Verizon cellphone customers will soon get a boost near Oak-Land Junior High School after the Lake Elmo City Council approved a 125-foot-tall telecommunications tower in the area, officials said.
The tower will be built on the grounds of the junior high school, at 820 Manning Av. N., on land leased by the wireless company from the school, said a Stillwater school district spokeswoman.
The ISD 834 school board still must approve the lease agreement with Verizon for the new tower, which is expected to generate $35,000 to $40,000 in payments annually for the district, said Carissa Keister, community engagement coordinator for the district.
In the first use of the city's latest wireless communications ordinance (which was updated in 2009), the City Council approved a conditional use permit at its May 6 meeting, clearing the way for Verizon to build the tower this summer, city officials said.
Opponents raised concerns about exposing students to electromagnetic radiation.
Board allocates money from 2013 savings
The Washington County Board recently approved spending for 12 projects from the county's budget savings program.
Savings in 2013 of about $1.3 million, added to an existing available balance of $65,000, made $1,374,000 available for projects. Departments submitted 28 project requests, totaling $2,053,000, to County Administrator Molly O'Rourke. The 12 that were approved were:
Strategic Planning Initiatives ($210,000); Employee Recognition Program ($65,000); Ergonomic Alternatives ($10,000); Family and Medical Leave Act Outsourcing two-year pilot ($41,000); Americans With Disabilities Act Plan Phase II ($50,000); Citrix/ShareFile Licenses ($80,000); Federation Soft/Hardware ($50,000); Additional Backup Storage ($45,000); RedGate SQL/Event Sentry Server Licenses ($11,000); Lake Elmo Park Entrance Gate ($14,000); Office Furniture System Modifications ($15,000); and Energy Management Software ($45,000).
Total recommended funding is $636,000. In addition, $1.3 million will be invested in the Other Post Employment Benefit plan, which pays for benefits for retirees.
Federal 'dashboard' adds Gateway transit
The Gateway Corridor has been added to the Federal Infrastructure Projects Permitting Dashboard, a federal initiative aimed at expediting permitting on major construction projects, officials said.
The planned transitway, which will connect downtown St. Paul to Woodbury, is one of 11 new projects added to the so-called dashboard, which was designed to promote interagency cooperation as part of a White House plan to fast-track transportation projects. Among the projects previously added was Metro Transit's proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit line, which has been plagued by delays.
An environmental impact study, the results of which are expected to be released in 2015, will determine the preferred mode of transit along the Gateway Corridor: light rail or bus rapid transit (BRT). The transit line, which could cost between $400 million and $920 million, could open by 2022.
County seeks state money for roads
The Washington County Board will request funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for several 2016 road projects. They include: construction of a single-lane roundabout at County Road 15 (Manning Avenue North) and Hwy. 97 in Scandia; center left-turn lanes and right-turn lanes at Hwy. 61 and 50th Street in Forest Lake; center left-turn lanes and right-turn lanes at Hwy. 97 and Country Road 52 in Scandia; and improvements to the intersection at Hwy. 61 and Hwy. 22 to include traffic signal upgrades, add flashing yellow arrows and detectors, and upgrade and install additional signal cabinets in Cottage Grove.
Community meetings will be held in parks
Lake Elmo officials plan to host four community meetings in June and July to update residents on ongoing and proposed projects. The twist is that each session will be held not in the cramped City Council chambers, but in a more informal setting: the city's parks.
Officials hope the setting will attract more residents eager to learn about the city's development plans, which call for the addition of new businesses, streets, and an additional 1,200 homes over the next few years.
The meetings will be held Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m. at the following locations: on June 12 at Carriage Station Park at the intersection of Marquess Trail N. and Stillwater Boulevard N.; June 26 at Reid Park, 11430 30th St. N.; July 10 at Pebble Park, 8160 Lake Jane Trail N.; and July 24 at Stonegate Park, 750 Jasmine Av. N.
Business association plans picnic
A community picnic and business luncheon will be held June 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oakdale Fire Station No. 1, 5000 Hadley Av. N. The free lunch is sponsored by the city and the Oakdale Business and Professional Association. Live music will be supplied by Catalyzed Effect and Rob Olson and Sweet Mash.
The event will be held rain or shine, organizers said. For more information, contact Marc Cove of Platinum Bank at 651-332-5222 or visit the association website at www.obpa-mn.com.
Watershed district board adds members
Eric Lindberg of Stillwater Township and Victoria Dupre of May Township have been appointed to the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District board of managers by the Washington County Board. Watershed districts help to control or alleviate flood damage, improve stream channels for drainage or navigation, and protect groundwater.
Kevin Giles and Libor Jany