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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. 

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Nov 01

October 29, 2021

Posted on November 1, 2021 at 1:33 PM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: October 29th, 2021

Meetings and Announcements:    

• The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, November 8th.
•7:00 PM – City Council Meeting. I am still putting together the workshop schedule. I will have more information on this when we put together the Council agenda on Tuesday of next week.

ADMINISTRATION
Congratulations Commander Shortreed
After 25 years of dedicated service to the City of Maplewood, Commander Mike Shortreed is retiring. Today is his last day. He served many roles in the department and has been an outstanding leader, always a mentor to younger officers. Mike always has a smile and was a fixture at city events. He was instrumental in helping the department heal following Sgt Joe Bergeron’s murder. Commander Shortreed is also a driving force in raising money for Special Olympics Minnesota, organizing and participating in Polar Plunges across the state, helping with the Torch Run and creating a Maplewood golf tournament. Please take a few moments to watch this video highlighting his impact on the charity.

PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
2021 Annual Buckthorn Pickup
In 2021, forty-seven households and one townhome association registered for the annual Maplewood buckthorn pickup.  Volunteers, including Century College Ecology students, also removed buckthorn at two Maplewood Neighborhood Preserves.  With those sites added to the list, we had 49 stops on the list.

Kudos to our residents who removed 240 yards of buckthorn and our Public Works Department who picked it up!  The buckthorn was brought to Ramsey County Corrections for grinding and will be used   to mulch the Corrections Greenhouse floors for their horticulture program and on their trails.

Boulevard Ash Replacement Tree Planting
Last winter the city removed 171 boulevard ash trees with confirmed Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation or those in poor condition.  For the second year, our fall replanting was supported by a Minnesota DNR Emerald Ash Borer Community Forest Response Tree Planting Grant.  Our goal is to replace ash trees removed due to EAB and increase the diversity in our city’s forest with climate resilient species.

This year’s boulevard replacement planting wrapped up this week with a   total of 53 trees were planted on 45 properties. The Communications Department created a fun and educational video documenting the planting process that can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/639747103/2ab0b27a85

Solar Power Hours
Maplewood collaborated with Midwest Renewable Energy to host two Solar Power Hours. A virtual Solar Power Hour on October 8 was attended by 23 people, and an in-person Solar Power Hour at the Nature Center on October 26 was attended by 12 people. The program included solar basics, solar financial benefits, and how the solar group-buy program works. Through the group-buy program the more properties that go solar, the lower the price.   Free, no obligation site assessments and cost estimates are offered by TruNorth, the competitively-selected solar. The deadline to sign up for the site assessment and be considered for the group-buy program is October 31, with solar installations taking place in 2022.

Incentives and funding are in place to help finance solar including:

·         26 percent Federal tax incentive on qualified solar expenditures;

·         Xcel Energy Solar Rewards, which is estimated to be $.03 to $.04 per kwh for ten years;

·         The Center for Energy and Environment and other financial institutions offer solar loan programs with interest rates of 2-1/2 to 4 percent.

For more information https://www.growsolar.org/twin-cities/ 

Hillside Memorial Lost and Found Tree
Maplewood resident Cliff Aichinger worked with staff to create a lost and found tree for Hillside Park in remembrance of his late wife Anne who loved to walk the trails there. Cliff provided all of the supplies and labor and has committed to the upkeep and maintenance of the memorial as he visits the park several times a week. It is a lovely and useful addition to Hillside and we appreciate Cliff’s dedication in caring for our parks.

Fall 2021 Deer Management – Archery Hunts at Priory Preserve
An aerial survey conducted by Ramsey County this past winter counted an excess number of deer in natural areas north and south of Larpenteur, in less than a square mile of land.   Our target is a maximum of 15 deer per square mile of habitat.  A high deer population impacts public safety through deer/vehicle collisions.  In addition, a high deer population adversely affects vegetation at the preserve and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

As part of Maplewood’s deer management program, archery hunts will be conducted at the Priory Neighborhood Preserve this fall.

There will be two removals on the following dates:

  • Friday-Sunday, October 22, 23, 24            
  • Friday-Sunday, November 12, 13, 14

DURING THE HUNTS, THE PRIORY PRESERVE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.

The removals are being held with the assistance of the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base.  Archers for this year’s hunt have already been selected.   All participating hunters have taken a DNR archery safety class and must pass a shooting proficiency test.

If you have questions about the archery hunts at the Priory Preserve, please contact Carole Gernes at 651-249-2416. 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Unsheltered Homelessness Update
Steve Lukin, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator, and Molly Wellens, Health Officer, have been coordinating on the city’s unsheltered homeless response and outreach. In recent weeks they worked with Ramsey County to identify shelter spots for homeless individuals in Maplewood. This resulted in two people moving into the temporary shelter this week at the Luther Seminary site. In addition, Ramsey County was awarded 52 emergency section 8 housing vouchers through the Metropolitan Council HRA that administers the section 8 program for suburban Ramsey County. Ramsey County is prioritizing the vouchers for households that are homeless or fleeing domestic violence. City staff worked with Amy Kuusisto-Lathrop and non-profit partners to process 11 applications for emergency vouchers for homeless individuals in Maplewood. Lastly, three homeless encampments in Maplewood were vacated and cleaned up this week.

Londin Lane Traffic Analysis
City staff met with Ramsey County Public Works on Wednesday to further discuss the traffic concerns on Lower Afton Road for the development of the former fire station property at 2501 Londin Lane. The developer has completed further work on a traffic impact study for the development and the county also agreed to conduct a speed analysis on Lower Afton Rd. The traffic study and speed analysis will be reviewed by Ramsey County staff to determine if any changes or improvement are needed at the Lower Afton/Londin Lane intersection. Our public works staff will also be performing a speed study on Londin Lane in coordination with the police department.  We will keep the council updated on any recommendations or requirements of the county.

This is the news for the week.  Have a great weekend. Please call if you have any concerns or questions.

Melinda