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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 03

April 30, 2021

Posted on May 3, 2021 at 10:31 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: April 30th, 2021

 

Meetings and Announcements:  

 

• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday, May 10th with start time of 7 pm.

• We will have a Council Manager workshop at 6 pm to hear reports from the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee and the M.O.R.E Team

 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

Bergeron Memorial

The Police Department will be holding a memorial event for Sgt. Joe Bergeron on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at 9:00 am.  They will not be advertising the event due to COVID concerns and the possibility of outside disruption.

 

PUBLIC WORKS

Metropolitan Council’s Inflow and Infiltration Grant

Public Works staff applied to take part in the 2020 State Bond Funded Municipal Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) Grant Program.  This grant provides funding to cities to help prevent storm water from entering into the City’s sanitary sewer system.  This can be done by performing sanitary sewer main lining, sealing of sanitary sewer manholes, and replacement of old sewer casting.  I&I can reduce the capacity of the sewer system and increase the amount of flow going to the sanitary sewer treatment plant.  This increase in flow to the treatment plant increases the annual cost the City pays for sewage treatment.

 

This week we received a letter that the City has been selected to take part in the 2020 I&I grant program.  The City is eligible to receive $52,820 for I&I work in the City of Maplewood.  This item will be brought to the City Council, at a future council meeting, for consideration to participate in the grant program.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Maplewood Mall

The Maplewood Police Department has been partnering with the Maplewood Mall for the past seven seeks to work on some issues with disruptive juveniles on Friday and Saturday nights.  After a couple of meetings a plan was devised where Mall Security would increase staffing, the Police Department would add two officers on overtime on Saturday nights, and the mall would adopt a policy that limited the number of juveniles to groups of no more than four on Friday and Saturday nights.  The police department also made a series of recommendations on best practices and policies that the mall could consider.

The plan was in place for 6 weeks and it was recently decided that while the Police will continue to work with the mall, that Police Officers were no longer needed on Saturday nights to supplement the security officers.  The mall and the officers working there reported less disorder and no significant issues since the changes were made.

 

Operation Safety Net

Maplewood Public Safety had been involved in training and preparation for the decision on the Chauvin trial since last summer.  In working with other county, regional and federal partners Maplewood Police had increased staffing, worked with vulnerable businesses, and made deployment plans in the event of unrest.  As the verdict was announced the Police Department acted quickly and had 36 officers on the street and strategically deployed them in a targeted fashion.  Luckily there were no reported issues in Maplewood or surrounding communities and Police started to pare down staff within the first couple of hours.  Although the planning and activation were not ultimately necessary, we appreciate the officers willingness to quickly respond, most on their days off, and standby to serve their community.  It was also a great exercise in emergency planning and preparation.

 

Emergency Management Training

Maplewood Public Safety obtained a grant from Ramsey County Emergency management and hosted a large, hands-on emergency management training this week at the Maplewood Community Center.  The planning for this event took over six months and involved all supervisors and managers from Police and Fire for three days.  The City Manager, Assistant City Manager, and other department heads were invited to the third day for some hands-on experience as well.  In addition to Maplewood staff there were staff from other Police and Fire departments as well as Ramsey County Emergency Management.  This training on how to handle and coordinate resources and partnerships during a large scale event is critical to keeping our residents safe in the event of an emergency such as a tornado, train derailment, active shooter, or other emergency.

 

 

These are the reports for this week. Please call if I can address any questions or concerns. Enjoy the weather warm –up tomorrow.

I will be out of the office this afternoon. I am available by phone if you need to reach me.

Melinda

Apr 26

April 23, 2021

Posted on April 26, 2021 at 10:56 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: April 23rd, 2021

 

Meetings and Announcements:  

 

• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday, April 26th  with start time of 7 pm.

 

• We will have an EDA meeting at 6:30pm to review purchase agreements of city owned properties under a Closed Session

 

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

Sales Tax Exemption- North Fire Station

The Minnesota House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the Omnibus Tax Bill. https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/sessiondaily/Story/15923

The bill (HF 991) includes the City of Maplewood request for an exemption to the sales tax on construction materials for the new Fire Station. It’s estimated that this bill could save nearly $500,000 of project costs.

 

Affordable Housing Study

In other sections of the bill, there is a request for the Commissioner of Revenue to develop a report on affordable housing projects paid for in whole or in part by tax increment to be complete by January 2022. To learn more visit: https://www.lmc.org/news-publications/news/all/senate-omnibus-tax-bill/

 

 

Community engagement opportunity - Rice Larpenteur Clean Up, April 24, 9-11:30am

 

PUBLIC WORKS

MnDOT Virtual Open House Meeting – Hwy 5/East 7th St. and Hwy 61/Arcade St.

