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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Jun 19

June 16, 2017

Posted to City Manager Blog by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:    

Our next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, June 26th  at 7 pm. Workshop will begin at 5 pm.  We will start the workshop with a closed session to discuss possible settlement with the RWSCC. In addition, we will review the 2018- 2022 CIP Program. At the Council meeting we will bring back Visitor Presentation for your consideration and action. I am preparing options for your consideration. 

Rush Line Corridor Barbeque: Monday, June 19th from 5 -6:30 pm at the Gladstone Fire Station. 

Fish Creek Trail Grand Opening is next Thursday, June 22, 6:30 p.m.    The Parks Department and Public Works Department worked together on this trail and residents love it.   
Join us on one of the longest days of the year to hike the trail and celebrate.   Bring the kids or grandkids!

White Bear Avenue Parade:  The Parade will be on July 12th.  We have the Parade participation application submitted. Chief Lukin has offered Council the opportunity to ride on the Fire Truck again. I have heard from the Mayor, Council members Abrams and Smith that they will be participating. Let me know if you have questions or want to participate. 
Business Council Meeting: June 22nd, 7:30 – 8:30 am at Maplewood Mall.  We will updates on the Rush Line Corridor process and the Comprehensive Plan.

Updates from Staff and Council

Public Safety Director Interviews- This has been a busy week with the interview process. By the time you receive this email I will have completed my interviews with the three finalists. Once we get the background investigations completed next week I will be able to make an offer to our top candidate. I would ask that given your schedules, you call me preferably on Monday or Tuesday to discuss your thoughts on the candidates. The forum on Tuesday night was well attended, at least 40 people by my count. I got feedback forms from 24 of the attendees. I can share this feedback and mine when we talk. Please let me know if your schedule won’t allow a phone call on Monday or Tuesday and we can arrange a time that works for you. Thank you for your participation in this hiring process. 

Award Winning Maplewood-  Photo of Mayor Slawik and Assistant CM Mike Funk accepting the President’s Award, at the League of Minnesota Cities Conference, for our participation and leadership in the GARE Program. We also received an award for attaining level 5 in the Green Step Cities Program. Mayor Slawik accepted that award on our behalf. The Mayor shared that there was a great video about the City of Maplewood and the work and projects we completed to earn step 5.  As I understand it, we are one of five cities to get this award in the State. I will try and obtain a copy of the video and will share it if I can find it.  Congratulations to us; Council and employees who together make this happen.
Castile Verdict- 
In case you have not heard, the Officer who shot Philando Castile was found not guilty on all counts. Our department stands ready to assist our neighboring communities, likely St Paul, with any rallies or demonstrations that arise from this decision. I will keep you posted of any developments but expect that we will get calls to assist. 


2040 Comprehensive Plan Update Public Engagement  
Next week marks the beginning of Phase 1 of the Public Engagement effort for the comprehensive plan update.  As you recall from HKGi’s presentation at the May 22 workshop, public engagement will occur in three phases throughout the entire update process.  Members of the comprehensive plan team will be present at the Maplewood Movie Night this coming Tuesday at the Bruentrup Farm to engage residents before the start of the movie.  There will also be a comp plan presence at the upcoming “WOW Events” held at Wakefield Park. 
In addition to the in-person efforts, we have a fun new tool that allows residents to share some of their thoughts about their community.  Maplewood’s interactive mapping website allows you to identify areas of the City that are loved and those that need work moving forward, as well as leave staff comments about housing, parks, retail, and safety throughout the City.  Residents can weigh in on what they consider to be the strengths of the community, challenges that may need to be addressed, and opportunities that they think will make the community a better place in the future. See the image below to get started or visit!

Rice-Larpenteur Avenue Gateway Area Vision Plan Update
Forty people attended the first of two neighborhood workshops for the Rice-Larpenteur Avenue Gateway Area Vision Plan on Wednesday, June 14.   During the workshop participants moved through various stations that were designed to gain feedback on various aspects of a future Rice-Larpenteur corridor.  The second workshop will be held next Wednesday, June 21 at 6 p.m. at the Washington Technology Magnet School (2820 Great Hall).  The purpose of this workshop is to summarize the findings of workshop #1 in order to design the preferred framework plan.  This plan will be presented to the planning and committee advisory groups during their upcoming meetings on June 22 and June 27.  

