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APA Minnesota Spotlight Community: Spotlight Seriess

Isanti, MN

Lisa Wilson, AICP
Planning and Parks Director

February 2013

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Description of the Community

Isanti is an ex-urban community located about 45 minutes north of downtown Minneapolis/St. Paul along the Trunk Highway 65 corridor. The area is characterized by is rolling agricultural land and the wooded and natural area that is provided along the Rum River, which is Isanti?s western border. The City of Isanti grew significantly, nearly doubling in population, in the early part of 2000. As a result of this growth, the community offers a mix of residential housing types, abundant park and recreational facilities, a historic downtown, and expanding commercial and industrial areas.

How long have you worked for the community?

I joined the City of Isanti as the City Planner in September 2006. Prior to my employment with Isanti, I worked for the Village of Wheeling, IL and the City of Victoria, MN.



What is the greatest part of your job?
APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
I have the chance to work on a variety of projects. While I do review standard planning and zoning plans and applications, I have the unique opportunity to be actively involved and gain experience in other related fields. Given that resources are limited, other staff members have taken on such responsibilities as well. We have been able to establish a team environment, which enables us to be more innovative when tackling the challenges and the issues that the community faces. Our strength and resilience as a community; and as a team, show that we are able to get through the tough times and not lose sight of the vision and goals that the community has established.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about your community?

By the year 1900, Isanti's main agricultural cash crop was potatoes. The settlers to the area found that the soil was well suited for the crop. The coming of the railroad and the construction of the new bridge across the Rum River; enabled farmers to ship and transport their product more easily. Eventually, the soil was depleted of the necessary nutrients to grow the crop; and farmers had to look at other options.

Are there any new projects on the horizon?

Due to the economic downtown, the development of projects within the City has been limited. However, there does appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as we have renewed interest from developers looking to build homes on vacant, platted lots within several of our existing residential developments. In December 2012, the City of Isanti had implemented a SAC and WAC deferral program, so as to encourage residential and commercial development within the City. To date, several developers have expressed interest in the program and one is actively involved in a housing project; in which construction has been planned for this spring.

The City received Minnesota Shovel Ready Certification for several lots within the City owned industrial park, which will remove development road blocks often encountered by site selectors and businesses when looking to build a new facility. The City has all the necessary utility and communication infrastructure in place. The hard work spent on marketing, developing meaningful incentives, and obtaining the "Shovel Ready" certification appears to have been worth the effort.


Arden Hills, MN

Meagan Beekman, AICP
City Planner, Recycling Coordinator
City of Arden Hills

May 2012

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
How long have you been working for the community?

I have been working for Arden Hills for four and a half years.

What is the greatest part of your job?

As the only planner of a small community, I love the wide range of projects that I get to work on. I am the City Planner, Recycling Coordinator, and Webmaster for the City. I work on day-to-day planning, code enforcement, long-range small area plans, Comprehensive Plan updates, land use requests and everything else you could imagine. I really like the politics of working with developers, the Council, and different departments on a particular project to find solutions to concerns.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about your community?

Arden Hills was incorporated in 1951 largely to create a municipality that would address the 2,300 acre Twin City's Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) when it would eventually be decommissioned. With the TCAAP site, approximately 70 percent of Arden Hills land area is tax exempt. Arden Hills has approximately 9,500 residents, but has over 13,000 jobs, and is home to two universities, the headquarters of the cardiac division of Boston Scientific, Land-o-Lakes, and Smiths Medical.

Any new projects on the horizon?

In the last year Arden Hills has been working with Ramsey County and the Minnesota Vikings on a possible stadium project on 260 acres of the 2,300 acre former TCAAP site. As part of that proposal an additional 170 acres would be sold to the Vikings for private development. As Minnesota's largest superfund site, the former TCAAP area offers a great opportunity for development that benefits the region, while putting fallow land back into productive reuse.


Duluth, MN

Jenn Reed Moses, AICP
Planner II
City of Duluth

Febuary 2012

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Duluth (pop. 86,000) is located at the southwestern tip of Lake Superior with wooded trout streams, steep slopes, and magnificent vistas. Duluth has maintained a stable population over the last couple decades and, due to the presence of three colleges, has seen a rise in the college-age population. Duluth also has a booming medical industry. Most recent projects have been redevelopment near Lake Superior or the hospitals, and the construction of several new school buildings. To implement its 2006 Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the city recently adopted a unified development code.

1. How long have you been working for the community?
I've been here for two and a half years. Before that, I was a planner in the Twin Cities. Since I grew up in the Duluth area, it was always a dream to move back.

2. What is the greatest part of your job?
Working for a city of this size, with so much going on, allows me a great deal of variety in my work projects, which I love. At the same time, the city is small enough to be able to build relationships with citizens and customers. Seeing Lake Superior every day is a huge perk.

3. What is a unique fact or characteristic about your community?
Outside Magazine has rated Duluth in its top ten list of "America's Greatest Outside Towns."

4. Any new projects on the horizon?
There are plans to redevelop an existing middle school across the street from the University of Minnesota Duluth. The mixed-use redevelopment would include student housing, restaurants, and retail. Two new data centers have recently been built, and the sale of several school properties could result in additional redevelopment. Personally, I'm excited about a new brewpub being developed on a former industrial site in Canal Park, simply for the outdoor dining overlooking the lake.


