The Anoka City Council has given preliminary approval to a $2.15 million law enforcement training facility that would have space for animal containment. It directed city staffers to move forward with design plans before presenting the project next month to the Planning Commission.

If the project is approved, it would go out for bid in January. Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by the end of 2021. Police Chief Eric Peterson said the facility ideally would be near the law enforcement center at 3rd Avenue and Harrison Street.

The estimated impact on taxpayers with a home value of $250,000 would be between $22 and $28 per year, depending on whether the city bids for a 20-year or 15-year bond.

Kim Hyatt

Stillwater

Lift Bridge, Main will get cheerful lights

Stillwater will light up its historic Lift Bridge and Main Street for the holidays, thanks to some last-minute brainstorming and a Hopkins lighting crew.

The lights, which will illuminate the bridge’s south face, could be ready as soon as Dec. 5, said Mayor Ted Kozlowski.

Hopkins-based Holiday Lighting and Design got the $50,000 contract to light the bridge and Main Street.

The mayor said he realized a few weeks ago that 2020 is the year, if ever there was one, to go all out on city decorations as people cope with COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings.

“Stillwater is the quintessential winter village,” Kozlowski said. “Let’s decorate this place to the nines!”

Matt McKinney

Apple Valley

City taking new look at backyard chickens

Prompted by a group of interested residents, the Apple Valley City Council has decided to take another look at its ban on backyard chickens.

The council voted this month to have an advisory committee study the issue after residents asked to have chickens, specifically hens, permitted on residential property. Apple Valley is surrounded by cities that permit backyard chickens and is one of the few cities in the metro area that bars them.

Rebekah Weum, who lives in Apple Valley, told the council that residents had collected 360 signatures on a petition and assembled more than 200 supporters for a Facebook group called Apple Valley MN Backyard Chickens. “There’s a growing need for sustainable living practices,” she said.

Kevin Duchschere

Richfield

Council considers development pause

The Richfield City Council has tentatively agreed to halt development near Veterans Memorial Park for nine months while officials study the possibilities for the area.

The moratorium would limit any development that requires zoning or planning changes along Portland Avenue between Hwy. 62 and 67th Street and along 66th Street between 5th and 11th avenues. “We need some time to figure out what our plans are there,” said John Stark, community development director.

One key consideration is a 4-acre parcel at 6501 S. Portland Av. adjoining Veterans Park. City officials want to explore buying the parcel from the American Legion for a community center. The council will take a final vote on the moratorium Dec. 8.

Erin Adler