The Dakota County Board last week approved a contract to continue the DakotaLink transportation pilot program, which provides free bus rides to and from the Government Center in Hastings. The $122,000 contract will extend the service for a year.
The initiative was launched in September to help people get to court, leave jail or access county services. The bus loops around Hastings three times a day, stopping in West St. Paul and Eagan, and also can be used by the general public.
Daily ridership so far has ranged from about two to six riders, and Robyn Bernardy, Dakota County transportation coordinator, said they hope to cut costs by increasing the number of daily riders to 16 by September. Staffers will research revenue options, including fares for the general public.
Bonding sought for organics station
Gov. Tim Walz’s bonding bill includes $2 million of the $4 million needed to expand the Brooklyn Park organics transfer station, which serves Hennepin County’s organics recycling program.
Hennepin County collected 13 tons of organics materials in 2019, an amount expected to increase as more cities require businesses to comply with organics recycling.
All materials are sent to Brooklyn Park’s transfer station before going to composting sites in Empire Township and at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, both in Dakota County.
About one-third of trash is organic materials, including food, food-soiled paper and certified compostable products.
Summer farmers market in jeopardy
Wayzata may lose its farmers market this summer, owing to plans to build a lakeside park at the Lake Street site where the market has been located.
Deb Hoen, the market’s volunteer manager, has been meeting with city officials to find an alternate location. City Manager Jeff Dahl said the city would like the market to stay but has not been able to find an alternate location.
Vendors at the Wayzata market, which has been held every Thursday during the summer for 25 years, will probably find other places to sell their wares that day, Hoen said.
The market was located in Excelsior for 20 years, but moved to Wayzata when Excelsior moved the market to Tuesdays, a day when many vendors had commitments.
No rowing club this year on the St. Croix
A rowing club proposed for a vacant 15-acre site on the St. Croix River near downtown Stillwater won’t open this year, because of the work needed to convert a vacant house on the property into a boat storage facility, City Council Member Mike Polehna said.
A group of rowers asked the council in December if the property could be readied for a new club in time for spring. City officials expressed support, saying it could become a park for rowing and canoeing on the St. Croix. But a master plan is needed to steer future discussions, Polehna said.
The rowers, meanwhile, have begun looking for another site. “I’m willing to help Stillwater bring rowing and other silent water sports to the St. Croix when they are ready,” rower Ixchel McKinnie said.