West St. Paul city council chambers

City Council Preview: June 14, 2021

We provide these West St. Paul City Council previews with your support.

The upcoming West St. Paul City Council meeting will include several public hearings and some important conversations about mental health and economic development.

Public Hearings

There will be three big public hearings:

  • Liquor stores: The city is considering whether or not to expand where liquor shops can locate in the city, a move triggered by an existing liquor store wanting to relocate to the Doddway Shopping Center. Council approved this last month with little debate.
  • Tattoo shops: Current restrictions limit tattoo shops to one small area next to Pawn America. Council is considering dropping these restrictions entirely. The city is still limited to only two tattoo shops. Last month Council passed this 5-1, with Council Member Dick Vitelli refusing to support it.
  • Crusader Avenue project: The 2022 street improvement project is Crusader Avenue west of Robert Street and the Humboldt Avenue cul-de-sac. The $1.6 million project will narrow portions of the street while maintaining parking and add sidewalk on the north side. Residents have expressed concerns with the responsibility for shoveling snow on sidewalks and have questioned the safety improvements.

Important Conversations

During the work sessions City Council will initiate two big conversations:

  • Mental health: The West St. Paul Police Department wants to start a conversation during the Open Council Work Session (OCWS) about their response to mental health. They make the analogy that prior to the 1960s the police transported injured people to the hospital, but then we got paramedics and ambulances to provide better care. Likewise there’s now a better way to respond to mental health challenges were police play a supporting but no longer primary role.
  • Economic development: With new City Manager Nate Burkett (and the ouster of former Community Development Director Jim Hartshorn) and a number of major projects getting under way, it’s a good time to look at an economic development strategy and work plan. This general plan will help guide future development and will be discussed during the Economic Development Authority (EDA) work session.

Other Items on the Agenda:

  • Juneteenth: The city will officially recognize Juneteenth, kicking off a partnership with the Residents of Color Collective for the Juneteenth celebration.
  • Vacating easement: The city is vacating an easement between Curtice and Winona, a routine cleanup related to the recent sale of Marty’s Bar to the owners of Tappers. It’s soon to reopen as the North 40 Tavern.

The public can watch the meeting live on Town Square TV or cable channel 18 starting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday (5:30 p.m. for the EDA workshop and OCWS meeting).

If you’re not able to attend the meeting in person, you can always use our coloring pages to imagine you’re there.

Keep City Council previews and recaps coming by supporting West St. Paul Reader.

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