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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. 

Jun 20

June 17, 2022

Posted on June 20, 2022 at 8:12 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: June 17, 2022 

Meetings and Announcements:   
The next regular City Council Meeting will be on June 27th and will begin at 7 pm.  The Workshop will begin at 5:50 and the agenda will include the preliminary review of the 2023-2027 CIP and the Review of the Fire/EMS Study and Staffing Plan. 

I am working with Chief Mondor to select a date for the Fire Station grand opening. We had been waiting on confirmation for the installation of doors. The installation will occur in the next couple of weeks. We are looking at setting the Opening for the weeks of July 18th or 25th. I will coordinate with Mayor Abrams and let you know where we land on the date and time.

 

ADMINISTRATION
Employee Announcement from today- 6-17-22

Good afternoon everyone. I have several updates for today.

First, I wanted to announce some lunch and learn opportunities. On July 20th we will meet in the Council Chambers to watch a TED talk from Simon Sinek. The title of the talk is “Most Leaders don’t even know the game they are in”. It is one of the best I’ve seen. Mr. Sinek is a great thinker and speaker. He has a bold goal to help build a world in which people wake up every day feeling inspired, feel safe at work, and feel fulfilled at the end of the day. We will meet from 11:30 to 12:30 on July 20th. Please email me if you are interested in attending. I will then send out calendar invites. Remember to let your Supervisor know that you will be attending.

Second, I am planning a book club lunch and learn for October. Date to be determined later. The book chosen is Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.  Here is an excerpt from Amazon. You might consider getting this as an audible book as he is an amazing speaker.

The inspirational best seller that ignited a movement and asked us to find our why.

Discover the book that is captivating millions on TikTok and that served as the basis for one of the most popular TED Talks of all time - with more than 56 million views and counting. Over a decade ago, Simon Sinek started a movement that inspired millions to demand purpose at work, to ask what was the why of their organization. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, and these ideas remain as relevant and timely as ever.

Third, Maplewood wrapped up its third Lead Academy class Thursday, with participants discussing which portions of the course had been most valuable to their professional development.  The class members are Ashley Bergeron, Brent Buckley, Nick Danley, Brad Davison, Christine Evans, Michael Hoemke, Meghan Janaszak, Jason Kuchenmeister, Ken Powers, Mike Renner, Jennifer Stanley, Tyler Strong and Ron Westlund.

Creating connections, enhancing professional development

Overall those who participated in LEAD Academy say it’s helpful to be in class with staff from other City Departments. They felt they were able to make real connections with people they wave to at city events. The main course in which everyone seemed to find the most valuable was Budgeting 101. Participants say they were able to take a step out of their own department’s needs and consider all of the other services the city provides and how they’re funded.

“LEAD opens your mind to how the city operates and actually helps you be more successful in your role,” says Christine Evans, Deputy City Clerk and LEAD Academy class member.

“I learned a lot about myself as a leader,” says Detective Ashley Bergeron, another LEAD Participant. “It was interesting to see how the city operates beyond the police department.”

We are processing this classes evaluation of LEAD and working on scheduling the next session. If you are interested, please let your supervisor know and keep an eye out for the next course registration.

Last item, Participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run

Join a great cause and get in your miles. The Public Safety Department is hoping for a good citywide showing for Maplewood’s stretch of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. After we pass the torch, it will continue on until it enters the Minnesota Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies. If you’re interested in participating, please reach out to Officer Katherine Lynch; katherine.lynch@maplewoodmn.gov. Learn more about the run.

I hope you will consider participating in a community event this summer and/or attend one of the up-coming lunch and learns. I will also be scheduling a lunch and learn on Strengths. Stay tuned for more info.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend. - Melinda

PUBLIC SAFETY
National Night Out Info

To register you party for National Night Out go to: Maplewoodmn.gov/nnosignup  or click the following link. 

https://gisapps.maplewoodmn.gov/NNO_2022/

The announcement has run on various Maplewood social media sites last week. It’s also on the front page of the website.  It will run in July Living.

PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
TOUCH A TRUCK 2022

After a two year COVID hiatus, Maplewood Parks and Natural Resources staff were excited to host the Celebrate Summer Touch a Truck event, on Wednesday June 15th at the YMCA/MCC. We want to give a huge thank you to Public Safety, Public Works, our partners, sponsors and City volunteers for helping make the event a huge success!

Upon arrival, attendees were greeted by the smell of grilled hotdogs before partaking in all of the other event activities. We had lots of cool vehicles from Public Safety, Public Works, and Parks, along with a school bus, Ramsey County swat vehicle (Bearcat), trash and recycle trucks, 18ft Escalade limo and an ice cream truck which is donating 10% of proceeds to the Maplewood Youth Scholarship fund.

