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. 

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Apr 30

April 27, 2018

Posted on April 30, 2018 at 10:11 AM by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:   

The Officer Bergeron Memorial Service will be held at 9 am on May 1st (next Tuesday). Please let Commander Shortreed know if you would like to speak. Thanks (Mayor you are signed up)


Our next City Council meeting and Manager Workshop will be held on Monday, May 14th, 2018.   Start time for Workshop is 5:30 pm. We will have presentations/discussion on the Gas and Electric Franchise Ordinance, Preliminary Review of Maplewood EDA and Overnight Parking Policy.   Dinner will be available at 4:45 pm.


Update on Assemblies Project: from Miriam Ziven

The Assemblies Project will take place on April 27th and 28th. The entire City Council and interested staff are invited to attend on April 28th at 3:30 to 4:30. I will be attending part of the day on the 27th to discuss the functions of city government; services, challenges etc. It would be great for Council Members to attend if possible as the group will be sharing their recommendations to the City.  I will be attending on Saturday as well as part of Friday. I have heard from Councilmembers Abrams and Juenemann that they will be attending. You are all welcome.


School District 622 Annual Starz Event. The City has sponsored this event and we have 2 tickets available. The event is May 23rd. Please see attached flyer for details. We will give Council members first priority for the tickets, please let me know if you would like to attend. You can bring a guest if you like. First come, first served. Thanks. Let me or Lois know if you want to go ASAP. 


Annual League of Minnesota Cities Conference. The conference will be held in St. Cloud on June 20-22nd at the River’s Edge Conference Center. Registration is open and is discounted if you register before April 30th.  Please let Lois know if you are planning on attending. Mayor Slawik and Council Member Abrams will be attending. I am unable to go this year as I will be at Strengths Coaching Class June 18- 22nd.

Updates from Staff and Council




Afton Place – Open House. Great partnership and support from those in the photo including: Regions Hospital CEO Megan Remark, Ramsey County, Minnesota Commissioner Jim McDonough, HealthPartners Director of Community Programs Jayne Quinlan, and HealthPartners Government Relations Director James McClean.




Sears’ Maplewood store closing is disappointing but not a shock.  Maplewood framed this potentially damaging news as an opportunity to show our community City leaders were working in anticipation of a changing retail landscape and have been busy implementing an action plan to help our commercial centers thrive in the online shopping age.  

While the Maplewood Mall remained silent, the City was portrayed in media accounts as proactive problem solvers.

(See the “Sears Re-cap” attachment for the coverage)


Comcast Cable Franchise Update

The approved Cable Needs Assessment document has been forwarded to Comcast.  We are now in discussions with our Government Affairs representative from Comcast to determine a date for our first negotiation session.  We will update Council as the process moves forward.



Well the Battle of the Badges is over and the fire came out on top. But the most importance part is that with the help of our city employee and community members we were able to provide the Red Cross with 60 pints blood.  I want to thank everyone that help and to those that gave blood.  The winner of the 100 Target gift card was Jerry Novak.


From Ann Kahn –Assistant Ramsey County Attorney

Good afternoon!


It is finally spring in Ramsey County and time for an update on the Rice and Larpenteur law enforcement working group.  As a reminder, this group consists of law enforcement and prosecution representatives from Roseville, Maplewood, Saint Paul and Ramsey County.  We met regularly at the Maplewood Police Department from May through December of 2017.  Following the December meeting, we are no longer meeting regularly, but can convene as appropriate.  If you are interested, here are some updates from the group:


Joint enforcement nights

Over the summer of 2017, the police departments held three joint enhanced enforcement nights in the Rice/Larpentuer area on 6/2, 8/11 and 9/15.  I have attached to this email a summary from the Maplewood Police Department of their statistics from those nights.  


Community engagement survey

In 2017, the three jurisdictions circulated a law enforcement community engagement survey to community members in Rice/Larpenteur area.  Corey Yunke, a Community Relations Coordinator and Crime Analyst for the Roseville Police Department put together a survey on SurveyMonkey that could be dispersed online and through social media.  In the paper form, this survey was translated into Spanish, Hmong and Karen.  I’m attaching the online survey results, and Yunke’s survey summary to this email. Roseville also circulated a business survey to their businesses; those survey results are attached as well. 


