Blog module icon

All Blog

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

Jun 26

June 23, 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 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. 

Neighborhood Meeting to Discuss Next Steps for 2494 Harvester Property. June 27th from 6- 6:30 pm at Fire Station Number 1, 600 McKnight Road.

Meeting with Fitch & Associates- Fire Study: Here is the schedule for Mayor and Council appointments with Fitch and Associates. 
Wednesday, June 28          5:30 pm             Nora
Thursday,  June 29             8 am                  Bryan and Marylee
Thursday,  June 29             10 am                Kathy 

July 4th Light it Up- The Park and Rec staff have been responsible for organizing and leading the planning for this annual event. Please let me, Audra or Dewy know if you would like to help out with selling activity tickets. We will have a City Council tent set up for you to hang out and interact with our guests. 

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. 

Check out the articles from the local press covering many Maplewood activities. Content and links can be found at the end of this document.

Updates from Staff and Council

Fish Creek Ribbon Cutting Ceremony- The rain stopped just in time for our event last night. I would estimate we had 100 attendees including the 11 partners who helped with acquisition and funding. Ramsey County Commissioner Reinhardt and staff as well and Mayor Slawik and Council member Juenemann attended and spoke about the project. Local legislators, Kent, Lillie and Hawj were also in attendance Several of the residents that led the charge to make this open space acquisition happen were also present, including Char Wasiluk, our pioneer with the city open space initiative. It was a very special evening as we heard about all of the agencies, and volunteers that helped to make this happen. It is amazing to see what is possible when a group of people set their sights on something so important to our community. Special thanks to Dewey, Ginny, Audra and Ann and the many park and recreation staff that did the planning, set up and that was on hand to make sure this was a fantastic event.   

Movie Night- The Parks and Recreation Department held the first of two movie nights, at the Bruentrup Farm on June 20th. The movie shown was The Secret Life of Pets, which was chosen by the public through voting on our Parks & Recreation Facebook page.  Before the show, the capacity crowd enjoyed arts & crafts, temporary tattoo and crazy hair stations, the jump castle, and yard games.  Our attendees loved the petting zoo and concessions provided by the Historical Society. A big thank you to the folks at the Bruentrup Farm and the Historical Society for partnering with Parks & Rec on this fun family event! This was the first event of the year for our special event staff. They did a great job leading the activities and creating a fun and welcoming environment for all who attended the movie night. Look for them at the 4th of July celebration at Hazelwood.

Public Safety Director- I received the Background Investigative Reports on the 3 finalists today. I will review them this weekend. The Civil Service Commission will meet on Tuesday to review and approve the Background Investigation Reports. I plan on announcing my selection for appointment on Wednesday. We had 3 really great candidates so this will not be an easy decision. I would like to thank Terrie and Mike for organizing such a comprehensive and inclusive process. I also want to thank the City Council for sharing their impressions about the finalists. 

Meeting with Fitch & Associates- Fire Study- Staff and Council will be meeting with the consultants to hear about the preliminary data found in their Fire Service Study. Appointments/meetings will be held on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. We anticipate a formal presentation to the Council and the public at the end of August.
From School District 623 - On behalf of Superintendent Aldo Sicoli, I am writing to invite you and representatives from the seven communities we serve and Ramsey County to join Roseville Area Schools and other city managers/administrators, mayors, commissioners, council members, and state legislators to participate in our upcoming quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 19 from 7:30-9:00 a.m., at Harambee Elementary School (30 County Rd B E, Maplewood) in the Community Cultures room.  Our goal for these quarterly meetings is to partner with our local government to increase opportunities and success for students.

Our agenda for the meeting is as follows:
1.      Welcome and Introductions
2.      Sharing
3.      Roseville Area Schools Facilities Planning
4.      Harambee Elementary School
5.      Schedule next meeting
6.      Tour of Harambee Elementary School
Please feel free to forward this message to anyone who may be interested in attending.  If you or others are interested in joining this conversation, please contact me at 651-628-6452 or to let us know who will be attending.  Please give us a call if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Mechelle Allen
Executive Assistant
Office of the Superintendent
Roseville Area Schools
1251 County Rd B2 W
Roseville, MN 55113
Rice-Larpenteur Avenue Gateway Vision Planning 
It was another busy week for the Rice-Larpenteur Avenue Gateway Vision planning process.  The second public workshop was held on Wednesday night.  Twenty-three people attended the workshop, which was designed to summarize the results of workshop 1 and draft a design framework and themes.  

On Thursday the Planning Committee (elected officials and staff) met to review the workshop results.  The consultants summarized the main themes that surfaced from the workshops to include:  
Embrace and celebrate diversity
Improve connections
More sidewalks with green networks
Create pride
Improve connectivity
Build off strengths and improve aesthetic

From the summary came a draft vision to include connecting the Rice-Larpenteur area to McCarron’s Lake and embracing all other water elements including the surrounding wetlands, stream, St. Paul Regional Water Services history and facility, and improving on stormwater management.  Maplewood’s Living Streets policy and the Maplewood Mall stormwater improvements were both brought up as examples of improvements that could be made in the area.   

Next Steps:
Tuesday, June 27:  Community Advisory Committee (resident and business stakeholders) meeting to review workshops.    
Saturday, July 8:  Maplewood Rice-Larpenteur pop up meeting at the Rice Street Gardens.  
Monday, July 24:   Maplewood City Council workshop.  Consultants will be present during the workshop to details the progress on the planning process to date.  

