West St. Paul City Council

West St. Paul City Council Recap: March 14, 2022

Thanks to Jameson’s Irish Bar and Dakota County for their support.

The West St. Paul City Council worked through a lot of business, including a climate emergency resolution, new ward maps, committee appointments, and public art policy.

Climate Emergency Resolution

West St. Paul joined other cities across Minnesota in declaring a climate emergency. The resolution, discussed in more detail at a previous meeting, had the full support of the Council, with the exception of Mayor Dave Napier who supports the intent but had concerns with the specific language.

The intention of declaring an emergency is to push the state legislature to take action.

Public Art Policy

After a previous discussion, Council unanimously approved a Public Art Policy that will pave the way for public art on government property, including two proposed mural projects.

“I reluctantly support it,” Napier said. “It does make me a little nervous.” The policy is narrowly crafted and designed to avoid some of the potential pitfalls other cities have faced that are currently being debated in the courts.

“I want us to think about how this is a gift to community,” Council Member Wendy Berry said. “I think this is great. We’ve been talking about public art and people want public art.”

New Ward Maps

As part of the once-in-a-decade redistricting process, West St. Paul needs to redraw ward boundaries in order to balance population. The Charter Commission met last month and proposed a new map that shifts about a thousand residents into different wards.

Council approved the new maps unanimously. Next will be a public hearing and final approval on March 28. State law requires they be approved by March 29.

West St. Paul's new ward maps

Parks & Recreation Appointments

During the Open Council Work Session (OCWS), City Council interviewed four residents to fill four vacancies on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. They were then appointed during the regular meeting. Those residents are Luke Abrahamson (Ward 2), former Council Member Pat Armon (Ward 1), Teresa Smock (Ward 2), and Emily Vergin (Ward 1).

Once again the Council used a new process to make appointments, this time with council members representing wards under-represented on the committee making nominations and then only interviewing those nominees.

Berry, the council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, later thanked the outgoing members of the committee, including Kirsten Mulraney, Jay DeLaRosby, Robert Gausman, and Mike Petrasek.

Other Items on the Agenda

  • Monarchs: West St. Paul is signing on to the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge through the National Wildlife Federation.
  • Neighbors, Inc.: City Council honored the 50th anniversary of area nonprofit Neighbors, Inc. The anniversary festivities include a Neighbors Day food drive on March 25 and an anniversary celebration September 16-17.
  • Ice arena: The ice arena expansion is moving forward but will now be managed by the city instead of a more complicated arrangement where the facility was leased to the West St. Paul Hockey Association.
  • Charter amendments: Three amendments to the City Charter related to spending were approved on a first reading.
  • Annapolis: Council officially received the feasibility report and called a public hearing for the Annapolis reconstruction project.
  • Remembering: A couple Council members mentioned the passing of John H. Sperl, 97, a longtime West St. Paul resident who owned Marlin Marine on Robert Street and served as the president of the South Robert Street Business Association for many years. His father and grandfather both served as mayors of West St. Paul.

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 City Council and OCWS meetings online.

You can also watch the video recap from Council Members Robyn Gulley and John Justen.

Learn more about how city council works with our Guide to West St. Paul City Council.

We’re able to do these city council recaps thanks to our members. Join them and support local news in West St. Paul.

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