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David Peterson

Reporter | South Metro and Demographics
phone: 952-746-3285
David Peterson covers Scott County; suburban growth and development issues in the metropolitan area in general; and demographics, including reports from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Recent content from David Peterson

Trash-plant purchase for Ramsey, Washington counties hits $6.6 million snag

Ramsey, Washington county commissioners concerned over a $6 million rise in project costs.

Trash costs drive Ramsey, Washington counties to consider Newport plant buyout

Washington and Ramsey counties believe they’re paying $8.4 million more than they need to, every year, just to deal with trash. But county officials admit…
Twin Cities suburbs race to build big sports facilities

Twin Cities suburbs race to build big sports facilities

Some cities could be taking financial risks with costly new recreational centers and sports amenities.
Sale of 'unique' school in Woodbury creating worries for parents

Sale of 'unique' school in Woodbury creating worries for parents

Child-centered Valley Crossing in Woodbury could change as it becomes part of South Washington district.

'Small town' style subdivision OK'd in Lake Elmo

Wildflower development is being pitched as a response to the bee problem, with plants for pollinators.
Birdhouse auction backing area arts offers dozens of witty micro-homes

Birdhouse auction backing area arts offers dozens of witty micro-homes

Just one of these things, in last year’s auction, triggered a bidding war that lifted its price to an eye-popping $850.

Poll finds support for adding to Woodbury's Central Park

City officials will ponder the implications of the findings this spring and summer.
St. Croix River bridge project now halfway finished

St. Croix River bridge project now halfway finished

On both sides of St. Croix River, residents wait to see the impact of the new 20-story bridge.
Retired state demographer launching 2nd career as poet, author

Retired state demographer launching 2nd career as poet, author

For nearly 35 years, Tom Gillaspy was Minnesota's top numbers cruncher and interpreter. Now he's embracing his love for words from his acreage in rural Stillwater.
Ideas bubble up for lightly used Newport transit station

Ideas bubble up for lightly used Newport transit station

Officials are looking at ways to create some buzz and rider awareness.
Marine on St. Croix's General Store nears rare change of hands

Marine on St. Croix's General Store nears rare change of hands

The Marine General Store has only changed hands half a dozen times since the Civil War. So it means a lot to the people in town when it goes up for sale. They grow anxious that something might change, because they have it pretty good.
Lake Elmo council seeks to 'move past' bitter tensions

Lake Elmo council seeks to 'move past' bitter tensions

A new majority sought to show it did listen when a hubbub erupted over separation from Administrator Dean Zuleger.

Census finds Twin Cities suburban growth yet to rebound

Census finds that once fastest-growing segments are being eclipsed by Hennepin-Ramsey numbers.
Lake Elmo council offers its city administrator a respite

Lake Elmo council offers its city administrator a respite

Peace is threatening to break out in the Washington County city of Lake Elmo after weeks of turbulence. The City Council is offering City Administrator Dean Zuleger a chance to stay on until at least next January.
St. Croix bridge's surface is being spit out, segment by segment

St. Croix bridge's surface is being spit out, segment by segment

A site on Grey Cloud Island holds the 170-ton “bridge segments” that will span the St. Croix.
Fury likely to build over Met Council's affordable housing plan

Fury likely to build over Met Council's affordable housing plan

Anger already erupted in Carver over plans for apartments, and the council is about to announce proposed new goals for across the Twin Cities.
South Washington district will decide who goes to what high school

South Washington district will decide who goes to what high school

The South Washington school board makes that call this month, then moves on to other grades.
Lake Elmo administrator will shift to consulting role

Lake Elmo administrator will shift to consulting role

Lake Elmo’s newly elected council voted to separate from its administrator, despite support for him.
New bookstore in Woodbury offers 'best from the bins'

New bookstore in Woodbury offers 'best from the bins'

  A new bookstore in Woodbury is a serene place to browse, except when the action heats up at the karate studio next door. Then,…
Woodbury's limp housing starts tied to uncertainty over schools

Woodbury's limp housing starts tied to uncertainty over schools

Fluctuating attendance boundaries mean parents may not know the institution their children will attend.
Woodbury's limp housing starts tied to uncertainty over schools

Woodbury's limp housing starts tied to uncertainty over schools

Fluctuating attendance boundaries mean parents may not know the institution their children will attend.
Afton, Lake Elmo debate how to react to suburban sprawl

Afton, Lake Elmo debate how to react to suburban sprawl

Two resolutely quaint east-metro holdouts to urban sprawl nervously face a changing future.
White Bear Lake center is making the arts 'visible'

White Bear Lake center is making the arts 'visible'

Northeast metro residents are embracing the center.
White Bear Lake's arts center making art 'visible'

White Bear Lake's arts center making art 'visible'

White Bear Center for the Arts is making art visible in the lake region as never before
Franconia Park iron pour gives new meaning to a 'hot date'

Franconia Park iron pour gives new meaning to a 'hot date'

An iron pour for Valentine’s Day? It's in its seventh year, drawing about 500 people in 2014.
Lake Elmo's new growth-shy council asks, 'Now what?'

Lake Elmo's new growth-shy council asks, 'Now what?'

“I have not talked with a single resident that wants Lake Elmo to turn into another Woodbury,” new Council Member Julie Fliflet said.
Woodbury explores improvements to its lauded indoor park

Woodbury explores improvements to its lauded indoor park

Woodbury is about to implore a number of its residents to share ideas on expansion of Central Park.
Bielenberg Sports Center's cherished extras fade with time

Bielenberg Sports Center's cherished extras fade with time

Bielenberg began life in the mid-90s as a fairly modest facility with a fabric dome in Woodbiury. But it is the recent $22 million expansion that has brought some hiccups.
Newport left out of Met Council largesse

Newport left out of Met Council largesse

Newport loses a bid for Met Council largesse.
Met Council weighs in on protecting water supplies

Met Council weighs in on protecting water supplies

A Met Council report suggests various strategies costing up to $600 million to protect supplies and restore White Bear Lake.
April 20: New Prague farmers to face off with power line builders in court

April 20: New Prague farmers to face off with power line builders in court

Dave and Florence Minar want the 11-utility consortium that built an 800-mile line from South Dakota to pay not just for an easement to cross a 132-acre parcel of their farm, but to buy the whole operation — an acquisition that could cost up to $1 million for the land alone.

Demographics beat: Poverty marker doubles for Minnesota

The portion of Minnesotans living in areas of concentrated poverty roughly doubled over the first decade of this century, a new analysis shows.But the new…

'Racial equity' adds to concern about Met Council plans

An emerging concern that a DFL-dominated Metropolitan Council is fixing to put a “racial equity” stamp on future funding decisions is raising tensions as south-metro…
Jordan's iconic "Mini-Met" rotting away, needs emergency repairs

Jordan's iconic "Mini-Met" rotting away, needs emergency repairs

The grandstand of Jordan's "Mini-Met," one of the state’s most celebrated small-town ballparks, is so rotted that $90,000 in emergency repairs are being made.
After 40 years, Shakopee faces ties to Watergate with museum

After 40 years, Shakopee faces ties to Watergate with museum

Maurice Stans, finance chief of the infamous Committee to Re-elect the President, had a tainted reputation, and Shakopee was never eager to point out its connection with the scandal. Now, a museum with his name is opening.
Canterbury Park's new expo site hopes to draw crowds to Shakopee

Canterbury Park's new expo site hopes to draw crowds to Shakopee

The $2.5 million expo facility hopes to draw visitors to Shakopee.

Shakopee could lose downtown city hall

Over mayor’s objections, most on council inclined to build a new building elsewhere in the city.
Mega-land bridge will rise in Shakopee

Mega-land bridge will rise in Shakopee

While solving a huge headache, it could cause short-term pain with night activity.
Earthshaking Buddha arrives in Savage

Earthshaking Buddha arrives in Savage

A Buddhist temple and monastery in Savage gets a gigantic jade statue, and opens its arms to its neighbors.
Home values bounce back around metro

Home values bounce back around metro

The double-digit jumps, aided by billions in new projects, appear to mark a major turnaround from the housing collapse.
Scott County administrator's salary bump exposes gaps

Scott County administrator's salary bump exposes gaps

Scott County Administrator Gary Shelton is getting a 5 percent pay raise, but there’s some mystery about how such salaries are set.

Scott County's top staffer seeks bump in pay

Scott County’s top administrator is making less than two of his subordinates and deserves a raise, the board is being told. Gary Shelton’s five years…
March 23: Transit use hits historic levels in metro

March 23: Transit use hits historic levels in metro

There’s both pain and progress as the Twin Cities, like the nation, experiences a steep rise in the use of public transit. Nationally, transit use last year hit a level not seen since the mid-1950s and, locally, total metro area ridership has jumped by 6 million since 2007.
Metropolitan Council's long-term parks plan goes after diversity

Metropolitan Council's long-term parks plan goes after diversity

Faced with numbers showing that parks are underused by minorities and having spent millions to develop large parks in largely white suburbs, the Metropolitan Council is trying to prepare for continued increases in diversity as it forms its latest long-term plan.

In Scott County, transportation sales tax proposal sets off intense debate

Some citizens are angry about what they see as a money grab. Others say it’s worthwhile for better roads.

I-35 disruption in south metro to resume soon

The last gasp is coming up for a road project that has created misery in the southern suburbs. A major project on Interstate 35 from…
Twin Cities falls short in taming sprawl, but change is afoot

Twin Cities falls short in taming sprawl, but change is afoot

Once denounced as a cold Atlanta in terms of sprawl, the Twin Cities had more than twice as good a score as that Southern city. And the advocacy group Smart Growth America said there are signs here of better things to come.

Rich and poor coexist in south metro area, Met Council says

Four affluent rural townships in Scott and Dakota counties form the southern ends of a pair of crescent-shaped Wealth Belts that encircle the inner Twin Cities like a pair of cupped hands.
Drawn to urban areas, 100,000 more people call Twin Cities home

Drawn to urban areas, 100,000 more people call Twin Cities home

The suburbs, long the main driver of Twin Cities growth, have cooled off however.

Scott County lays out transport needs, asks about tax

A new tax is being mulled to help fund roads, transit.
Senior tsunami draws gasps from some in Scott County

Senior tsunami draws gasps from some in Scott County

Demographer warns Scott County audience of a taxing time to come.
Savage's new Depot occupant seeks to rewrite lease

Savage's new Depot occupant seeks to rewrite lease

They are asking to have a $1 per month rent deal extended to September.

Demographics beat: New app tells you who's living near where you are

  The normally stuffy U.S. Census Bureau has come up with something surprisingly youthful: a new product that feels like a slick mobile app for…
Minnesota cities cut costs, raised taxes to offset slashed state funds

Minnesota cities cut costs, raised taxes to offset slashed state funds

After years of cutbacks, Minnesota’s cities are spending less than they were a decade ago, when inflation is factored in, the state auditor reported Wednesday.
Farther-out Twin Cities suburbs worry about Met Council forecasts

Farther-out Twin Cities suburbs worry about Met Council forecasts

Big whack to Elko New Market’s population projections won’t deter city from going ahead with a costly new water plant.

Shakopee biomass firm takes Minneapolis tree waste

Five years after a unique biomass energy facility opened in Shakopee, it has quietly developed a productive marriage with the city of Minneapolis, which is…
Shakopee's city council opts to think out loud

Shakopee's city council opts to think out loud

Leaders plan to continue discussing options for city’s future and inviting public input.
Prior Lake wrestles with the high cost of pretty lights

Prior Lake wrestles with the high cost of pretty lights

A citizen’s complaint about pricey decorative streetlights has brought change to Prior Lake.

$4 million sludge pile growing in Savage

Soil dredged from the Minnesota River to keep a shipping channel open is building up.
Minnesota's libraries are rushing to adapt to a post-book world

Minnesota's libraries are rushing to adapt to a post-book world

Even as Minnesota libraries spend hundreds of millions on building expansion and renovation, fewer and fewer people are visiting those buildings to check out books. Yet e-book downloads from libraries are soaring.
Six-foot-eight, but he's got an eye on the little ones

Six-foot-eight, but he's got an eye on the little ones

Jake Grussing, the new director of Scott County’s libraries, is stressing preschool literacy.

Scott County Board puts Jordan gravel mining project on hold

Worries over groundwater contamination prompted county to reconsider Jordan-area project.
Fences, fauna and fumes: The south metro's legislative wish list

Fences, fauna and fumes: The south metro's legislative wish list

In a year that could bring a large bonding bill, local interests are making their case to bring home a piece of the pie.

Demographics beat: Stop kicking workers out, state analyst suggests

  Minnesota faces a growing gap between its need for workers and the supply of them, and could start addressing the problem by figuring out…
Snowmobiles in parks outcome: Satisfied but wary

Snowmobiles in parks outcome: Satisfied but wary

A dispute that began with walkers being warned away ended up leaving riders on the defensive.

Tribe's largesse making things happen in Scott County

Five trail grants add to a lengthening list of recent windfalls.
In reversal, Twin Cities families leaving suburbs for urban core

In reversal, Twin Cities families leaving suburbs for urban core

Signs are growing that more young couples are preparing to follow a path from suburban to urban living — with immense consequences for both cities and suburbs.
Coming up for 2014, south of the river

Coming up for 2014, south of the river

New parks, new trails, new stores, new schools. Lots of new stuff is springing to life south of the river in 2014. A huge new…

Belle Plaine wakes up to chilly no-growth reality

The exurb is the latest outlying town to startle folks with much higher water and sewer bills.
4-mile biking/hiking trail link will close key gap in southwest metro

4-mile biking/hiking trail link will close key gap in southwest metro

Hiking/biking path will connect Bloomington and Chaska.
'Immigrant suburbs' emerge in latest census sweep

'Immigrant suburbs' emerge in latest census sweep

Foreign-born populations are moving out of the central cities. Even outer-ring suburbs are becoming more culturally and racially diverse.
Shakopee prison alone in nation in being unfenced, state says

Shakopee prison alone in nation in being unfenced, state says

Ivy League-style brick wall is proposed for the women’s prison, where an inmate briefly escaped this month.

Dakota suburbs: Who leads in income, cars, big homes?

Results are in from recent census surveys of Dakota County cities. Where does yours rank?

Brief escape from Shakopee prison revives fence debate

A woman being held at Shakopee for an escape attempt in Hennepin County evaded pursuers for less than half an hour.

Scott County enjoying 'below-the-radar' success, administrator says

The Scott County administrator’s cheery end-of-the-year summary gets a mixed reception from a divided board.
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