St. Michael council focuses on transportation issues

Several areas related to transportation matters were discussed by the St. Michael Council, including the River Rider senior transportation program.

The council also heard an update about the STMA Ice Arena and took action on other issues.


The council first heard from Rachelle Marshall and Carol Bauer-Langager, founders of Neighborhood Connections.

They were present to explain their new non-profit to the council. They said the main focus is to provide transportation and free walk-in counseling for individuals and families in the community, and have a number of licensed counselors willing to donate their time to help.

Neighborhood Connections recently received non-profit status, meaning it can apply for various grants and accept donations. Marshall and Bauer-Langager said they plan to work with staff, the Families and Youth Community Connections group, and the senior center for grant funding and partnership opportunities.

Mayor Jerry Zachman and councilors Kevin Kasel, Joe Marx, Nadine Schoen and Chris Schumm thanked the members for their time and efforts and wished them well in the future.

In other transportation-related news, city administrator Steve Bot reminded the council of a joint meeting planned for June 24 with the Albertville and Otsego city councils to talk about the River Rider senior transportation program.

Bot said there is a definite need for transportation in St. Michael. He said River Rider costs are mostly covered by state and federal grants, but would require 15 percent of the funding to be local. Thus, if there is a shortfall of funds from lack of riders, the city would be required to cover that cost.

Bot said the rides would only be within the service area, but would provide door-to-door service. The council was generally supportive of the service and will further discuss June 24.

In one final bit of transportation-related news, the council heard an update about the Interstate 94 Coalition, which includes cities along the northwest metro I-94 corridor seeking lane expansion from Maple Grove to Monticello.

Bot said that at the last coalition meeting, members reviewed a timeline and strategy for building support for the project. In July, the coalition will launch a Green Light campaign to engage more businesses and individuals to participate. Bot said the state department of transportation has not included any funding for I-94 expansion is the 20-year Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan.

It was noted that Mayor Zachman and councilor Schumm would be in Washington, D.C., June 12 and 13 to meet with various legislators about the I-94 project.


In other news, city councilor Schumm updated the council about the recent STMA Ice Arena update. Schumm sits on the arena board.

He said that due to recent condensation issues, ice stakes are building up on the playing surface, which can be a safety hazard for skaters. Schumm said the arena board approved a study to determine the cause of condensation and possible solutions.

Councilor Schoen, who also sits on the arena board, said the youth hockey association proposed constructing an outdoor rink for its use and would not be asking for money from any of the three arena owners — St. Michael and Albertville and the school district — but would want full ownership and management of the rink.

In other news, the council:

SET a joint work session with the planning commission for Tuesday, July 16, at 7 p.m. to discuss open space development and one-per-40-acre lot sizes.

HEARD there are currently 49 single-family residential lots in the city. Community development director Marc Weigle said staff is meeting with Town Center developers to discuss a potential residential development in Town Center North.


Contact Aaron Brom at [email protected]