After two years of road closures, the massive project to reconstruct Bushaway Road is finally done.
The last piece of the project, a new bridge over the BNSP railroad tracks north of McGinty Road/ Eastman Lane, is slated to reopen on Tuesday. To mark the reopening of the road, city and business leaders in Wayzata and Minnetonka will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
The total $59.6 million reconstruction project included repaving and widening the road, adding turn lanes and new sewers, installing a bike and pedestrian trail and replacing the bridge. The largest stretch of the road reopened in September to traffic.
Bushaway Road, thought to be the first registered road in Minnesota after statehood, is considered the eastern gateway to Lake Minnetonka. It is typically used by more than 11,000 motorists a day.
Homeless will get help in registering, voting
About a dozen homeless Dakota County residents will be able to vote on Nov. 8, thanks to a recent county effort to register people experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
The county, through its Heading Home Dakota program, has held a series of three voter registration events and registered a total of 13 people. Emergency shelters will provide transportation to polling places on Election Day.
Dakota County’s most recent point-in-time homelessness survey, conducted in January, found 63 unsheltered people countywide.
Minnesotans who are homeless can register to vote using the location of the place where they sleep. People sleeping outside can provide a description of the location rather than an address. For more information, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website at www.mnvotes.org/.
City Council votes to put financing plan on hold
While Newport City Council members seem to welcome the Red Rock Crossing redevelopment project, they’re divided over how the tax-increment financing (TIF) district should be administered.
The council voted recently to reconsider its earlier agreement to give Washington County authority to manage the TIF district. They tabled a decision until their meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3, and could vote then to delay it longer.
The Washington County Board, meanwhile, will hold a public hearing on the TIF proposal as planned on Tuesday, Nov. 1, said Commissioner Karla Bigham.
Under the previous agreement, the increased tax revenue from the project would help pay for redevelopment costs, such as property acquisition, demolition of existing buildings, installation of public utilities and construction of streets and sidewalks.
“This will be one of the toughest decisions I make before I leave office,” said Mayor Tim Geraghty, who is retiring.
Red Rock Crossing eventually could bring more than 500 housing units and as many jobs to the city.
Regional crime lab to hire scientist to tackle backlog
A new forensic scientist soon will help shoulder the quickly growing caseload at Tri County Regional Forensic Laboratory in Andover.
The crime lab — a joint venture of Anoka, Sherburne and Wright counties — received a federal grant to pay for the position’s $150,000 salary for 2017 and 2018. When grant funding is no longer available, the job will be funded by the partnering counties, a plan recently approved by the lab’s advisory board. The Anoka County Board approved the plan last week.
Since the lab earned international accreditation in 2014, there has been a sharp influx of case submissions, said lab director Scott Ford. The new forensic scientist will join the lab’s 14-person staff.
The turnaround for a DNA submission at the lab is about four months. The hope, Ford said, is to cut that time in half once the position is filled by the first of the year.