COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: FEBRUARY 4TH, 2022
Meetings and Announcements:
• The next meeting of the City Council will be held Monday, February 14th. There will be a workshop at 6 pm. We will be discussing the Changes to the City’s Strategic Plan Priorities and then have the 2021 4th Quarter Strategic Plan Update presented at the City Council Meeting at 7 pm.
• The Annual State of the City Address will be held on Tuesday, February 15th at 10 am. Please let Lois or Joe know if you are not registered.
Goats at the White Bear Meadery
City staff has been in discussions with the owner of the meadery that received city council approval to locate at 1320 County Rd D Circle about having goats on the property. We’ve learned that the owner is currently in litigation with the city of White Bear Lake as a result of his keeping of goats on his residential property in that city. After several conversations, city staff has informed the owner that goats are not allowed in Maplewood and if he wants to pursue it further, he would need to request that the city amend its animal regulations. Given the proximity to residential properties and adverse impacts on the neighborhood, we have indicated that city staff would be concerned about an ordinance amendment.
Last week, code enforcement staff visited the meadery property and discovered that the goats are already living on the site. Staff is working with our attorney’s office to take enforcement action against the property owner. If the goats are not removed from the property, staff will recommend that the city take action against the conditional use permit to not allow the business to open until they are in compliance.
During the discussions, staff has identified that the animal regulations need to be updated to state that licensed zoos that are located entirely within a building are exempt from the prohibition of goats and sheep. The ordinance amendment will clarify that Sustainable Safari at Maplewood Mall is allowed to have goats and sheep as part of their exhibits.
PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Pollinator Central Project at Maplewood City Hall Campus
Non-profit Great River Greening (GRG) was awarded a Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), 2019 Pollinator Central LCCMR Grant and a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund, Improving Pollinator Habitat for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee and Other Pollinators (MN) grant.
GRG proposes to partner with the City of Maplewood using these funding sources to contribute $37,500 for pollinator habitat restoration on the City Hall Campus. The City would provide a $7500 cash match.
Project objectives include removing buckthorn near City Hall and around the pond through contracted grazing by goats. A diverse mix of pollinator supporting native plant species, including milkweeds, will be planted on a total of nine acres to support imperiled native pollinators including Monarch butterflies and the Federally Endangered Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee. Conversion of short-rooted lawn and buckthorn-infested areas to deep-rooted native plants will increase storm water infiltration and reduce erosion.
Staff will be asking Council for a recommendation on this project at the February 14 Council Meeting.
Recreation Programming and Nature Center Task Force Updates
The first session of the RevSports Classes are underway at Edgerton Community Gym with a total of 77 kids participating. The three programs this session are Volleyball, Basketball and Ninja Warrior Fitness.
Staff has also been working to inform Maplewood residents about ways to utilize youth scholarship funds for RevSports classes. There is information on both the RevSports registration page and the Maplewood webpage: Maplewood RevSports Page and RevSports Registration Page
Residents are able to fill out an application for a scholarship as in the past and upon approval, will only have to pay 1/3 of the registration fee. Families are able to apply for a scholarship once per “season” per child. We are happy to report that scholarship requests are coming in for upcoming classes.
We continue to work with the YMCA to advertise their upcoming programs to the community. Their Session 1 sports programs, including youth volleyball/futsal/basketball leagues, tumbling and adult volleyball leagues, are hitting the midway point in their season and Session 2 registration opens on February 22. They also rented space at Edgerton gym this winter in order to expand their adult volleyball league.
Through a collaboration with ISD622 Community Education, they will be offering nature programming on location at the Maplewood Nature Center. Community Education will manage all aspects of the programs while we provide a space for them to be offered. Classes begin this spring and include a monthly bird identification walk, a native garden planting seminar, and youth/family classes like “Mom’s the Bomb”, “Dragon Flies” and more.
Staff also met with Ramsey County 4H extension to explore ways to work together including service projects with their Urban Wilds youth group, special events and future programming opportunities at the Nature Center.
Public hearing on revised park ordinance
The purpose of the public hearing is to receive comments from the general public concerning revisions to the park ordinance. The park ordinance is designed to promote the safety, health, enjoyment and welfare of everyone in their use of parks, and to protect park property and resources. The park ordinance requires routine updating to stay current and align with community needs.
Park ordinance project information
The ordinance revision process aims to respond to long-standing community feedback about park access, view the ordinance through a racial equity lens and modernize the ordinance and address contemporary park issues. The public hearing will be held Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 9 a.m.
Please call if you have any questions or concerns with the upcoming Council packet and the content of the FYI.
I will be out of the office next week Wednesday through Friday. Mike Darrow will be Acting City Manager in my absence. You can call him at 249-2053