COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: August 20th, 2021
Meetings and Announcements
• The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, August 23rd with start time of 7 pm. We will have a workshop beginning at 5 pm. The first part of the workshop will be a closed session to review upcoming Mediation with LELS. Our Labor Attorney Susan Hansen will update the City Council on the upcoming Mediation. We will meet first in the Council Chambers to open the meeting and then move to the Maplewood Room. We will have dinner combined with either an in person or a phone-in presentation from Ms. Hanson. After that briefing we will go back to the Council Chambers for the second part of the Workshop to have a continued discussion on the 2022 Budget and ARPA funds distribution.
• At the Council meeting on September 13th, we will adopt the Preliminary Levy for the 2022 Budget.
• Please note that the date for the City Council staff retreat has been set for Thursday, October 7th, 8:30 to 4:30. Location will be Wakefield or MCC. Additional details to come at a later date.
Updates from Staff and Council:
ADMINISTRATION & COMMUNICATIONS
Message from Excel
Dear Community and Business Leaders:
This week, Bob Frenzel officially took over the reins at Xcel Energy, replacing Ben Fowke as our Chief Executive Officer as he retired from the role. Mr. Frenzel has a wealth of experience, and is well suited to lead our company, as we lead the industry in the transition to clean energy. The linked media release provides more detail on our leadership transition: Xcel Energy names Bob Frenzel as new CEO | Press Releases | Xcel Energy. Ben Fowke will stay on as an executive chair, working on national energy policy.
I mentioned this last week, but it bears repeating (and in full disclosure, I really like the write up our communication folks provided on the topic): The American Clean Power Association ranked investor-owned utilities by the amount of clean energy on their system at the end of 2020, and Xcel Energy has claimed the #1 spot. As you may know, we were the country’s leading wind energy provider for more than a decade and always among the top two. The American Clean Power Association has created the new American Clean Power rankings and expanded them to include wind, solar and battery storage. At the end of 2020, we had 11,205 megawatts of clean energy on our system, edging our next peer by 43 megawatts, according to the report. Our plans for the future will keep this progress going strong, with an 80% carbon reduction by 2030 compared to 2005, on our way to our vision of providing 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Take care, Jake.
Staff changes from Public Safety Director Bierdeman
Community Outreach Coordinator:
I am excited to announce that Officer Ashley Bergeron was selected to be the new Community Outreach Coordinator. I know she is excited to start in the new position, and she will do a great job. I also want to acknowledge the great work that Officer Burt-McGregor has done in that position prior.
The promotional process for the Lieutenant consisted of a leadership assessment, a written assessment, a command panel interview, a citizen panel interview, and a chief's interview. The process for the three candidates was concluded and Sergeant Joe Steiner has been selected. He will assume his new role on August 30th. Congratulations to Lieutenant Steiner.
Police Officer Process:
We are currently in a police officer hiring process. On Wednesday and Thursday, members of the MAC, citizens from Maplewood, Command Staff, and officer representatives interviewed 29 candidates. We are doing our best to expedite the process to ensure that we get officers trained up and in the street; however, as you know, we also will not trade quality over quantity, so I am hopeful for a great pool of candidates. For those of you on the recruitment team or those of you who recruited applicants, I can't tell you how important your work has been.
PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Vista Hills Park Improvements
The new tennis and basketball courts at Vista Hills Park are completed and ready for action! We have received several calls from residents expressing their excitement at having these new amenities available in their neighborhood. Pickle ball court lines were added as well which give us the option to change the usage of the new courts depending on the needs of our residents.
Montessori American Indian Center Preschool Graduation at Wakefield
The Montessori American Indian Childcare Center held their preschool graduation ceremony in the Wakefield Community Building last Wednesday. Their program included a spiritual elder saying a blessing followed by a drum circle, keynote speaker, graduation ceremony and then dinner.
The director of the school told staff that when the Lead Guide began the recognition for the children, there were a pair of eagles flying above the park which made the event extra special.
Nature Center Parking Lot
This week Public Works crews utilized the City’s new paver to overlay the Nature Center parking lot. Paving of this parking lot would have been very difficult to do with the old paver as it lacked the power need to make the tight turns while paving. The crews did a great job and this works is a big improvement for the Nature Center facility.
SPRWS Project – County Road C Road Closure
SPRWS has a utility project on County Road C between Elm Street and Hazelwood Street. This section of County Road C will be periodically closed in both directions. The project will started on August 17th and run through August 26th. A signed detour route will be in place using Hazelwood Street, Viking Drive, Barclay Street, Gervais Avenue, and Duluth Street. Below is a map that shows the project location (in orange) and detour route (in blue).
Southcrest-Ferndale Area Pavement Rehabilitation (City Project 20-02) Update
This week the contractor for the Southcrest-Ferndale Area Pavement Rehabilitation project completed the fog sealing for the Desoto-Skillman area neighborhood. Fog sealing is the application of an asphalt emulsion to the surface of an existing road (see image below). This is done to help seal narrow cracks, restore lost flexibility due to oxidation of the surface, and to help preserve the underlying pavement. In short, fog seals helps to extend the life an asphalt road.
The contractor divided the reclaim project streets into two phases. Phase 1 included all the streets lying south of Highwood Avenue (shown in red) and Phase 2 included all the streets lying north of Highwood Avenue (shown in green). This week the contractor has finished paving the first layer of pavement on Phase 2 of the project (see image below). All project streets now have the first layer of pavement on them. Staff has received a number of calls about how thankful the local residents are for the new smooth pavement.
LOCAL NEWS OF INTEREST
St Paul follows Minneapolis in eliminating parking minimums.
This is the news for the week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.