2022 written in sparklers

West St. Paul Reader Year in Review: 2022

Thanks to Minnesota Locks and Dakota County for their support.

With the end of another year we offer a look back at 2022, with the biggest stories, our favorites, and some other key moments.

2022 by the Numbers

First, let’s look at a few numbers for West St. Paul Reader in 2022:

Top 10 Posts

Here are the top 10 posts of 2022 based on views:

  1. Matt Birk Burger War Comes to West St. Paul
  2. 2022 Primary Election: West St. Paul Voter’s Guide
  3. Primary Candidate Forum: Dakota County Attorney
  4. History of Signal Hills Shopping Center
  5. Weird, Spooky Bookstore Comes to West St. Paul in Time for Halloween
  6. Thompson Oaks Wetland Restoration Moving Forward
  7. No Hy-Vee for West St. Paul
  8. Candidates Line up for 2022 Dakota County Races
  9. 2022 Dakota County Commissioner Primary Election: Top Issues
  10. 2022 Election: West St. Paul Voter’s Guide

Top 5 Stories of 2022

The stories that get the most clicks aren’t always the biggest stories, so here’s our roundup of what we feel are the biggest stories of the year.

'Vote Here' sign at West St. Paul city hall.

1. 2022 Election

While the municipal election in West St. Paul was pretty sleepy with only one contested race, the wider election was a flurry thanks to a heated county primary and redistricting.

  • Dakota County seats saw multiple retirements with County Attorney Jim Backstrom stepping down in 2021, and County Commissioner Kathleen Gaylord and County Sheriff Tim Leslie announcing they wouldn’t run for reelection. The county attorney race, contested for the first time in nearly 30 years, drew four candidates for the primary.
  • The once-a-decade redistricting threw a wrench into the works, especially as West St. Paul City Council Member Robyn Gulley had planned to run for county commissioner until redistricting meant she’d be facing incumbent Joe Atkins (who went on to win with 71% of the vote). Legislative redistricting also divided West St. Paul, meaning new state House candidates for the entire city, and new state Senate candidates for half the city. Redistricting even impacted city races, pushing more than 700 voters into new wards.
Explore West St. Paul Days

2. Explore West St. Paul Days

After canceling for COVID and then the organizing nonprofit shutting down, the annual West St. Paul Days event was up in the air. But the city stepped in and brought it back in August as Explore West St. Paul Days. We had a busy three days of events, and it was a blast.

Plans for mental health crisis and recovery center

3. Mental Health Crisis Center

One of the bigger stories this year was the proposed mental health crisis center. Neighbor pushback resulted in multiple stories in Twin Cities media, as well as a ton of well-attended community meetings. But ultimately community support prevailed as City Council unanimously approved the center.

Conceptual plans for former Hy-Vee property.

4. Hy-Vee Redevelopment

2022 finally brought word that the proposed Hy-Vee project was dead. In its place is a proposal for housing, restaurant, and community space pushed by the city. There’s an initial offer, the actual purchase agreement with the hope of transferring it to a developer, a developer’s proposal, and the city ultimately buying the property to control ongoing development.

At this point it’s all hopes and dreams. We’ll see what becomes of the property in the years to come.

Sign at the entrance of Bellows Court apartments

5. Renters Rights Workshop

A renters’ rights workshop organized by the Bellows Court Tenant Committee may seem like an odd selection for top story of the year. But West St. Paul’s high proportion of apartments—already nearly 50% before the recent apartment building boom—means this kind of organizing has the potential to impact residents across the city.

Paired with the work of the Residents of Color Collective (ROCC), the last few years have seen a renewed focus on West St. Paul’s rental community. Given that they account for half the city, it’s about time.

Favorite Posts

Big and popular doesn’t tell the whole story either, so here are some of our favorites from 2022:

2022 Milestones

As a publication, West St. Paul Reader hit several milestones in 2022:

Thank You

It’s only right to end the year with a big thank you to our members. We couldn’t do neighborhood news without them.

You can join them, starting at just $3 per month, and help support neighborhood news. In addition to helping your neighbors stay informed, you’ll also get a locally commissioned postcard and exclusive weekly updates. 

West St. Paul Reader postcards

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