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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. 

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Mar 08

March 5, 2021

Posted on March 8, 2021 at 10:27 AM by Chad Bergo

COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: March 5th, 2021

 

Meetings and Announcements:  

 

The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday, March 8th with start time of 7 pm.

At the meeting on March 8th we will have a closed session at the end of the regular meeting to discuss two items: First we will discuss the sale of city-owned properties at 2501 Londin La E, 1375 Frost Ave, and 1160 Frost Ave. The second item is to review potential litigation and consideration of a settlement.

Updates from Staff and Council:

 

ADMINISTRATION

News from Xcel Energy

Good morning community and chamber leaders:

As you’ve likely heard, the extreme cold that accompanied Winter Storm Uri substantially increased demand for natural gas and electricity, which resulted in a dramatic short-term increase in prices for both home heating and producing electricity throughout the country. While Xcel Energy has policies in place to hedge natural gas prices to reduce the impact of price surges, which reflects good operating practices, we are not immune from the extraordinary spikes in cost that occurred this month. While we do not expect this price increase to affect our customers’ electric bills, it will impact natural gas heating bills, but the extra costs will be spread over a year or perhaps longer.  We will work closely with regulators to find ways to minimize bill impacts.

In the last update, I shared a milestone reached regarding energy production from wind.  Since then, we have reached another clean energy milestone – we have cut emissions 54% in the region from our 2005 baseline. This is a fitting end to 2020, where the company saw a record 20% reduction in emissions in the region from 2019.  That’s a reduction of approximately 3.3 million tons of carbon emissions.  This is good news, placing us at the leading edge of a positive industry trend.  The U.S. electric power sector has reduced carbon emissions by 40% since 2005.  We are more confident than ever that we will be able to meet our carbon-free vision of 80% reduction by 2030, and 100% by 2050.

Take care, Jake.

 

Jake Sedlacek

Xcel Energy

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Former Moose Lodge Building at Frost/English

Last weekend the fire department was called to the former Moose Lodge property at Frost/English that was purchased by the city in 2019. The fire department determined that a water line likely burst within the building and flooded the basement with water. St. Paul Regional Water Services was called to shutoff water to the building and a restoration company was called to further board up and secure the building. City staff is currently reviewing options for the city to demolish the building due to its condition and potential public safety risk.

 

South Maplewood – Century Avenue Redevelopment Properties – Community Forum No. 3

The City of Maplewood and Ramsey County are hosting the third community forum for the South Maplewood – Century Avenue Redevelopment Properties to be held virtually on March 10, 2021, between 4 and 6 p.m. Please see the project website – www.maplewoodmn.gov/Ponds – to register for the meeting and for project information. A link to the meeting will be emailed to all registrants prior to the start of the meeting. The meeting will provide attendees a summary of engagement activities taken place thus far, walk through potential development scenarios on the properties and participants will be afforded the chance to provide feedback and contribute to the discussion.

 

This community forum is intended to be the last broad public outreach effort of this process. The project team will then start working on a draft document outlining options for the two sites which will be then forwarded to the city council and Ramsey County Board for consideration.

 

Spring Clean Up - April 17, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Aldrich Arena Parking Lot

The city’s annual Spring Clean Up event will be held on April 17th at Aldrich Arena. The yearly Spring Clean Up is an opportunity for residents to dispose of large refuse items, recyclable materials not collected in the curbside program, and share usable goods with others for free or reduced cost. The event was canceled last year due to Covid-19.  The event is held outside and will include additional safety modifications this year to follow the CDC guidelines. Republic Services will be the main solid waste contractor collecting materials this year.  They offer this service to the City at no cost as part of the new residential trash contract.  Other vendors on site will take in items for reuse or recycling including clothing, shredding, bicycles, small engines, mattresses and box springs, electronics, and appliances.

 

Maplewood Climate Adaptation Plan

We are asking residents and businesses owners to help make Maplewood a climate resilient city!  By providing feedback on the City’s draft Climate Adaptation Plan, they will have a big impact on our community’s ability to adapt to climate challenges. The City was awarded an environmental assistance grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for the climate adaptation planning process.  The planning process was led by a Steering Committee made up of community members, Xcel Energy and Environmental and Natural Resources Commission representatives, and Ramsey County and Maplewood City staff.  A draft plan is now complete and includes an implementation framework designed to achieve community-wide goals for climate adaptation and resilience.

 

To gather feedback, the City and its consultant paleBLUEdot, LLC, created a review portal which walks people through the plan, and then allows them to pick any of the eight climate adaptation topics they are most interested in providing feedback -  https://palebluedot.llc/maplewood-cap-review-menu. Another opportunity to offer feedback is the Climate Adaptation Plan Workshop, scheduled for Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 7 p.m. via Zoom.  Residents and business owners can register for the event at https://maplewoodmn.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwsce-qqzwvHdHdvWbvtN_Esb2zowciiR1r.

 

The draft plan is scheduled for review by the City Council on May 10, 2021, with the final plan scheduled for release to the MPCA on June 1, 2021.

 

 

PUBLIC WORKS

Public Works Tree Trimming

Public Works crews have started spring tree trimming work.  The trimming activities take place in the public right-of-way on City maintained streets.  The goal of this work is remove branches that overhang streets and sidewalk/trails.  A couple of examples are where branches can hit vehicles as the travel down the street, block important traffic control signs (such as Stop Signs), interfere with maintenance activities, or interfere with the use of sidewalks and trail.  Attached is an image that went out to the City as part of the recent Maplewood Living and on Social Media.

 

Street Improvement Projects – Neighborhood Meeting Updates

The Engineering Team hosted a second round of neighborhood meetings this week for the City’s two pavement rehabilitation projects. These meetings were held to bring residents up to date on the projects and answer any questions they had prior to next Monday’s public hearings.

 

Twenty-four residents attended the neighborhood meeting for the Montana-Nebraska Area Pavement Rehabilitation project Tuesday night. Following a presentation by Staff, much discussion occurred with many great questions being asked. One topic of conversation was on the condition of Sterling Street between Montana Avenue and Larpenteur Avenue (outside of the project limits). Some residents requested that this segment of Sterling Street be added to the project due to the poor pavement condition. Staff noted that this segment of Sterling Street is in need of a full reconstruction in the future, as it does not have concrete curb and gutter and is in need of more extensive utility repairs. Staff also noted that the Public Works Department will continue to monitor this street and patch it to maintain a reasonable level of service until a full reconstruction occurs. This segment of Sterling Street is part of a future CIP project anticipated to occur in the next 5-10 years.

 

Fourteen residents attended the neighborhood meeting for the Southcrest-Ferndale Area Pavement Rehabilitation project Thursday night. Great conversation was had following the presentation, with questions being asked about assessments, property access during the improvements, and the general construction process.

 

Overall, the feeling from these meetings was that the improvements to the project streets are greatly needed. The Engineering Team is looking forward to working with the residents in these project areas to improve their streets and quality of life.

 

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

https://www.twincities.com/2021/03/02/ramsey-county-extends-closure-of-maplewood-golf-course-commissioner-dissents-citing-white-privilege-influence/  Reference:  Mayor Marylee Abrams

 

https://www.twincities.com/2021/03/03/man-shot-at-maplewood-liquor-store-on-tuesday/  (Just a short article that states the facts of the shooting)

 

https://www.twincities.com/2021/03/02/ramsey-county-extends-closure-of-maplewood-golf-course-commissioner-dissents-citing-white-privilege-influence/  Reference: Mayor Marylee Abrams

 

 

These are the reports for this week., please call if I can address any questions or concerns.

Enjoy this spring-like weekend. Melinda