Commissioner Jan Callison will lead the Hennepin County Board for the third straight year.

Callison, a former Minnetonka City Council member and mayor, was appointed this month to lead the seven-member board again this year. The board chair works closely with the county’s professional staff, organizes meetings and sets topics or agendas for briefings.

Commissioner Linda Higgins was reappointed vice chairwoman of the board, and Commissioner Peter McLaughlin was reelected chairman of the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, which is made up of the county commissioners.

Callison has been a county commissioner since 2009 and represents the Sixth District, which includes Deephaven, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata, Woodland and parts of Chanhassen, Eden Prairie and Mound.

Kelly Smith

Board OKs funding for transit-based projects

The Hennepin County Board has approved $1 million for four projects under its transit-oriented development (TOD) program.

The program, which has invested about $27 million in more than 100 projects since 2003, supports projects that support redevelopment and new construction that enhances transit use.

The recent funding includes:

• $400,000 to the Robbinsdale Economic Development Authority for the Robbinsdale Station area, to buy property near the future light-rail transit stop along the Blue Line extension.

• $300,000 to Wall Development Co. to renovate the Harris Machinery warehouse building in southeast Minneapolis into a destination food hall and small office space near the Prospect Park Station on the Green Line light-rail route. Total project costs are $6.4 million.

• $200,000 to the Crystal Economic Development Authority for the Bass Lake Road Streetscape project in Crystal, constructing streetscape and a new trail on the north side of Bass Lake Road from County Road 81 (and the future Bass Lake Road light-rail transit station on the Blue Line extension) to West Broadway. Total project costs are $450,000.

• $150,000 to TGMA Developers for Theatre Garage Marquee Apartments in Minneapolis, a mixed-use development with multifamily rental units and commercial space along several high frequency bus corridors off Lyndale Avenue. Total project costs are $23.8 million.

Another round of funding will be approved in 2017, with $2.2 million available. For more details, go to

Kelly Smith


Council to fill Second District vacancy

The Bloomington City Council is seeking applicants to fill a council seat left vacant after the fall election.

The seat was opened after Council Member Andrew Carlson, who represented the Second District, was elected in November to the state House of Representatives.

The City Council must appoint someone to the seat from the application pool by Feb. 23, City Manager Jamie Verbrugge said. The person appointed would serve on the council until the next election in November.

“Realistically, I think we’re looking at 12 to 15 applicants,” Verbrugge said. “Maybe we’ll get more.”

Applicants must live in the Second District, which is the city’s southwest section. The city is taking applications for the seat until 4 p.m. on Jan. 24. The application is available online at

Miguel Otárola 

New Hope

Council OKs contracts for $19 million facility

It won’t be a big move in terms of distance — just across a parking lot — but plans for a new City Hall and police station mean New Hope officials soon will have twice as much space in which to do business.

The City Council last week approved contracts for design, construction and engineering services for the proposed $19 million City Hall and police facility, which will replace the current 1960s-era structure. Construction could begin as early as this fall, with completion expected in the spring of 2019, City Manager Kirk McDonald said.

The 58,000-square-foot facility will be located at Civic Center Park, near the existing 26,700-square-foot building.

In two 4-to-1 votes, the City Council awarded contracts to Wold Architects and Stantec Consulting Services Inc. for a maximum of $915,200 and $117,370, respectively. In a separate 4-to-1 vote, the council also approved contracting with Stantec to replace the swimming pool where the facility will be built; the new pool is expected to cost more than $8 million.

The entire project will be paid for with city funds and bonding. A New Hope resident with a house valued at $196,000 can expect to pay about $222 more in taxes over three years, McDonald said.

New Hope is one of several suburban cities sprucing up their municipal facilities.

Hannah Covington