Albert Lea, MN

Bob Graham
City Planner/Community Development Director
City of Albert Lea

January 2012

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Albert Lea, Minnesota is the place that all signs point to, just check out the major freeway interchanges. We are a city of about 18,000 located at the interchange of I-35 and I-90 about 9 miles north of the Iowa border. I-35 crosses Albert Lea Lake reminding people that they have arrived at Minnesota, the Land Of Lakes. We are a diversified regional center with major industry, retail, and medical as the core of our economy, and your Twin’s Hot Dog comes from Albert Lea from Sweigert, a subsidiary of Cargill and your ribs from Select Foods. Our medical center is a member of the Mayo Clinic Health System and we are blessed with a full oncology center, dialysis center and are one of three locations in the state with a hyperbaric center. Mayo employs over 1,200.

I, Bob Graham, have had the privilege to be the City Planner/Community Development Director in Albert Lea for 32 years, coming here from St. Louis Park. Over the years my role as planner has included operation of the Housing Authority, grants ($15,000,000 in successful grants), Zoning, Comprehensive Planning, daily planning and whatever else a planner does, since I am the only staff in the Community Development Division. A major part of my job at this time is continuing the sustainability of the AARP Blue Zones Vitality Project including the development of space for the National Vitality Center and doing 26 presentations on the project since Jan. 2010, including various cities in Minnesota, Iowa, St. Louis, Westcliffe, CO., the National Recreation and Parks Association Congress, and planning conferences. The project locally has resulted in modifications to Capital Improvement priorities and over five miles of new sidewalk and trail construction, adoption of a complete streets ordinance and amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, worksite wellness programs, healthy dining options in over 30 restaurants, and an on street bikeway.

Until 2001 the City was characterized as a packing town with a major meat slaughtering and packing facility in the center of the community. Although we had many other industries resulting in projects from Greater Jobs, Inc. (starting as a national pilot program in 1943 and the home of the first community industrial park), the destruction of the packing plant by fire in 2001 changed the character of the community.

The fire was followed by Albert Lea Area Listens, a visioning program carried out by community volunteers and facilitators, that set the community goals for years to come. The community now strives to have the character of a clean healthy community with good industrial and medical jobs and beautiful residential opportunities.

Albert Lea is an exciting place to work and live. It has an expression of prosperity, the largest National Commercial Historic District in Minnesota, beautiful buildings, and has always been the center of firsts; the first high school band in Minnesota, the official State Fair Band for 43 years, the first community industrial park, first community day care center, a significant medical facility, and the first Blue Zones Certified City in the world.

We have a successful Family Services Collaborative, which I have chaired for 16 years. We recently received a planning grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to modify our healthy families program by using graduate families of the program to be future home visitors.

New projects can best be classified as opportunity. We have recently completed two industrial parks

totaling 190 acres with opportunity for wet industry and major distribution centers. We recently became the national distribution center for Larson Doors. Current projects include a 66 unit Holiday Inn Express, a Kwik Trip, and major shoe outlet.


Minnetrista, MN

Breanne Rothstein, AICP
Senior City Planner

November 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Minnetrista is a small, suburban/rural community on the western shores of Lake Minnetonka. It is characterized primarily by rolling agricultural topography, scenic lakes, remnant maple-basswood forests, and regional parks and trails. While the community is growing, Minnetrista has kept its suburban development slow and steady, allowing for solid planning and strict enforcement of community ideals. Primarily developed as large estates on the shorelines of Lake Minnetonka and its surrounding countryside, Minnetrista’s future offers a variety of housing types, sizes, and styles with the recent approval of Woodland Cove, a mixed-use, mixed-housing community.

What is the greatest part of your job?

The best part of my job is the diversity in work tasks. Given Minnetrista’s relatively small size, the planning department gets the opportunity to work on standard “planning” projects like development review, zoning, and ordinance writing, but also special projects relating to park planning, construction, and maintenance; stormwater management projects; regional trail planning; planning law; and environmental preservation. Learning and gaining experience in multiple facets of planning and related fields is the best part of working in a small community.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Minnetrista? APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota

Minnetrista has a history as a summer destination for city-dwellers in the late 1800s. Using the trolley system that extended to Excelsior and aboard ferries, urbanites would travel to Minnetrista’s islands and shores for a summer gateway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Halstead Brothers lived at the “Hermitage” in Minnetrista, which served as a tourist destination, hosting any who would venture out. They are buried on their property, which is now the site of a memorial to them (and a development called Hermitage Shores).

Any new projects on the horizon?

In September, the City approved a preliminary plat for a new neighborhood called Woodland Cove. On nearly 500 acres abutting the shores of Lake Minnetonka, this development will house nearly 3,000 people at full-built, including a small commercial area. It is Minnetrista’s first major development that includes a variety of housing types and styles, consisting of one acre estates on the lake, single-family homes on small, medium, and large suburban lots, townhomes, twinhomes, and some multi-family housing. It is sure to offer something for everyone, which is part of the reason the developers feel the project will be successful in an uncertain market in the future.


Hastings, MN

John Hinzman, AICP
Community Development Director

August 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota How long have you been working for the community?

I have worked for the City of Hastings for almost ten years.

What is the greatest part of your job?

Hastings is a stand-alone city with a historic downtown and plenty of room to grow. The mix between redevelopment of the older neighborhoods and new growth on the edges makes the job unique.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Hastings?

The City of Hastings is one of the oldest cities in the State. Some of the old plat maps still used today refer to its location in the Minnesota Territory.

