Blaine city leaders plan to bring forward replanting proposals for a wetland area that was recently clear-cut, an act that provoked the ire of a nearby neighborhood.

In January, crews cleared out trees as part of restoration work in 192 acres of city land situated in a 500-acre area known as the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary. The site, west of Lexington Avenue and north of 109th Avenue, is a key part of the city's open space management plan.

A meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 10801 Town Square Dr. NE., to update residents about the project as well as address neighborhood concerns raised at a gathering last month — including the possibility of replacing some of the felled trees.

City staffers presented a preliminary replanting option at a March 16 workshop. The concept drawing showed most of the trees or shrubs planted near a planned maintenance access point in the neighborhood.

Neighbors have said they are worried about the impact on privacy and safety, and want the access point moved elsewhere.

At the workshop, Public Services Manager Bob Therres said early estimates for landscaping near the access point put the cost at about $50,000. Doing additional replanting behind the houses on the edge of the wetland could cost an additional $50,000, he said.

Council Member Dave Clark said city officials should also consider the nature lovers and families who will one day visit the wetland santuary. "I don't want [visitors] to have to look at the subdivision," he said.

Hannah Covington


Senior housing proposed near TCAAP site

A four-story senior housing project with hundreds of living units is being proposed in Arden Hills on property owned by North Heights Lutheran Church.

Lyngblomsten, a nonprofit caregiver for seniors, sought a meeting last week with the City Council to go over the concept. Officials stressed that if the matter proceeds, a formal application would be reviewed and subject to public hearings with the Planning Commission and City Council.

North Heights owns 41 acres at a key location, near Hwys. 96 and 10. Much of the site consists of woods and wetlands.

Lyngblomsten would buy about six acres at the south end of the property for up to 200 units of senior housing, including apartments for independent living, assisted living and memory care. A portion of the new complex would be a "town center," with dining areas, a movie theater, chapel, fitness center and gift shop, according to a memo to the council.

The memo positions the proposal as connected to the nearby development of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) site, which will result in infrastructure upgrades in the area.

David Peterson


U project picks Ramsey for partnership

Hundreds of students soon will be studying the city of Ramsey as part of the University of Minnesota's Resilient Communities Project (RCP).

The university announced earlier this month that Ramsey had been selected for the project. Students will collaborate with the city on 20 research-based community projects during the 2017-18 school year.

It's the first time the project has involved a city in Anoka County. Ramsey was one of two RCP finalists this year; the other was Edina.

In Ramsey's proposal, city officials listed Hwy. 10 corridor planning, organics recycling and greenway planning as potential project topics.

"It's a really unique community," said Mike Greco, RCP's director. "It's still a relatively rural community, but it's a community we know is going to grow rapidly in the near future."

In the coming months, RCP and Ramsey city staffers will begin matching potential projects with courses offered by the U.

Cities often wind up using students' research projects to help inform planning and policy, Greco said.

Now in its fifth year, RCP has also worked with Brooklyn Park, Carver County, Rosemount, North St. Paul and Minnetonka.

Hannah Covington


Washington County wants Civil War items for celebration

Washington County is looking for items from the Civil War era as it prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary this June of its Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.

Officials are seeking artifacts, photos, news articles and family stories for the exhibit "Life as a Civil War Soldier: The First Minnesota and Company B." Items are needed by May 12 to be ready for the grand opening on June 3.

The exhibit will be on display through January 2018. The Historic Courthouse is at the intersection of Pine and 3rd streets in Stillwater.

David Peterson