The Edina school district won an award this month for reducing its use of road salt by almost 90 percent since 2014, an effort to minimize its harmful effects on groundwater.

District officials received the award at the annual Road Salt Symposium in Plymouth, an event hosted by the St. Paul nonprofit Freshwater Society and Fortin Consulting, an environmental firm in Hamel.

Before 2014 the Edina school district, which includes 10 sites on 205 acres, was going through 45 pallets of salt a year, according to Freshwater and Fortin. This year, the district bought 16 pallets and has used only a portion.

The district’s ground crew is using more efficient snow-removal equipment and has created a salt-brining system for use in the district.

Katy Read

Mendota Heights

Input on Pilot Knob visitor plan sought

The Pilot Knob Preservation Association is seeking feedback on a $930,000 plan to improve the visitor experience at Pilot Knob/Ohéyawahe, a 112-acre historic bluff area.

The plan calls for a new parking lot and signage, a loop trail accessible to wheelchairs and art by a Dakota artist, according to the association.

Mary Anne Welch, a spokeswoman for Great River Greening, said the steering committee is especially looking for input from American Indians, since the site is culturally important to the Dakota people. If the plan gets the go-ahead, upgrades will be funded both privately and publicly.

The plan can be reviewed at, and comments can be sent to

Erin Adler

Brooklyn Center

City seeks help with street banner project

Brooklyn Center is working to replace 230 street banners as part of ongoing efforts to boost the city’s image and is looking for volunteers willing to be photographed for them.

City officials said they want the banners to capture and celebrate the city’s rich diversity. More than half the residents are people of color, and about 1 in 5 are immigrants.

The first group of new banners debuted in November and featured local children.

Citywide photo shoots for the next batch of banners are planned for three dates: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Brooklyn Center Community Center, 6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy.; 5 to 7 p.m. March 4 at the Sanctuary, 6121 Brooklyn Blvd.; and 1 to 3 p.m. March 13 at Community Emergency Assistance Programs, 7051 Brooklyn Blvd.

Hannah Covington

May Township

County buys land for Big Marine Park

The Washington County Board has approved the $1.05 million purchase of 82 acres for the Big Marine Park Reserve, west of Marine on St. Croix in the county’s northern portion.

The purchase will be funded by the county’s Land and Water Legacy Program, which will be reimbursed by the Metropolitan Council for 75 percent of the acquisition cost, or $787,500.

The sale was initiated by the property owners.

When completed, the Big Marine Park Reserve will include 1,800 acres with 80 percent of the land set aside for restoration of the original habitat. The reserve is on the south and west shores of Big Marine Lake.

Mara Klecker