News Flash

Maplewood News

Posted on: October 30, 2019

Thanks to our many volunteers

By Bill Knutson, City Council member

As a member of City Council, I’m especially grateful to the citizens that step up and help with city planning and events. After 35 years living and working in Maplewood, I sometimes take the work they do to ensure a peaceful and predictable home for granted. 

While managing St John’s Hospital, I was active in City events. After leaving, I paid attention but wasn’t as involved until the Public Safety Department invited me to serve on the EMS task force. The experience heightened my respect for citizens who serve their community. I was impressed by how hard City staff worked to facilitate and incorporate citizen feedback. Our six-member task force spent months carefully examining critical issues about providing better emergency medical care at a greater fiscal value. The City empowered the task force to ask hard questions and make critical decisions. We felt so strongly about our role that we asked to make the final presentation to Council. 

The experience inspired me to apply for the open City Council position.

In a given year, hundreds of people use their skills and resources to fill a wide range of Maplewood functions. They are architects, naturalists, gardeners, historians and civically engaged citizens that provide guidance and labor in the following areas:

  • Around 60 volunteers serve on Boards, Commission and taskforces annually.
  • More than 90 Park and Recreation volunteers serve as referees, coaches and assist at major city events.
  • The Nature Center has close to 50 consistent volunteers, with additional help from service groups such as, Eagle Scouts, the National Honor Society, Century College, and Woodbury Seniors.
  • The Police Reserve Unit, fleet service team and administrative staff saves the City more than $150,000 in salary expenses, helping secure events and assisting sworn officers. 

As a Councilmember, I empathize with volunteers. I (and we as Council) need to listen carefully to our citizen commissions and advisory groups. Not every recommendation can be sustained but I respect their talent and time. 

I invite everyone to consider some service to others though our City and even if there has been a lapse reconnecting feels good. 

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