 

MnDOT will be hosting two virtual open house meetings for their future Hwy 5/East 7th St. and Hwy 61/Arcade St. project. Work on this project is anticipated to take place in 2024.  MnDot has mailed out postcards for the open house meetings to properties in the project area.

 

The virtual open houses will be held at the following times:

 

• Thursday, April 29, 2021 18 @ 5:00 p.m.

• Monday, May 3, 12:00 p.m.

 

To sign up for the open house meeting or form more information see the following link:

https://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy5-hwy61stpaul/

 

This project is still in the early stages of development.  The project includes repaving, sidewalk repairs, and accessibility improvements.  In Maplewood this project only effects about 0.5 miles of Highway 61 south of Roselawn Avenue (see map below).  At these meetings MnDot is looking to get feedback on the following items:

 

• Pedestrian, bicyclist and transit user experience and comfort

• Vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian safety

• Access to homes, schools, businesses and other amenities

• ADA accessibility improvements

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

Maplewood Gardens Rehabilitation – 410 McKnight Road South

This last Tuesday the Community Design Review Board approved plans for a significant rehabilitation of the 29-unit Maplewood Gardens apartment complex located at 410 McKnight Road South. The property owner will be installing new fiber cement siding, windows and roofing to all existing buildings in addition to upgrading the exterior lighting and landscaping. The plans include a sizable amount of site work including the removal and replacement of all the existing parking lots and sidewalks to address existing site and stormwater management issues. In addition to the exterior work, the building interiors work will involve replacing all common area finishes and inside individual units providing all new kitchen countertops, cabinets, flooring, lighting, plumbing fixtures and appliances.

 

The project provides substantial improvements to existing rental housing units in the city and is due to the recent acquisition of the apartment complex by the Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation. Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation is a non-profit housing developer based in Saint Paul and have built or renovated more than 2,500 units of housing in the Twin Cities.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Homeless encampment behind 2501 White Bear Avenue.  (From Chief Mondor)

Over the past month staff from the community development and public safety departments have worked with public and non-profit partners in an attempt to find alternate housing for unsheltered residents who were residing in the area west of 2501 White Bear Avenue (Hyvee-Maple Ridge Shopping Center) and east of 1801 Gervais Avenue (Carefree Senior Living).

Following outreach and partnerships, one of the non-profits (Radius) was able to place one of the individuals in housing on Wednesday 4/14/2021.  Today, staff conducted outreach with the Mental Health Outreach Team’s embedded social worker to connect another individual with services needed, that individual has vacated the site and agreed to move their belongings out of the site by this evening.  To our knowledge, the site no longer has any humans residing in either encampment.

Earlier this week, staff met with Cathy Huizar who represents property management from JLL (Maple Ridge) and Bruce Mogren and other representatives from Carefree Senior Living.  Following that meeting, a cost sharing proposal was submitted to both property representatives.  Clean-up activities represent an important element of addressing the challenges currently experienced at the site.  At the time of this memo, JLL has not responded to e-mails or phone calls relating to the proposal.  Bruce Mogren has verbally agreed to participate in the cost sharing as proposed by the city.

The public works department will begin working on site prep Monday 4/19/2021, beginning with the large shelter on the Carefree Senior Living Property.  Debris removal is slated to begin on Tuesday 4/20/2021 and will remain concentrated on the Carefree Senior Living Property.  Staff will reach out to JLL again on Monday to see if they are willing to participate in the cleanup effort.  If JLL does not respond, the city will ultimately have to decide how to proceed early next week.

If both encampments are not fully cleaned up in a timely manner, staff believe that there is a high potential that the site will be re-occupied.  Both JLL and Carefree Senior Living have been encouraged to clearly post no trespassing signs in accordance with Minnesota State Statute 609.605 in an effort to deter individuals from re-occupying the site.

 

Outreach at this site has been ongoing for over a month, we believe that the city has taken extreme efforts to advocate for the health, safety and well-being of the residents of the camp while also progressing towards a reasonable resolution for all parties involved.  We will continue to provide updates as site cleanup progresses.

 

Staff will also be convening an unsheltered outreach workgroup initially consisting of city departments that have a role in working with unsheltered populations to further define and identify work lanes, strategies and best practices when responding to concerns related to encampments.

 

Please contact us if you have any questions.

 

 

 

These are the reports for this week. Please call if I can address any questions or concerns.

Melinda

Apr 19

April 16, 2021

Posted on April 19, 2021 at 10:29 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: April 16th, 2021

 

Meetings and Announcements:  

 

• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday, April 26th with start time of 7 pm.

• We will have an EDA meeting at 6:00pm to review 3 or 4 purchase agreements under a Closed Session

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

Community engagement opportunities

There are several opportunities for employees to get involved in Community Outreach around environmental initiatives in the next two weeks. 

