COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: October 9th 2020
Meetings and Announcements:
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, October 12th. We will hold the public hearings on three street projects at this meeting. The Wood Springs Hotel will also be back for approval. According to Jeff Thomson, the owners have made significant changes since the first Council review.
Here are the updates from various departments below.
Updates from Staff and Council:
YMCA / Maplewood Fresh Food Distribution
In April, the USDA announced the Farmers to Families Food Box Program to help farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the impact of the pandemic. The USDA has approved contracts to suppliers for meat, produce, and dairy packaging and distribution to food banks, nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
The food we will be receiving is from an organization called NYSUM and CityServe International. They deliver food to locations through the Farmers to Families USDA Food Box Program. Maplewood has been selected to receive 1 truckload of boxed produce and boxed dairy items on October 15th, 22nd and 29th. We will receive 1000-1400 boxes of food to provide to anyone in the community each week. The Semi trucks will arrive at 9:00am, we will unload the trucks to our parking lot and have food distribution in our parking lot from 10:00am-12:00pm.
This is a wonderful opportunity for community outreach and engagement. Scott Nadeau and Joe Sheeran are coordinating with staff from across the organization to help with distribution. Direct outreach to our multi-family housing communities will begin next week and we expect to have more information from YMCA staff as we get closer. Thank you to the Steve Love, Bryan Nagel and the Public Works Team for coordinating a forklift and pallet jack to help with unloading the semi-trailer.
Coat Drive – YMCA Partnership
Please see the attached flier for information on the upcoming Winter Coat Drive. We will be partnering with ISD 622, ISD 623, the YMCA and non-profits to collect and distribute donated winter coats. The plan is to begin collecting coats in the next few days through October 30th. Thanks to Chief Mondor and the Public Safety Team for their work.
Parks and Recreation and Nature Center Task Forces
The two appointed Task Forces met again to dive deeper into the operations of each area. The members have been highly engaged and are focusing on the core areas for developing a recommendation for 2021 and beyond. The next meetings will center on surrounding communities and what they offer and/or what is their service delivery model.
Ramsey County League of Local Governments – Mental Health in our Communities
The RCLLG met on October 9th to discuss how in these uncertain and stressful times, citizens across all ages and demographics are struggling with mental health issues, which in turn challenges the services cities, schools and the county government provides. The Ramsey County League of Local Governments (RCLLG) is coming together as an organization to collectively address this issue. A first step in that effort is to share information and discuss possible collective solutions.
Leaders at the Northeast Youth and Family Services (NYFS), the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative (SRFC), Ramsey County Children's Mental Health Collaborative (RCCMHC) and Ramsey County Public Health and Social Services participated. They will be sharing information about the issues and collaborative strategies that can be used to support people in crisis as well as prevention strategies.
Sandy Lake Neighborhood
St. Paul Regional Water Services sent a newsletter to the Sandy Lake neighborhood regarding their operations at the Sandy Lake site. The newsletter is attached.
This fall Menards will be demolishing the six single-family homes on County B that will be incorporated into the redevelopment of their site on Maplewood Drive. The construction of the new store is anticipated to begin in spring 2021 which is the same timeline that they originally provided to the city.
The Finance Department will be interviewing for the accountant position next week. The position has been open since March, so we are very excited about getting it filled. The position was left open for 9 months to help with budget pressures this year. Six applicants will be given a Zoom interview on Tuesday, when we will narrow it down to two or three finalists. Final interviews will be scheduled in person after the initial interviews. A start date of early November is expected, just in time to start preparation for the annual audit.
New Walkup Line is Open at the DMV
The new walk-up line was opened unofficially on Friday. A total of 92 additional customers were served on that day. An additional 234 have been served this week up to noon on Friday, with an expected total of over 250 for this week. In addition, the DMV served an extra 15 driver’s license customers that did not have an appointment. The walkup service has allowed the City to bring in over $2,000 more in revenue in the first week. A special thanks to all the DMV staff for the excellent customer service that they have always provided. This is a high-risk position, in terms of the pandemic, and the staff have always been more than willing to serve any and all customers that come to the door.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Parks and Recreation Department
Park Maintenance has recently completed an expansion on the hockey rink at Afton Park. At only 98ft, the original rink was significantly smaller than the average outdoor rink. There were several large ash trees in the area that had to be removed as part of our ongoing Emerald Ash Borer removal program. Because of this, it opened up a large area to the north of the rink that allowed for the rink to be extended an additional 32ft. The users of this rink will love having more space to skate this winter. In addition to the extended skating surface, safety netting will also be installed on the north end of the rink to prevent pucks from crossing into or over the walking trail.
These are the reports for this week. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. Thank you.