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. 

Feb 18

February 14th, 2020

Posted on February 18, 2020 at 9:55 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:   

The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on February 24th.   Reminder that the Council will have a work session beginning at 5:30 pm. Workshop items include a presentation on the Pedestrian Safety  Plan and an update on the Rental Licensing Program.

City Council Staff Retreat date has been set for April 29th. We will meet at the Wakefield Park Building and will start at 8 am and be finished by 4 pm.

Updates from Staff and Council:


The Minnesota City/County Management Association – Women in the Profession Committee hosts a monthly East Metro event to encourage and support women in leadership in local government. 

The City of Maplewood is proud to be the new host community for these monthly conversations.  This is the start of a broader regional discussion on how to build and strengthen the role of women in the profession of local government managers. This is an important conversation in cities and counties and we’re excited to be the host community. Stay tuned for updates in the future.


Hillcrest Master Plan Community Meeting

More than 250 people gathered Wednesday night to learn more about the Hillcrest Master Plan and how it will guide the redevelopment of the former golf course. About a third of the attendees were Maplewood residents. The first half of the meeting consisted of Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Councilmember Nelsie Yang welcoming the attendees and then Saint Paul city staff outlining the master planning process. The second half of the meeting allowed attendees to split into smaller groups to discuss aspirations and concerns for the redevelopment project. Moving forward there will be at least two more community meetings over the next 10 months as Saint Paul develops this master plan. There are Maplewood residents serving on the Community Advisory Committee and Maplewood city staff also are represented on the technical advisory committee.


The 2019 Maplewood Police Department Enforcement action report. 

This is a comprehensive document of stops, arrests, enforcement, and use of force by Maplewood Police in 2019.  We add important context to the data so it is more easily understood and this year included a section about where we are having crime and calls for service by property type. Report is attached. If you would like a paper copy, please let me know.


CenturyLink to Discontinue Prism TV Product

We received formal notice that CenturyLink will discontinue offering their Prism TV product.  In the letter they state that “Over the next few months, we will share our exit timetable and communications plan for transitioning customers to other video products.”  CenturyLink had very few subscribers of their Prism TV product in Maplewood so the impact to our residents should be minimal.  However, if you hear any questions from residents please have them contact Mychal Fowlds.


EAB Tree Removal

Public Works crews have been hard at work utilizing the new bucket truck to remove ash trees within the public boulevard.  Since last week crews have removed 29 ash trees that were marked for removal.  The bucket truck provides a safe stable platform for crews to do their work.  The image below shows our staff utilizing the bucket truck to cut off tree limbs as part of the removal process.

2020 Street Improvement Projects Update

Schaller Area Pavement Rehabilitation

A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 21, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Maplewood Community Center.  Staff will be giving an information presentation about the project, an estimated project schedule, follow-up on questions from the first neighborhood meeting, assessment information, and an overview of the construction process.  The public hearing is scheduled for the February 24th City Council meeting.

North St. Paul Wellhead Protection Plan

City staff has completed the review of North St. Paul’s draft Wellhead Protection Plan.  This plan covers North St. Paul’s five municipal wells and the source aquifers that supply groundwater pumped by the wells.  The map below shows the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) which is covered by the proposed plan.  The goal of the plan is to reduce the potential contamination of the source water aquifer.

The plan notes that there are no know groundwater contamination of the aquifers affecting the North St. Paul municipal wells.  Additionally, groundwater samples from North St. Paul municipal wells tested negative for PFAS.  The proposed plan calls for coordination with neighboring cities, including Maplewood, on providing education to the public and tracking of private wells, storage tanks, and shallow disposal wells.  


Marylee Abrams: St. Paul tried to bail on fire agreement all of a sudden -- and with inaccurate assertions- From Pioneer Press, February 14th, 2020

I couldn’t be prouder of the dedicated service, professionalism, and expertise of all 30 of our Maplewood Fire/EMS professionals. As a city council, we have made a significant investment in training, equipment and facilities for our fire and emergency medical services, who are all full-time. They are led by a superior team who always has them ready and prepared to respond. They are proactive in community risk reduction, and work closely with vulnerable communities to help prevent critical incident calls.

That’s why I was so disturbed by the St. Paul fire chief’s remarks last week in a Pioneer Press article, "Rethinking suburban fire coverage." Chief Butch Inks wants to pull out of a successful automatic aid response program, saying St. Paul is carrying too much of the load.

This program has recently been recognized with a Local Government Innovation Award by the Humphrey School of Public Policy. It has yielded positive benefits for all parties involved— which include the Ramsey County communities with fire departments. It ensures that the closest unit, regardless of jurisdiction, is dispatched first in calls for structure fires, cardiac arrests and water emergencies.

