Woodbury is launching a series of celebrations this year to make its 50th birthday as a city.

City officials will partner through the year with groups like the Woodbury Community Foundation, Woodbury Heritage Society and Washington County’s local R.H. Stafford Library to observe the landmark anniversary.

Events include the State of the City address by Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens at Central Park on Feb. 26 and the Woodbury Heritage Fair on March 25, also in Central Park, which will recall the city’s history amid a “fun evening with food, music and games for the whole family.”

Other community events — including Woodbury Days, the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce Community Expo and the July 4th fireworks — will have the same theme.

Featured throughout the year will be obscure facts about the city, such as how it got its name.

Originally dubbed Red Rock Township, the future city was named Woodbury Township when another Red Rock Township was discovered in northern Minnesota.

It was named for Levi Woodbury of New Hampshire, a friend of the township’s first board chairman. Woodbury was a 19th-century U.S. Supreme Court justice, U.S. senator and governor of New Hampshire.

In 1967, Woodbury Township became a city as it prepared for rapid-fire growth. Numbering about 6,000 residents then, the city’s current population is nearing 70,000.

David Peterson

New Hope

Council OKs contracts for $19 million facility

It won’t be a big move in terms of distance — just across a parking lot — but plans for a new City Hall and police station mean that New Hope officials soon will have twice as much space in which to do business.

The City Council last week approved contracts for design, construction and engineering services for the proposed $19 million City Hall and police facility, which will replace the current 1960s-era structure. Construction is anticipated to begin later this year, with completion expected in the spring of 2019, City Manager Kirk McDonald said.

The 58,000-square-foot facility will be located at Civic Center Park, near the existing 26,700-square-foot building.

In two 4-to-1 votes, the City Council awarded contracts to Wold Architects and Stantec Consulting Services Inc. for a maximum of $915,200 and $117,370, respectively. In a separate 4-to-1 vote, the council also approved contracting with Stantec to replace the swimming pool where the facility will be built; the new pool is expected to cost more than $8 million.

The entire project will be paid for with city funds and bonding. A New Hope resident with a house valued at $196,000 can expect to pay about $222 more in taxes over three years, McDonald said.

New Hope is one of several suburban cities sprucing up their municipal facilities. In Fridley, officials last month gave final funding approval for a new $50 million City Hall complex.

Hannah Covington

Arden Hills

Joynes: City to move fast on ‘civic’ space

Bill Joynes, Arden Hills’ new city administrator, told the City Council last week that he expects to lose no time in proposing options for a “civic” function in the new town center that will be part of the megaproject being planned for the city.

The master developer overseeing the redevelopment of the old Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site has urged the City Council to consider either erecting a new City Hall as part of the project or consider some other kind of public presence.

The hope is to add to the mini-downtown’s animation and make it feel like more of a community undertaking, not just a uniquely configured shopping and entertainment area.

Joynes, who began as city administrator Jan. 3, told the council:

“I will bring you some options hopefully this month, and we can start moving forward on that. [The developer’s preferred timeline] is fairly short, so we will need to move as quickly as we can.”

David Peterson

Washington County

Orchard donates money to Sheriff’s Office

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office will receive a donation of $5,649 from the family owners of Afton Apple Orchard to spend on community engagement efforts. The money was raised at the orchard’s fall corn maze in recognition of the work and sacrifices of first responders, owner Sarah Parkos told county commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.

Parkos and fellow owner Cindy Femling presented the gift. Afton Orchard, which has hosted public safety events to promote the work of first responders, has donated about $21,000 overall to Washington County first responders this year.

The Sheriff’s Office gift will help fund community engagement efforts such as Coffee with a Cop, Fishing with a Cop, National Night Out and other community outreach efforts.

Parkos said the orchard, in Denmark Township, has been in business for 28 years. The corn maze began 15 years ago.

Kevin Giles