The first reading of a new ordinance amendment on March 20 says slightly smaller house numbers are acceptable in South St. Paul.

City code currently requires 4.5 inch or larger plastic or metal house numbers to be placed on residential structures so that they “may be easily seen and read in daylight from the public street.” The requirement has caused problems, however, because state building code only requires four-inch numerals.

Residents have also complained that it can be hard to find 4.5 inch house numbers, as many stores only carry four or five inch sizes.

According to a South St. Paul memo, most other cities require four-inch numbers.

The City Council hasn’t passed the measure yet but will vote at a future meeting, after a second reading of the ordinance.

Erin Adler


City Council Member Tim Pitcher resigns

Farmington City Council Member Tim Pitcher has resigned, leaving a vacancy on the council. Pitcher’s term runs through Dec. 31, 2018.

Pitcher has been a council member since 2015 and Farmington resident for more than a decade. He unexpectedly submitted his letter of resignation March 9, citing a job opportunity outside Farmington as the reason for his exit.

Pitcher, a medical device engineer, ran for the Minnesota Senate last year — he was a Republican candidate in District 58 — but didn’t win.

Candidates for the empty seat have until noon on April 4 to fill out an application, according to city administrator David McKnight. McKnight added that the Council is tentatively scheduled to interview candidates on April 10 but it depends on the number of applications received.

Erin Adler

Scott County

Tribe to conduct prescribed burns

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community plans to set controlled fires on hundreds of acres of reservation property, as well as in some neighboring jurisdictions, this spring as a means of land management, officials announced this week.

The timing of the burns depends on weather. The fires would cover 279 reservation acres and four acres in Shakopee. Staff trained in wild-land firefighting from the SMSC Land and Natural Resources Department, Mdewakanton Public Safety and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will conduct the prescribed burns.

The annual fires are meant to replicate natural wildlife events and are typically used as a treatment during vegetation dormancy that coincide with the growth pattern of nonnative and invasive species. Burning adds nutrients to the soil, releases native seed banks and rejuvenates native prairie grasses. All burns will depend entirely on weather conditions such as temperature, relative humidity and wind speed. Authorities anticipate the fires will begin in April and last throughout May.

Liz Sawyer

Eagan & Shakopee

Cities to revamp logos

Eagan is creating a new logo to replace the single oak tree the city has used as a symbol since 2004.

The reason: the city has evolved and more consistency in the city’s branding is necessary, according to a PowerPoint presentation given at a March 21 work session.

In addition, the public has indicated an appetite for a new logo, the presentation said.

Council Member Cyndee Fields said that residents have commented that the current logo looks like a piece of broccoli.

At the work session, the City Council and city staff discussed two new logo concepts designed by Allan Peters, an Eagan-based graphic designer. While Peters presented a number of possible ideas, both final concepts were simplified deciduous trees in shades of green.

“Being that I live in Eagan, this is a passion project for me,” Peters said.

The city will hold several focus groups to show off the new designs and plans to decide on a new logo in May.

Shakopee’s official city logo will also get a face-lift this spring, just in time for the move to a new City Hall building downtown.

The long-standing green and cranberry colors illuminating a riverfront silhouette will be replaced by a “more modern” blue and red brick color scheme, officials said. The design was last updated in 1993 when city offices moved to the current City Hall. While the logo itself remains functional, the colors have become dated, said Kristin Doran, a city spokeswoman.

Leaders anticipate the change will create a stronger brand with a more “consistent color palette.” It will be phased in gradually in preparation for the July opening of city hall.

Erin Adler and Liz Sawyer


City seeks sales tax increase

Excelsior leaders are back at the State Capitol for the third year, looking again for a half-cent sales tax to pay for $7 million in improvements to the Commons park along Lake Minnetonka, up from the $5 million it sought in the last two years.

Excelsior officials long have wanted to revitalize the 13-acre waterfront city park, which has been in the public domain for more than 160 years. They want to improve park facilities and concessions to resemble those at Minneapolis’ lakes, such as the Tin Fish restaurant at Lake Calhoun. A park conservancy group, Community for the Commons, was established last year to lead private fundraising.

City leaders argue that the Commons, which is used for free by thousands from outside Excelsior, should be supported regionally and not just by the city’s 2,100 residents. Voters narrowly approved a sales tax increase of up to 1 percent for the park in 2014, but state approval is still needed before the tax can be levied. Once $7 million has been collected in about 25 years, the tax would end.