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

Apr 22

April 21st, 2017

Posted to City Manager Blog by Chad Bergo


Meetings and Announcements:  Spring Clean Up is tomorrow at 8am to 1 pm. I plan on working the 11 to 1 pm shift. Looks like we will have a beautiful day for this event!

Our next City Council meeting will be held on April at 24th pm. Workshop will begin at 5:30. Food will be available at 4:45 pm. Topics for the workshop are Financial Policies and Update on Rush Line Final LPA. 

A reminder that there is a Rush Line Open House and Public Hearing next week, Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 5 PM to 8 PM at the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church,1390 Larpenteur Ave E in St Paul. 

We invite you to attend the meeting to hear the latest update on the Rush Line Transit Study and public comments on the draft locally preferred alternative

Attached is a handout that provides an overview of the Draft Locally Preferred Alternative analysis and results. The handout will be provided at next week’s open house and is available on the Documents page of the project website: If you would like additional details, the Tier 2 Summary Report that describes the work in developing the Draft Locally Preferred Alternative is also available on the website. 

From LMC: See the Signs of a Vibrant City this June- Please let Lois know if this is of interest. I am unable to attend this year. 
What direction is your city going? Discover tools to help you get your city where you want to go during the 2017 Annual Conference in Rochester!
During this year's conference, you will explore how any city, no matter the size, can become a more vibrant, welcoming place. This year's highlights include:
Sessions to help you plan for the future, build capacity, engage your community, and more
Two keynote speakers who will show you new skills to help you continue to be an effective city leader
Opportunities to connect with city colleagues during social events and networking roundtables
More than 120 vendors to discuss ideas with during the exhibit hall
Find out more about the conference and register:


Metropolitan Council: What's New and How to Partner for a Better Region
May 18, 2017
7 - 8:30 p.m.
City of Maplewood Council Chambers
1830 County Road B East

Safer Schools Task Force 
May 25, 2017
6 - 7:00 p.m. - BOARD MEETING*
7 - 8:30 presentation by John Choi
City of Arden Hills
1245 West Hwy. 96 in Council Chambers. BOARD MEETING prior to presentation will be in conference room on second floor

Public Safety Priorities
September 21, 2017
6 - 7:00 - BOARD MEETING*
7 - 8:30 p.m. presentation 

5th Annual "State of the Waters"
October Date & location TBD

Annual Meeting and Program
November 30, 2017
6 - 7:00 p.m. - BOARD MEETING* 
7 - 8:30 - (Topic to be determined)
At Rudy's Redeye Grill
4940 Highway 61
Updates from Staff and Council


The Rice Street-Larpenteur Avenue Gateway Area Planning Committee held their second meeting on Thursday, April 20.  During the meeting the consultants conducted a visioning exercise on strengths and weaknesses in the area.  Then the three cities presented their Advisory Group members.  The Advisory Group will help guide the vision for the short- and long-term future of the area, and will be made up of 18 stakeholders including eight from St. Paul and five each from Maplewood.  Maplewood’s representatives include two residents, two businesses owners, and planning commission representation as follows:

Joseph Gould, 191 Larpenteur Avenue, Condo D
Joan Phillips, 1790 Jackson Street
Dennis Prachl, Western Insurance Agency,  1740 Rice Street, #200
Ty Haschig, Ty Haschig State Farm Agency, 1700 Rice Street, Suite N  
Planning Commission Members:  Allan Ige (Main Contact), John Eads (Alternate)

During the Planning Committee meeting, the group was also informed that the Rice Street-Larpenteur Avenue Gateway Area was selected for funding by ULI as part of the Building Healthy Places Initiative.  City staff worked with the ULI and submitted the grant application along with the St. Paul District Council in the area.  Here are some of the qualities that made our application stand out:
- Strong connections with and focus on health.  Partnerships with local health agencies.
- Commitment to social equity and the community.  Strategies to engage the local community and address health equity, especially among vulnerable populations, with prior work and existing partnerships with neighborhood-level organizations.
- Grounding in existing research and statistics; ability to measure benchmarks to track progress and measure impact over time.
- Clearly defined leadership role for the District Council in the project. 
- Strong partnerships with local governments, and clearly defined funding match.  
More details on the Building Health Initiatives grant funding and how it will be coordinated with the overall planning process will follow.  The next Planning Committee meeting is scheduled for May 18 at 3 p.m. at the St. Paul Regional Water’s Services building.   

Campus Clean Up: Several city employees participated in trash and other debris clean up on Wednesday. Lois and I were the proud finders of a very large (dead carp).