Any new projects on the horizon?

a. TH 61 Mississippi River Bridge – The Hastings bridge is MnDot’s busiest two lane bridge in the state. A new four lane bridge is under construction directly west of the existing bridge and should be complete by 2013.

b. Hudson Manufacturing Redevelopment – As part of the Hastings Bridge project, Hudson Manufacturing has been acquired by the City of Hastings. The 3.8 acre site fronts the Mississippi River and is adjacent to the TH 61 bridge. The site contains a 150,000 s.f. manufacturing building dating back to 1909. The City is evaluating potential redevelopment plans which may include a rehabilitation of the manufacturing building into shops or housing.


Hutchinson, MN

Dan Jochum, AICP
Planning Director

April 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota How long have you been with the City of Hutchinson?

I have been with the City of Hutchinson for approximately 11 months. Prior to working for Hutchinson I worked as a Planning Consultant for Short Elliott Hendrickson for 9 years. I started my planning career as an intern with the City of Hutchinson in 2001.

What is the greatest part of your job?

The greatest part of my job is working with the various community groups in Hutchinson. I have been working with the Public Arts Commission to develop a large scale piece of public art in Hutchinson. I am also leading a public process to update the Comprehensive Plan. This process has allowed me to learn more about the community, as well as to understand the history of Hutchinson.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Hutchinson?

  • The Hutchinson Family Singers (John, Asa, and Judson Hutchinson) are credited with founding the town in November 1855. This also included 15 acres of land set aside for parks, which makes Hutchinson’s (platted) park system the second oldest in the United States.
  • The town was besieged during the Sioux Uprising in 1862. Chief Little Crow was shot by a farmer a few miles north and west of Hutchinson a year later.
  • Hutchinson has the largest 3M Manufacturing Plant in the world.
  • Hutchinson is home to Ridgewater College, which is a Community and Technical College with over 5,500 students in Hutchinson and Willmar.
  • WNBA star Lindsay Whalen is from Hutchinson.
  • Famous wildlife artist Les Kouba is also from Hutchinson.

Any interesting projects happening in 2011?

The Harmony River Living Center 120- bed senior care project started construction in fall 2010 and will continue through summer 2011. Currently phase one of several phases is being constructed. Phase one will cost $23.4 million and is supported by a total of $18.3 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency’s Community Facilities Program.

In addition to the Harmony River project, City staff will be spending a significant amount of time updating the Hutchinson Comprehensive Plan. The last plan was finished in 2002 and a lot has changed since then with the recession, new home construction slow down, and significant layoffs at Hutchinson Technology, Inc. The updated Plan is anticipated to be completed in spring 2012.


Pine City, MN

Nathan Johnson
City Planner

April 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota How long have you been with Pine City?

A dream-come-true, after graduating from the University of Minnesota, I came back to my hometown and began working for Pine City as its city planner in 2005. The City created the spot just a year earlier and at that time shared the full-time position with rapidly-growing, nearby Rock Creek on the northern fringe of the metro.

In the past 25 years, the population of Pine City increased by over one-third. What could have easily been a bedroom room community just north of the Twin Cities; Pine City held onto its identity and is evolving into a sustainable community.

What is the greatest part of your job?

I love working with a team of wonderful people at City Hall, each who cares passionately about making a great Pine City happen! It’s also a great pleasure to work and interact with many people I grew up with, seeing past teachers become an active part of the city’s retirement community and fellow classmates become our local entrepreneurs with young business start-ups or handed-down, seasoned, family enterprises.


APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Another gem to work with, we’ve had the same mayor since I was 14 years old... The honorable and notable Mayor Jane Robbins was elected when there were just a handful of cities with a woman mayor (Minneapolis hadn’t even had Sharon Sayles Belton yet). Mayor Robbins is a recent recipient of the C.C. Ludwig Award, the League of Minnesota Cities’ highest honor for an elected official, as well as last year’s winner of the Women in City Government Leadership Award.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Pine City?

Christmas trees often come from the Pine City area to adorn the front lawn of the Governor’s Residence on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.

Several pro athletes and competitors have hailed from Pine City, including Christian Isackson (NHL – Buffalo Sabres); Ron Kubesh (NFL – Baltimore Colts); Jonny Mold also known as Jammin’ (WSA); Jeff Warner also known as J.W. Storm (WWF); and Rube Walberg (MLB – New York Giants, Philadelphia Giants and Boston Red Sox).

Any interesting development or redevelopment projects in 2011?

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
In March, a new medical center, FirstLight Clinic (http://www.kanabechospital.org), opened its doors. In May, a newly-expanded and renovated Pine City library will have its grand opening. Also this spring, a new fire hall is being constructed as well as an entrepreneurial center and technology business incubator that is breaking ground on the campus of Pine Technical College (www.pinetech.edu), one of Minnesota’s fastest-growing colleges.

Demonstrating growth in the local economy, industries such as Advance Design & Systems (http:// www.advancedesign-sys.com) and Atscott Manufacturing (http://www.atscott.com) are presently expanding and adding-on in Pine City’s Technology Park. And, a potential boon to area tourism, the City recently received federal and state funding for the Twin Cities-to-Twin Ports Trail linkage, which will eventually tie the Sunrise Prairie Trail in North Branch with the Willard Munger Trail in Hinckley, completing a connection that will set-up one of the longest trails in the world.



Zumbrota, MN

Daniel J. King
Community Development Director

March 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota How long have you been with the City of Zumbrota?

2011 will be my fifth year with the City of Zumbrota. Prior to this I was with the City of Kasson and the City of Cottage Grove before that.

What is the greatest part of your job?