Other activity stations included vehicle themed temporary tattoos, Krazy Hair Spray, bounce castle, yard games, 3M Visiting Wizards and a nature craft/activity station. In addition, we had booths from Ramsey County Public Health, GoGo SqueeZ, City and County Credit Union and the YMCA all providing free activities, “swag” or product to our attendees.

A special thanks to the Parks Commission for hosting the Parks and Natural Resources booth! They gave out the always popular construction hats, stickers and candy and talked with attendees about upcoming city happenings. 

We are looking forward to the next Celebrate Summer event on July 27th at Afton Heights Park!

RAISING CANE’S FUNDRAISER – Maplewood Youth Scholarship Fund

Maplewood Parks and Natural Resources is “raising funds with Raising Cane’s” on Tuesday June 21st from 5-9pm. Anyone mentioning the fundraiser at checkout will have 15% of their sale donated to the Maplewood Youth Scholarship Fund. This is the first of two summer fundraising drives with the other scheduled for August 16th.

The youth scholarship fund allows us to pay 2/3rd of the programming fee for qualifying Maplewood residents. We have been using these funds toward the RevSports program offerings.

PUBLIC WORKS
Gervais Area Project

Work within the Gervais Area Pavement Rehabilitation project began on May 31st. The Contractor has removed and replaced deteriorated portions of the concrete curb and gutter throughout the portion of the project west of White Bear Avenue. Watermain replacements have also begun along Ariel Street south of 11th Avenue along our border with North Saint Paul. Those replacements will continue over the next few weeks. Material shortages and delays have impacted the project schedule. The portion of the project west of White Bear Avenue will sit mostly idle until late July at which time it is expected that ductile-iron piping and storm sewer structures will become available. Until that time, the contractor will be leaving the existing pavement in-place and maintaining the site to reduce the projects impact on area property owners. Overall the project remains on track to be completed this construction season. 

LOCAL NEWS

https://www.twincities.com/2022/06/09/citing-lack-of-density-ramsey-county-rejects-rice-creek-commons-development-agreement-between-alatus-arden-hills/  More on the standoff on the TCAP property. 

Have a great weekend everyone. As always, please call if you have any questions or concerns .

Melinda

Jun 06

June 3, 2022

Posted on June 6, 2022 at 10:28 AM by Chad Bergo

Meetings and Announcements:   

 

The next regular City Council Meeting will be on June 13th and will begin at 7 pm.  We will not have a workshop on the 13th but will have two items for the workshop on the 27th. The agenda will include the preliminary review of the 2023-2027 CIP and the Review of the Fire/EMS Study and Staffing Plan. We will likely need to start the workshop at 5:30 pm.

 

ADMINISTRATION

Employee Message Sent Today

Happy Friday everyone. Please check out these wonderful  videos curtesy of our amazing communications team. Watch the videos from the two great events recently- the Employee Appreciation Event and the new MAP program. I would also like to welcome our two new employees- Michael Skara and Adam Suedkamp.  You can read more about them in the info below. Please help welcome them to Maplewood.


We continue to be challenged with recruitment and hiring in many departments but we are making sure that all of new hires fit our culture and high standards for delivering the best public services. I am so proud of the great work all of you do on behalf of the city and happy to be a part of it all.

Thanks for all you do and have a great weekend.

Melinda


Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.03.55 AM
Now premiering: Maplewood’s first annual trivia competition

A few weeks back, the city organized a trivia competition as part of the employee recognition event. Those being honored teamed up to see who could answer the most questions about events and facts from each of the years they joined the City.  It took communications a few weeks to get the final video version edited. Click the video link to watch and/or play along.

https://maplewoodmn.sharepoint.com/sites/NewsCenter/SitePages/Now-premiering--Maplewood%E2%80%99s-first-annual-trivia-competition.aspx

 

Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.05.51 AMMichael Skara joins Maplewood Fire-EMS

Many aspects of Maplewood Fire-EMS attracted Michael Skara to the job, especially the opportunity to work for a full service fire and EMS department. He says it’s great working for a motivated and progressive department always looking towards the future. He’s intrigued at the level of public education and community outreach. 

 

Learn more about Michael: https://maplewoodmn.sharepoint.com/sites/NewsCenter/SitePages/Get-to-know-our-newest-Firefighter,-Michael-Skara.aspx

 

Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.06.58 AMOfficer Suedkamp enjoying the action at Maplewood Police

Higher call volumes, more complex cases, and a chance to interact with the community attracted Officer Adam Suedkamp to the Maplewood Police Department from the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, where he spent seven years… Officer Suedkamp  grew up in Oakdale and attended Maplewood Middle School. In his free time, he enjoys running, reading and spending time with his 12-year-old son.

