Dakota County

Byllesby Dam needs more money for fixes

Repairs to the Lake Byllesby Dam will cost $7.5 million more than Dakota County officials anticipated because of construction and regulatory costs.

Replacement of the turbines for the county-owned hydroelectric dam is on track and budget, but the county terminated its contract with the firm it first hired to update the powerhouse and approved a new contract with Boldt Construction this fall. Boldt's estimate is about $23.9 million, said Josh Petersen, a county water resources engineer, but officials hope they can trim that to $21 million.

The county has committed $8 million to the project and has $6 million in state bonding but is still about $7 million short. Officials hope the work will be done by 2022.

Erin Adler


Most Lift Bridge work ends for the season

Work to repair and renovate the Stillwater Lift Bridge for pedestrian and bicycle use has been suspended for the season, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.

Construction trailers and equipment have been removed from Lowell Park. Some work will continue on the lift span over the winter, as weather allows, MnDOT said. Remaining work includes replacing parts of the lift mechanism.

MnDOT plans to finish the bridge work by early spring. A grand opening is set for May 15-16, when the bridge will become part of a 5-mile river loop trail. The 88-year-old lift bridge closed to vehicles in 2017 when it was replaced by the St. Croix Crossing bridge.


Brooklyn Park

New sports dome set to open in 2020

If Mother Nature cooperates, Brooklyn Park's first sports dome will open the first weekend of the New Year.

The city partnered with Osseo Area Schools to construct the dome on the campus shared by Park Center Senior High School and Brooklyn Middle School. Brooklyn Park committed $3.5 million for the lobby, bathrooms and lighting. The school district contributed $2 million for the fields as part of a capital improvement project it approved in 2017.

The dome joins a growing list of metro suburbs building sports domes, including Blaine, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Rosemount, Savage, West St. Paul and Woodbury.

The Brooklyn Park dome will open to contracted users Jan. 4-5 and to the public Jan. 6.

kim hyatt


City launches skate program for kids

Richfield has launched a program to teach the basics of ice skating to every fourth-grader in the school district.

The first sessions kicked off in early December when classes from Sheridan Hills Elementary School went to the Richfield Ice Arena. After donning skates and helmets and receiving some instruction, the students got about an hour of ice time.

"Our goal was just to get more of our youth skating," said Amy Markle, recreation services director. "As our demographics are changing, more and more of our youth maybe haven't had that access to learn how to ice skate."

The city hopes to expand the program to another grade level next year, Markle said.

The Richfield Youth Hockey Association and the Optimist Club donated money to purchase helmets for the students.

Mara Klecker