It's exciting working with citizens to shape our physical and social environment. I particularly enjoy assisting with preservation and promotion efforts in the historic downtown and initiating commercial/industrial expansion in the City.

Zumbrota is blessed with an active arts community which is currently working to save the State Theatre, an historic downtown attraction from the vaudeville days. The building will be renovated and preserved to host numerous events in addition to movies; including live theatre & musicals, dance recitals, orchestras, choirs and concerts, etc.

The local Economic Development Authority recently acquired and developed a 20-acre industrial park. The industrial park is located along Highway 52, a major thoroughfare between Rochester and Minneapolis/St. Paul that runs through town. We worked to purchase, annex, plat and extend infrastructure to the bare farmland in a matter of months. Two parcels were immediately sold for an 80,000 square foot manufacturing facility and 20,000 square foot warehouse/distribution facility, both new start-up businesses employing about 60 people. We've nearly recouped our initial investment and have about seven acres remaining for development.

These two projects highlight economic and cultural activity in both the central business district and highway commercial areas.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Zumbrota?

Zumbrota is home to Minnesota's only remaining authentic covered bridge which spans the Zumbro River and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Covered Bridge is a destination for many visitors and is a real source of pride for residents. An ad hoc group was formed which serves to "Protect, Preserve and Promote" this valuable resource. Through fund raising and grants, the bridge has recently been painted and digitally scanned to produce as-built drawings in case there is ever a need to repair or replace (the bridge was originally built in 1869). The group has also developed print and video marketing materials promoting the Bridge.


Minneapolis, MN

Barbara Sporlein
Planning Director, City of Minneapolis,

February 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota How long have you been with the City of Minneapolis?

I joined the City of Minneapolis as its Director of Planning in the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development in January 2004.

What is the greatest part of your job?

The diversity of the work and people. On any given day, I could be reviewing an historic designation study and staff recommendation, dealing with the implications of the supreme court ruling on variances, trying to find solutions to very different parking issues in the Uptown and Stadium Village areas, preparing for budget cuts, and trying to finance public realm improvements near transit station areas – and everything in between. I work with very creative and hard working people – elected and appointed city officials and other city staff, developers, attorneys, property owners, neighborhood and business groups, media, students and citizen planners. One of the most gratifying aspects of my job is to work alongside the planning staff in Minneapolis. They are without a doubt the most professional, dedicated, and skilled people I have ever worked with. I learn something new every day from them. The city is blessed to have such talent on its team.

What is the most challenging?

The slow economic recovery and changing demographics present many challenges. Planners and all public officials are expected to solve increasingly complex problems with decreasing resources, more public scrutiny, and less collective tolerance and patience. I am inspired by the high caliber people who choose public service under these conditions. A big part of my job is to ensure we have the proper skills, tools, partnerships and motivation needed to be effective in these times.

What’s Ahead in 2011?

Here’s a partial list. We look forward to the long awaited construction of the Longfellow Station mixed use development at the 38th Street Hiawatha LRT station area. This year will be the beginning of the multi-phased, multi-faceted improvements in the West Bank Cedar Riverside Station Area APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota – some 25 different infrastructure and other projects including bridge and sidewalk improvements, bike lanes, cross walks, $113 million renovation of Riverside Plaza – all designed to maximize the existing and pending transit investments and improve the overall quality of life in the station area. The West Bank Cedar Riverside Station Area will be the most transformative station area in the city. We will continue to work on the build out the regional transit system, including Hiawatha LRT (place making, redevelopment opportunities) Central Corridor LRT (final engineering, station area planning, redevelopment opportunities), Southwest Transitway LRT (DEIS, preliminary engineering, Hennepin County Community Works Partnership, development investment framework), Bottineau Blvd Corridor (alternative analysis), and the Interchange near Target Field (platform extension, public plaza, multi-modal station). We are an official partner for the three-year HUD Regional Sustainability Planning Grant focused on building regional and local capacity to address jobs, housing, health, and sustainability along major transit corridors. The possibility of a new Vikings Stadium will bring new opportunities for Downtown East. We look forward to the School District Headquarters completing construction adding new vitality to West Broadway. We will be updating the design guidelines for the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. And we will be analyzing the new Census data and what it means for our city and our work. Again, a rich diversity of work and people involved.

What is the biggest role of the planning department within the City of Minneapolis?

Our mission is to grow a sustainable city. We work diligently to preserve and enhance our city and its neighborhoods, as well as grow the city’s population, housing units, jobs and tax base. Our role in planning is to help develop sound policies and plans that are both visionary and attainable. A second key role is to facilitate the implementation of those policies and plans through various means – development review, zoning administration, capital improvement planning, transportation planning, legislative work, strategic development consultation, technical assistance, public art program administration, heritage preservation and having a seat at the tables when decisions are being made. We think what sets Minneapolis apart in terms of quality of life is that we don’t just make great plans, we implement them.



Sartell, MN

Anita Rasmussen
Planning and Community Development Director

February 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota How long have you been with the City of Sartell?

I started out as a consulting planner with the City of Sartell under Dahlgren Shardlow and Uban in 2000. The city created a position for a full time Planning and Community Development Director position in 2003 and I gladly accepted the position. It was the longest job interview of my life!

What is the greatest part of your job?

I love answering land use questions, helping developers figure out solutions to tough problems and working with residents. The greatest pleasure is seeing your "thumbprint" on the community you work for!

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Sartell?

