Golden Valley’s dockless bikes will be rolling into 2019 now that city officials have judged this year’s pilot program to be a success.
“We didn’t see any of the issues that maybe you see on the internet, where you’ve got piles of bikes or problems with bikes being abandoned or stripped of parts,” said Physical Development Director Marc Nevinski.
A few residents worried that the bikes could present an obstacle for pedestrians, and others complained about their bright green appearance, he said. But the bikes were generally well received.
Golden Valley was the first Minnesota city to introduce dockless bike sharing in July. San Francisco-based Lime deployed 50 bikes there and added electric scooters a couple of months later.
Board picks manager for health division
Ramsey County has hired Paul Allwood, assistant commissioner for the state Health Department, as its new deputy manager for the Health and Wellness Division.
Allwood will oversee the county’s public health, veterans services, financial assistance and human services teams, which account for about half the county’s budget.
He replaces Ryan O’Connor, who was promoted to county manager last spring.
Allwood received a doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees, all in public health fields, from the University of Minnesota. Before joining the state, Allwood was the U’s occupational health and safety director. He will start with Ramsey County on Dec. 26.
Council clears way for new Menards
Apple Valley residents are closer to shopping at a new Menards store after the City Council recently passed several measures including a rezoning ordinance and a comprehensive plan amendment.
It unanimously approved a 206,209 square-foot store and a 48,970 square-foot warehouse on the 46-acre property at W. 150th Street and Johnny Cake Ridge Road. Construction could begin in 2019, said City Planner Tom Lovelace.
The store will replace an existing Menards nearby. Eau Claire, Wis.-based Menards initially approached the city in 2015 about building a store on the old Hanson Pipe property.
City creates small business program
Taking a cue from nearby suburbs, Blaine’s Economic Development Authority has created a new loan program to help small businesses spruce up their properties.
City officials voted Nov. 15 to approve the program, which offers loans for expansion or remodeling projects to Blaine businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The loans will range from $5,000 to $75,000, with at least half the financing coming from a private lender or private equity.
Eligible projects include fixes to parking lots, signs, landscaping and exterior building improvements such as windows, awnings or expansions. The EDA also will consider interior projects that involve code-required upgrades.
City staffers researched similar programs in Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park and have cited the new loans as a way for Blaine to stay competitive, said Economic Development Coordinator Erik Thorvig.