In the article, Chief Inks cites inaccurate, anecdotal information in making his case for pulling out of the agreement.

To set the record straight, Maplewood crews arrived to the basement fire he mentioned two and a half minutes after St. Paul’s arrival, not five, with a four-person engine company, not two.

Maplewood has responded to St. Paul 33 times (23 medical and 10 fire responses).  St. Paul fire has responded to Maplewood 26 times (19 medical and 7 fire responses).

Frankly, it’s appalling to have our department’s stellar reputation put into question with misleading assertions to create the false perception of a delayed or inadequate emergency response. To further assure our community, Maplewood’s police department is also cross-trained to provide emergency medical care if they are the first on scene at any incident.

I question the timeline of the St. Paul Fire Department’s decision. The desire to pull out of the agreement was mentioned to the Ramsey County Chiefs Association, yet there was no follow-up meeting scheduled.

Suddenly, a letter arrived saying St. Paul was out.

We felt abandoned by our partner with no real warning or ability to find a workable remedy for their concerns.

In the spirit of Minnesota-style cooperation, I’d like to thank the St. Paul City Council for their Wednesday vote to delay withdrawing from the agreement and their willingness to see if there is a workable solution to their fire department’s concerns. As a region, we’ll always be stronger and more efficient public servants when we’re working collaboratively.

Marylee Abrams is the mayor of Maplewood.

http://www.startribune.com/roseville-police-release-detailed-traffic-stop-data-for-2019/567877622/ Maplewood Public Safety Annual Report and Director Nadeau mentioned.


Feb 10

February 7th, 2020

Posted on February 10, 2020 at 9:51 AM by Chad Bergo

Meetings and Announcements:   

The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on February 10th.   Reminder that the Council will have a work session prior. 

The following dates for upcoming neighborhood meetings for our street projects: Steve will provide updated information on the outcome of the first two meetings at the Council meeting.

 ·       Dennis- McClelland Area Street Improvements
o   Neighborhood meeting on February 4th at 6:00 p.m. at the MCC
·       County Road B & Arcade Street Improvements
o   Neighborhood meeting on February 6th at 6:00 p.m. at the MCC
·       Schaller Area Pavement Rehabilitation
o   Neighborhood meeting on February 21 at 6 p.m. at the MCC 

EVENT: Join Us! Metro Cities Workshop with MN Housing

Join Metro Cities and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) on Friday, February 21 for a workshop with information for cities on accessing funding for housing programs administered by MN Housing. Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss funding priorities and application scoring criteria with MN Housing officials and to learn about:

  •  Funding programs and cycles;
  • Submitting a competitive application;
  • MHFA funding priorities; and
  • Single family and multi-family development and rehabilitation.

City staff and elected officials are welcome.

DATE: Friday, February 21, 2020
TIME: 9:00 - 11:00 am
LOCATION: St. Anthony Village City Hall, 3301 Silver Lake Rd, St. Anthony, 55418
RSVP: Please respond by February 14 to Kimberly@MetroCitiesMN.org


Updates from Staff and Council:


Council Staff Retreat

On Monday night, I will be distributing a proposed Agenda for the 2020 Council Staff Retreat. In addition, I will be providing a calendar for you to identify when you are available to attend a one day retreat.


Sales Tax Exemption – North Fire Station

The City of Maplewood has secured Chief Authors for legislation seeking a Sales Tax Exemption for construction materials, supplies, and equipment for the North Fire Station.

  • Sen. Chuck Wiger is the Chief Author in the Senate, with Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent as Co-Author.
  • Rep. Peter Fischer is the Chief Author in the House, with Rep Tou Xiong, and Rep. Leon Lillie as Co-Authors.

As noted earlier, this Sales Tax Exemption could save nearly $500,000 in total project costs. The Legislative Session begins Tuesday, February 11, 2020. More updates to follow.



Global Environmental Conservation Program 

Representatives from Turkmenistan will be visiting Maplewood to review the city’s local GreenStep City’s initiatives.  The U.S. State Department in Minnesota hosts a yearly International Visitor Leadership Program.  Five visitors and two interpreters from Turkmenistan are participating in the Global Environmental Conservation portion of the program which will include a stop in Maplewood on Thursday, February 13 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the 1902 Building on City Hall Campus.  During their visit representatives from the Environmental Commission and Green Team will speak with them about the process of becoming a GreenStep City and how it helps achieve cost savings and reductions in waste and energy.  This will be accomplished through a presentation and demonstrations of some of the City’s sustainability best practices.   