In the past 25 years the population of this community has increased over 200%. What was once a bedroom room "suburb" adjacent to St. Cloud, we are evolving into a small sustainable community. We are the second largest city in central Minnesota, behind St. Cloud.

Per capita - I'm pretty sure we have the most roundabouts constructed and/or proposed!

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota In terms of history, Sartell began as a small river town relying on lumber and a paper company for its existence. The present site of the City of Sartell was first known as "The Third Rapids", this name was given by the French fur traders because it was the third "rapids" they would encounter as they traveled north up the Mississippi River from St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.

Any interesting development or redevelopment projects in 2011?

We continue to foster the growth of two very significant commercial and medical projects which opened in 2010. The development synergy that has emerged because of $60 million dollars of private investment has been fun to witness. We are also working with MN DOT on the plans and construction of a new interchange to help alleviate traffic congestion which has developed as a result of our medical and commercial projects!








Willmar, MN
January 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Willmar Minnesota
Bruce Peterson

January 1, 2011 marked the 25th anniversary of my hiring with the City of Willmar. I was the first professional planner hired by the City. A lot of my job satisfaction comes from seeing the results of good planning. We have done all our comprehensive planning in-house, and it is gratifying when things develop according to the plan. The past 25 years have seen tremendous growth for Willmar as a rural Minnesota regional center. The City has permitted over 3/4 of a billion dollars in new construction over that time frame, including nearly 2000 residential units.

Something unique to Willmar is the MinnWest Technology Campus, one of the country's largest, most active, private technology campuses. Although just a few years old, this former state-owned regional treatment center has been redeveloped into a thriving bio-tech, bio-science, r&d, and production facility. The Campus is currently home to 20 companies with combined employment of over 270 persons. Later in 2011, a joint effort between the Campus management, the University of Minnesota, MNSCU, and the City of Willmar will result in the Mid-Central Research and Outreach Center being opened on the campus. This new venture will help bring new technologies to the marketplace by making academic assistance available to emerging entrepreneurs and commercializing intellectual property.

Looking ahead in 2011, major projects in Willmar will include the redevelopment of the 600-acre former airport into the next phases of our industrial park, which is currently at capacity. The continued growth of the Technology Campus is another development priority, and there are several new technology businesses considering the site for their headquarters. Other current projects include the redevelopment of a former lumber yard complex into an office/commercial center, and the drafting of a City-wide pedestrian/biking/trail plan. Additional hangar and aviation business development at the new airport is also anticipated.


St. Louis Park, MN
January 2011

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
St. Louis Park
Adam Fulton, AICP, Planner

How long have you been with the city of St. Louis Park?

I've worked for St. Louis Park for almost six years. It's hard to believe, because the time here has passed quickly. St. Louis Park is an incredibly dynamic community. So when a surprise shows up at the counter or on the phone, it isn't unexpected. Citizens of St. Louis Park are passionate about their city, and that translates into high quality results not only for planning activities, but also for city operations across the board.

What is the greatest part of your job?

Planning in St. Louis Park means something different every day. I can spend the morning working on issues related to a major regional project like the Southwest light rail transit line, and transition to zoning ordinance questions about a neighborhood fence in the afternoon. I work with a great team, and am lucky to be continually learning from their expertise and ideas about how to manage and plan for change (or try!) within the community.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about St. Louis Park?

St. Louis Park may come across as just another rapidly changing first-ring suburb, but in fact the city has deep roots and strongly values its history of diversity and tolerance. St. Louis Park was incorporated in 1886 and was a streetcar suburb before development really took off after WWII. The city, named after the Minneapolis and St. Louis railroad line, welcomed diversity as a large number of Jewish families moved here in the 1940s and 50s; today, the city has just adopted a domestic partnership registry and continues to see an influx of minority populations, including Somali and Russian immigrants.

Any interesting development or redevelopment projects in 2011

Like cities across the nation, redevelopment in St. Louis Park has been impacted by the Great Recession. Despite the economic situation, the city has built on a strong sense of community, close proximity to downtown Minneapolis and the Chain of Lakes, and a high quality school system. In 2011, look for continued development at the West End, where a 120-unit apartment building has been approved. Additional activity centers include the City’s Park Commons and Elmwood areas, where new apartment proposals and construction on a mixed-use senior housing building are expected. The city will also begin work on rebuilding its two fire stations in 2011, culminating a six-year process that started in 2005 when structural issues were identified on the existing fire stations.


A look at The Faces of Homelessness
by mike darrow, Chapter Vice President
December 2010

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota Margaret Miles is a writer, advocate for the homeless, Director of Development at St. Stephen's and good friend. For many, the images of those who are homeless range from young to old. The fact is that today, more and more people consider themselves homeless. A recent Wilder Foundation Survey (www.wilder.org) shows that more than half of those who are homeless are children and young adults.

Identifying and understanding those who are homeless is an important step in ending homelessness. By putting a face and story behind statistics, we can collectively work toward finding real solutions toward ending homelessness. For years, Margaret has worked toward bring the faces those how are homeless out from the streets and into the board room, the class room and community rooms throughout Minnesota. As part of her project entitled “Homeless is my address, not my name" people from across the state are able to see and hear those that are homeless. I recently sat down with Margaret to better understand this important project.


1. Please tell us about this project. How was it started?

I have been telling the stories of people experiencing homelessness for 14 years in this field. It took me that long to realize that the best thing I could do is get myself out of the way and instead create a process by which these folks can tell their own stories, which is ultimately so much more powerful. The interviews take place at Project Homeless Connect, which is a one-stop-shop where homeless folks can get multiple services. This event happens twice a year in Minneapolis and is attended by around 1500 people living on the economic edge. That is a lot of stories that need to be told and heard!

