Meetings and Announcements
• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on February 8th, 2021. We will not have a workshop prior to this meeting.
• At the meeting on February 22nd we will have a workshop on the Ponds Project. The consultants, Perkins and Will, will provide an update on the Engagement Process and get input from the City Council. We will have an update on the construction of the new North Fire Station at the Council meeting.
Updates from Staff and Council
Senate Testimony on North Fire Station
Mayor Abrams and Chief Mondor testified before the Senate Tax Committee on Thursday morning. They were requesting that the Legislature support a special sales tax exemption for certain construction materials. If approved, the city would save approximately $500,000 on the overall costs of the project. The new station construction will start this spring. The Hazelwood station will be demolished and the new station will be built on that site. During the construction, Fire/EMT staff will be re-located to the Gladstone station.
Nature Center and Parks and Recreation Programming Task Force update.
At the January 25th City Council meeting, the City Council adopted the reports from the two Task Forces and directed staff to develop a plan moving forward. The plan is to invite task force members to volunteer for “working groups” where appropriate so we don’t lose the momentum from the sessions.
• Staff met to identify the 3-4 immediate next steps to continue moving forward. As you know, staff have been continuing to maintain the facilities and assets to their normal and customary status, which was a short-term goal of each task force.
• Staff have already met with YMCA staff on their plans for spring, summer, and fall programs. • • The YMCA is planning, at a minimum, five sessions for youth sports at 8-weeks each, summer camps, and expanded tennis programs into Maplewood in partnership with the White Bear Lake YMCA.
Here’s a high-level summary of the next steps for each:
Parks and Recreation Task Force
• Communicate changes of programs to the public via Maplewood Living, website, and social media posts. Emphasis on partnerships with other cities and identify where residents can find these services elsewhere.
• Develop agreement with YMCA on youth athletics programs and services in 2021
Host meeting of communications and parks staff of neighboring cities to coordinate information sharing, outreach, and registration
• Develop inventory of assets that are searchable by feature, including mapping features similar to Go Ramsey: http://www.goramsey.org/
• Develop Joint Powers Agreement templates for schools, YCMA, and associations
Nature Center Task Force
• Establish working groups to help coordinate next steps and follow through
• Get cost estimates for ADA accessibility upgrades for Nature Center building
• Schedule coordination meeting with Watershed District to discuss environmental education initiatives
• Schedule joint sessions with regional nature centers on what educational programming might be available in the short-term
• Holding information session with Maplewood Area Historical Society to provide updates
Little Free Library
A family that lives near Vista Hills Park built a portable Little Free Library to put in the park. Sadly, it was vandalized but instead of removing it, the park maintenance crew took it back to the shop, did repairs and permanently installed it in the park. We are happy to say that it is once again open for business!
Update Deer Management (from Carole Gernes)
Sharpshooting for deer at Applewood and Carver may start this week. Baiting began last week. The USDA staff agreed to give us more than 24 hours’ notice before beginning removal. I will give you a heads-up when activities start and when closed barriers need to be set up. Please see the paragraphs below for general information. Thank you for your help with this important program.
Deer management activities planned for southeast Ramsey County
Saint Paul, Maplewood and Ramsey County are partnering on deer management south of I-94 this winter, pursuant to the 2020-2021 Ramsey County Deer Management Program. In this area, the current deer population exceeds the amount of sustainable deer habitat, which may result in an unhealthy, stressed herd. Overpopulation of deer also results in damage to ornamental and garden plants, high rates of deer/vehicle collisions, and damage or excessive browsing to native trees, shrubs and plants. During January-April of 2021, deer management activities will be accomplished in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Wildlife Services division. All deer removed in this program will be donated to underserved residents of Ramsey County in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Wildlife Services sharpshooters will be operating on or adjacent to public lands where permission from affected landowners has been obtained. The management locations have been selected with safety for firearms discharge as the number one priority. Wildlife Services will coordinate their activities with local law enforcement. Control activities will take place primarily after dark, utilizing special precautions including the use of night and thermal vision equipment. The removal program will cost approximately $15,000 and is being funded jointly by the Ramsey County, the City of Maplewood, and the City of Saint Paul.
NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS/PAPERS
https://www.startribune.com/mental-health-worker-to-partner-with-maplewood-police/600018172/ Reference: Mayor Marylee Abrams, Fire Chief Michael Mondor, Public Safety Director Scott Nadeau
https://www.startribune.com/hy-vee-adding-two-full-service-twin-cities-stores-this-year/600017984/ Reference the Maplewood Store on White Bear Avenue
These are the reports for this week. Stay warm this chilly weekend and as always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns.