Open houses feature improvement project plans for Hilton Trail.
Residents and business owners can attend an open house to view details about an improvement project planned for Hwy. 36 between I-694 and just east of Demontreville Trail N. in Lake Elmo, Pine Springs and Grant.
Improvements include the replacement of the Hwy. 36-Hilton Trail North signalized intersection with a diamond interchange.
The Hwy. 36-Hilton Trail improvement project will address safety and efficiency along Hwy. 36 and stabilize the shoreline on the south end of Long Lake adjacent to the road, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
The $13.8 million project is scheduled to begin next spring.
The first open house will be held Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at Lake Elmo City Hall, 3800 Laverne Av. N. A second open house will be held Nov. 19 from 5-7 p.m. at Mahtomedi City Hall, 600 Stillwater Road.
More information can be found at www.startribune.com/a1872.
Featured prominently near the entrance to the new Public Safety/City Hall building is the Veterans Memorial, built to remember anyone who has served in the military, including prisoners of war and those missing in action.
The city of Cottage Grove will host a dedication of the memorial at 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at the new city building at 12800 Ravine Pkwy. A reception will follow.
Veterans and spouses who need a ride to the ceremony can contact Nancy Launderville at 651-587-1993 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Transportation is sponsored by the Cottage Grove Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network at no cost.
Other Veterans Day events in the county include:
• A ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at the Woodbury Veterans Memorial, 8301 Valley Creek Road. It will include comments by Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, Navy Cmdr. Denise Spanier and Donna Stafford, committee chairwoman for the Yellow Ribbon Network.
• A ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at the Stillwater Veterans Memorial, Third & Pine Streets. Speaker will be Col. Thomas J. Simonet, emergency preparedness liaison officer for the Department of Defense
• A recognition dinner for veterans from 5-8 p.m. on Nov. 12 at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 16770 13th St. S., Lake St. Croix Beach. For more information, call 651-436-8696.
The dinner is sponsored by the Yellow Ribbon Alliance of the Lower St. Croix Valley.
A painting by Nicholas Markell of Hugo, which shows a walleye chasing a minnow, will be featured on Minnesota's 2013 walleye stamp, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Markell's design was selected from among nine entries. This is the second win for Markell in just over a year in a DNR-sponsored stamp contest. He also won the 2012 trout stamp contest. Markell, who has participated in several DNR stamp contests in the past, has been a finalist many times, finishing third in last year's walleye and turkey stamp contests.
Farmers will rent land in Washington County parks for the 2013 growing season after the County Board approved contracts Tuesday.
David See Farms provided the highest bid for the lease of Lake Elmo Park Reserve agricultural land at $238.75 per acre, for a total of $49,278. Gordon Tank and Myron Tank provided the highest bid for the lease of St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park agricultural land at $294 per acre, for a total of $32,604.60. The total of the bid is $81,882.60.
Seventy percent of the revenue from the rental of agricultural land, or $57,317, goes into the Parks Division Stewardship Fund, created for "non-recreational" revenue, according to Metropolitan Council policy. The funds are used for rental property expenses, restoration of natural resources, and development of park and trail master plans.
The remaining 30 percent -- $24,564 -- of the rental revenue is used for "in-lieu of tax" payments.OAK PARK HEIGHTS Groundwork begins on St. Croix bridge project
Crews will be hauling materials to the area adjacent to the Beach Road ramp off eastbound Hwy. 36 in Oak Park Heights beginning this week as part of work related to the new St. Croix bridge. Piles of dirt will be visible to the south of Hwy. 36 while the area is prepared for future Beach Road Bridge construction.
The piles of dirt, called surcharge, will be monitored throughout the winter to measure the weight-bearing ability of soils beneath the piles.
In addition, crews this fall will construct a parking lot for use by the city of Oak Park Heights and Phil's Club Tara restaurant. The parking lot will replace parking spaces lost due to changes in the frontage road.
"Central Park is a tremendous success story," said Bob Klatt, parks and recreation director. "We worked with multiple agencies -- Washington County, the YMCA, School District 833 Early Childhood Family Education and the Stonecrest senior housing facility -- to ensure the building would attract a large cross-section of the community. We are ecstatic to see so many people visit each day."
Anniversary festivities include a family-friendly comedian, musicians, a magician, kids' games and face-painting.
Since the city opened the doors, the indoor park has hosted nearly 400 wedding ceremonies and receptions and hundreds of performances in the amphitheater.
In addition, more than 300,000 children have climbed the indoor playground structure at Lookout Ridge since it opened in March 2003, including guests at numerous birthday parties.
The park, which features 30 species of trees and understory plants, also has proven successful for the county's adjoining R.H. Stafford Library. According to library manager Chad Lubbers:
• The library added 11,000 new library cardholders from Woodbury since 2002. That means more than 75 percent of Woodbury residents now carry library cards.
• The number of customer visits increased by 50 percent from 280,724 to 416,792 in 10 years.
• The number of items checked out from the library increased by more than 40 percent from 627,466 to 906,548.
• The library was still checking out audio and video cassettes in 2002. The cassettes have been replaced by digital editions of books and audio books, delivered wirelessly 24 hours per day, seven days per week to Woodbury residents' mobile devices.
The park and library are situated at 8595 Central Park Place, adjacent to the YMCA in the City Center area on the east side of Radio Drive.
KEVIN GILES AND Jim Anderson