For more info visit 
Maplewood Business Council Meeting
On Thursday morning the second Maplewood Business Council meeting was held at the Maplewood Mall.  Andy Gitzlaff from Ramsey County Regional Rail led a discussion on the proposed Rush Line project.  This coincided well with the council’s public hearing Monday regarding this project.  The business council meeting was another step in the city’s increasing efforts in engaging the Maplewood business community. The next Maplewood Business Council meeting will be on September 21 and will focus on the city’s comprehensive plan update. 

Census Meeting
This week staff met with Emily Carlson from the US Census Bureau to discuss the steps and process of the upcoming 2020 Decennial Census. At this meeting, strategies were identified to work with Ramsey County on ensuring addressing databases are correct and updated to help ensure a complete count.  The 2020 Decennial Census effort is important to Minnesota in terms of keeping the state’s eight congressional seats.  Over the next two years, staff will continue to work with US Census staff, Ramsey County and involve the council in efforts to promote the census effort in Maplewood. 

News From local sources and agencies :  Reference:  Ginny Gaynor – Fish Creek Grand Opening  Reference:  Kathy Juenemann, Melinda Coleman, Paul Schnell, Bryan Smith, Tou Xiong – Troubled house on Harvester Ave  Reference:  Fish Creek Opening   Reference:  Maplewood receives Step Five - Green Step Cities  Reference:  Fish Creek Trail grand opening info  Reference:  Quote from Chief Schnell
ultures and self-righteousness: Impressions from my freshman year in the Minnesota Legislature
June 20, 2017 - 6:36 PM | Star Tribune
The most important education I received on my journey to becoming a family physician came from on-the-job training in hospital corridors. My freshman year in the Minnesota Senate felt a lot like an internship within the hallowed halls of our State Capitol. I learned much, and not all of it was encouraging — memories of meaningful work are undercut by recollections of absurd amounts of wasted time and effort.
I was blessed to have good mentors on both sides of the aisle to help me navigate the Legislature, and here are seven lasting impressions:
1) Gov. Mark Dayton had a tough job negotiating with legislators because “sticking to his guns” did not necessarily accomplish anything and compromising could be perceived as vacillating. As discussions progressed, his desire to honor his ardent supporters probably collided with pledges made during hard-fought deliberations.
2) In choosing statesmanlike behavior over political posturing, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka had to deal with the risk of being perceived as weak or a “pushover.” He was anything but that — in fact, his quiet and respectful demeanor created avenues for dialogue previously absent.
3) Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt had the difficult task of building consensus among House Republicans in the midst of a restless combativeness that pervaded the last days of the session. Political jousting may have looked good in short-term skirmishes, but energy devoted to relationship-building can produce greater likelihood to get the work done.
4) Legislators were too willing to go into attack mode to build “political capital.” Vultures picking at roadkill have nothing over righteous politicians when it comes to targets such as the Metropolitan Council or the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. Sometimes we too easily see others as enemies.
5) When grandstanding exceeded thoughtfulness, bitterness tarnished the process. There was too much showmanship coming from all directions — legislators, staff, commissioners, lobbyists and even constituents. Nobody was blameless.
6) Republicans and DFLers both claimed the moral high ground, and this was laughable considering that such selfish declarations had little to do with reality but everything to do with the political sport of “messaging.”
7) I’m not sure how to fix our problems. Early deadlines and spending targets did not prevent another special session. The wee hours of the last night of the regular session found fatigued senators debating huge omnibus bills — a recipe for “less than our best.” And even though Dayton did sign our final budget bills, his frustration with the end results was painful to watch, and the uncertain outcome of defunding the Legislature reflects poorly on all our efforts.
How might we do better?
1) Senate floor discussions should actually have an impact on how we vote. Otherwise, raw partisanship will continue to deny Minnesotans what they want most: effective, efficient and transparent government.
2) The minority party must play a larger role than merely exercising tactics to obstruct the will of the majority.
3) The media should have as much access as possible to see what we do, because without their diligence, our state government would be less open to public scrutiny and a critical ingredient for accountability would be absent.
4) We should candidly and courageously discuss our differences of opinions without allowing political correctness to impede our search for solutions.
I am relieved that a biennial budget has been achieved without a state shutdown, but I expect future legislative sessions will continue to be driven by partisan self-righteousness and polarizing zealots.
Is there a pathway to make the Legislature the bright shining beacon that it might be? Do we need to throw all current elected officials out and start over? Would a statewide referendum on term limits help bring about some of the reform that needs to happen?
I am a rookie senator, and I’ve had the chance to look the enemy of good government straight in the eye — the enemy is all of us with our never-ending rants and demands and divisiveness. Together we must find a way to join forces to make common sense more common, political gamesmanship less prevalent, vulture-like behaviors less accepted and respectful disagreements part of our discourse.
We can do better.

From MLC- After budget veto, Minnesota Senate plans to shut down in July; House in September
From the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS: The Minnesota Senate plans to shut down in July and the House in September in response to Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of legislative funding, the Legislature told a district court Thursday. Last month, Dayton vetoed the $130-million, two-year budget for the Legislature in an attempt to bring lawmakers back to the negotiating table. The Legislature sued over the vetoes. The case will have its first hearing in Ramsey County District Court on Monday.

Rachel E. Stuckey
Legislative Coordinator
Direct:  651.556.9205
Fax:  651.228.9787

Enjoy the first weekend of summer! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments with this content or the Council Packet.

  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