Hillcrest Golf Course Master Plan Community Workshop – Wednesday, February 12; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The City of Saint Paul is hosting its first Community Workshop this coming Wednesday, February 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – the presentation will start at 5:40 p.m. This workshop will take place in the cafeteria at The Heights Community School located at 1863 Clear Avenue East in Saint Paul. Postcards were sent to more than 4,800 residents living in proximity to the former golf course – including Maplewood residents. Please let Maplewood city staff know if you are planning on attending as we want to make sure the Saint Paul project managers know that Maplewood officials will be in attendance.


Maplewood city staff are members of the technical advisory committee which is working on the Hillcrest Master Plan. This plan will determine future land uses and a new street network for the 112-acre former golf course on Saint Paul’s East Side. According to the City of Saint Paul: “Community engagement throughout the process will outline how to build opportunity and community wealth on the redeveloped Hillcrest site – bringing more housing, jobs, and public amenities. The City is currently seeking feedback from the community to establish redevelopment priorities, from which concepts will be developed (alongside technical and policy considerations) for further engagement throughout 2020.”


MPCA Informational and Listening Sessions – February 25 to 27

The MPCA is hosting public meetings regarding the 3M settlement for PFAS contamination in the east metro. Representatives from each of the 14 affected communities, including Maplewood, along with MPCA, DNR, MDH, Washington County have been working together to identify long-term drinking water supply options for evaluation. The list of long-term drinking water supply options and recommendations are part of the Conceptual Drinking Water Supply Plan; a key component to ensuring that drinking water needs and options for the East Metropolitan Area are appropriately and thoroughly considered. The plan will take into account both public water systems and private wells, using a region-wide approach. 


The public meetings will share the long-term drinking water supply options and associated costs for those living and working in east metro area Meeting times at each venue are: 2 – 4 p.m. and 6 – 8 p.m. The format for each meeting will be a 30-minute presentation followed by a Q & A and open house.  Dates and locations are:

·       February 25: Prestwick Golf Club 9555 Wedgewood Drive Woodbury  

·       February 26: Lake Elmo Inn Event Center 3712 Layton Ave North Lake Elmo  

·       February 27: Cottage Grove City Hall 12800 Ravine Pkwy S.  



Lawns to Legumes: Your Yard Can BEE the Change Neighborhood Demonstration Project Grant

We are excited to share that our grant submission, Pollinators by the Yard - Mapewood Demonstration Neighborhood was selected and awarded for the full amount of approximately $39,000!

This two year grant is offered by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources and our partner, Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District, agreed to supply the required match. The goal of this project is to provide funds to at least 15 homeowners to install native plantings within the federally endangered Rusty Patch Bumblebee habitat areas in Maplewood and to provide at least 8 educational programs per year on pollinators and the habitat needed. Kudos to the Nature Center staff and everyone involved for your hard work on this project!


2020 Maplewood Tree Sale

Plans for the 2020 Tree Sale are underway! Maplewood is partnering with Tree Trust again this year to offer trees to city residents for only $40. Residents can choose from 7 different species, including a fruit tree duo. The sale starts March 9th and pickup dates for residents will be Saturday, May 16 and Monday May 18th. To advertise the sale, a flier has already been included in the Recreation brochure and there are plans to advertise in Maplewood Living, on social media, and using targeted outreach.




Xcel Energy Open House

Xcel Energy is hosting and open house meeting for their County Road B gas main replacement project.  At the meeting property owners will have the opportunity to learn about the project, expected construction schedule and anticipated traffic control measures.  The meeting information is as follows:

 Date:     Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Time:     5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (open house)
Place:    Maplewood Community Center


The HVAC system replacement project for the 1902 Building is underway and going well.  The old unit was removed and the new unit was put in place on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.


The contractor is now working on connecting the new HVAC unit to the buildings existing systems.  Bryan Nagel did a great job coordinating with the contractor and staff to make sure employees new about the project and relocated staff temporarily while the new unit was lifted into place.


RWMWD Pond Dredging

RWMWD has dewatered the two basins at the southeast corner of McKnight Road and Larpenteur Avenue.  This week the watershed district’s contractor has been excavating and removing the sediment that has built up in the basins.  These basins are two of the three City maintained basins that the City is partnering with the water shed district to clean out this winter.



Arlington Avenue Flooding Issue

With this week’s warm weather the wetland at the Arlington Avenue and Currie Street overflowed and flooded a section Arlington Avenue.  Flooding appears to be happening because the water from melted snow is unable to reach the outlet structure.  City crews have been working throughout the week to keep Arlington open and passable.  Staff has worked with RWMWD to receive a permit to allow our crews to go into the wetland and open up a path so the water can reach the outlet structure.  This work is taking place Friday, February 7, 2020.



2020 Street Improvement Projects Update

Staff held neighborhood meetings this week for two of our 2020 street improvement projects.  The public hearings for these projects are scheduled for Monday, February 10th. Staff expects a good turnout from these well-engaged neighborhoods.