Future plans

Going forward, the group expressed a desire to connect on multi-jurisdiction trends.  To this end, the next step we planned was to have criminal analysts from all three police departments connect to go over data trends.  One specific area we discussed was auto theft.  The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has an ongoing auto theft initiative.  If anyone has interest in the community presentations done by the RCAO, or other questions about auto theft, please reach out to Lynn Pelto, our Community Services Attorney at 651-266-3161 or Lynn.Pelto@co.ramsey.mn.us.


If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me!


Annie Kahn



News worth sharing: attached is an article from the Business Journal about the mall in Burnsville and what they are looking to do.  Similar situation and approach – regional mall built in 70s; lost Sears – using comp plan to introduce more uses and options while also doing a more intense study of the area/corridor. 

Just thought it might be useful to see that another city is getting an article for being proactive and know we were already taking a similar approach before the Sears news hit this week.  


Rush Line 

This week staff met with Ramsey County staff and its project consultants to discuss the public input and planning processes for the station areas in Maplewood. There was a need to further coordinate with the County as Maplewood has a desire to do additional planning work in the North End of the City. The 2040 Comprehensive Plan designates the North End of Maplewood – anchored by the Maplewood Mall and Saint John’s Hospital – as an area that requires further study. Staff wanted to ensure we were not duplicating or confusing efforts by the County as the Rush Line planning process beings.


Staff will be further communicating to Council on this approach but the City will be looking to have the County lead the planning process along the Bruce Vento corridor and the stations south of Beam Avenue. For the two stations north of Beam – at the hospital and mall – the City will lead this process as part of the larger overall small area plan for the North End.  The County will still do the same station area planning work it is doing along the entire corridor, the City will just be the contact point for businesses and residents. 


In the coming days, staff will be assembling a small working group – 10-15 people – to work through issues affecting the Vento corridor and the stations south of Beam – this process again will be led by the County and will occur over the summer. A task force will also be assembled to work on the North End study which will be led by the City, but this will occur later this fall.  In both processes, there will be opportunities for residents and businesses to provide feedback and guidance on the projects. 


2494 Harvester Avenue East

The City has received multiple offers and concept plans for the residential property it purchased at 2494 Harvester Avenue. Today is the deadline to receive any additional offers.  Within the next week staff will start the process of evaluating the offers in order to provide a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council will consider this recommendation at one of its meetings in May.


Panera Bread – 2965 White Bear Avenue 

On April 20, the CDRB approved design plans for a new Panera Bread restaurant to be located directly east of the Maplewood Mall.  The existing Bremer Bank building will be demolished and a new 4,960 square foot building will be built. As a point of information, this site is owned, and will be continued to be, by the same company that owns and operates the Maplewood Mall.


Mercedes-Benz – 2780 Maplewood Drive

Morrie’s Automotive Group (owner of the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Maplewood) is proposing a new dealership building on its property that will require a comprehensive plan amendment, rezoning, conditional use permit revision and setback variance requests. The comprehensive plan amendment is related to a land swap the applicant is proposing with an adjacent residential property. Staff is working with the applicant on revisions to their proposed site plan and design plans to better integrate with the surrounding neighborhood and provide more screening and buffering from the residential uses. The new proposed building would be slightly larger than the existing building. The existing site was initially developed in 1969 and had little, if no, stormwater protections put in place. Any new project on this site will be required – at a minimum – to meet the city’s existing storm water retention requirements. This project is scheduled to be reviewed by the CDRB and planning commission on May 15.


Gold Line - 3M-Maplewood Station Area Planning

In an effort to further engage residents and employees in the area of the proposed Maplewood Gold Line station at the 3M Campus staff and the Gold Line consultant team will be conducting a neighborhood meeting and a 3M employee survey. 


The neighborhood meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Carver Elementary School.  The consultants Crandall Arambula will give a presentation on the opportunities and challenges for the station, and then take feedback on how to improve walking, biking, and auto access around the new station.  Post cards notifying property owners of the neighborhood meeting were sent to 1,000 property owners in Maplewood that are located north and south of the 3M-Maplewood Gold Line Station.  A copy of the post card is below for your review.    


