A special election in March for Richfield mayor will pit Dan Oxendale against City Council Member Pat Elliott.
Oxendale jumped into the race before the Jan. 30 application deadline. This will be the first time Oxendale has run for office, according to City Manager Steve Devich.
Elliott announced in December that he was running for the office, which was left vacant after former Mayor Debbie Goettel resigned in January to join the Hennepin County Board. She was elected to the board in November.
The winner of the March 7 special election will serve the remainder of Goettel’s term through the end of 2018.
Bridge renovation named Project of the Year
Bloomington’s $15 million renovation of the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge has been named the Project of the Year by the City Engineers Association of Minnesota.
The award, announced at the association’s annual conference last month, represents admiration of the project by engineers across the state, association President Marc Culver said.
Culver said the association was particularly impressed with how engineers balanced the historical aspects of the bridge with the upgrades needed for its long-term use.
The Old Cedar Avenue Bridge, completed in 1920, spans a section of Long Meadow Lake in Bloomington and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It was closed in 2002 due to decay.
Following completion of the project, the bridge was reopened for bike and foot traffic in October. It will be temporarily closed in the summer for nearby road and trail construction, said Julie Long, the city’s senior civil engineer.
Concerns raised about immigration actions
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose restrictions on immigration and sanctuary cities, phone calls from worried residents have poured in to leaders and community organizers in Brooklyn Park, one of the state’s most diverse cities.
“In the last two weeks, I’ve probably gotten 100-plus calls,” Mayor Jeff Lunde said Tuesday.
Responding to those concerns, Lunde penned a letter that he posted on the city’s website earlier this month. In the letter, which describes Brooklyn Park’s population as 20 percent immigrant, Lunde writes that while the City Council “has not declared the city as a sanctuary city,” police generally will not ask for someone’s immigration status.
“Our police don’t enforce immigration law,” Lunde said in an interview Tuesday.
Sanctuary cities agree not to prosecute violation of federal immigration laws or ask people about their immigrant status.
In recent weeks, a grass roots effort has resulted in several meetings at City Hall where residents may voice concerns over Trump’s executive orders. Several community groups, including African Immigrant Services, have taken the lead in organizing the gatherings, officials said.
The next public meeting, which will offer informational and legal resources, is planned for 5:45 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 5200 85th Av. N.
Grube named state’s top county engineer
Hennepin County Engineer Jim Grube has been named the 2016 Outstanding County Engineer of the Year by the Minnesota County Engineers Association.
The association, which made the award Jan. 17, noted that Grube is managing a five-year, $300 million capital improvement program. He oversees more than 2,200 lane miles of highway, as well as a fleet of 70 snowplows.
Grube began working for Hennepin County in May 2004. He has been recognized several times by the American Public Works Association, including a Top Ten Leaders award in 2010.
St. Louis Park
Feds award grants for transportation projects
St. Louis Park has received two federal grants amounting to about $3.5 million for two transportation projects.
A $2.9 million grant will be used to build the Dakota Edgewood Trail over the BNSF Railway tracks to Peter Hobart Elementary School. The other grant, for $560,000, will be used for pedestrian improvements around the future Southwest LRT Beltline light-rail station.
The grants were part of $208 million given to 58 city projects recommended by the Transportation Advisory Board, which advises the Metropolitan Council. About a third of 150 project applications received the federal funding, according to the city.