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I will use this page to outline some of the key challenges affecting Little Canada and some of my thoughts.

Crime and Crime Prevention

Crime rates in Little Canada are comparable to the other contract cities served by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office (RCSO).  That said, any crime is a problem, especially if you were the victim.  Throughout my four years on the Council, I have worked with our staff and RCSO leaders to ensure we are getting the best possible service. 

If we truly want to reduce crime in our community, some of the burden falls upon us.  If you see something out of the ordinary, call 911 (even if it is a nonemergency).  The operator will work with you to understand the situation and dispatch officers to investigate.  Another great way to reduce criminal activity is to form a Neighborhood Block Club.  It is simple enough to register with the RCSO and form a Neighborhood Block Club.  Block Clubs are a great way to stay informed about the community and learn how to reduce crime in your area.  Here is some contact information for organizing a Neighborhood Block Club:  

Crime Prevention and Community Services Unit of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office | Public Safety Services Division, 1411 Paul Kirkwold Drive, Arden Hills Minnesota 55112

office: 651-266-7332 | records: 651-266-7300

email: CrimePrevention@co.ramsey.mn.us

website: www.RamseyCountySheriff.us

Public Works (Roads, water, sewer, etc.)

I heard a quote from a former council member.  He said, "if people have reliable water and sewer service, and the roads are well maintained, you have done your job".  I think it is a bit more complicated than that, but I will say our City's Public Works department does a very good job of providing these basic services and much more. 

I think our biggest current road challenge is Edgerton Street from Little Canada Road to County Road D.  We are working with Ramsey County to complete a mill and overlay of that road, likely to happen in 2019.

One project to be aware of is the Rice Street Bridge over 694 replacement project.  That project will begin this fall with a lot of site preparation, but formal construction work will begin in the spring of 2019.  In the end, the road will look completely different.  There will be a series of roundabouts replacing signal lights and the freeway entrance and exit ramps will be relocated. 

Development/Redevelopment

Housing Redevelopment - One of the 2018 City Goals was to establish a Housing Redevelopment loan program, making it easier and cheaper for homeowners to get a loan to complete a home improvement project.  During the year, we have been working to identify a management partner for the program.  I am hoping this program will be in place to support people wanting to start projects in the Spring

Business Districts and a Downtown? - As part of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan update, the City reviewed our business districts with an eye toward 2040.  Between now and then, our business districts will naturally evolve, but it is our goal to work with property owners to be intentional about redevelopment.  One of our longer term goals is to transform the area around Little Canada Road and Rice Street into a Downtown area.  We all have ideas on what that might look like and what might be included.  I would be very interested in your ideas.

Parks and Recreation - It is an exciting time at City Hall as we contemplate the look, feel and function of our City parks for the next generation of users.  The Parks Master Plan provides guidance and priorities about the Parks Redevelopment efforts.  As always, I welcome your opinions about our plans and priorities.

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing is one of the most challenging topics of this era.  When compared to neighboring communities, Little Canada has a substantial amount of "affordable housing".  However, the definition of Affordable Housing can be different, depending on the interest of the parties in the conversation.  Regardless of political or human-interest positions, the key question is, are we doing enough to provide housing alternatives for those around us? 

In Little Canada, I think it is critical that we maintain our existing Affordable Housing stock and that we ensure it is well maintained.  We need to review all new housing applications to see if affordable housing can be part of the project.  As our City's redevelopment activities begin, we will have additional opportunities to consider the quantity and location of future affordable housing units. 

Minimum Wage, Employee Benefits and Tobacco Age

When it comes to topics such as minimum wage, sick leave and the age at which tobacco can be legally purchased, I firmly believe these are issues that should be addressed at the state and/or national level.  Not that I am attempting to duck these challenging topics or that I do not have an opinion - I definitely have some opinions.  These topics should be dealt with in such a way that one municipality is not pitted against neighboring communities because they have acted on one of these topics.

If you must be 21 to buy tobacco in one city but the store across the street is in another city allows tobacco purchases at age 18, what have we accomplished?  We have created a situation where 18-year-olds are still buying tobacco and merchants in one city have a "benefit" that neighboring merchants do not.  The answer is to address these topics at the state level where they can create a level playing field for all cities and all merchants.

 



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