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For the first time in more than a year the West St. Paul City Council chambers returned to normal with Council members and staff at the table and room for a full audience. It was also a return to business as usual with the agenda comprised of mostly routine items.
In 2016, the city tried to add a sidewalk to Bidwell between Marie and Crusader, but strong pushback from neighbors ultimately killed the plan as then Mayor David Meisinger vetoed the measure to add sidewalk (see page 66 of the November 28, 2016 minutes). Former Council Member John Bellows also lived on Bidwell and strenuously objected to the sidewalk plan. During the Bidwell project in 2017, the city did narrow the road and leave room to add sidewalk in the future.
With the Crusader Avenue project approved at the last City Council meeting and moving forward with a sidewalk, now is the future moment to add a sidewalk to Bidwell. The makeup of City Council has changed since 2016, as has the sidewalk assessment policy. During the Open Council Work Session (OCWS), Council discussed the idea and is in favor of adding the sidewalk.
While the Council isn’t required to, they will hold a public hearing to notify neighbors and gather input. The project won’t happen until 2022.
Other Items on the Agenda:
- Audit: The OCWS featured a final audit of the 2020 finances. The numbers are improving.
- Library: New Wentworth Library Branch Manager Jade Cabagnot offered a presentation on the library reopening and summer programs. Last year the library distributed 23,000 books as part of their summer reading program. This is the last week of this year’s program. The library is returning to pre-COVID services and reopening conference rooms and iLabs. On July 5 hours will be expanded to nearly pre-COVID levels.
- Wakota Life Care Center: City Council approved a final plat for the Wakota Life Care Center expansion. This project caused controversy the first time around, but was a routine approval this time around.
- League of Minnesota Cities: Council Member Wendy Berry was elected to the League of Minnesota Cities board of directors.
- Meeting schedule: The Economic Development Authority implemented a standard meeting schedule on the fourth Monday of each month, following the regular City Council meeting, which offers more flexibility.
- Assessment hearing: There’s an assessment coming for Robert Street sidewalk snow removal on July 26.
- Easement: An easement between Curtice and Winona was vacated with no public comment and unanimous approval.
- Stop sign at Bidwell: The Bidwell and Logan intersection will become an all-way stop to improve safety. Previously both directions on Bidwell had to stop, but Logan did not.
City Council meetings are currently held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch the OCWS, EDA, and City Council meetings online.
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