The consultants and the City worked closely with 3M representatives to draft survey questions that will be used to further refine the station plans.  That survey will be distributed to all Maplewood 3M Global Headquarters employees via 3M’s intranet system in early May.  


Crandal Arambula’s work on this phase of the Gold Line planning process will be complete by the end of the year. 



Photo from Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Annual Conference. Heard there was a good program. Mayors were invited to attend for the first time! Perhaps the Mayor and Director Nadeau will share what they learned at the conference.


Save you blood for next year for the rematch of the Battle of the Badges Well the Battle of the Badges is over and the fire came out on top. But the most importance part is that with the help of our city employee and community members we were able to provide the Red Cross with 60 pints blood.  I want to thank everyone that help and to those that gave blood.  The winner of the 100 Target gift card was Jerry Novak.




Frost and Kennard Water Treatment Update

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were dealing with a major snow event and now we are underway with construction activities.  Work started this week on the spent lime treatment system being constructed at the corner of Frost Avenue and Kennard Street.  This is a joint project between Maplewood and Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD).  The project is being constructed on Maplewood property and is being funded by RWMWD.  The system uses spent lime to remove phosphorus from stormwater prior to entering Wakefield Lake.  It is great to see the city and the watershed district working together to deliver another project that will benefit the residents, the community, and our natural resources.


RWMWD - Maplewood Mall Project Award

I have been notified that RWMWD will be receiving an award for their Maplewood Mall Retrofit Project and its impact on clean water.  This award will be presented by the Freshwater Society at their 2018 Ice Out Loon In Fundraising Gala on April 28, 2018.  Great to see one of our partners in our community being honored.  For more information please see the following webpage lint:


A copy of the press release is included below.


Freshwater honors Clean Water Champions at annual gala


Saint Paul, Minn. – Freshwater Society (Freshwater) will honor two organizations and a citizen group with Clean Water Champion Awards at its annual Ice Out, Loon In Fundraising Gala in Golden Valley, Minn. on April 28 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Clean Water Champion Awards are given to individuals and organizations whose excellent work has a direct and positive impact on the quality and quantity of our freshwater resources. This year’s awardees include:

?        Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), for Excellence in Engineering. For 30 years, BWSR has worked with local government partners all over the state to put conservation projects on the ground that protect Minnesota’s water and natural resources. In addition to honoring the board’s overall accomplishments, we are highlighting the work of two key individuals: Al Kean, chief engineer, who built a team that’s led a drainage work group that has forged consensus drainage policy recommendations; and Tom Wenzel, who has led a vital wetland restoration program that recently topped 120,000 acres restored.

?        Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD), for Excellence in the Maplewood Mall Retrofit Project. Maplewood Mall had 35 acres of impervious parking and road surfaces. Under the leadership of Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, the City of Maplewood, Ramsey County, mall owner Simon Property Group, and Barr Engineering, a stormwater management system was designed to reduce polluted runoff, while meeting regulatory, technical and aesthetic challenges. After five years of operation this mall now soaks in 20 million gallons of water a year and has measurably improved the quality of Lake Phalen downstream. RWMWD was formed in 1975 because the expansion of impervious surface in the area’s post-war developing suburbs was sending a lot more water downstream, degrading the quality of Lake Phalen and Battle Creek. The Maplewood Mall Retrofit Project is just one of RWMWD’s success stories and highlights how a single project – and effective, high performing collaboration – can have lasting, long-term, positive effects on water quality.

?        StopOverSalting (SOS), for Excellence in Community Organizing and Citizen Action. SOS has raised the issue of excess winter salt use to the level of state legislation. SOS formed when a group of citizens trained as Master Water Stewards – a certification provided by Freshwater to teach individuals and communities how to better soak in rain water –  turned their attention to the reduction of over-salting in their neighborhoods. They discovered the problem was not something they could fix alone, but it required legislative action. Whether or not this bill will become law this legislative session is yet to be seen, but regardless of that outcome, SOS has proven to be  an exceptional example of what a committed group of individuals can accomplish. A disconcerting and growing number of lakes in Minnesota contain so much chloride from winter road maintenance that they no longer meet the standard for freshwater, such as Silver (New Brighton), Wirth (Golden Valley) , Long (New Brighton), and Kohlman (Maplewood) lakes.

