Voters in South St. Paul on Tuesday approved $10.1 million in bonds to pay for improvements at the city's ice arena and other parks projects.

The vote tally was 921 in favor and 684 against, according to the city.

The city plans to remodel the 51-year-old Wakota Arena, build new sports fields, and turn 87 open acres along the Mississippi River into a hallmark park with baseball and softball fields as well as non-sports recreation such as a performing arts building and areas for playgrounds and picnics.

The parks projects are expected to cost about $98 a year, or about $8 a month, for the owner of a home valued at $150,000.

Planning and some building work are expected to begin within months, and most of the work should be done in about three years. The city hopes to start work on the ice arena in May, and wants to finish by the end of the year.

The voter turnout of 1,605 was less than one-sixth of the votes cast in the city during the 2012 general election, when nearly 10,000 people voted for South St. Paul mayor. The city has about 20,400 residents.


Women in business event set for March 13

The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual "WomEn's Conference" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 13 at the Lost Spur Golf and Event Center in Eagan.

This the fourth year for the event, which designed to connect professionals with one another while enriching their personal and professional lives.

Last year's conference drew almost 200 women — and a handful of men — plus more than 35 exhibitors displaying their products and services.

The capital "E" in the name, according to the chamber's website, stands for "energizing, educational and empowering."

Topics for this year's panels include the art of negotiating, navigating generational differences and developing leadership skills.

Tickets are $129 for chamber members who register by Feb. 28 and $149 for nonmembers. The price is $149 for everyone beginning March 1.

For more information, contact Jessy at 651-288-9202 or

Inver Grove Heights

Fire chief asks citizens to clear fire hydrants

The Inver Grove Heights Fire Department is urging residents and businesses to adopt a fire hydrant in their neighborhoods.

Many fire hydrants have been buried under the snow, said Fire Chief Judy Thill.

"In the recent past, firefighters only had to worry about digging out the hydrant," she said. "This year, there is concern we won't even be able to find the hydrant. Some of the snowbanks are so high that the indicator rods that are meant to stick up above the snow are almost completely buried."

Taking time to find the fire hydrant and dig it out means a delay in fighting the fire, she said.

Firefighters are asking everyone to take some time to shovel a path to the hydrant from the street, as well as a 3-foot clearance around the hydrant.

Thill advises people to organize to take turns clearing hydrants and to help elderly residents who cannot do the shoveling. "Everyone in the neighborhood can benefit from an accessible hydrant, not just the person whose yard [where] the hydrant is located," she said.


Donation to pay for TVs in ice arena

The Sibley Hockey Booster Club has donated $1,798 to West St. Paul to buy two flat-screen TVs for the lobby and meeting room at West St. Paul Ice Arena.

The group earlier made a donation to pay for new goals and nets for the ice rink.

City may seek ideas for updated logo

West St. Paul is considering updating the city logo during its 125th anniversary this year.

The city will take advantage of a new online tool that will allow artists to compete for the winning logo design.

South St. Paul

City hopes to raise profile of farm market

The St. Paul Farmers Market will return to South St. Paul again this year on Wednesdays starting on July 2.

The city is looking for people interesting in serving on a SSP Farmers' Market Task Force. The mission is to develop and facilitate a plan to increase exposure, participation and activities at the market this year. Volunteers should contact Deb Griffith, Community Affairs Liaison, at or 651-554-3230.

Dakota County

New link would join two counties' trails

Washington and Dakota counties are asking the Legislature for $2 million to build a quarter-mile trail segment connecting the counties' regional trail systems.

The proposed new segment would follow the Mississippi River from the Hastings bridge to the planned Point Douglas Regional Trail. All of it would be in Washington County.

County to add markers along Mississippi trail

Dakota County plans to spend about $60,000 for a plan for 10 historical and interpretive presentations along the 27-mile Mississippi River Regional Trail from South St. Paul to Hastings.

The firm Dreambox has been chosen for the contract. The county staff recommended them "based on expertise in this field, ability to meet project requirements, demonstrated grasp of the project, minimal travel costs, and outstanding work on comparable projects."

The plan is to be completed by June 1.

The county has received $77,500 from the Minnesota Historical Society for the trail presentations.