City News

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

Awards

2015 Local Government Innovation Award winners
Six cities have been recognized as 2015 Local Government Innovation Award winners by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the Bush Foundation. These awards, in their ninth year, recognize innovative local government projects that demonstrate potential for lasting impact in local service delivery. Congrats to the following cities for recognition in the city category:

  • Rochester was named the overall category winner with its Rochester Public Library BookBike program (think mobile library on two wheels).
  • Breezy Point was recognized for a critical partnership between police and a local ambulance service that provides faster access to advanced life support in rural areas.
  • St. Paul was recognized for an artful citizen engagement truck that invites residents to submit comments on urban planning or even love notes to their city in exchange for a locally made ice pop treat.
  • Brooklyn Park got a nod for embracing cleaner air and dramatic cash savings with a geothermal system in their ice arena. The city now boasts “one of the most energy-efficient ice rinks in the world.”
  • Minneapolis was noted for a cost-sharing program that helps businesses transition to greener operations that reduce air pollution, with a special emphasis on dry cleaner and automotive businesses.
  • New Brighton received recognition for partnering with local schools to boost youth reading and physical activity with their Read to Play program.

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St. Paul awarded APWA re-accreditation
The St. Paul Public Works Department has recently been awarded a prestigious American Public Works Association (APWA) re-accreditation. The APWA Accreditation and Re-Accreditation Program recognizes public works agencies that go beyond the requirements of the management practices established nationally in the public works industry, as contained in the APWA Public Works Management Practices Manual. St. Paul’s Public Works Department received its original APWA accreditation in November 2011 and received re-accreditation last October.

The St. Paul Public Works Re-Accreditation indicates the department has met all applicable accreditation documentation and practices over time. “This is an affirmation of the work we do, day in and day out,” said Public Works Director Kathy Lantry. “The way we plan our performance is a testament to the great people we have here at Public Works. It is great to be recognized by our peers that we do our work the right way.” The St. Paul Public Works Department is the 74th agency in North America to receive re-accreditation and is the only accredited agency in Minnesota.

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Edina clerk receives leadership award
Edina City Clerk Debra Mangen was recently named Member of the Year of the Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association (MCFOA), an organization to which she has belonged for 35 years. Mangen has been a city clerk for 38 years and over 20 have been with the City of Edina. “I have found Deb to be an outstanding professional, mentor, teacher, and most importantly, leader,” said Spring Lake Park City Clerk Daniel Buchholtz, who nominated Mangen for the award. “Deb’s drive to give back to MCFOA has helped strengthen our profession and made MCFOA the premier organization for local government education.”

The award was created to recognize an active member of the MCFOA who has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to his or her municipality, community, MCFOA, and to the profession of the municipal clerk or finance officer.

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Inver Grove Heights receives environmental award
The City of Inver Grove Heights recently received the 2016 Environmental Leadership Award from the Minnesota Erosion Control Association (MECA) for the city’s role in “Designing a City for Zero Stormwater Runoff.” This award builds upon the project’s recent state and national engineering recognition in 2015 from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), where it was honored as one of the top eight engineering projects in the country. The MECA award highlights the project’s “leadership in advancing effective erosion and sediment control and stormwater management … that has advanced water resource quality in Minnesota.”

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Bloomington hosts U.S. Figure Skating Championships
At the U.S. Figure Skating Championships held in January, one star performance you may not have heard about was delivered by the City of Bloomington. The Bloomington Ice Garden hosted the juvenile and intermediate competition levels for the five-day event. Novice through senior level skaters competed in the City of St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center. What does it take to host a national skating competition? After being awarded the bid in 2013, Bloomington staff prepared the three-rink facility with a fresh makeover, new logos at center ice, installation of a projection screen for live scoring, and a stronger wifi signal to accommodate the buzz. In return, Bloomington’s economy received quite a boost from hotel room rentals, food, and entertainment purchases related to the event. Watch a video about the city’s experience.

Staff News

Roseville building codes coordinator retires
Congratulations to Roseville Building Codes Coordinator Don Munson. He retired in January, after more than 18 years with the City of Roseville. Prior to working for Roseville, Munson spent eight years at the City of Plymouth.

“The City of Roseville will really miss Don Munson,” said Community Development Director Paul Bilotta. “His steady hand and strategic thinking have led the Code Enforcement Division through many challenges including implementing new programs, large scale developments, and storm recovery. He leaves behind a legacy of well-crafted policies and procedures as well as building a highly skilled code enforcement team. People like Don Munson don’t come around very often and we have been very fortunate that he chose to serve Roseville for all of these years,” said Bilotta.

Munson said he is looking forward to doing a bit of traveling and sightseeing with his wife, spending more time with the grandkids, and restoring old cars and motorcycles.

In Memory

St. Peter City Engineer Martin Menk
Long-time City of St. Peter City Engineer Martin Menk has passed away. Martin was city engineer for over 32 years before retiring in 1992 and was one of the co-founders of Bolton and Menk, Inc., an engineering firm that started in St. Peter and is now headquartered in Mankato. Martin had a vast and seemingly unending knowledge of the City of St. Peter’s infrastructure and development and was crucial to the development of the city.