Washington County will submit a grant application for federal funds to convert the Hadley Avenue intersection with Hwy. 36, in Oakdale, into an interchange.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is requesting proposals for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. Federal funding provides 80 percent of total project costs.

A recent study examined the Hwy. 36 corridor between Hadley Avenue/County Road 34 and Hwy. 120 (Century Avenue) and recommended converting two stoplight intersections into interchanges. The interchanges would bring safety improvements, reduce congestion, and encourage economic development, the county said.

The study was a joint effort involving the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Washington County, Ramsey County, and the cities of Oakdale and North St. Paul.

Oak Park Heights

Stretch of Osgood Av. will close for six days

The north side of the Hwy. 36/Osgood Avenue intersection will close for a six-day period between Hwy. 36 and the North Frontage Road in late April or early May, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. The closure will allow crews to complete utility work and repave the intersection.

During that time, northbound and southbound drivers won't have access to and from Hwy. 36. Local residential and business access will be available by following a posted detour, the agency said.


County Commissioner Bearth to seek re-election

Ted Bearth, the District 2 commissioner for Washington County, has announced that he will run for re-election this fall. Bearth was elected in 2012 when he defeated longtime incumbent Bill Pulkrabek.

"Although I had initially planned to serve just one term, I have thoroughly enjoyed serving Washington County and wish to continue with the many positive impacts I have been able to achieve during my time on the board," Bearth said. "More importantly, many people have been encouraging me to continue serving."

While on the board, Bearth has worked on countywide economic development, the Moody's bond rating, and an employee retention program. Bearth, a Marine veteran, is retired from American Can Co. in St. Paul, where he worked for 34 years, and spent 26 years either as mayor or City Council member in Oakdale.

District 2 also covers Birchwood, Willernie, Pine Springs, Landfall, Precinct 2 in Mahtomedi, one ward in White Bear Lake and three precincts in Woodbury.


Lions Club annual garage sale planned for May 8-10

The Woodbury Lions Club's 37th annual community garage sale will be held from May 8-10.

Proceeds from the sale, which is co-sponsored by the city of Woodbury, will benefit a number of local causes: scholarships and youth development programs, the Woodbury Lions Veterans Memorial, the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf and "other community service initiatives," organizers said.

The event regularly draws thousands of shoppers from across the Upper Midwest and will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Residents planning a sale on those days are urged to register their site to the directory by logging on to the Lions website, www.lionsgaragesale.org, by April 27. Registration forms also can be submitted at Associated Bank, 1835 Radio Dr., Woodbury.

Paper copies of the directory will be sold at area gas stations and grocery stores.


Proposed hotel addition gets conditional approval

A proposal to build a 20-room expansion at the Water Street Inn in Stillwater stayed alive recently when the City Council voted 5-0 to grant conceptual approval to the plan and take formal action later, after recommendations from the city's Planning Commission.

Most notable about the hotel project, if approved, would be a clock tower designed to resemble that of Union Depot, a building that once stood on the site. The proposed tower, on the north end of the addition, would be constructed as a frame-style outline of the original tower to avoid limiting views of the St. Croix River, said Roger Tomten, who designed the expansion. The first floor of the new wing would be used for meeting rooms, the second and third floors for hotel rooms, and the fourth floor for an outdoor patio.

The original portion of the hotel was the Lumber Exchange Building, constructed in 1890. The owner of the Water Street Inn is Chuck Dougherty, an Oak Park Heights City Council member.

Washington County

Applications now open for United Way grants

United Way of Washington County-East's Youth United Way is offering youth program grants that will be awarded this summer. To be eligible, nonprofit groups must fill out an application and use the funds for youth programs that will occur in, or benefit, the Stillwater School District area.

Applications are due May 1. Application guidelines and forms can be found on www.uwwce.org/youth unitedwaygrantinfo.html, or call the United Way office at 651-349-3838.


New road connections will be built near bridge

The Washington County Board has approved agreements with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bayport and Oak Park Heights to oversee roadway construction that will realign connections to Hwy. 95 in those cities.

The project is part of highways being built around the new St. Croix River bridge.

The county plans to reconstruct portions of Pickett Avenue, 56th Street and Stagecoach Trail this year. The project includes realigning Pickett Avenue/56th Street to better connect Stagecoach Trail to Hwy. 95.

The overall project is estimated to cost $3.2 million. Of that, $1.7 million will be funded by MnDOT, $2,053 by the city of Bayport, $13,003 by the city of Oak Park Heights, and $1.5 million from county state-aid funds.


Business survey helps city with retention effort

Beginning this month, Scandia-area business owners can voice their concerns and provide helpful feedback as part of a comprehensive business retention and expansion effort undertaken by the Scandia Economic Development Authority (EDA).

Members of the EDA will conduct interviews with more than 40 businesses.

"We want to gain a better understanding of how business owners view the city and open the lines of communication," said Sally Swanson, the EDA's president. The survey will help the EDA learn more about companies' plans for expansion or relocation and gather data for future strategic planning, the city said.

Kevin Giles; Libor Jany