Dennis-McClelland Area Street Improvements

A neighborhood meeting was held Tuesday evening for the Dennis-McClelland Area Street Improvement project. The meeting ran from 6 PM to 8:15 PM and included a short presentation followed by a questions and answer session. Many great questions were asked by a well-engaged neighborhood, with roughly 50 residents attending. The majority of the conversation revolved around two topics the residents are most concerned about.


The first topic includes a strong opposition from the residents whose property lies adjacent to Upper Afton about the proposed sidewalk along the north side of Upper Afton Road, between Afton Heights Park and Mayhill Road. Concerns with this sidewalk proposal included loss of driveway space for parking, loss of privacy, and a feeling that the existing system is working adequately. A petition was received at the meeting (see attached), noting these concerns.  The proposed walk is called out in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan as a missing segment.   This walk would provide connections to Afton Heights Park, pedestrian infrastructure on Century Avenue, consolidate the number of crossings to the trail on the south side of Upper Afton, and would include enhanced crossings.


The second topic of concern is the proposal to limit parking on the neighborhood streets to one-side only, as recommended by the City’s Living Street’s Policy. Residents in the area are opposed to this, citing concerns with overflow parking from events at Carver Elementary that result in numerous cars parking along neighborhood streets. The residents also note that many people within the neighborhood park on the streets on a regular basis. They feel the parking restrictions could require them, or their guests, to park further from their homes.


County Road B & Arcade Street Improvements

A neighborhood meeting was held on Thursday for the County Road B and Arcade Street Improvement Project. The meeting ran from 6 PM to 7:30 PM and included a short presentation followed by a questions and answer session. Roughly 40 residents attended the meeting. The majority of the conversation at this meeting revolved around concerns with the impacts the proposed walkways would have on resident’s properties, concerns over the loss of parking area in driveways due to the walkways, the necessity of these walkways, and concerns about assessments.


Gold Line Update
The Gold Line project has hit a new milestone by completing 30% design plans.  Staff is currently reviewing the plans and will be providing feedback/comments to the Gold Line project team in the coming weeks.



Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  Have a great weekend. See you on Monday.



Melinda Coleman     651-249-2055

Maximizer | Communication | Responsibility | Woo | Ideation


Jan 27

January 24th, 2020

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 10:14 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:  

The next City Council meeting and workshop will be held on January 27th.   Reminder that the EDA and HEDC will continue the strategy/planning work session from 4-7 pm.

Updates from Staff and Council:


From Kim O’Brien with the Rice and Larpenteur Alliance:

The Winter Warmer event is shaping up for Saturday, February 1 from 11:30-1:30 at Nepali Kitchen! We need your help personally inviting people you think should attend. So far, we have 37 people registered (see below for current list of attendees—note some orders are for 2 people). We have 80 total spots available.


Note: The Alliance agreed to fund a low-cost façade improvement for the restaurant ahead of the event. Unfortunately, the window painter we hoped to hire is unable to complete the project because of the tint on the windows (and too cold to paint from the outside). I’ll keep working to see if there is something else we can do in the short timeframe.

Thanks for your help promoting and attending the event!! Let me know if you have any questions.


New booth notification light in Council Chambers

The communications staff has had a vertical Recording light installed in the council chambers.  It is located above the Hmong necklace.

Basically, Nate turning on the light is equivalent to getting the thumbs up from Nate that the meeting can begin. In the situation of multiple meetings in one evening, the light is intended to be turned off and then back on when he is ready for the subsequent meeting to begin.

As a note, please remember the meetings must begin at the stated time or later, never before.


Mental Health Outreach (From Director Nadeau) In 2019 Maplewood Public Safety began an outreach effort to those who suffered from serious and persistent mental health issues, who were high-users of system resources, and who were judged to be in need of resources to assist them.  The year took a lot of time to set up the program and bring our staff up to speed, as well as to research and implement strategies to assist with Screening evaluate things like HIPPA compliance.

I am going  to extend this program for 2020 and will be gathering more data to see if we are achieving the desired outcomes and to see if we are able to justify the resources necessary beyond 2020.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


The efforts of this team will be highlighted in the Public Safety annual report but I thought it would be good for you to get this report earlier. If you would like to discuss this further, Director Nadeau could discuss at a future Council Manager workshop.



Harvest Park Master Plan Open House

There was no shortage of lively discussion at the Harvest Park Community Open House on Tuesday night at the Wakefield Park Community Building. Maplewood residents, City and Rush Line Staff, our LHB Consultant as well as the Mayor and Parks Commissioners all gathered to discuss the proposed changes to Harvest Park and give their feedback and input. We received great suggestions and comments from the attendees that will be incorporated into the master plan going forward. The next steps in the master planning process will involve a POLCO community survey that is being developed with the Communications Department.