March 24: The City Council gave final approval to changes in the junk-vehicle storage ordinance. Classic cars had previously been exempt from the rule that required junk or inoperable vehicles to be stored in a building. Another change to the ordinance allows the city to impound vehicles that are in violation of the ordinance and charge the owner. The owner will get a written notice and 10 days to correct the problem before the city impounds the vehicle.
March 24: The new public safety building is on its way after the City Council gave initial approval for up to $11.5 million in bonds to pay for the project. The approximately 40,000-square-foot police and fire facility will be located at 41st Avenue NE. and Jackson Street NE. The cost to the owner of a $200,000 home will be between $47 and $58 a year starting in 2009.
The council also awarded the construction contract to EDS Consultants and Construction Managers. Buetow and Associates was approved as the architect for the project.
March 13: An architectural firm presented a study about the future of the city's Mary Ann Young Senior Center. The council commissioned the study last fall to analyze future needs and uses and address whether to build a new center. The study concluded that the size of such a center should be about 15,000 square feet, more than three times the size of the current center. The study said a future center could be located at Aquatore Park or adjacent to City Hall, because each of those sites is large enough to include a future community center and senior center.
March 18: The City Council approved a joint-powers agreement with Anoka County to upgrade a portion of University Avenue from County Road 10 to Hwy. 10. The improvements include a raised median and turn lanes, as well as curbs and gutters. A traffic light at 91st Avenue will remain but was a point of contention during talks between the city and county. The city's estimated share of the cost is $85,000. The street borders Blaine, which also has approved an agreement with the county. Construction is expected this year.