City News

Awards, recognition, projects, celebrations, staff changes, and other news about Minnesota cities around the state.

Awards & Recognition

Local Government Innovation Award winners announced
The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota recently announced 19 projects as recipients of its 10th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA), organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation and co-sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, Minnesota Association of Townships, and the Minnesota School Boards Association. The awards recognize projects in four different categories, and name one overall award winner in each: cities, counties, schools, and townships.

Eden Prairie was the overall winner in the city category for Innovation in Water Resource Management—Vacuum Dredge Box for Sediment Removal. The city’s Utilities Division developed a system to efficiently remove sediment and other materials carried by the storm sewer system from streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. The heart of the system—a Vacuum Dredge Box—makes it possible to perform this work in areas that are inaccessible by large equipment due to adjacent buildings, steep terrain, or limited working space.

Other city award winners were:

  • City of St. Paul Public Works—Transforming Snow Plowing Operations
  • City of Minneapolis Division of Solid Waste & Recycling—Minneapolis Organics Recycling Education and Outreach
  • City of AlexandriaThe Missing Link: A Complete Streets Demonstration Project
  • City of Albert LeaBlue Zones Project Albert Lea

A panel of judges considered nearly 80 submissions for their creativity, sustainability, and collaboration. The overall winners of the four categories will receive a $5,000 grant from the Bush Foundation to continue their work and a professionally produced video to use for marketing and awareness. All 19 award recipients will be formally recognized at a ceremony and reception at 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Humphrey School.

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Public works professional recognized
The Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association honored four public works officials at its annual meeting in November. Award recipients were:

  • Scott Haas, Public Works Director, City of Jordan
  • Jeff Stevens, Operations Manager, City of St. Louis Park
  • Paul Fink, Equipment Operator II, City of Bloomington
  • Lee Gustafson, Senior Project Manager, WSB & Associates, Minneapolis

These individuals were selected based on exemplary public service within their respective communities by a panel of their peers in a 2016 statewide call for nominations.

The first three individuals are the winning finalists in separate categories – Director, Superintendent and Public Works Maintenance.

Gustafson was awarded the Hugo G Erickson Award in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the Minnesota Chapter of the American Public Works Association.

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Eden Prairie ranked No. 2 among best places to live in America
MONEY magazine has placed Eden Prairie in the No. 2 spot on its 2016 list of the 50 Best Places to Live. This is the fourth time the city has been included in the top 10 on MONEY's list since 2006.

“We are very fortunate in Eden Prairie to have outstanding schools, a flourishing economy, and an engaged community of people,” said Eden Prairie City Manager Rick Getschow. “While it’s always exciting when Eden Prairie appears on various lists recognizing the exceptional quality of life we enjoy, it’s especially meaningful for those who live and work here to feel the same way.”

Minnesota cities are consistently ranked highly due to the state’s excellent quality of life, with the City of Woodbury being ranked No. 11 for 2016, said Getschow. Getschow noted that beginning in 2014, MONEY has limited the list to no more than four cities per state and one per county to correct for geographical biases, which explains why there are not more Minnesota cities recognized.

Funding

Kenyon receives funding for new fire hall
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer recently announced that the agency will provide a $2.9 million loan for the construction of a new fire hall in the City of Kenyon. The Kenyon Volunteer Fire Department consists of 30 volunteers who serve nearly 3,000 local community members over a 90-square-mile radius across Kenyon and the five townships of Richland, Holden, Cherry Grove, Warsaw, and Wheeling.

The new facility is needed because the department is currently housed in multiple locations, and the main facility has a gravel alleyway that is shared with residential traffic that slows down emergency response time. The new 12,560-square-foot facility will be able to house all 10 vehicles and provide a meeting space, accessible rest rooms, and office space, allowing for the entire department to be housed under one roof and assure local residents faster emergency response times.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested over $431 million in loans and grants to build or improve over 350 essential community facilities throughout rural Minnesota. Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, businesses, renewable energy and high-speed Internet. To learn more about Rural Development programs, visit the Minnesota website or call the area office in Faribault at (507) 332-7418, ext. 4.

Staff News

Collins named Roseville community eevelopment director
Kari Collins has been named community development director for the City of Roseville. Collins has been serving as the interim director since March following the resignation of Paul Bilotta. Since then, Collins has taken the lead on several significant priorities for the city, including expanding economic development efforts and focusing on quality-of-life issues in Southeast Roseville. She has also helped the city navigate several land acquisition cases and served as part of a multi-jurisdictional task force advocating for the revitalization and reinvestment of the Rice/Larpenteur corridor.

Collins, who grew up in Maplewood, earned a master’s degree in urban studies from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree from Augsburg College. She worked in the community development field with the City of Milwaukee prior to coming to Roseville in 2012 to serve as assistant to the city manager/city clerk.