 

Learn more about Adam: https://maplewoodmn.sharepoint.com/sites/NewsCenter/SitePages/Officer-Suedkamp-joins-Maplewood-Police.aspx

 

 

Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.07.18 AMMaplewood Ambassadors Program begins

Maplewood recently started an ambassadors program, pairing seasoned employees with new staff to help set them up for success. There are many great benefits of working for the city so we’ve designed this program to help folks get acclimated to the city over time. In addition new employees will get a first-hand look at city budgeting and how each of the department’s operate. Doing this helps cut down on the silos of working across several buildings. 

Watch the video to learn more: youtube.com/watch?v=waa0ydPukdY

 


PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Urban Roots Pollinator in the Park Program

Four years ago Maplewood’s partner Urban Roots planted native plants at the 1.5-acre native seed garden at Harvest Park.  The plants are now mature enough to begin harvesting the seeds this fall for native plant restoration projects.  Urban Roots Youth Group offered a Pollinator in the Park program at the garden last week, May 24. Attendees were able to purchase native plants from the pop up sale and receive tips on planting and maintaining the native plants for our pollinators.  The City was also able to video tape a native planting demonstration by the Urban Roots Youth Group for future social media post.  Look for two more events at the native seed garden this year including plant identification and bird watching on July 23 and seed harvesting on September 27.  

 

Woodbury Senior High - Senior Service Day 

Woodbury Senior High holds an annual Service Learning Day for graduating seniors. Students choose from a variety of local organizations or charities and volunteer for 3 hours. This year, three seniors joined Parks and Natural Resources staff to pick up litter in and around Legacy Park in north Maplewood. Eight large garbage bags of trash were removed from around the pond and behind Birch Run Station. A huge thank you to Woodbury High seniors for their hard work and to teacher Bobby Nunn for coordinating this valuable service!

 

Maplewood City Hall Campus Restoration Update

Non-Profit Great River Greening hired Rock Leaf Water Environmental to work on turf conversion to Prairie Pollinator habitat and they have been busy the past two weeks.

Progress to date includes:

•           Great River Greening, Rock Leaf Water Environmental and Natural Resources Coordinator Carole Gernes met to orient contracting staff to the site on Thursday, May 26.  Educational signage was placed around the restoration areas.

•           Rock Leaf staff began herbicide treatments to begin the lawn replacement process that day.

•           Great River Greening and Carole approved the seed mix selection this week.

•           Keep your eyes open for upcoming planting activities north of the main City Hall Parking lot!

 

Maplewood Spring Clean Up Comparisons FYI

Following is a comparison of Spring Clean Ups (2022, 2021, 2019).  Components of the appliances, electronics, and mattresses, and the tires and metal get recycled.  The bikes and small engines get refurbished and reused.  The clothing is reused.  All materials that cannot be recycled or reused are brought to the Ramsey-Washington Recycling and Energy Center where it is sorted for possible recycled products (large metals) then made into fuel for energy.   

 

 

Materials Collected

2019

2021

2022

Appliances (#) 

102

126

141

Attendance (# of vehicles)

432

386

367

Bicycles Collected for Reuse (#)

64

60

38

Food Shelf Donation (lbs) 

149

243

95

Food Shelf Donation ($)

$30

$467

$645

Garbage /MSW/Construction (Tons)

28.51

37.07

32.25

Mattresses Recycled (#)

98

216

139

Metal (Tons)

6.98

8.51

7.48

Small Engines – lawn mowers, etc. (#)

55

73

61

Televisions/Monitors (#)

136

224 

194

Tires (#)

25

249 

155

Used Clothing (lbs)

573

515

350

 

Edgerton Community Garden Educational Programs 

The Edgerton Community Garden is great space to offer educational programming for gardeners and the elementary students located just next store at Edgerton Elementary School.  Three educational programs were held in May including a garden art program and a native planting/Little Library grand reopening program with Mr. Wallin’s 6th grade class.  In addition, Ramsey County Master Gardeners visited the garden and conducted a demonstration garden planting, and answered questions of the gardeners.  

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Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.08.30 AM


PUBLIC WORKS

MnDOT Highway 36 Project Update

There has been a change to MnDOT’s construction schedule.  There will be no weekend closing of Highway 36 until June 24th.  On the weekend of June 24th through June 26th it is anticipated that eastbound Highway 36 to I-694 will be closed.  I will provide an update later as we get closer to these dates or if the schedule changes.

For more information about the project, please see MnDOT’s project website listed below.

https://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy36littlecanada-stillwater/index.html

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MCC Stair Repair

The concrete stairs that connect the MCC upper parking lot to the sidewalk along White Bear Avenue was in need of repair.  The old handrail had rusted through and the stairs had a major settlement which had created a trip hazard.  The steps have been closed for these safety reasons.

