With half the year left to go, home foreclosures are down in Dakota County.
Data from the Dakota County Community Development Agency show there were fewer than 250 foreclosures countywide in the first five months of 2016 — less than the number during the same time frame in 2015.
The same data also show a steady drop in sheriff sales in the county in recent years. Between January and June of this year, there were 585 fewer sheriff sales than during the same period in 2012, a decrease of more than 70 percent.
So far this year, Apple Valley and Burnsville have had the highest number of foreclosures in Dakota County — 42 and 46, respectively.
Eagan, Mendota Heights, Inver Grove Heights and Lakeville have had the highest number of foreclosures per capita, based on the most recent U.S. Census population estimates.
Drug court receives final approval from state
Scott County’s first drug court, set for an October launch, has received final approval from the state’s judicial policymaking branch.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Judicial Council approved the county’s plan for a pilot drug court, which has been in the works all year. The court is an effort to save money, treat addiction and reduce the county’s rising number of drug- and alcohol-related arrests.
Convictions related to substance abuse increased by 84 percent between 2011 and 2015.
“It has taken a tremendous amount of partnership and work in our community to bring this program together,” Scott County District Court Judge Christian Wilton, one of two judges to preside over the court, said in a prepared statement. “This approval from the Minnesota Judicial Council is a critical step toward launching this important effort later this fall.”
The County Board voted last month to allocate $900,000 over the next three years for the pilot program. Starting enrollment is capped at 25 people but will increase, according to organizers.
Schultz to retire as parks and rec director
Burnsville Parks Director Terry Schultz started working for the city in May 1986. Three decades and numerous job titles later, he’s hanging up his hat — his last day will be July 29.
During his time with the city, Schultz has been recreation programmer, natural resources director and, most recently, director of parks, natural resources, recreation and facilities.
In that role, he’s overseen 76 parks covering 1,700 acres, and provided leadership on projects as wide-ranging as the Minnesota River Greenway, creation of a new golf course and management of the local deer population.
“Terry has decided to begin ‘weeks with only Saturdays’ and turn his attention to fishing, wife, Becky, and his granddaughter,” according to a city proclamation recognizing his work.
Artspace Lofts to break ground in August
Despite a recent plan revision, a 37-unit affordable housing complex expected to support Hastings’ creative community will break ground next month.
After developers found bedrock that made underground parking unfeasible, the City Council agreed Monday to relocate the parking lot for Artspace Lofts to the ground level.
The council’s vote reflected recommendations from the city’s Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority Commission.
The $11.7 million project, developed by Minneapolis nonprofit Artspace, got final approval by the City Council in April after two years of public discussion.
The project has received new funding over the last month from state and regional organizations. Grant amounts include $167,531 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and $29,100 from the Metropolitan Council for soil remediation.
“Having $200,000 to offset some site development costs is certainly going to be helpful,” said John Hinzman, Hastings’ community development director.
Construction forces early start to school year
Shakopee schools will begin classes Monday, Aug. 22, more than two weeks ahead of most other districts, and end on May 25, 2017.
The change was made so that construction of the Shakopee High School addition can begin in late May 2017.
Most Minnesota school districts will begin classes on Sept. 6, the Tuesday after Labor Day.