2. What inspired you to do this type of work?

Facts and statistics can only convey so much about social ills. When you can touch someone emotionally with a story, or make a connection where there was none, empathy and change can really happen quickly. This project not only asks people to tell the story of their homelessness, but also their dreams, what they like about themselves, and so on--all in an effort to show that these people have lives, hopes, and experiences outside of homelessness to which the average person can relate. They love their kids, they love to cook and ice skate and watch American Idol, they fear dying alone or being judged...these are things so many people can relate to. We also take portraits of people the way they want to be seen. Not in their most vulnerable, stereotypical moment. My hope is that creating ways for non-homeless people to see and hear from homeless people will help make these connections that lead to a widespread commitment to ending homelessness.

3. Since this project looks at homelessness throughout Minnesota, what differences do you see between homelessness in the metro area and homelessness in greater Minnesota?

Since 2008 we have collected hundreds of stories and portraits of people experiencing urban homelessness. To present a full picture of homelessness in Minnesota we decided in 2010 to travel the state because we know that people's experiences of homelessness in rural and small communities is very different than in the metro. To generalize, we found that small communities that can afford to provide for their poorest citizens were very proud of taking care of their neighbors. I was really moved by spontaneous food shelves or free community meals that popped up when a need was perceived. In other communities where there are no services, people who lose their housing tended to hide or leave town for larger communities, which can be heart-wrenching for them. We encountered people hiding on the outskirts of their own communities (sleeping in trucks, in ice shanties after dark, in state parks) because they didn't have the resources to move elsewhere but they felt too much shame being seen in town by people they grew up with. Larger cities have more services typically, but there is a great sense of people feeling invisible in even the busiest places. And that unless they really connect with an advocate or provider, people feel like numbers, like problems on an assembly line.

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota

4. The rate of children who are homeless has continuously risen throughout Minnesota. How have the faces of homelessness changed over the past two decades?

As you say, the faces of the homeless have gotten younger across the whole country. Fortunately, great strides have been taken to address and prevent family homelessness, so I think that growth has slowed. We're seeing many more youth 18-21, though. They don't always consider themselves homeless right away. They "age out" of foster care or are kicked out by parents. They might couch-surf at friend's houses, but until they wear out their welcome and land in a shelter they don't realize they missed out on a critical piece of parenting, namely being taught how to live independently. Without intervention, these kids are the men and women we'll be seeing in the adult shelters a decade later.

5. How has this project been received by those unfamiliar with the issue of homelessness? What are the main messages that you are hearing?

The best messages we hear are: "My gosh, that guy/woman/kid could be my relative. Or the clerk at Target. Or the school bus driver." We also hear people say that certain stories remind them of mysterious family members--uncles they never met, for example, and makes them wonder if there were similar issues--mental illness, addiction, homelessness in their family that was never spoken about. The best responses are when people ask me, "So, what happened to her or him? Are they OK? Did they ever find housing?" That's when you know you've touched their heart.

6. As planners, designers and public officials, what role do you see APA MN having on working to prevent homelessness across the State?

Affordable housing is the big one. As communities plan development and beautification projects, run-down housing might need to go--that's understandable, but the people living there won't go the way of the wrecking ball. They need a place to be. We can demonstrate over and over again that affordable or supportive housing doesn't bring down property values and that people want to be good neighbors. I love mixed-use projects that acknowledge that lower-income people are an integral and valued part of a community's

7. The rate of children who are homeless has continuously risen throughout Minnesota. How have the faces of homelessness changed over the past two decades?

As you say, the faces of the homeless have gotten younger across the whole country. Fortunately, great strides have been taken to address and prevent family homelessness, so I think that growth has slowed. We're seeing many more youth 18-21, though. They don't always consider themselves homeless right away. They "age out" of foster care or are kicked out by parents. They might couch-surf at friend's houses, but until they wear out their welcome and land in a shelter they don't realize they missed out on a critical piece of parenting, namely being taught how to live independently. Without intervention, these kids are the men and women we'll be seeing in the adult shelters a decade later.

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota

8. How has this project been received by those unfamiliar with the issue of homelessness? What are the main messages that you are hearing?

The best messages we hear are: "My gosh, that guy/woman/kid could be my relative. Or the clerk at Target. Or the school bus driver." We also hear people say that certain stories remind them of mysterious family members--uncles they never met, for example, and makes them wonder if there were similar issues--mental illness, addiction, homelessness in their family that was never spoken about. The best responses are when people ask me, "So, what happened to her or him? Are they OK? Did they ever find housing?" That's when you know you've touched their heart.

9. As planners, designers and public officials, what role do you see APA MN having on working to prevent homelessness across the State?

Affordable housing is the big one. As communities plan development and beautification projects, run-down housing might need to go--that's understandable, but the people living there won't go the way of the wrecking ball. They need a place to be. We can demonstrate over and over again that affordable or supportive housing doesn't bring down property values and that people want to be good neighbors. I love mixed-use projects that acknowledge that lower-income people are an integral and valued part of a community's economics, so let's make sure there's a place for them to live!

