The Mendota Heights public works director and city engineer will resign after eight years at the city.
John Mazzitello’s last day with the city will be Friday. The City Council approved his resignation on Aug. 2. Mazzitello is taking a job with a private consulting firm overseeing municipal projects in seven states.
“I’m off to a new adventure that is very exciting,” he said at the meeting. “It is my sincerest hope, one day in the future, I can serve the city of Mendota Heights again.”
In 2009, Mazzitello was deployed to Afghanistan as the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing civil engineer. He had to take a break from his city duties for his fifth deployment.
During his time serving the city, Mazzitello completed major reconstruction of the city’s streets, said Mayor Sandra Krebsbach at the meeting.
“You are leaving us in very good shape,” Krebsbach said.
The city has yet to discuss how it will fill the positions left open by Mazzitello.
And the medallion hunt winner is ... no one
For the first time in the contest’s 15-year history, no one found the medallion hidden for Lakefront Days in Prior Lake — so the $200 prize went unclaimed. Over three weeks, seven clues were revealed leading to the medallion, which was hidden near Markley Lake in the Eagle Creek subdivision near Kwik Trip on County Road 21. The medallion was near a trail and new retaining wall blocks, beneath a double oak tree.
“We had so many people asking us about it, ‘Where is it, where is it, where is it?’ ” said Sandi Fleck, president of the Prior Lake Chamber of Commerce, the hunt’s cosponsor along with the city. “The park that it was at was a brand-new park.”
The park’s newness may have stumped people, Fleck said. The medallion is always hidden on city property and never buried.
The goal of the hunt is to get families out together to learn something new about Prior Lake, Fleck said. The same clue master has come up with clues every year of the contest.
Volunteers needed to build playground
Lakeville officials are seeking volunteers — 100 per day for two days — to build a new playground to replace the 23-year-old Land of Amazement.
Called Land of Amazement 2.0, the new playground will meet current safety and accessibility standards, and include mazes, bridges and platforms.
Construction is set for Sept. 16 and 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Steve Michaud Park. Volunteers can sign up at lakevillemn.gov.
State confirms 2 cases of emerald ash borer
Hastings is the latest city where the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of emerald ash borer.
The department received two reports of the invasive species within the last month. A cyclist reported that an adult ash borer had landed on his body, and another resident asked the department to inspect five trees on private property. The Agriculture Department then contacted Hastings’ Parks and Recreation Department and city forester Paul Mahoney.
Hastings’ Parks and Recreation staff already surveys ash trees in public spaces such as city parks or areas within the public right of way for potential disease, while its forester will inspect trees on private property by request.
Parking on the grass for State Fair rides
The little-used Newport Transit Station is expected to be popping once it comes into use as a park and ride for the State Fair this fall.
So much so that Metro Transit will add striping for 350 spaces on grassy areas near the existing parking lot.
The station is on the southwest corner of Interstate 494 and Hwy. 61 at 250 Red Rock Crossing. The Cottage Grove park and ride will also be a State Fair transit site.
The addition of 350 parking spaces on grass will bring Newport’s parking capacity to 500 spaces for the State Fair.
Express buses to the fair operate from almost two dozen Twin Cities locations, from 8 a.m. to midnight. The bus ride is $5 round-trip, with cash or bus bargain tickets only. Children age 4 and younger ride free.
Bike, pedestrian trails to be connected
Hennepin County is filling in the gaps, connecting bike trails across the Twin Cities.
To improve the bicycle and pedestrian system, the county recently approved spending money on projects to connect trails, including $200,000 for Eden Prairie and Hopkins to fill Three Rivers Park District trail system gaps. Another $340,000 will go toward five projects in Rogers, Hopkins and Minneapolis as well as new bikeways in Edina and Orono. And $203,128 will go to connecting sideways in St. Anthony and Edina and improving crosswalks in Minneapolis.