The Oak Park Heights City Council is considering a proposal to open a sporting goods store and shooting range inside an abandoned Denny Hecker auto dealership.

The empty 56,000-square-foot Ford building at 12969 60th St. would come back to life, but with a new look, if Minnesota Outdoor Shooting Sports wins approval for the project. The project would include the store, two indoor gun ranges, a small gym and lounge, offices, storage/warehouse space and a coffee shop with exterior patio.

The building's shape would remain much the same, but improvements would include warmer colors, a new entrance canopy, landscaping and a "water feature" at the entrance.

Large gun ranges would dominate interior space, but no outdoor ranges would be permitted, City Administrator Eric Johnson told the City Council. The proposed sporting business is next door to a proposed Pizza Ranch restaurant.

Cottage Grove

City amends winter parking ordinance

The Cottage Grove City Council earlier this month amended its parking ordinance to reduce the number of months in which on-street parking is restricted during snow removal.

The ordinance changed the period in which residents are prohibited from parking on the street — between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. — to "between November 1 and March 31," shaving two months off the restricted period, officials said. Previously, on-street parking was banned between Oct. 1 and April 30.

Police will not immediately start enforcing the amended ordinance, which went into effect Oct. 9, but instead place fliers on violating vehicles "as an educational tool," officials said.

Volunteers sought to help clear buckthorn

The Friends of the Mississippi group is calling for volunteers to help clear nonnative bush from Cottage Grove Regional Park on Saturday, Nov. 2. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to noon at the park, at 9940 Point Douglas Road.

FMR ecologist Karen Schik will be on hand to coordinate the group's "Buckthorn Bust," helping volunteers "restore this landscape by hauling or cutting brush," according to a Washington County news release.

Lunch will be provided. For more information, call 651-222-2193 Ext. 24.

Oak Park Heights

MnDOT will open new highway lanes

Motorists should avoid the construction zone at the intersection of Hwy. 36 and Hwy. 95 from Sunday at 6 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m., the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. During this time, crews will complete a major traffic switch as part of the St. Croix bridge project.

Motorists should expect delays throughout the construction zone. Southbound Hwy. 95 traffic will use a signed detour. Northbound Hwy. 95 traffic will not have a detour, MnDOT said.

When the traffic switch is complete, motorists will see a new ramp with a traffic signal between Hwy. 36 and Hwy. 95, new lanes on Hwy. 95 with portions of single-lane and two-lane traffic in each direction, and single-lane traffic on the new eastbound lanes of Hwy. 36.

If weather prevents the traffic switch on Sunday night, it will occur Oct. 28 at 9 p.m. to Oct. 29 at 5 a.m., and throughout the week if necessary.

Washington County

Board hires architect for public works shop

Washington County will work with Hagen, Christensen and McIlwain (HCM) Architects, a Minneapolis firm, for engineering and design services to plan improvements to the public works north shop.

HCM's work can't exceed $202,500, the County Board decided when it approved the contract Oct. 15.

Commissioners have reviewed the condition of the shop, which is in Stillwater Township and houses public works offices, garages for the county's heavy equipment, and space used by the Sheriff's Office.

The public works staff has asked HCM Architects to provide an existing wastewater system evaluation and action plan; preliminary design for remodel, re-use, and expansion of the shop, final design report and package. The work should be completed in early 2014.


Police accepting applications for Explorer programs

The Woodbury Police Department is looking for applicants for its Police and Fire Explorer programs, aimed at young people interested in a career in law enforcement or fire service.

The classes, which meet twice a week, will provide "hands-on training on the purposes, mission, and objectives of law enforcement," officials said. The deadline to submit an application is Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m.

A volunteer application can be downloaded from the city's website. For more information, contact the Administration Department at 651-714-3500 or


Open house shows off healthier food choices

Valley Outreach is celebrating a renovated building that will offer its clients healthier food choices on its Food Shelf and streamlined shopping for its Clothing Closet. The renovation will be on display during an open house on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 4-7 p.m.

The improvements were made possible with grants from the Pohlad Family Foundation and Greater Twin Cities United Way, and in-kind help from PowerUp, a youth health initiative of the Lakeview Foundation.

Christine Tubbs, executive director of Valley Outreach, said the organization is working toward a goal of ensuring that 70 percent of the items on its food shelves represent healthy food choices. "We know that many of our clients would like to have a greater selection of fresher foods, such as fruits and vegetables, along with the traditional packaged foods they are used to," she said.

For more information, visit or call Kris at 651-342-5558.