Coon Rapids is poised to become the next northern suburb to allow backyard chickens.

The City Council introduced an ordinance on April 19 allowing residents to keep up to four hens. It is scheduled to vote on the ordinance Tuesday.

Under the proposal, chicken farmers would have to apply for a city permit. Coops would have to be located in backyards and at least 30 feet from neighbors’ homes, and would be prohibited within 100 feet of shoreline along the Mississippi River and Crooked Lake.

“No chickens are to be kept inside a house or garage, except during brooding,” according to the draft ordinance.

Violations of the ordinance could result in a misdemeanor charge and the impoundment of chickens.

Blaine, next door to Coon Rapids, passed an ordinance last year that allows up to six chickens per household.

Shannon Prather


Edgewater Park to get new playground area

Woodbury is installing a new playground at Edgewater Park, to be set up during the week of May 16.

Crews will remove the old surface and structure and put in a new concrete border. The current playground equipment, now two decades old, will be donated to Kids Around the World, a nonprofit that creates playgrounds in poverty-stricken countries.

Updates on the opening of the new playground will be posted on the city’s website and sent out via InTouch. For more information, contact Amy Howard, assistant parks supervisor, at 651-414-3486 or

David Peterson


Off-leash dog park to open at Aquatore Park

Blaine will establish its first off-leash dog park this summer, a fenced-in area of 4.7 acres at Aquatore Park.

The park will contain separate areas for small and large dogs, said Nate Monahan, a Blaine recreation manager. Some trees will be cleared in stages this spring and fall to create exercise areas.

Dog owners will be able to use the existing parking lot and bathroom at Aquatore.

The project, which was approved by the City Council this spring, will cost about $88,000. It includes new fencing, a shelter with heater, security lighting and a wood chip trail.

Blaine recently tightened its leash laws, so city leaders wanted to make sure residents still have options to exercise their dogs, Monahan said. Aquatore was selected because of its amenities and because it’s not close to homes.

Monahan, who researched the issue for the city, said dog parks tend to be the most visited parks in other cities. They’ve become a coveted amenity in many suburbs.

“There will be a lot of people very excited to see this,” he said. “It’s a jewel to residents to have access to that.”

Shannon Prather

Ramsey County

Randolph Avenue is closed for road work

Randolph Avenue, also known as County Road 38, has been closed between Lexington Parkway and Syndicate Street in St. Paul for reconstruction work by Ramsey County.

Drivers can follow a posted detour using Lexington, Jefferson and Hamline avenues. The detour likely will be in effect until the project is done, probably October.

The intersection at Syndicate will be closed, but intersections at Edgcumbe Road and Griggs Street remain open.

For more on the project, go to

David Peterson


Council weighing policy to bar firefighters’ use of social media while on the job

The City Council is reviewing a proposed policy for Hugo firefighters that would bar them from using social media to share photographs, recordings and other information related to their duties with the city.

The policy would cover on-duty firefighters and, in some cases, off-duty firefighters who have “special access not otherwise available to members of the public.”

The policy is intended to protect the Fire Department’s reputation and the confidentiality of firefighters, patients and members of the public, the proposal said.

“Nothing in this policy is intended to unlawfully restrict a member’s First Amendment right to free speech or restrict discussions as a private citizen over matters of public concern,” it reads.

Kevin Giles