?        Freshwater is a member-supported organization. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes the conservation, protection, and restoration of all freshwater resources. freshwater.org





Snow and Ice, Frogs and Birds

From Ann Hutchinson, Lead Naturalist

Challenge of the week- Performing water quality experiments after a 13 inch snowfall and 14 inches of ice!  When it Snows, make snowmanade!!  City of Maplewood Naturalists led 180 High School students from Higher Ground Academy over the course of 4 days to explore their environment, in spite of the snow and ice.  The majority of students at Higher Ground are children of East African immigrants from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Djibouti.

 In spite of worries of sitting outside on rocks, and touching pond water, the students soon lost their fear after becoming engaged in the hands on activities provided by the nature center.  Students used snowshoes one week and binoculars the next to discover and identify wetland animals and birds.  Students learned about non-point source pollution in their watersheds.  Out on the boardwalk, students measured water quality of the pond by testing salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity and more.  They scooped into the pond to catch tiny crustaceans waking up from a long winter’s sleep. Copepods –a species called cyclops – because of their single eye-were captured and put on slides to be magnified by the video micro projector. They then celebrated by having an outdoor picnic lunch!  How wonderful to be able to expose these urban students to all that nature has to offer; and to be able to teach good environmental stewardship practices.  

A big thank you to Parks and Recreation staff Neil Breneman and Joshua Abrahams, for their help with trail walks, and to Parks Maintenance for fixing loose boards on the boardwalk, to Mark Gernes, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, for allowing us to borrow their water testing equipment, and to Century College volunteers for shoveling snow off of the boardwalk and for drilling 12 holes in the ice!!


News From local sources and agencies 


MetroCitieslogo stacked                                    Metro Cities News

April 25, 2018

Annual Meeting and Board Elections 

Special thanks to those who attended Metro Cities’ Annual Meeting last Thursday evening. We were pleased click for full newsletter


Omnibus Supplemental Finance Bills Moving Through Legislative Process

Omnibus supplemental finance bills are moving through the committee processes in both the House 
click for full newsletter


Omnibus Transportation Bills

The Senate Transportation Committee and the House Transportation Finance Committee passed omnibus click for full newsletter

Omnibus Jobs & Housing Bills 

The House and Senate Jobs and Housing committees released, debated, amended and passed their respectiveclick for full newsletter


State Government Finance Bills

The House State Government Finance bill, HF 4016, which is making its way through the committee processclick for full newsletter


Omnibus Tax Bills

The House Taxes Committee on Tuesday passed a 2018 omnibus tax bill, 
HF 4385 that is largely composed click for full newsletter

Housing Development Costs Discussed at Governor’s Task Force on Housing, at Legislature

Housing supply and shortages of affordable housing units available to a range of Minnesotans at a range of incomes, click for full newsletter


TAB Approved Draft Transportation Policy Plan Release for Public Comment

Last week, the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) recommended approval of a draft Transportation click for full newsletter


Met Council Committees Consider Wastewater Reuse Amendment

The Met Council met as a Committee of the Whole to consider amendments to the Water Resource Policy click for full newsletter


Gov. Dayton Submits Opportunity Zones to Treasury

Gov. Mark Dayton last week recommended 128 low-income census tracts in Minnesota to be designated as click for full newsletter


FUNDING: Contamination Cleanup Applications Due May 1

DEED’s Brownfields and Redevelopment Unit is accepting applications for grant funding for contaminated click for full newsletter


EVENT: Metro Meetings of Governor’s Housing Task Force Scheduled

The Governor's Task Force on Housing wants to hear from housing stakeholders in the metro region. As pclick for full newsletter


Bills of Note

SF 3969, Chamberlain: waters; creating certification program for new wastewater treatment technology; click for full newsletter




Thanks for reading. We are hoping to get the MVFRA Settlement Agreement wrapped up next week and work with legislative staff to draft the special legislation. We are hopeful for a positive outcome very soon.

Both Mike and I will be attending the State City/County Manager Conference in Brainerd next Wednesday through Friday. Ellie will be Acting City Manager. We will have access to email and will be monitoring events.

Have a great weekend!