Canterbury Park’s board of directors has promoted Robert M. Wolf to the position of senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer at the Shakopee racetrack.

Wolf currently oversees accounting, finance and purchasing as the VP of finance — a job he’s held since March. In his new role, Wolf will become the company’s principal financial officer. He will succeed Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson, who was appointed as chief financial officer after a management restructuring in December.

In a statement, Sampson praised Wolf’s role in crafting improvements to the track’s financial reporting and budgeting processes over the last few months.

“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as strong analytical skills to his new role. This includes over 20 years’ public accounting and industry experience in finance and accounting, including nine years as the CFO of two public companies, during which he dealt with complex business, tax and strategic planning issues,” Sampson said. “He has proved to be a strong leader.”

The racetrack’s 67-day live racing season ends Sept. 16. A 24-hour card casino operates on the grounds year-round.

Canterbury officials are in the midst of a redevelopment project with Doran Cos., which they hope will result in 600 luxury apartments in a gated community on the farm fields next to the horse track. If approved by the City Council, the 26-acre project will trigger a much larger mixed-use redevelopment of the property and surrounding area, including more than 150 townhouses and an 120-room hotel.

Liz Sawyer

Dakota County

Residents seek new name for Hornbean Lake

More than 40 residents of Sunfish Lake petitioned their City Council to change the name of Hornbean Lake to Hornbeam Lake, which is partly in Inver Grove Heights and partly in Sunfish Lake.

This summer, the Sunfish Lake City Council passed a resolution supporting the name change. The current name is actually a misnomer, residents said. “Hornbeam” — a hardwood tree in the birch family — is the historically correct name, but at some point it was written or said incorrectly and it stuck, Dakota County documents said.

According to Minnesota statute, the Dakota County Board must provide a recommendation on whether to alter the name before the commissioner of natural resources can officially change it. The county is also required to hold a public hearing if presented with a petition that is signed by 15 or more county voters. The date of that hearing must be published in the official county newspaper three weeks before the hearing.

The public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Oct. 31 in the Dakota County Board Room at the Dakota County Administration Center, 1590 Hwy. 55, Hastings.

Hornbean Lake sits in southwestern Sunfish Lake, population 500, and follows the curve of Interstate 494.

Erin Adler

South St. Paul

City OKs $3.13M for road work, equipment

The city of South St. Paul approved awarding the sale of $3,125,000 in general obligation bonds to pay for the 2015-2017 street improvements and a public works equipment purchase. Two loaders, two plows and one bucket truck cost the city about $1 million and the street projects totaled about $2.125 million, according to Michelle Pietrick, the city’s finance director.

While borrowing that kind of money can make some city officials nervous, Pietrick said it’s a “normal thing for cities to do.”

“It’s one of those ways we can continue to maintain our streets or replace them,” Pietrick said. “Most people don’t understand that streets are a major asset for cities.”

On Aug. 7 the City Council authorized staff to solicit bids for $3,335,000 in general obligation bonds. Milwaukee-based Baird beat five competitors for the contract, which came in about $200,000 better than expected, Pietrick said.

“We used to bond for streets … every year in smaller chunks. We did it all at once this time to reduce the cost of [bond] issuance,” Pietrick said.

The bond’s debt service payments are expected to be paid back over 20 years using special assessments and property taxes.

Erin Adler


City discusses fate of liquor store profits

For several years, Farmington’s two municipal liquor stores have made about $200,000 between them in annual profits. On Monday, the City Council pondered how to spend some of that windfall at a work session.

Since 2015, the city has divided its liquor store profits into four categories — operations, administrative, community investment and capital improvement. The community investment pot has accrued about $185,000 and the council mulled the use of those funds.

Council members agreed to spend $45,000 on a new plow for the parks and recreation department and $5,000 to create an additional handicapped parking stall downtown.

Trail maintenance, which always tops the list when residents are surveyed about what they value, previously had been allotted $35,000, said David McKnight, city administrator. Indeed, council members decided that trails were so important that they scrapped a plan to spend $50,000 on an illuminated monument sign. Instead, that cash will also will go toward trails, many which were built 15 to 25 years ago and need updating, McKnight said.

Council members decided to keep $30,000 set aside for improvements to the Rambling River Center.

While council members don’t vote at work sessions, they directed staff to move forward on the projects they favored. McKnight said he expects formal approval to take place at later City Council meetings.

Erin Adler