Get news about cities around the state

Read about awards, recognition, projects, celebrations, staff changes, and other announcements about Minnesota cities.

Awards & Recognition

Sandy Engdahl Named as Member of the Year for Statewide Clerks Association

Sandy Engdahl (retired), City of Plymouth has been honored with the Member of the Year award for 2022 for the Municipal Clerks & Finance Officers Association of Minnesota (MCFOA). Engdahl was nominated by Martin Bode, City of Rockville.

Engdahl earned the designation of Minnesota Certified Municipal Clerk from the MCFOA in 1988 and went on to achieve her Certified Municipal Clerk designation in 1993 and her Master Municipal Clerk designation in 2008 from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.  Engdahl has served the MCFOA in many capacities, including as President in 2005-2006.

Rochester wins $1 million Global Mayors Challenge grant

The City of Rochester is one of 15 cities selected from more than 600 entries worldwide for a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayors Challenge grant. The Mayors Challenge is a competition designed to spark innovative, replicable ideas for improving cities, and the lives of people living in them, by encouraging leaders to think outside the box about how to confront their most difficult challenges.

The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge focused on identifying and accelerating the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 15 winners of this Challenge were awarded $1 million each to help implement their breakthrough ideas and, ultimately, to spread those ideas to other cities around the world.

Rochester, which was one of only three U.S. cities selected, won for its initiative to increase the number of women from the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community who hold jobs in the construction field. In Rochester, BIPOC women make up 13% of the population, yet fill less than 1% of available construction jobs. The city is engaging BIPOC women, employers, and labor associations to design pathways for BIPOC women to have increased participation in Rochester’s growing construction industry. The city and its partners are doing this by focusing on education, training, hiring, and work culture.

“Advancing the work in our proposal will allow us to address the marked disparities that exist for BIPOC women in Rochester,” says Mayor Kim Norton. “It will also help meet the needs of the construction and built environment industries that are vital to our growing community and in advancing the new federal infrastructure investment.”

St. Paul Receives NLC Grant to Promote Equitable Career Opportunities for Youth

The City of St. Paul has been selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to join a new initiative called Youth Excel: Cities Advancing Equitable Youth Economic Recovery and Empowerment. St. Paul joins five other cities from across the nation receiving grants of $150,000, along with specialized assistance from NLC’s staff and other national experts, to advance the city’s efforts to expand STEM career pathways for young people.

“Early investments in our youth pave the way toward a brighter future for all of us,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “This partnership with NLC will help us encourage and inspire the next generation of leaders in Saint Paul.”

Through this initiative, the City of St. Paul plans to develop partnerships and implement strategies that improve access to quality postsecondary education and career pathway opportunities that lead to higher wage jobs, focus on job quality improvement strategies, and integrate the critical perspectives and voices of youth and young adults. The initiative will focus on youth and young adults who face barriers in accessing these opportunities, including members of our community who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), are low income, or are disconnected from school and/or the workforce with limited access to quality educational and career experiences.

This will be a collaborative effort with partners from throughout the region, including Minnesota Technology Association, Ramsey County Workforce Investment Board, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, St. Paul Area Chamber, St. Paul College, St. Paul Public Schools, Sprockets, and Youthprise.

The NLC Youth Excel initiative runs from January 2022 through June 2023 and is supported by the Siemens Foundation.

In Memory

Robert “Bob” Linus Haarman, age 83, of Emily, Minnesota, passed away on May 28, 2022, at his home with family at his side. During a lifetime of public service to towns and cities across Greater Minnesota, Haarman had a transformative impact on the communities he served. Among his achievements, he spearheaded the successful drive to divert storm and field drainage from Clear Lake in Waseca in the 1970s, forging public and private partnerships and developing federal and state grants to end toxic algae blooms. He was also instrumental in the development of the thriving Sauk Rapids Industrial Park.

Haarman attended Michigan State University in 1956 for a year before relocating to St. Paul and going to the University of Minnesota. After receiving a military draft notice in 1961, he served in the Marines until 1962. He met his wife Janet Mae Peterson of Hutchinson, Minnesota, in 1961 and, after marrying in 1962 in Fullerton, California, they returned to Minnesota following Bob’s discharge. He returned to the University of Minnesota and completed his studies in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

After working a year at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, he began his city government career as assistant city manger of Brooklyn Center in 1969. He also served as city manager or administrator in Worthington and Waseca, as well as Ishpeming, Michigan. He spent the last 20 years of his career as city administrator of Sauk Rapids from 1980 to 2000. During his tenure there, he also served as executive director of the Sauk Rapids Housing and Redevelopment Authority. He was a member and officer of many organizations, including the Minnesota City/County Management Association, Tri-Cap (Community Action Program) for the St. Cloud area, and Great River Rotary Club.

Haarman is survived by his wife, three children (and their spouses), five grandchildren, and two siblings (and their spouses).