2015_MplwdCity_ColemanM_4003rbw_web.jpg

City Manager Blog

Each week I send out an FYI Update to City Council and staff on the latest happenings within the City of Maplewood.  I would like to share this information with the residents of Maplewood, as well. 

Follow my blog if you would like to be kept up to date on the behind the scenes happenings within the City. 

Dec 05

December 2, 2022

Posted on December 5, 2022 at 8:30 AM by Chad Bergo

 

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK:  December 2, 2022

Meetings and Announcements:   

The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, December 12th. We will hold a public hearing on and then approve the 2023 Budget. In addition, the Reuter Walton Project is asking for several approvals. See additional notes under Community Development. 

  • There will be a closed session for the City Manager Annual Performance Review at 5:45. We will have food available at 5 pm.
  • At 6:30 pm we will host a reception in the lobby for out-going Council member Knutson in recognition of his service to the community. 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

New Director starting on Monday December 5th
Danette Parr will be joining our team on Monday. Watch for the Employee Announcement next week. The Community Development and Senior Management Teams are looking forward to welcoming her to the City. 

Reuter Walton’s Proposed Apartment Project – Updated Site Plan and Parking Comparisons
During the Council’s review of the proposed apartment project in Gladstone, staff presented an updated site plan and compared the project’s parking with other cities’ requirements. It was requested that this information be sent to the Council – see links below. This information has also been posted to the project page on the City’s website for the public to review. 

In addition, please note that we will not be continuing the public hearing/taking comments on this project at the Council meeting on December 12th. The hearing was closed and input was received from the Planning Commission (held two sessions of comments) and Design Review Board.

PUBLIC WORKS

Winter Maintenance Season
Winter maintenance season is upon us and it is off to a big start with roughly 8 inches of snow this week.  The Public Works crews did a great job plowing the roads on this event.  This winter season brings some new challenges for road plowing.  We are starting the season with two new employees and one position not yet filled.  There is a lot more to plowing then just having the right license.  It takes hands on experience and training to develop these skills.  Our two new employees are off to a great start.

With these staffing changes winter road maintenance may take longer to complete then in past years.  The good news is we have a group of very talented staff that are dedicated to providing high quality services to the public.  This can be seen by their performance with this first large snow event of the year.  

 

2022 Construction Season Wrap-up
The snow and cold has officially brought an end to the 2022 construction season. This year has been one of the more challenging ones for construction due to significant shortages in materials such as water main piping and concrete. In addition, staffing shortages throughout the construction industry slowed the process significantly. Even so, the majority of construction work on the 2022 projects was completed this season. Below is a brief summary of each project at the end of the season.

McMenemy Street Improvements
This project has had all of the utility work completed, the curb and gutter installed, and the first layer of pavement installed. Work being carried over until next spring includes the installation of a porous asphalt trail along the east side of McMenemy Street (Larpenteur to County Road B), the restoration of boulevard areas with sod or seed, and the installation of the final layer of pavement on the street.

Cope Avenue Improvements 
This project is mostly complete and included the significant narrowing of the street, the replacement of the water main system, and the installation of a sidewalk along the north side of Cope from English Street to White Bear Avenue. All project work is complete except the installation of sod and seed, which will occur in the spring of next year.

Gervais Area Pavement Rehabilitation
This project was completed this construction season and included the replacement of the pavement, spot replacement of deteriorated curbing, replacement of significant portions of the water main system, and the addition of a sidewalk on the north side of 11th Avenue from White Bear to Ariel Street. This was also a joint project with the City of North Saint Paul, as Ariel Street is a border between the two cities. The City will coordinate a walk-through in the spring of next year to address any warranty-type items that may show up over the winter.

Parkway Drive Improvements
This project included the installation of a new storms sewer force main, new water main, installation of new sidewalk, and pavement rehabilitation of Parkway Drive.  This is a joint project with Saint Paul Regional Water Services, and Ramsey County Public Works.  The work has been completed with the exception of boulevard restoration.  Sod and seed will installed in the spring of next year.

LOCAL NEWS

Maplewood Mall's new owners putting it up for auction in February

By Nicole Norfleet Star Tribune 

December 1, 2022 — 10:28am 

Maplewood Mall's owners, Nashville-based Brookwood Capital Advisors, plan to auction it off in early 2023, less than a year after buying it.

Bidding for the mall opens Feb. 13 and closes Feb. 15, according to an online auction listing. Bidding starts at $7.5 million.

This past June, Brookwood purchased the mall from Simon Property Group spinoff Washington Prime Group for $27.5 million. Washington Prime filed for bankruptcy in the midst of the pandemic. 

Brookwood worked to bring close to 30 new stores and kiosks to the mall in recent months. They include discount retailer Bin Mayhem, which opened last month, and nontraditional tenants such as a medical academy for those training to become phlebotomy technicians. 