10. How can members become involved in preventing homelessness?

My strongest suggestion is to become educated about policy and legislation that affects people in poverty. Homelessness, poverty, lack of health insurance--all of these are extremely expensive for tax-payers. It is so much more cost-effective to keep people in their homes & jobs than to have them using expensive emergency services. I'm especially worried that in this tough economy cutting prevention strategies and social services is going to be attractive to legislators as a quick fix--but it's a ruse because we will all pay in the long run and some people will pay with their lives. For groups who are interested in learning more we offer speakers or forums. We're also happy to give tours of our shelter and other services at St. Stephen's, including affordable and supportive housing that works well.

Finally, we're excited to travel our photo/audio exhibit so that people can hear from individuals and families themselves. I'm happy to give my contact information if anyone is interested: mmiles@ststephensmpls.org or 612-870-2276.




Roseville, MN
November 2010

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Roseville
Patrick Trudgeon, AICP, Community Development Director

What is the greatest part of your job? How long have you been with the City of Roseville?

There are many great things about my job; I get to deal with very interesting and creative people both inside and outside the organization, I get to work on solving challenging and complex issues, and get to see the results of the implementation of policy that I work on as well as see the physical construction of projects that I have input on. However, I take the greatest satisfaction when I am able to help a resident of Roseville with their project or give them a better understanding of how local government operates. Local governments are the most accessible of all governments for citizens and we must remember that we

How long have you been with the City of Roseville?


I have been with the City for 3 years. Previously I was with the City of Ramsey for 7 years and North Branch for 4 years.

How has the economic downturn impacted the City of Roseville?

Roseville has certainly felt the impact of the economic development downturn, but we have been more fortunate than other communities. Our strong commercial base continues to do well. The only empty storefronts we have are more due company failures (Circuit City and Linens and Things) than our local market. We also not been as impacted by home foreclosures as other communities due to the affordability of most of our housing stock and the fact that many of our residents have lived in their homes for 40+ years and no longer have mortgages. Having said that, we have experienced a slight increase of foreclosures when compared to 2009 that we are concerned about and are monitoring.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Roseville?

  • T-1, the first Target Store in the County was opened in Roseville in 1962 at Snelling and County Road B. It was demolished and rebuilt in 2005.


  • Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver) and Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) are graduates of Roseville High School.


  • Har Mar Mall was built in 1961 as one of the first enclosed malls in Minnesota and continues to thrive today.


  • With 1 in 4 residents over the age of 64, Roseville has the oldest population in Minnesota and is one of the top five oldest populations in the nation.

What is Roseville's most significant planning and/design issue? How are you dealing with them?

As Roseville is built out, all of our development is actually redevelopment. Besides the obvious difficulties of redevelopment- contamination and costs to name a couple- we continue to struggle with the “change” that redevelopment represents. Most people are accepting of development that they live next to as the use most likely was there when they moved in. However, when something new is proposed, it opens the door for strong opinion and opposition. I have always thought that city planning is really about managing change and expectations. While we can’t get rid of controversy with project, my staff and I have attempted to do greater outreach to the community through the extensive use of the website to provide information as well as requiring developers to hold neighborhood open houses before a development is considered by the Planning Commission and City Council. We also try to be as transparent as possible in our reports and presentations by providing as much information as possible and providing valid reasons on why a particular project is supported by staff, instead of the simple reply that ‘the zoning code says the use is allowed’. We are not always successful in dampening the controversy, but it is something that we continually work on.


Past Spotlights

Faribault, MN
November 2010

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Faribault
Greg Kruschke, AICP, Planning Coordinator

What is the greatest part of your job? How long have you been with the City of Faribault?

I have been with the City of Faribault since March 2003.  The greatest part of my job is the ability to help people.  With this job you can help people realize their dreams, whether it is for the future or the present situation.  I also enjoy the new challenges each day brings.     

How has the economic downturn impacted the City of Faribault?

The downturn has affected Faribault in many of the same ways it has affected other communities throughout Minnesota.  New residential construction has almost come to a halt.  We have seen a few new multi-family buildings being constructed.  The City has worked hard to recruit new businesses and expand our current businesses to fill vacant buildings, vacant land, and storefronts. 

What is Faribault's most significant planning and/design issue? How are you dealing with them?

Faribault's most significant challenge is balanicing what developers or the elected officials desire and what our ordinances state.  This leads to attempting to find a balance so everyone gets what they desire in the end and all of the ordinances are met. 

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Faribault?

The MN State Academies for the Deaf and for the Blind, including the State Library for the Blind, are located in the southeast part of the city above the Straight River. Noyes Hall, a  neoclassical building  on the campus of Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   The building is named for Jonathon L. Noyes, long-time administrator of the school.

On the bluffs overlooking the Straight River east of downtown of Faribault is Shattuck St. Mary's School, a private college prep school for boys and girls grades 6-12. The institution was formerly three schools: Shattuck School , St. Mary's and St. James. Shattuck was originally an Episcopal military school. One enters Shattuck by driving through the stone arch which frames the stone buildings comprising the original campus; this image has been used in many movies when the director wishes to represent an elite, ivy league type school.

Faribault is also home to the Tilt - a - Whirl. Herbert Sellner invented the Tilt - a Whirl in 1926 at his home. Sellner Manufacturing was opened and the ride debuted at the Minnesota State Fair in 1927.


Past Spotlight Cities

Belle Plaine, MN

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Belle Plaine
Trisha Rosenfeld, Community Development Director

What is the greatest part of your job? How long have you been with the City of Belle Plaine?
The greatest part of my job is knowing that every day there is always something new and interesting that will present itself.

I have been with the City of Belle Plaine for four years this October.

