The Hennepin County Board on Tuesday approved nearly $2.16 million in facility grants to help schools, parks and cities improve playgrounds and buy sports equipment. It also awarded 25 small equipment grants.

Hennepin Youth Sports is supported by proceeds from the Twins ballpark sales tax, which also pays for Target Field. Since it began in 2009, the program has awarded $24.1 million for facility, small equipment and playground projects, along with water safety lessons. The next round of grants will be awarded in spring 2019.

Grant recipients this week included Bloomington, Champlin, Crystal, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley, Greenfield, Intermediate School District 287, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Public Schools, New Hope, the city of Orono and the Orono school district.


Brooklyn Park

Council signs off on ‘Hotdish’ site review

Brooklyn Park officials have approved an updated environmental review for a business park being eyed for a hotly debated fulfillment center.

The City Council voted 6-1 to approve the review late last month, with Council Member Mark Mata dissenting.

The review analyzes how development would affect a 227-acre area that includes a site where developers have proposed “Project Hotdish.” The project, speculated to be related to Amazon, has stoked traffic and safety concerns.

The Planning Commission voted in September not to recommend the project, and the developer plans to make a new proposal next year. Officials stressed that approval of the environmental review doesn’t translate into approval of any development proposal.

Hannah Covington


New leader tapped to run Sibley House site

The Dakota County Historical Society has tapped Jessica Davis to be the new supervisor of the Sibley House Historic Site in Mendota, the oldest historic site in the state.

Davis, 23, a recent College of St. Benedict graduate, previously worked as an intern with the historical society and an educator at Sibley. After a few months as interim site supervisor, she began her new role at the end of October.

The site has four limestone buildings, including the house of Henry Sibley, the state’s first governor. The other structures include homes of two other early Minnesota fur traders and a cold store building used for preserving food during the early to mid-19th century.

Erin Adler


Holiday arch lights to go up in Lowell Park

In the absence of an ice castle this year, Stillwater is launching a new winter attraction: an archway of holiday lights in Lowell Park.

The archway, a direct response to local business concerns about revenue loss in the cold weather months, will extend from Mulberry Point to Myrtle Street and is expected to open before Christmas. It will remain in the park through the end of March.

Stillwater’s ice castle, which brought in an estimated $2.5 million for area businesses, moved to Excelsior this year due to construction and infrastructure concerns. The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce hopes the success of the arch will draw another ice castle in the future, spokeswoman Stacie Jensen said.

Mara Klecker