Housing and Economic Development Commission 
Thursday night’s meeting of the Housing and Economic Development Commission (HEDC) technically had to be cancelled due to a lack of quorum. A member who had previously stated they would be attending did not show up.  The meeting was never officially called to order and no actions or motions were entertained but staff did take the opportunity to walk through the items that had been prepared on the agenda for the meeting.  The members of the HEDC that were in attendance Thursday night were supportive of the city’s pursuit of purchasing the properties at 1160 and 1375 Frost Avenue.  The council will be considering a purchase agreement for 1160 Frost at its meeting this coming Monday.  The HEDC also reviewed the financial report that was submitted by Larkin Dance Studio regarding the city assistance loan that was issued in 2013 and a member volunteered to serve on the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. The HEDC members also discussed recent visits for the Business Engagement Program and the Maplewood Business Council.                                      


Here is a recap from Andy Gitzlaff of the pop-up event held at the MCC last night (Thursday) from 4-6:30 regarding the Rush Line project:

There was quite a bit of foot traffic, many were in a rush to get to a class or seminar so did not have much time to talk.  Team talked to about 30 people more in depth and handed out a lot of open house flyers.  Gave away some snacks and prizes for our quiz board, many kids stopped by the booth and parent(s) hung around to talk for a few minutes.

Here is a general recap of the feedback received…

Young family lives within ½ mile of Larpenteur Stop excited for Rush Line to be a new amenity for the community
People are interested about the connections to jobs in Maplewood, along Phalen and in downtown St Paul
For people who are aware of the alignment very pleased to hear that Bruce Vento Trail would remain within the corridor
One resident liked the ability to connect to Green Line at Region’s (not have to go all the way downtown first)
Questions about difference between BRT and LRT, how often the service will run and where the station stops will be located
Questions about whether there would be gates at intersections, barricades or fencing between guideway and trail
Most had a positive reaction to improving transit service in Maplewood
One person commented that no one rides the current system so why invest in improvements
One person commented that no one would want to go downtown St Paul after dark

Just a reminder that the Food Truck Wars are happening tomorrow from 10 – 6.  

They have 25 vendors plus The Doghouse is serving liquor and the Myth is providing music.  The mall shows a couple areas for eating and a kids area.

These are the vendors:  
9 Yum Yum
Asian Invasion
Bacon Me Crazy
Darn Good Foods
Del Sur Empanadas
El Jibarito Food Truck
Everything Apple
Free Indeed Food
Hometown Creamery
Icey Ice Cream
Jake's City Grille
KP Concessions
Nori’s Cuisine
Original Hockey Mom Brownies
Panini Pinups
Pharoah’s Gyros
R Taco
Randy's Premier Pizza
Sandy's Grill & Italian Ice
Sweet Dreams Concessions
Taste Buds
The Hickory Hog
Tot Boss
Up In Smoke
West Indies Soul Food
Also, just in case any concerns arise, tomorrow night is the Zamora’s indoor concert at Aldrich from 8:30pm1:30am.

Both should go smoothly and PD is aware of each one.

News From local sources and agencies :  Reference:  Gov. Dayton to hold water quality meeting in Maplewood on October 5th.  Reference:  Linked the Tweet by the PD about 4/20  Reference:  Not the usual news site – but once again the PD is getting attention for their social media posts!! (facebook) 

From Metro Cities: Wage/Paid Time Preemption Bill Passes Senate

On Thursday, the Senate voted 35-31 to pass HF 600-Miller, that prohibits local units of government from raising the minimum wage and setting local paid sick time policies. The bill is retroactive to January 2016, and thus would nullify sick and safe time ordinances passed by Saint Paul and Minneapolis. 

Sen. Jeremy Miller, the bill’s author had authored an amendment to the bill while it was in committee that removes the term ‘working conditions’, which was viewed as overly broad. There were no amendments to the bill as it was debated on the floor. Proponents argued that wage and paid time mandates must be decided at the state level to avoid patchwork laws and confusion for businesses, while opponents argued for the need to preserve local authority and decision making. While Metro Cities does not have specific policies on employment mandates, the organization opposes the bill because it restricts local decision making authority.

Governor Dayton, in a press conference Thursday, did not indicate whether he would veto or sign the bill. He said he has concerns with the bill and its preemption of local authority, but stated he had heard compelling arguments from both sides, and that he may be open to considering the bill within the context of negotiations on other bills. 

622 District Newsletter is attached. 

From the Met Council News:

The Legislature suggests dramatic and harmful cuts to regional transit
Comment now on potential transit fare increase
Represent St. Paul on the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission (MPOSC)
Metro Mobility service faces likely cuts/fare increase under house legislation
Transit at the Capitol
Proposed budget cuts will devastate Twin Cities transit if enacted

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