West St. Paul Reader Year in Review: 2020

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While 2020 has been a challenging year, we’ve made great strides in our first full year of helping the people of West St. Paul know what’s going on. Here’s a recap of the year in West St. Paul news.

2020 by the Numbers

First, let’s look at a few numbers for West St. Paul Reader:

Top 10 Posts

The clicks don’t lie. Here are the top 10 posts of 2020:

  1. Aftermath of George Floyd Killing Hits West St. Paul
  2. Granny Donuts, a West St. Paul Staple, Sells to Developer
  3. Name Change Coming for Henry Sibley High School
  4. What’s Going on With Hy-Vee and the YMCA?
  5. When Will the River-to-River Greenway Trail & Tunnel Open?
  6. When Is FoodSmith Opening?
  7. Who’s Running for West St. Paul City Council and Mayor in 2020?
  8. Proposed Apartment & Retail for Town Center One
  9. What’s Going in at Robert and Mendota in Front of Cub Foods?
  10. FoodSmith Comes to West St. Paul

It should be noted that there’s an order of magnitude in difference between the top two spots on this list and the rest. It’s also worth noting that two of these posts also made last year’s list—Hy-Vee and the Greenway—primarily because they’re both still in process.

Top 5 Stories of 2020

Here’s our take on the biggest stories in West St. Paul in 2020:

  1. COVID-19: It’s the biggest story globally, and I think it’s also the biggest story in West St. Paul. The city had its first ever emergency declaration (I think, it’s hard to confirm) and a lot of changes and adapting, from city meetings going virtual (and some being broadcast/recorded for the first time ever) to never before seen drive thru lines. We did a number of stories, including focusing on the wonderful signs that cropped up, how businesses adapted and coped, supporting grocery store workers and medical personnel, and creativity in quarantine.
  2. George Floyd aftermath: The protests and rioting in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd struck West St. Paul, resulting in the city’s second ever emergency declaration (maybe?). A number of businesses were struck by vandals and we had a few uneasy nights, but we also had peaceful protests, including a unity march with South St. Paul.
  3. Development: Economic development was a major theme this year with a number of projects finally coming together, including Kmart and the Town Center One project (which brought on the closure of Granny Donuts).
  4. Wakota City Council meeting: The meeting back in January brought the biggest crowd to city hall we’ve seen in recent years. An estimated 350 people packed city hall for debate over the expansion of the Wakota Life Care Center.
  5. Elections: The 2020 elections resulted in two big stories in West St. Paul. First, the historic candidacy of Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson, the first Black person to run for office in West St. Paul. While Johnson didn’t win, she was part of the massive surge of women running for office—the city had women running in every race in the city, something that’s never happened before. The results also created a first—the first female majority on the City Council, thanks to wins from Julie Eastman, Robyn Gulley, and Lisa Eng-Sarne.

As an honorable mention: The Sibley name change is another big story this year, and will probably be a big story into 2021 as the renaming process moves forward.

Favorite Posts

And the most clicks and the biggest stories aren’t always the best. Here are some of our favorite posts from 2020:

2020 Milestones

As a publication, West St. Paul Reader hit several milestones in 2020:

Press table in West St. Paul’s City Council chambers.

Thank You

Thanks to everyone who supports West St. Paul Reader. We couldn’t do this without you.

Stay healthy and hopeful West St. Paul.

Learn more about how you can support West St. Paul Reader.

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