2016 Review: Economic Growth and Community Investment
The Economic Growth and Community Investment Service Team is comprised of the departments of Community & Economic Development, Library, Parks & Recreation, Property Management, Public Works, Regional Railroad Authority and Workforce Solutions.
Highlights of this team's work in 2016 include:
- The county received a certificate of completion from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for cleaning Rice Creek Commons soil to residential standards and initiated a contract with Alatus LLC to develop the site.
- The brand new Shoreview library was constructed and many administrative staff moved into the new space - the project remained on track for a public opening in early 2017. Ramsey County Library again circulated hundreds of thousands of materials and provided thousands of programs and events for our communities. The Library also met the President’s Challenge and partnered with White Bear Area Schools to provide a library card for every student.
- The Vadnais Sports Center turned in another successful year under county management and the remaining three vacant sublots on the property were sold and are being developed for productive use.
- Employees at Tamarack Nature Center and Battle Creek Waterworks served record numbers of visitors. Keller Golf Course, The First Tee and the LPGA teamed up to offer a first-of-its-kind golf clinic to more than 100 girls. Working with community members, Parks & Recreation completed the Arena Task Force report that outlines long-term plans for the county’s 11 arenas to best serve county communities. Staff also began the build out of Tuj Lub courts at Keller Regional Park (opened in 2017) and kicked off planning and community engagement for the redevelopment of Lake Owasso County Park.
- Property Management surpassed 85 percent completion of Riverfront Properties project and the project team has begun evaluating a master developer proposal (see 2016 PAFR feature story).
- From surveying to striping, Public Works staff completed numerous road maintenance projects and major construction projects, including a $6 million reconstruction of Randolph Ave. in Saint Paul and County Road H in Arden Hills and Shoreview – which includes the first roundabouts in the county’s roadway system.
- The Regional Railroad Authority advanced planning on the Riverview, Rush Line and Gateway Corridors and hosted a year of activity at Union Depot – including a visit from Vice President Biden and contracting for a new anchor restaurant and caterer beginning in 2017.
- Workforce Solutions connected thousands of job seekers and employers. Their innovative approach to employment assistance was featured as a model in a GOVERNING magazine feature article.
- Community & Economic Development staff worked to provide small business loans to help three companies – C6/Epoch Lacrosse, Amino Acids/Scientific Research Consortium and Bent Brewstillery – expand in Roseville. Eight other companies participated in the county's Economic Gardening program.