The auction listing says the mall was 72% occupied as of Nov. 9. 

Last month, Brookwood executives confirmed that the mall was 90% to 95% occupied, including signed leases for tenants that hadn't moved in yet. Only four units were still vacant. This doesn't include the anchor tenants that are owned by separate entities, such as the empty Sears store, which has been vacant since 2018. 

The real estate listing also mentions "a proposed 287 apartments covering about 63% of the mall." However, the city has not received an official proposal for an apartment development.

The closest multifamily development project currently being reviewed by the city is for the closed Myth Live music venue directly northwest for the mall, which could possibly be demolished and replaced with about 240 apartments

While there has been a return to more in-store shopping, many Twin Cities malls this fall still had foot traffic that trailed pre-pandemic years. According to data firm Placer.ai, foot traffic at Maplewood Mall was down 12% in September compared with the same time in 2019.

This is the news for the week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with any information here or with the upcoming Council meeting. 

Enjoy the weekend. 

Melinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melinda Coleman
651-249-2055
Maximizer | Communication | Responsibility | Woo | Ideation
Nov 07

OCTOBER 31, 2022

Posted on November 7, 2022 at 8:57 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: OCTOBER 31, 2022 

Meetings and Announcements:   

  • The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, November 14th.  We will be considering approval of the Reuter Walton project.  We expect that there will be a large turnout from the neighborhood.
  • We had an EDA meeting scheduled at 6:30 to discuss the Reuter Walton TIF term sheet and project but after speaking with Mayor Abrams we realized that we should not talk about financing plans until we know if the project is approved. We will move the EDA meeting to the November 28thmeeting at 5:30 pm.
  • On November 28th we will also have a workshop at 6pm to discuss Purple Line engagement process. 

PUBLIC WORKS 
MnDOT Open House Meeting
On Thursday this week, MnDOT held an open house meeting for their upcoming Highway 5/Minnehaha Avenue and Stillwater Road Project. This project includes Minnehaha Avenue (from East 7th Street to McKnight Road) and Stillwater Road (from McKnight Road to Century Avenue). 

The project includes road resurfacing, sidewalk and trail repairs, tree removal and replacement, and traffic calming measures.  At the meeting MnDOT staff was available for questions, had project boards setup, and gave a presentation about the project.  Approximately 20 people from both Maplewood and St. Paul were in attendance.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023.
Hwy 5 St. Paul to Maplewood Project - MnDOT

County Projects

The following are a few quick updates about Maplewood Projects:

  • Gervais Avenue Project – Construction of the improvements were completed with the placement of the last layer of pavement
  • Cope Avenue Project – All concrete work has been completed!!!  The final layer of pavement is schedule to be placed next Monday (weather dependent).
  • McMenemy Road Project – The contractor continues to make progress on the project.  The base layer of pavement has been place from Larpenteur Avenue to Skillman Avenue (roughly ¾ of the project)  The last section, from Skillman Avenue to County Road B, is scheduled for the base layer paving next week.
  • Parkway Drive Improvements – The new storm sewer force main, concrete walk, and the mill and overlay of the north half of Parkway Drive have been completed.  The remaining work includes boulevard restoration and relocation of an existing fence.

PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Volunteers Remove Buckthorn Along Keller Parkway 

Volunteer Anita Jader led a group of four adults with three chainsaws to remove a massive amount of buckthorn along Keller Parkway, the morning of October 29. The buckthorn was overhanging the shoulder, used as a walking path by area residents.  Because the road is maintained by the county, Natural Resources Coordinator Carole Gernes acted as liaison to ensure pickup by Ramsey County Public Works.  A huge shout-out to these volunteers for helping to manage buckthorn in Maplewood!

Please note that Melinda is out of the office and will return on Monday, November 14th.   As a reminder, our offices will be closed in observation of Veteran’s Day on Friday, November 11, 2022.  

Enjoy the weekend!   -mike 

Oct 31

October 28, 2022

Posted on October 31, 2022 at 10:19 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: October 28, 2022

Meetings and Announcements:   
The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, November 14th.  We will be considering approval of the Reuter Walton project.  We expect that there will be a large turnout from the neighborhood.

We had an EDA meeting scheduled at 6:30 to discuss the Reuter Walton TIF term sheet and project but after speaking with Mayor Abrams we realized that we should not talk about financing plans until we know if the project is approved. We will move the EDA meeting to the November 28th meeting at 5:30 pm.

• On November 28th we will also have a workshop at 6pm to discuss Purple Line engagement process.

PARK AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Century College Service Learning Project at Edgerton Community Garden
October brought the end to the garden season at the Edgerton Community Garden.  Gardeners harvested their garden plants and cleared their plots.  Soon after, a group of Century College biology students working on their service learning project helped with year-end garden clean up.  Eight bright and inspiring college students and their two professors picked up trash, weeded, straightened the solarization plastic (in place to kill weeds), removed old signage, and other garden tasks during the two-hour service learning session.  Thank you to Century College and their students for their years of service projects in Maplewood! 

