City gardens to fill in for the seasonal gardeners. On Wednesday and Thursday, staff cut back perennials and cleaned up the main gardens around City Hall, Public Works, and the Maplewood Community Center. Gardening projects on Tuesday were canceled due to rain. Next week, staff will finish cleaning up the smaller gardens on Campus and continue at Wakefield Community Center and other gardens around the City. Staff are gardening in small groups of 3 people or less to keep social distancing protocols. The current schedule is Tuesday-Thursday for 3 hours a day, weather pending.

 

Edgerton Community Gardens

The Edgerton Community Gardens open Friday, May 1st. Governor Walz’s Executive Stay-at-Home order recognized the importance of agriculture as an “essential service” and luckily, the garden plots at Edgerton are large enough, and spread out enough to allow people to more than adequately practice social distancing while gardening.  The garden plots have all been rented, with a wait list.  People are very enthusiastic to garden this year for both food supply, and as a safe way to spend time outdoors.

  

The following measures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of all garden participants:

-Posted Social Distancing Signage at Garden, translated into Hmong, Spanish, Karen, Somali, and Oromo, and visual graphic.

-Created new ‘Guidelines for Community Gardeners During Covid-19.’

-Sent out ‘Guidelines for Gardeners During Covid-19’ to all gardeners via mail and email, and on the Edgerton Community Garden  website. Includes 6 person maximum people in the garden, 6-foot social distancing, children must stay in their specific garden plot, and more. 

-Created a 3 minute video about Community Garden Covid-19 Guidelines, thanks to the Communications Department

-Created a 7 minute New Gardener Orientation video tour of the garden thanks to the Communications Department to reduce social contact with the public for staff.   

-Provided refunds for those who do not want to participate in the garden this year (extended deadline to end of May)

-Cancelled Open House Event

-Will remain flexible for timing for people delaying planting or weeding this year in case people are sick. 

-No Satellite Bathroom facilities offered

 

That is the news from this week. Apologies for the length.  Enjoy the beautiful weather. Please call to check in anytime.. Stay well. Mike

 

 

Michael Sable

Assistant City Manager | HR Director

City of Maplewood

1830 East County Road B

Maplewood, MN 55109

651-249-2053