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

Sep 16

September 9th, 2016

Posted to City Manager Blog by Chad Bergo

1. Calendar Items and Updates:

Upcoming Workshop Meeting – Monday, September 12 has been cancelled. We will have the budget presentation/discussion at the regular Council meeting. 

Parks and Recreation Upcoming Community input/comment meetings- This may be of interest to Council.

Movie In the Park - The Incredibles (Wakefield) September 16, 6:30pm activities begin, 7:15pm movie starts

Maplewood Rec Run 3k/5k (MCC) October 1, 9am check in

Community Meetings on YMCA/MCC Partnership- There will be two community meetings to discuss the potential partnership with the YMCA. These meetings will be held on September 13th at the MCC and on September 20th at the 3M Fire Station. The meetings will be an open house format and will be from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Mailings and postings went out to our members on Wednesday.  Mike, Dewey, myself and staff from the YMCA met with MCC employees during 3 sessions on Tuesday. We shared information about the potential partnership and why we are moving towards this new operational model. The meetings went well. The Y will be holding a job fair on Monday in which all current employees are encouraged to apply for all of the open positions with the Y.  We will also offered to meet with employees individually if they wish. A press release went out on Tuesday regarding the potential partnership. A copy of the press release was sent to you on Tuesday. Dewey, Ellen and I will be meeting again on Tuesday of next week to try to work through final details of the proposed Agreement. If any of you have questions about this process, please give me a call. These meetings have been posted as a potential quorum of the City Council. Please let me know if you plan on attending so I can discuss the format of the meetings with you. 

Advisory Board Appreciation Dinner- The Advisory Board Appreciation Event will be help Wednesday, September 14th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The event will be held in the Police Department Courtyard. A picnic dinner will be prepared by the Department Heads and Staff Liaisons.  Please RSVP to Lois if you have not already done so. The Mayor has agreed to speak to the participants at 6:30. Others may say a few words if they wish. We will have a microphone ready for your use. 
City of Maplewood Community Business Engagement Breakfast on October 12, 2016 at the Maplewood Community Center from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00a.m.  Pre-registration is required.
The City of Maplewood’s Housing and Economic Development Commission and the Maplewood’s City Council is pleased to announce our second annual Community Business Engagement Breakfast on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 7:30a.m. – 9:00a.m. at the Maplewood Community Center. Join us for breakfast and a discussion regarding demographic trends and changes that will be affecting the future of the area’s business community and the City. Speakers will include local experts in the demographic field that will share information regarding trends in population shifts, workforce development, and an increase in demand for high-skilled and service industry jobs. Mayor Nora Slawik will unveil Maplewood’s Business Engagement Program which will focus on identifying businesses in the City that are likely to experience growth and target these for follow-up visits and City Manager Melinda Coleman will discuss the Maplewood Achievement Awards Program with the winners being announced at the State of the City Address on January 12, 2017.  
Mark Your Calendars!
This year, the metro regional meeting that is jointly hosted by Metro Cities and the League of MN Cities will take place on Wednesday, November 30th, at the Embassy Suites in Brooklyn Center. At this meeting, Metro Cities’ members will also adopt the organization’s legislative policies. Stay tuned for additional meeting and registration details.

2. Staff and Council Information:

Chief Schnell- An Award Winner
Dear Chief Schnell,
I am pleased to tell you that you were nominated for and have been selected as the winner of the 2016 Inspire Ally Award, by the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women! 
This award recognizes a community ally who works in partnership with a domestic/sexual violence program, whose work supports the program and whose work is moving us forward in our movement to end violence against women in Minnesota. There are two other categories: advocate and volunteer in an MCBW member organization. 
The awards will be given at MCBW’s Annual Meeting/Awards Dinner on Wednesday September 14, 2016 held at Chase on the Lake in Walker, MN. I’ve been asked to be there to present the award. You and a guest will be invited to attend, with your hotel room and dinner hosted by MCBW. They will also ask for a couple of pictures of the recipients to use in the slide show (they say having a more casual picture as well as a more “official” shot is nice.) 

I believe they’ll be in touch with you with additional details. I’m on vacation beginning tomorrow through M 8/29, but you can certainly reach me by cell at 612.817.3183 if you’d like or we can connect after that. 
 Congratulations, Paul! 
 Jennifer J. Polzin 
Chief Executive Officer 

Goodrich Neighborhood Meeting #2
On Thursday, September 8th, staff held our second neighborhood meeting with residents on the design of Goodrich Park.  As you will remember this park is to be partially universally designed, which is something this City has not done in the past.  The consultants from Flagship Recreation heard excellent comments from the residents on the two unique concepts.  The next step will be for the consultants to take those comments and put together the preferred concept for Parks and Recreation Commission approval at their next meeting on September 21 at 6:00pm in Council chambers.  The playground installation will begin shortly after that approval.