Maplewood Business Council – NEXT WEEK!
The second Maplewood Business Council meeting is being held this Thursday (June 22) from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Maplewood Mall and will feature a discussion on the Rush Line Corridor along with a brief update on the city’s comprehensive plan update process.  The comprehensive plan update will be the sole focus at the Maplewood Business Council meeting on September 28. 

Maplewood Business Council meetings are a coordinated event between the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, the Maplewood Mall  and city staff  focusing on providing the business community a forum to come together to learn about and discuss issues affecting Maplewood. The Maplewood Business Council meets on a quarterly basis with the first year's meetings being held at the Maplewood Mall. Maplewood businesses are invited to these events - along with the city council. Staff also ensures all the city volunteer board and commissions are invited as well. 

Redevelopment Project – 3088 White Bear Avenue 
Next Tuesday, the community design review board and planning commission will be reviewing the proposed redevelopment of 3088 White Bear Avenue – currently Baker’s Square.  The applicant is requesting city approval of design review and a sign variance to allow more wall signage than code allows. The applicant’s plans include demolishing the current Baker's Square restaurant and constructing a new multiple tenant building with three lease spaces. The council is expected to consider the applciant’s requests at its meeting on July 10.   


New Employee- 
Joshua Abraham is the newest member of the Parks & Recreation Department and joins the City as our  Recreation Program Coordinator. He grew up in Minocqua Wisconsin, a small tourist town in Northern Wisconsin known for its lakes and cross country ski trails. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse.  For the past two years, he has worked for the City of Duluth as a Recreation Specialist. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring parks, camping, fishing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, and many other recreation activities. He is also a newlywed of just 2 weeks!  We are excited to have Josh join our team!

News From local sources and agencies :  Reference:  Monday’s Chief interviews  Reference:  Former Chief Schnell – preparing for protests  Reference:  Thank you to Chief Schnell  Reference:  Border Intersection

Have a great weekend and I look forward to our discussion on our 3 finalists for PS Director. Melinda

  Melinda Coleman | 651-249-2055

Mar 01

The New Guy - Bryan Smith

Posted to Council Account by Chad Bergo

When I got the assignment to write an article for this month’s Maplewood Living, I really didn’t want to write “the new guy” article. The reality is, however, that I have now been sworn in for about six weeks, I have attended 3 council meetings, and have been working hard to learn the ins and outs of Maplewood operations and how to be the best councilmember I can. It feels strange to be writing this so early; I am the new guy after all…

We have all been the new person: new kid at school, new person at work, or the new family on the block. It can be a tough time of uncertainty and anxiety, but it is also a time of opportunity for new friends, new skills, and new knowledge. I have felt all of these feelings since being sworn in. In fact, I am not only the new guy here, but also am the new guy on the Gateway Corridor Commission and a number of other groups for which I now represent the city.

As I have begun this journey, there are a number of life lessons I reflect on and hold in my heart:
1. Be grateful: I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve our city, and also for my colleagues on the council, the mayor, and many leaders from the city staff who have all been generous and patient while teaching me and answering all my rookie questions.

2. More elephants and fewer hippos: Picture it: elephants have huge ears and small mouths while hippos have huge mouths and small ears. I know I can tend to be more of a hippo, more apt to speak than I am to listen carefully. I am doing my best to be more of an elephant, and it takes a great deal of energy for me to slow down, shut my mouth, and listen. I am doing my best, and when I am successful, I find it serves me quite well.

3. Be kind: I have never regretted being kind to someone – I have, however, regretted being unkind almost every time. My wife and I have always expected our son to show kindness to others, and at 7 years old, he is now my role model. I hope I can grow up to be as kind and empathetic as him.

While I really didn’t want to write the new guy article, I think that I just did. One thing I have learned in my career is that people typically feel “new” a lot longer than they are seen as “new” by others. Hopefully you still see me as “new” – I know I still feel it. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead, to getting to know you all better, and to working to make our city the best it can be.

Tag(s): Bryan Smith