Kline urged Mary Pawlenty to seek his seat

Outgoing Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline said he tried extremely hard to get former state judge and Minnesota First Lady Mary Pawlenty to run for his Second Congressional District seat — unsuccessfully, it turns out.

Kline said that he is officially staying neutral on the four-and-counting Republicans running to replace him but that he would have thrown full support behind Pawlenty, currently working as a private mediator.

She is married to former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"I will tell you very bluntly if Mary Pawlenty had gotten in, this would be done," Kline said. "I would have jumped out to support her in a minute. She has virtually 100 percent name ID, high credibility as a judge in her own right and former first lady. But she didn't get in, try as I did to get her to run."

Allison Sherry


City approves $2.8 million tax break for development

St. Louis Park last week approved a $2.8 million tax-increment financing district for redevelopment of the long-vacant Bally Total Fitness property at 4900 Excelsior Blvd.

The developer, 4900 Excelsior Apartments LLC, plans to build 164 to 176 apartments on the site, along with street-level retail, including a Fresh Thyme Market.

Under tax-increment financing, a developer is repaid for certain costs out of new taxes generated by the development. After an agreed-upon payback period, the taxes then revert to the city. In this case, the city estimates a payback period of about seven years.


Coon Rapids

Crews start work on senior apartments

Work has begun on a new 167-unit affordable apartment complex for seniors in Coon Rapids.

City leaders and representatives from the developer, Dominium, broke ground on the River North Senior Apartments earlier this month.

The complex on Crooked Lake Boulevard near the city's ice center will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and a theater room, salon and library for residents.

This is Dominium's third project in Coon Rapids in recent years. The Plymouth-based company does affordable housing development and property management in 23 states.

Shannon Prather

Washington County

Parks to introduce online scheduling program

With the introduction of a new online program, Washington County's parks division will start taking online, telephone, and in-person campsite and picnic pavilion reservations in the spring.

The county is installing new recreation management software that will allow for scheduling buildings, activity registration, campground booking and online sales.

The new software will allow park users to view availability of park amenities and campsites online, as well as book campsites online. Park staff also will be able to electronically track program registrations and payments. The software starts March 1.

Questions can be directed to Steven Hart, guest services coordinator for the county parks, at 651-430-8243 or steven.hart@co.washington.mn.us.

Kevin Giles


City seeks to fill 14 commission seats

The city of Chaska is looking to fill 14 positions on its Planning Commission, Park and Recreation Board, Human Rights Commission and the Heritage Preservation Commission.

The volunteer positions are for three-year terms and start on Jan. 31. Commissions meet once a month.

The Heritage Preservation Commission, which surveys historic sites and researches historic properties, has five openings. The Park and Recreation Board, which advises the City Council on recreation and park issues, has four openings.

To apply, contact Margo Steffel at 952-227-7511 or Msteffel@chaskamn.com. Applications are due by Dec. 23.