A $100,000 grant will fund a yearlong study of potential health effects resulting from the development of the Gateway Corridor, the transit link being developed along Interstate 94 from the eastern end of Woodbury to downtown St. Paul.

The grant comes from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, with funding from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. The study will help inform land-use changes around the Gateway Corridor’s bus-rapid transit stations proposed along the route, Lyssa Leitner, a planner with Washington County Public Works, told the County Board earlier this month.

Gateway Corridor project leaders say the health impact assessment process will engage residents and businesses in discussions about how community design affects people’s health. The assessment is being done in concert with the Gateway Corridor Commission’s draft environmental impact study, which looks for ways the proposed transit service infrastructure may affect the area.

Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik, chairwoman of the Gateway Corridor Commission, said she’s is excited about bringing the subjects together.

“It’s a unique partnership — this joint effort between an infrastructure project and public health,” Weik said. “It will become more valuable as we understand more about long-term health and how it’s connected to our surroundings.”

The assessment also has support from the Housing Redevelopment Authorities in Washington and Ramsey counties because of their focus on access to affordable housing and jobs.


Top environmental projects honored

A church, a multifamily housing development, and a Woodbury family are the recipients of Woodbury’s seventh annual Environmental Excellence Awards. They were nominated for their efforts in the areas of innovative stormwater management, water conservation, and environmental education and awareness.

Woodbury Community Church, 2975 Pioneer Drive, was honored for a rain garden project. It converted 35,000 square feet of high-maintenance turf grass and a ditch into three rain gardens. The project was designed to improve water quality, reduce flooding, provide attractive landscaping and educate members of the church and community about the importance of water quality. The project installation was a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Conservation Corps and volunteers from the congregation.

Views at City Walk, a 45-unit apartment building at 375 Lake View Drive constructed by CommonBond Communities, was honored for paying close attention to water conservation in its design. Specifically, the project engineers from Loucks designed an underground rainwater harvesting system. This rainwater can then be used to irrigate the property’s landscaping.

The John and Catherine Schoenherr family’s decision to convert their front yard to an “edible estate,” sponsored by the Walker Art Center, also was honored. The family of four worked with artist Fritz Haeg and several volunteers to create the 90-by-60-foot edible garden, which replaced the entire front yard. The goal of the project was to replace a traditional suburban lawn with an edible landscape that not only produces food, but also promotes human interaction. The second year of growing produced approximately 100 crops. Neighbors gathered on Wednesday nights to help tend to and harvest the garden.

Food collection to aid Second Harvest

Kowalski’s Market in Woodbury, at 8505 Valley Creek Road, has been chosen as one of four Twin Cities sites for KARE 11 TV’s Food Fight to benefit Second Harvest Heartland. The food drive takes place from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25. The Woodbury effort will be led by meteorologist Belinda Jensen.

Collection boxes for food have been placed at Public Safety, City Hall, Central Park, Public Works and Bielenberg Sports Center. Monetary donations can also be made online and on site at Kowalski’s.

All funds and food collected will benefit Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank with partner programs in 59 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including the Christian Cupboard in Woodbury. At this time, protein (peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken, etc.), cereal, fruits and vegetables, and complete meals (pasta and sauce) are in greatest need.

Last year, more than 860,000 pounds of food were donated to Second Harvest Heartland as part of this event.

For more information, visit www.kare11.com/community.


Meeting to explain St. Croix Trail project

A public information meeting on the St. Croix Trail South roadway improvements and their impact on downtown Afton will held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Memorial Lutheran Church, 15730 Afton Blvd S., Afton.

Afton residents, business owners and other interested parties will be able to review the proposed design for roadway improvements. Updates for the roadway project, as well as city projects, and preliminary construction schedules will also be provided.

The meeting is an open house. Attendees are welcome to arrive any time to talk.

The project focuses on reconstruction from the north split at Stagecoach Trail to 37th Street South. The purpose of the project is to rebuild roadway infrastructure, resolve localized drainage issues, improve the safety of the intersection with Stagecoach Trail and increase safety and accessibility for all roadway users.

More information is available at www.co.washington.mn.us/AftonCR21


Annual deer hunt slated at parks

A controlled hunt to cull the winter deer population is planned on Dec. 6-7 at both Loveland Park and Bailey School Forest in Newport.

Hunters from the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base (MBRB) will be hunting one half-hour before dawn and continue through the day until 30 minutes after sunset. The parks will be closed to the public all weekend. The hunters are allowed to set up tree stands from noon to dusk on the Friday before each weekend.

For more information, contact City Hall at 651-459-5677.

Jim Anderson