South St. Paul is weighing whether to add an Economic and Community Development Department, consolidating three existing city divisions under one umbrella.

“It’s really kind of a reorganization of our community development function, writ large,” said Ryan Garcia, South St. Paul’s economic development manager.

Garcia was hired two years ago as the city’s first development manager, an early step in the process of providing a “more comprehensive range of services, programs and policies in the arena of economic development,” according to a city memo.

Garcia would lead the new department, which would include planning and zoning.

The City Council was set to vote on the idea last Monday but decided to table it for more discussion. “I don’t perceive a lack of support [from the council] in concept,” Garcia said.

Erin Adler


County buys site for service campus

The Washington County Board has agreed to purchase a 60-acre parcel in Woodbury for a future public service campus. The county will pay $3.65 million for the site.

The property, at the southeast corner of Bailey Road and Cottage Grove Drive, is “situated in the perfect location” next to other county property and adjacent to a parcel owned by Woodbury, said County Public Works Director Don Theisen.

Theisen said that Woodbury and the county will collaborate on a long-term plan for the site. Construction isn’t expected to begin for at least five years.

“Going into the future, we know we need a bigger space at the south end of the county,” he said.

Mara Klecker

Hennepin County

Bike trail projects get $585K in grants

Eight projects to build or renovate bike trails in the west metro area received a total of $585,275 from the Hennepin County Board last week.

The capital improvement grants will help expand the bike trail network in five cities.

Hopkins, Minnetonka and Minneapolis each received $100,000 to build multiuse trails along Excelsior Boulevard, Plymouth Road and Hennepin Avenue E., respectively.

Bloomington got $90,000 to expand and rebuild a trail on France Avenue. Excelsior and New Hope also were awarded smaller grants.

The Three Rivers Park District received a grant of $120,000 to build a culvert under a railroad bridge at Baker Park Road and to study the closing of a gap on the West Mississippi Regional Trail.



City pitches in $100K for Hwy. 65 study

A study examining options to remedy safety and traffic issues along Hwy. 65 is getting a $100,000 boost from the city of Blaine.

City Council members voted Aug. 16 to help fund the estimated $800,000 study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which will look at “low-cost, high-impact” changes to the busy corridor between Bunker Lake Boulevard in Ham Lake to Hwy. 10 in Spring Lake Park.

“Everything is on the table right now,” City Manager Clark Arneson said at the meeting.

Anoka County also has committed $100,000 toward the study, which is expected to wrap up by February 2020.

Hannah Covington