 

Public Works coordinated with a contractor to have the stairs removed and replaced and new handrails installed.  The sidewalk at the bottom and top of the stairs were also replaced to fix uneven panels.  Additionally, Public Works crews rerouted a storm roof drain away from the stairs to help keep this area from being saturated and minimize future frost settlements.  This pedestrian connection to the MCC is now back open for use.

 

            Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 10.08.59 AM     

 

Cope Ave and Gervais Ave Update

The construction season is underway! The Cope Avenue and Gervais Area Improvement projects have begun. Curb and pavement removals have begun on the Gervais Area project, with water main replacements beginning next week. Gas main replacements are underway along Cope Avenue, with water main and storm sewer work beginning in the next couple of weeks. Most of the materials for the project have been secured and it is anticipated that the projects will be completed during this construction season.

 

The City views our commercial businesses as assets to the community. Given the amount of commercial businesses in both project areas, proactive business communication is critical for a successful project. City staff have contacted all business owners in the project areas by phone as well as by visiting each business. Things discussed during these meetings included business hours of operation, timing of deliveries, garbage and recycling pickup times, access needs, and establishing lines of contact should issues arise. We will continue to work with area property owners throughout construction to minimize the impact of the project on their business.

 

 

Have a great weekend everyone. As always, please call if you have any questions or concerns .

Melinda

May 31

May 23, 2022

Posted on May 31, 2022 at 9:55 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: May 23, 2022

Maplewood Middle School Be the Match Fundraiser Run

In March we were approached by a teacher at Maplewood Middle School that was setting up a fundraiser run for their principal who was diagnosed with cancer. After speaking with her, we provided them with event planning support by sharing the Gateway Trail route Parks used in past Rec Run Events, contacts with other necessary entities, provided barricades, cones, picnic tables for set up, and recommendations from previous experience. We were happy to be able to provide support for this event! Below is a note from the teacher about the event and a picture.

 From Ashley Rome (Maplewood Middle School): Earlier this year the principal of Maplewood Middle School, Eric Mjolsness, was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Eric is an inspirational leader so we wanted to host a 5k to honor him and his fight with cancer and to raise money for Be The Match. With the help of so many wonderful individuals and organizations, including Maplewood parks and rec and the Maplewood PD, we were able to have a successful event with over 200 people in attendance and raised over $11,000 with all proceeds going to Be The Match.

 

2022 Arbor Day Tree Sale

The City of Maplewood partnered with Tree Trust, a local non- profit, for our fourth annual Arbor Day Tree Sale. Tree Trust received tree orders, emailed confirmations, provided pickup directions, pickup signage and handed out tree planting and care manuals for each resident. 

Residents were limited to two trees per address. Each tree ordered came with a bag of mulch. One hundred fifty trees were ordered and delivered, including a Honeycrisp apple tree won by resident Liz Jefferson won at our Arbor Day event!

Tree Trust staff coordinated delivery of trees and mulch to Maplewood Public Works on Thursday, May 19, and provided staff and volunteers for each pickup event. Residents were able to pick up their order on Saturday, May 21 from 9:00am- Noon or Monday, May 23 from 5:00pm-7:00pm.

Pickup ran like a well-oiled machine! Trees were arranged in assembly-line fashion by species, making it easy to direct the residents through the garage.  Many of the trees we received were much larger than expected. Staff placed trees into vehicles with care, ensuring that trees were packed well with mulch bags to avoid damage during transport.

Thank you to Tree Trust and their volunteers, Public Works and Parks staff for their hard work making the 2022 Arbor Day Tree Sale a success!

 

Spring Clean Up

We had a successful Spring Clean Up on Saturday May 21 at Aldrich Arena. Thank you to all of the City employees, City Council, and volunteers at the event. Following is a sampling of the number vehicles and materials collected at the event. A more detailed report with a comparison from previous years will be included in next week’s FYI.  

  • Vehicles:  367
  • Mixed Solid Waste:   32.25 Tons
  • Metal:  7.48 Tons
  • Construction & Demolition:  2.87 Tons
  • Tires:  155
  • Mattresses/Box Springs:   139
  • Electronics:  194
  • Appliances:  141
  • Clothes:  350 pounds
  • Small Electronics:  61
  • Bikes:  Not yet reported.

 

Maplewood Ambassadors Program (MAP) 

This week we officially launched our MAP program for new employees.  MAP is intended to provide an overview on our community, our form of government, our culture and the unique aspects of our staff and sense of place.   New hires participated in department tours where they were able to see first-hand the elements of each department, meet department representatives and better understand the aspects of being a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation.  The best element of MAP, however is the mentorship of pairing existing employees with new hires.  As a MAP mentor, existing employees will be checking in with their mentee to ensure that things are going well.  Thanks to all those who participated! 

As we move into the Memorial Day weekend, our thoughts are with those who served or are serving in the military.  We hope you are able to enjoy the weekend with family and loved ones!