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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West St. Paul held its second virtual City Council meeting. Things went more smoothly this time around, helped by a lighter agenda and a lack of public comments (residents can call in, which makes for an awkward technical dance). The few agenda items were routine and non-controversial.
Since meetings are being held virtually for the time being, you can always grab our city council coloring page and draw yourself into the council chambers.
City Council members focused their comments around the pandemic, with both Wendy Berry and Lisa Eng-Sarne expressing appreciation for encouraging signs and sidewalk chalk messages and efforts to help local businesses and medical personnel. Bob Pace mentioned new programs for veterans and their families announced today (contact the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee for more details). John Justen also encouraged people to practice social distancing as the best way to help local small businesses: “The sooner we do this, the sooner we can open.”
Mayor Dave Napier pointed to a number of great efforts by the residents of West St. Paul to support one another, including the Oxendale’s gift card campaign and the successful effort to make yard signs to recognize Henry Sibley High School seniors. He also encouraged people to get outside while still following social distancing guidelines, pointing to a video created by city staff.
“It’s not the way we wanted to spend Easter, but we made the most of it, and it’s one we’ll never forget,” Mayor Napier said. “When someone asks you 20 years from now how you lived through it, I would ask each one of you to think about how you want to be remembered and have a positive impact on our community.”
- North Gateway: A zoning change for the proposed apartments on Robert and Annapolis went through for a second reading with no discussion.
- Housing rehab: Back in February the Council approved a housing rehab program that will offer low-interest loans of $5,000 to $15,000. The Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved an agreement with the organization that actually services the loans.
- Thompson Oaks: The EDA also approved an extension to the development agreement with Oppidan for the proposed apartments on the former Thompson Oaks golf course that were approved last fall. The project is still expected to move forward as planned—the developer has already invested $650,000 and is on target to finish construction by December 2021. However, with uncertainty related to the pandemic, an April 1 real estate closing date wasn’t possible, and it’s been extended up to September 1.
- Donations: The city officially received two donations, $500 from Dakota Electric Association for the annual kids’ safety camp and $500 in gift cards from Marge Vanderhoff for first responders (to be distributed through a random drawing).
- West St. Paul Reader shoutout: If you check out the Town Hall meeting minutes in the agenda packet, and turn to page 18, there’s a lovely little call out for the West St. Paul Reader. We’re honored to be enshrined in the official minutes.
City Council meetings are currently held virtually on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch this meeting online.
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