West St. Paul virtual City Council meeting

City Council Recap: May 11, 2020

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The West St. Paul City Council met digitally this week with the fourth online meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Business included discussion of a food truck ordinance, some routine items previously passed, and conversation about the art park.

COVID-19 in Southview Acres

Mayor Dave Napier noted that he’s been in contact with local senior living and health care facilities about their needs during the pandemic. Most are doing well, though Southview Acres, a residential health care facility, has reported 60 cases of COVID-19 among their 180 residents. Mayor Napier said they need help getting testing for their staff and he’s reached out to the governor’s office.

Southview Acres also has a severe staff shortage. They have 400 employees and hired 25 already this week and are looking to hire more.

Food Truck Ordinance

Discussion about a proposed food truck ordinance was continued to a future Open Council Work Session (OCWS) when the Council can work through the many details in this ordinance. Mayor Napier noted that the OCWS would happen virtually if necessary.

Council seemed favorable to the ordinance and encouraging food trucks in general, though wanted to consider adding a license fee and questioned the prohibition of food trucks within 300 feet of permanent food establishments.

Art Park Grant

West St. Paul received a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Regional Arts Council for a community art project at the art park at the corner of Butler and Moreland. This was supposed to be a routine acceptance of the grant, but Council Member Dick Vitelli asked to have it removed and discussed.

We’ve previously highlighted the proposed project, which will invite the community to help create a mosaic column. It includes a community engagement event to get input on the feel of the piece and then a series of events where the community can paint and glue tile to create the actual sculpture. The project is headed up by a subcommittee of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council.

Council members were mostly uninformed about the project details, but they opted to accept the grant anyway and address specifics down the road.

Other Notes:

  • Conversion therapy ban: During citizen comments a resident called in to follow up on a previous request that the city ban gay conversion therapy. City Manager Ryan Schroeder said he’s still researching the issue.
  • Thompson Oaks townhomes: While the Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved a development agreement for the sale of the remainder of the Thompson Oaks golf course at the last meeting, there also needed to be a public hearing. They held that tonight, though no one from the public spoke.
  • FoodSmith grant: The EDA approved a $10,000 grant for the new bistro pub FoodSmith to improve their exterior, including a handicap accessible ramp and patio.

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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