Hazelwood Medical Commons

Just two weeks after the ground breaking ceremony for the first phase of the Hazelwood Medical Commons, the Davis Group has submittal an application for design review for phase two of this project.  The developer initially indicated phase two could be 2-3 years out but leasing of the first phase has gone so well they are ready to start in on phase two. Phase one included 80,000 square feet of medical office and phase two will eventually provide 60,000 square feet additional medical office space. The developer is proposing to build phase two one story at a time – building will be three stories when complete.  The CDRB will review the phase two request at its meeting on September 20.


Hardee’s is still working towards submitting land use applications for the site at 1706 White Bear Avenue. Earlier this year the city council approved amendments to the mixed use zoning district to allow flexibility to the front setback requirements. The site has provided some storm water management challenges and the applicant and city staff have been meeting to ensure the city’s storm water requirements and the intentions of the mixed use district are both met.  Hardee’s has indicated they intend to rollout 1-2 new stores a year in the Twin Cities and the Maplewood site is slated for next year.  The new Oakdale location – near Hy-Vee – is complete and will be opening early next week.  The design and layout of this location is what will be proposed in Maplewood.  

Racial Equity Update
City Staff continues to work closely with the MN Cohort—Advancing Racial Equity: The Role of Government.  Recently, we were tasked with completing a draft Racial Equity Action Plan and a Racial Equity Story (our compelling description of why the City of Maplewood is working to advance racial equity).  The draft story and action plan were required to be submitted September 1 and will be used at an the upcoming September Cohort session on September 21.  

These draft plans were also provided to the League of Minnesota Cities, as they are a sponsor of this initiative.  The City of Maplewood received the following email from Kevin Frazell, LMC Director of Member Services:

“Our LMC [League of Minnesota Cities] board is going to spend considerable time on race equity at its retreat next week.  I’ll be focusing some of my comments on the work our cohort cities have been doing this year.

The Bloomington and Maplewood draft action plans seem especially well thought out as example of our work.  Would you be OK if we sent these to our board for background so they can better understand what is being accomplished and planned.”

For your review the draft Racial Equity Story and Action plan are attached.  Staff is excited to receive initial recognition for our work on behalf of the city and we anticipate scheduling time on an upcoming Council/Manager work session to discuss this effort with the council in more detail.


3. News and Communications in the press or media:

On September 6, Victory Auto Service & Glass was chosen to receive a 2016 International Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau. This is a Maplewood business and we have reached out to invite them to a Council meeting for Recognition of this Award.
 For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been serving shoppers in the United States, and now in Canada and Mexico as well, by advancing marketplace trust and setting high standards for businesses to follow.
 Victory Auto has a strong history of ethics in business. In 2010, Victory Auto received the Integrity Award from the Minnesota and North Dakota Better Business Bureau, and in 2015 received both the Deubener Award (St. Paul Chamber of Commerce) and the 2015 Minnesota Business Ethics Award.
 Victory Auto employees have also been recognized as individuals for their contributions to their communities and industry. In 2011, our owner Jeff Matt was chosen as an Eleven Who Care honoree by local NBC affiliate, Kare 11, for his support of local nonprofit, Cars for Neighbors.
Here is an article on the south Maplewood Gun Range-

There was also a similar article in the Star Tribune about Inver Grove Heights.

Metro Cities News
September 8, 2016

Southwest LRT Funding and Special Session Update

In separate actions last week, the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority (HCRRA) and Metropolitan Council, approved $144.5 million in remaining needed funds to allow the Southwest Light Rail Transit project to move forward and be eligible to apply for the federal share of funding ($928.5 million) for the line. Of the funding mechanisms adopted last week, $103.5 million will be financed through Certificates of Participation (CoP). 

A CoP is a revenue agreement under which the financial market provides upfront funds for project expenses that are paid back from available revenues in the borrowing entity’s annual budget. CoPs were authorized last week by the Metropolitan Council in the amount of $91.75 million and by the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) in the amount of …click for full article

Inflow-Infiltration Task Force and Grant Program Update

Metro Cities is participating with Metropolitan Council Environment Services (MCES) staff and several city staff officials on a task force to discuss resources and tools to address inflow-infiltration (I/I) mitigation on private properties. Metro Cities’ policies support addressing I/I at the community level and state funding to assist cities with mitigation. Currently, over 70 communities have been identified as contributing excess levels of I/I into regional wastewater pipes. 
…click for full article

Final Policy Committee Meetings Next Week

Third and final Metro Cities’ policy committee meetings will be held next week. The Transportation/General Government Committee will meet on Monday, September 12th at 11:00 a.m., Municipal Revenues on Tuesday September 13th at 11:00 a.m, and the Housing and Economic Development Committee on Friday September 16th at 11:00 a.m. Libby Starling from the Metropolitan Council and Rosslyn Pedracine from the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity will speak to the Housing and Economic Development Committee next Friday. The Metropolitan Agencies committee completed its work in August and will not meet in September. All interested city officials and staff are welcome to participate in policy committees.

Please note that the Workshop for Monday has been cancelled but we will have dinner available at 6 pm. Have a great weekend. Melinda
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