Visitors to Brooklyn Park soon will have a wider array of accommodation options, thanks to a dual hotel project approved by the City Council last week.

Midas Hospitality, a Missouri-based hotel management group, plans to build two hotels at the southeast corner of W. Broadway Avenue and Highway 610.

The Hampton Inn will cater to guests seeking short stays, while a nearby Home2Suites will offer an in-room kitchenette for longer stays.

Despite having a population of nearly 80,000 residents, Brooklyn Park has only two hotels, said Council Member Rich Gates. Developers said the hotels could open as early as the end of next year, he said.

Hannah Covington

Lake Elmo

New park signs will point the way to parking

Lake Elmo Park Reserve, a Washington County regional park often bursting with visitors on summer days, soon will get new electronic signs to help with parking.

County Engineer Wayne Sandberg told commissioners last week that as more people use the park, demand for parking often exceeds available spaces. He said that specific areas of concern include parking lots for the swim pond and boat launch.

It’s also hard to determine parking availability at the park entrance’s contact station, he said.

The county’s $97,330 contract with St. Paul-based Kimley-Horn and Associates will provide for the design of three traffic management cameras and two electronic message signs that can be programmed by park staff.

The signs will enable staffers to assess traffic congestion, prevent overcrowding, reroute visitors to other areas based on parking availability, and offer safety and event information.

The signs will be designed to fit the visual context of the park, Sandberg said. Devices will be operational for the 2017 summer season, he said.

Kevin Giles

Cottage Grove

County deploying goats to gobble invasives

Goats were unloaded last week at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park to help get rid of invasive shrubs.

The Washington County Parks Department hired Goat Dispatch, a family-owned company based in Faribault, Minn., to bring a herd to a 3-acre section of the park.

Communities in the metro area increasingly have been turning to goats as a chemical-free method to control invasive and unwanted plants. The goats are kept from escaping by a portable solar-charged electric fence and other fencing.

Park users were reminded to keep dogs leashed while the goats were doing their job.

In place of the invasive shrubs, county officials aim to increase native plants.

To learn more, contact the county’s natural resources coordinator at 651-430-4323. The park is at 9940 Point Douglas Road.

David Peterson

WOODBURY

City mulling ways to cut salt impact on water

Officials in Woodbury, which has already cut back on its use of winter road salt out of concern for the impact on water bodies, are suggesting further measures. One discussion item at a recent City Council workshop was how to protect the quality of surface water and groundwater.

Additional measures could include the purchase of an anti-icing unit to apply “alternative chemical products to the roadway before a winter storm” to cut the odds of ice forming and bonding to road surfaces.

Since 2000, Woodbury has reduced its use of salt from between 300 and 600 pounds per lane-mile to typically between 200 and 300 pounds per lane-mile, dipping down to as little as 70, according to a backgrounder from city staff.

DAVID PETERSON

Washington County

Boy Scouts gifted old signal boxes

Washington County is giving 20 old traffic signal boxes to the Boy Scouts, which will remake them into storage boxes to keep food from wildlife at scout camps throughout northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The County Board last week approved the gift to the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The boxes are valued at less than $100.

State law allows counties to give or sell property to another public corporation for public use.

Washington County has donated computers to Minnesota Computers for Schools and office furniture to the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District.

Kevin Giles