Site plans for a closely watched Hy-Vee project are taking shape in Columbia Heights, and construction work at one of the project’s two sites could begin as early as next month.

The City Council on Monday approved the company’s proposal to locate a convenience store, with gas pumps and a coffee shop, at 4707 Central Av. NE. Approval for a future restaurant on the site is pending, said City Planner Elizabeth Holmbeck.

The 4,500-square-foot Hy-Vee convenience store will be several blocks away from a planned Hy-Vee grocery store at 4300 Central Av. NE. For the latter, Hy-Vee plans to renovate and expand a building that once housed a Rainbow Foods and Slumberland Clearance Center. The city approved tax-increment financing last fall to help pay for cleanup at the site, where dry cleaning chemicals and asbestos were found.

At the convenience store location, early plans call for a fast food-type restaurant with a drive-through window. Work at that site is expected to begin as soon as late April or early May, city officials said.

The Iowa-based company has expanded rapidly across the Twin Cities since it broke into the market in 2015. Other stores in the works include locations in Farmington, Maple Grove, Chaska, Robbinsdale and White Bear Lake.

Hannah Covington


Golden Birthday Party to be held for city March 25

Families are invited to a celebration March 25 of Woodbury’s 50th birthday as a city, an event called Woodbury’s Golden Birthday Party.

The Woodbury Community Foundation and the city will jointly present an evening of free music, kids’ activities and socializing. Food will be available to purchase.

The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. March 25 at Central Park, 8595 Central Park Place.

A full schedule of events and other details can be found at

David Peterson


Taste of Fridley event benefits student trip

Middle school students bound for an East Coast history trip this summer have been given a fundraising boost from a Taste of Fridley event.

Several hundred ticket holders sampled local fare and craft brews at the fundraising gala, held March 10 at Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley. The event raised about $7,000 for the biannual trip, said Tarole Rettke, a parent organizer.

“It way exceeded our expectations,” Rettke said.

The 5-day June tour will take seventh- and eighth-grade students from Fridley Middle School to Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, Pa., and New York City. Seventy students were chosen for the trip after being nominated by their teachers, Rettke said.

Hannah Covington


Mississippi Regional Trail final leg approved

Dakota County’s physical development committee approved plans Tuesday for the last segment of the Mississippi Regional Trail, which will cover a two-mile stretch of Rosemount across the river from Grey Cloud Island.

Commissioner Tom Egan noted that the completion of this trail segment had been discussed by the County Board so many times that he felt like he knew “every square inch” of the area.

The committee approved the new alignment with a 6 to 1 vote. Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg was the only “no” vote.

An engineering and design firm studied nine possible options for the new trail alignment and then narrowed them to two. The committee chose the second one, dubbed the brown option.

The new trail will cost $12 million to $13 million, require right of way acquisition from seven properties and involve the construction of two railroad overpasses. The brown option was the costlier of the two, but board members worried about issues with property owners along the trail if they chose the other option, which would have cost $8 million to $11 million.

Both options take advantage of more than $1 million in federal funding, county officials said.

Final action will take place at a future County Board meeting. The entire 27-mile trail connects Hastings with St. Paul.

Erin Adler


Caponi park seeking entries for exhibition

Caponi Art Park, a 60-acre park that encompasses a sculpture garden and amphitheater, is seeking entries for a new exhibition celebrating the influence of park founder Anthony Caponi.

Caponi, who died in 2015 at the age of 94, was a sculptor and Macalester College art professor who founded the park in the late 1980s. It hosts a summer performance series, guided tours, workshops and an annual medieval fair.

Artists who are at least 8 years old are invited to submit works that reflect Caponi’s legacy. Submissions are due March 31 and the show will open May 5, 2017. For more information, go to

Erin Adler