Maplewood Spring Clean Up, April 17, 8am – 1pm. Check in with Shann Finwall if you want to help out.

 

Earth Week Parks Clean Up, April 18 – 24, walk through one of Maplewood’s many parks and trails and collect trash as you see it –Click here for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/884104395779658/

 

Earth Day Campus Clean Up April 22 – Click here for more details: https://maplewoodmn.sharepoint.com/sites/NewsCenter/SitePages/Campus-EarthDay-Clean-Up.aspx

 

Rice Larpenteur Clean Up, April 24, 9-11:30am

 

 

PUBLIC WORKS

Street Projects bid results(from Jon Jarosch)

am pleased to inform you that the bid results for the City’s two 2021 pavement rehabilitation projects came in well below the Engineer’s estimates. We received great bid prices indicative of an excellent bidding market and the hard work of our Team on creating highly detailed and understandable plans.

The Montana-Nebraska project low bid of $1,632,490 by T.A. Schifsky and Sons was roughly $220,000 below the Engineer’s estimate.

The Southcrest-Ferndale project low bid of $1,294,515 by Northwest Asphalt was roughly $258,000 below the Engineer’s estimate for the base bid. We had bid alternates on this project for a neighborhood fog seal (pavement rejuvenation) and sanitary sewer lining to prevent inflow and infiltration in problem areas throughout the City. If we awarded both bid alternates, we’d still end up $115,000 under the Engineer’s estimate for the base bid alone!

The current plan is to bring the award of contracts to the May 10th Council meeting for approval. The Engineering Team, along with area residents, are excited to get these much needed improvements underway.

PARKS AND RECREATION

Plalking for Earth Week

We are once again encouraging people to go plalking (pick up litter while walking) during Earth Week. This year, we have added a Facebook event  for extra incentive and fun:

Earth Week Plalking Challenge

The challenge is simple - Go plalking at a Maplewood park, trail or open space during Earth Week, April 18-24, and send us a picture of you and/or your family in action. That’s it! Everyone that sends in a picture will have a chance to win an Earth Week themed Maplewood Parks and Rec Swag Bag!

No need to register, just “Like/Attend” this event http://bit.ly/plalkingchallenge2021 and email your “plalking  picture” to recreationonline@maplewoodmn.gov.

 

Conservation Corps@Fish Creek

In February of 2021, staff applied for and received assistance from Mississippi Park Connection to obtain help from their Conservation Corps Minnesota River Crew.  This crew works exclusively within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA). Because most of Fish Creek Preserve falls within the MNRRA boundaries, these crews have helped us with many of our goals at Fish Creek.

Work started this week to survey for and remove invasive plants.  Crews were oriented to the preserve; and were trained to identify, report and remove three species of invasive plants.  They also pre-treated buckthorn to prevent summer berry production.

In the coming months, both adult and Youth Outdoors crews will continue invasive plant reporting and removal, collect native plant seeds, maintain the Oak Study planting areas and plant native flowering shrubs for pollinators.   All 2021 work will be completed by the end of October.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Spring Clean Up Update – April 17th, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday will be a nice day for the Spring Clean Up – partly sunny, in the low 50s.  A perfect day to greet Maplewood residents as they drop off their items.  The City Council is invited to volunteer as entry gate greeters during the event.  We have 200 Ramsey County Recycles bags filled with goodies and 50 compost kits to distribute to residents while they wait in their vehicle for their turn to enter.  Additionally, we are accepting food and cash donations for our local food shelves.  We are planning for a Covid-19 safe event, which will include distributing and accepting these items in a container extended out toward the vehicle.  Volunteers and residents should wear masks.  The greatest need for entry gate greeters is from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Vehicles start lining up at 7 a.m., and enter right away at 8 a.m.  Don’t forget to clean out your own garages and bring your items to the Spring Clean Up.  A full list of items accepted and pricing can be found at www.maplewoodmn.gov/cleanups.

 

Rice Larpenteur Neighborhood Clean-Up

The Rice Larpenteur Alliance is organizing a spring clean-up for the neighborhood on Saturday, April 24th at 9:00 a.m.

If you are interested in attending, the group is meeting at Caribou Coffee at 1720 Rice Street in Maplewood, and you can RSVP with this sign-up form.

 

LOCAL NEWS

https://www.twincities.com/2021/04/13/ramsey-county-pushes-forward-with-levy-proposal-cities-worried-about-tax-burden/  Reference:  City Manager Melinda Coleman

 

Maplewood golf course is Ramsey County's latest redevelopment fight. http://strib.mn/3e1LljP   Reference:Mayor Abrams

 

These are the reports for this week.  Enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather. Please call if I can address any questions or concerns.

Melinda