Mayor Robbins and former Mayor Sandberg named as C.C. Ludwig Award winners
(June 12, 2008—Rochester, Minn.) Mayor Jane Robbins of Pine City and the late William T. Sandberg, former Mayor of North St. Paul, have been selected as the League of Minnesota Cities C.C. Ludwig Award winners for 2008. The honorees were announced during the Awards Banquet on Thursday evening at the League’s Annual Conference in Rochester.
The C.C. Ludwig Award is named in honor of a former League executive director, and is considered to be the League’s highest honor for elected officials. Established in 1962, the award is given annually in celebration of outstanding service. Recipients are chosen for their vision, statesmanship, and unwavering commitment to the public good.
Mayor Robbins, who received the C.C. Ludwig Award for elected officials from cities with populations of less than 10,000, moved to Pine City from Glendive, Montana in 1967, and first joined the City Council in 1977 as an appointee. While she was on the Council, the City achieved the standards to become a Minnesota “Star City”, and her diligent work in the community earned her “Citizen of the Year” honors in 1983. In 1992, Robbins was elected as a write-in candidate to become the first woman ever to hold the office of Pine City Mayor.
During her tenure, Mayor Robbins has seen her community prosper. Over that period of time, the city’s population has grown by one-third. Additionally, a number of retail businesses have opened in Pine City, a new senior center has been constructed, and there has been significant growth in the city’s Technology Park.
The city has had to make several difficult decisions during Mayor Robbins’ time as mayor, including what to do with the municipally-run retail liquor stores, whether or not to close the airport, how to best manage the growth in the usage of municipal infrastructure, and how to create workable annexation plans with the nearby townships.
In addition to helping to address those challenges, Mayor Robbins has helped to rally the community behind a unified vision for involvement in both the Healthy Communities Partnership program and in a visit by the Governor’s Design Team.
Former Mayor William T. Sandberg, the C.C. Ludwig Award winner for elected officials from cities with populations of 10,000 or more was elected in 1978 after never before holding a public office, and served until his recent death in April 2008. He ran for Mayor because he loved the City of North St. Paul and felt compelled to give something back.
Mayor Sandberg’s accomplishments were numerous and significant. He was a founder of the Northeast Suburban Transit, which served neighborhoods throughout North St. Paul, Maplewood, and Oakdale.
Mayor Sandberg also saw a great need for a place for people of all ages to come and participate in recreational, educational, business, and civic events. To fill that need, he led the way in establishing a new Community Center for the City in 1992. In 2001, there was controversy in the City over consolidation of the garbage collection contract. The Mayor strongly supported consolidation which would reduce truck traffic along the city streets, and would keep collection costs down for residents.
Perhaps the most divisive issue that the city had faced in recent memory was the reconstruction of Highway 36, which literally cut the city in half. Mayor Sandberg worked closely with the city manager to gain support of local merchants and prepare them for economic consequences of the reconstruction. He was also very concerned for the safety of those walking across the highway during the construction period, and advocated for funding of a pedestrian bridge.
Judges for the 2008 C.C. Ludwig Awards were Dave Engstrom, Executive Director, Minnesota Association of Small Cities; Bob Meeks, Executive Director, Minnesota School Boards Association; and Jim Mulder, Executive Director, Association of Minnesota Counties.
The League of Minnesota Cities is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its more than 800 members through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management and other services.