Soil Sampling
In the Spring, Ramsey County delivered a load of compost for gardeners at the Edgerton Community Garden.  They offer this service to community gardens and urban farms in the county.  This year some of the urban farms placed large amounts of the compost on their gardens.  The gardens proved unsuccessful as the compost was found to have high amounts of soluble salt.  To ensure soil health in the County, the University Minnesota Extension Service is now collaborating with the Ramsey/Washington Energy and Environment to offer soil testing to community gardens and urban farms that have received compost from their site.  This week Natalie Hoidal, Extension Educator, was collected soil samples from Edgerton Community Garden.  She will test the soil for pH, texture, phosphorus, potassium, and soluble salt levels.  The results will be shared with the gardeners and a webinar will be held to discuss what they are seeing in the gardens across the County.  Ramsey County Master Gardeners will be available to work with gardeners on a soil health plan for the gardens. 

4H Program Partnership Update
Parks and Natural Resources is excited to grow our partnership with Ramsey County 4H by hosting a number of their nature/outdoor based learning experiences on site at the Nature Center. These classes are for grades K-5 and held on ISD 622 school out days from 9am-12pm. The first class, “Nature Journals and Sensory Tour” was held on Friday October 21 and the kids had a blast! We are looking forward to the next session on November 8th that will focus on fishing and the aquatic food chain.

• Program Registration Link: https://maplewoodmn.gov/971/Program-Events?fbclid=IwAR0wY-Ex2nsuPA4P8B8Dso3yA41X6rsybeV66ZLwL767dLZhyvcJaz4OoY0

• Ramsey County 4H Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/RamseyCounty4H/posts/pfbid0W2x5cXUswRVNb2cXFTuFTSHR9LpfAto7Nxx2gGHBtmx2ExCEpCokZfgpJ8fmPEuDl

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT"
Potential Townhome Development on 11th Avenue – ***Open House Date Change***
In last week’s FYI, information was relayed regarding Kennedy Property Development’s proposal to amend the comprehensive plan for the vacant parcel of property located on 11th Ave in Maplewood – north of Cub Foods – from Commercial to High-Density Residential. The planned open house is going to be held one week later than originally planned and will now be on Friday, November 4, 2022, from 4-8 p.m. at 4165 Old Sibley Memorial Hwy in Eagan. Attendees will have the opportunity to walk through and tour an existing project the applicant developed. 

IN THE NEWS
Maplewood City Council withdraws support for Purple Line City wants more community engagement, data on public transit. By Janet Moore (https://www.startribune.com/janet-moore/6370516/) Star Tribune OCTOBER 25, 2022 — 5:40PM The Maplewood City Council has withdrawn its support for the proposed Purple Line bus-rapid transit project until more study can be done to determine the city's best public transit option. Monday's vote, which was unanimous, came after council members raised questions (https://www.startribune.com/maplewood-considers-withdrawing-support-for-bus[1]rapid-transit-line/600214627/?refresh=true) in the past month about the route of the Purple Line through the city and whether the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed ridership patterns on public transportation, given the rise of remote work. 10/27/22, 10:18 AM Maplewood City Council withdraws support for Purple Line https://www.startribune.com/maplewood-city-council-withdraws-support-for-purple-line-seeks-more-time-to-study-transit-options/600218763/ 2/4 Mayor Marylee Abrams said that while she supports public transit, "The question is, what transit do we need? We need to figure that out. We need data. I haven't seen any data at all." The resolution adopted by the City Council calls for the Purple Line's timeline to be extended to allow further community engagement. It was unclear how the Maplewood vote might affect the future of the Purple Line; consent among cities served by the line isn't needed to build such a project. Formerly called the Rush Line, the Purple Line has been in the works for two decades. It was initially planned to link the downtowns of St. Paul and White Bear Lake, via St. Paul's East Side, Maplewood, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake and White Bear Township. The project has an estimated price tag of $475 million, to be paid for with federal and Ramsey County funding. But earlier this year, White Bear Lake withdrew its support for the 15-mile line. Now, planners with the Metropolitan Council, which will build and operate the line, are looking at three possible options for the line's northern terminus: the Maplewood Mall Transit Center; Vadnais Heights, near County Road E or Willow Lake Boulevard; or Century College (https://www.startribune.com/purple-line-bus-rapid-transit-could-stop[1]at-century-college/600185464/) , which straddles White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi. Link to article below.

https://www.kare11.com/article/money/economy/maplewood-withdraws-support-for-purple-line-seeks-post-pandemic-ridership-data/89-d064f680-ec72-4526-9725-c66764330aa3 

Please also note that city offices will be closed on Friday, November 11th in observation of Veteran’s Day.

Melinda