How has the economic downturn impacted the City of Belle Plaine?
The economic downturn has impacted the City of Belle Plaine particularly in the housing market. We experienced a large growth spurt in the early part of the decade. As we all know it has tapered off substantially over the past several years. However, Belle Plaine has been fortunate to experience commercial growth over the past couple years complimenting the residential growth that occurred.

What is Belle Plaine's most significant planning and/design issue? How are you dealing with them?
One of the most significant design issues Belle Plaine experiences is the US Trunk Highway 169 corridor that attempts to divide the community. We currently have one interchange that connects the two parts of the community to the north, and are determined to procure a second overpass or interchange on the southern end of the community. The City of Belle Plaine is committed to the connectivity and cohesiveness of the community.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Belle Plaine?
Belle Plaine has an historical two-story outhouse!


Gaylord, MN
July 2010

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Gaylord
Kevin McCann, City Administrator

What is the greatest part of your job? How long have you been with the City of Gaylord?
The greatest part of my job is the variety of projects I work on and the great people I interact with. I am always working on something different and meeting great people along the way. I have been in the City of Gaylord since January of 2008.

How has the economic downturn impacted the City of Gaylord?
There was a housing development of 26 units that fell through. There has been a couple of business closings. There has also been good news. There is a newly remodeled $9 million dollar nursing home, assisted living, senior apartments, and memory loss facilty. There is also a new strip mall in town. There is also many businesses looking at revitalizing their home or business with the latest green technology.

What is Gaylord's most significant planning and/design issue? How are you dealing with them?
The most significant planning issue is the outdated ordinances we are following. They are from the early 90s and do not address the issues of today. We are starting to identify the issues that keep coming up and will be addressing these through ordnance changes.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Gaylord?
Gaylord is known as The Hub of Sibley County and has three highways, Hwy 5, Hwy 19, and Hwy 22, that intersect in town. The City is currently in the design phase of a new $2.75 million aquatic center.




Minnetonka, MN
June 2010

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
Minnetonka
Julie Wischnack, AICP Community Development Director

What is the greatest part of your job? How long have you been with the City of Minnetonka?
APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota The greatest part of my job is trying to help people solve problems, whether that involves co-workers, residents or applicants. The bottom line at any city should be, how can I help you and if I can't accommodate someone's request what may be the next best thing and the process for figuring that out is extremely satisfying. I have been with Minnetonka since 2006.

How has the economic downturn impacted the City of Minnetonka?
We have definitely experienced a downturn in the amount of permitting within the city; which in turn caused a need to reduce our employees in community development and partner with other cities to get the work done. The amount of residential development has definitely slowed, but there are some projects on the horizon that are very positive for the community. United Health Group will be starting their 350,000 square foot expansion this fall and we hope that a 150 unit senior building will be underway soon. There are other various projects for smaller residential subdivisions.

What is Minnetonka's most significant planning and/design issue? How are you dealing with them?
I think the most significant planning and design issue for Minnetonka is with respect to light rail. While the construction of the rail is a number of years off, it certainly is important to set the stage and prepare for the type of development that supports light rail. This type of development does not occur very often in Minnetonka and therefore, we are embarking on amending ordinances and plans that outline and provide principles by which redevelopment occurs. While design of redevelopment is important, a secondary issue is an existing suburb has challenges in making good connections to existing neighborhoods. We are looking forward to this very difficult, yet exciting addition to our transportation network.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Minnetonka?
Minnetonka is a very young city, incorporating in 1956. Prior to its incorporation, it was the scene of numerous annexations to surrounding communities and in the end, 2,300 voting members of the public created the village of Minnetonka.


Roseau, MN
MAY 2010

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota
City of Roseau
Todd Peterson, Roseau Community Development Coordinator

APA Minnesota Spotlight on Minnesota What is the greatest part of your job? How long have you been with the City of Roseau?
I have worked for the City of Roseau since 1996 (14 years in August). In that time I have been City Planner, Flood Recovery Coordinator and finally Community Development Coordinator for the city. I was Roseau's first City Planner. Community development in a small community (2,700) is quite different than in larger fast-growing communities. Projects must be developed in slower more incrimental steps. However, in 2002 the City of Roseau was devistated with a greater than 500 year flood event that required the rebuilding of the majority of the town. Over $100 million in public and private investments were made to rebuild the community. As a result I was able to participate in a 5 year redevelopment plan like most small town planners never witness in a lifetime. Our community continues to work on future developments and keeping the community growing and vibrant.

How has the economic downturn impacted the City of Roseau?
The economic downturn has had an impact on our community, particularly our small commercial district. Continuing pressures of lower wages, unemployment and big box retailers in larger surrounding regional centers have taken their toll on our downtown district leaving a number of vacant storefronts. Recently our industrial sector (Polaris Industries) has begun to shift back to higher production. Our hope is that this resurgence will bring confidence back to others who will again look at other business opportunities on our community.

What is Roseau most significant planning and/design issue? How are you dealing with them?
It is alway a delicate balancing act to do significant planning and design in small towns as you must weigh the value of good design with the economic realities of needed any and all development possible to keep your community vibrant and growing. However, the leaders of Roseau have always had high expectations for development and property maintenance and that helps drive good development and respect for doing development the right way.

What is a unique fact or characteristic about Roseau?
Roseau is a very special community. It is a very small town (2,700) that supports a very large population (up to 7,000+) for employment, health services, retail, recreation, education, and government. As a result the community has to be very creative and proactive in its design and delivery of services. Cooperation is vital given our relative isolation. The City works hard to foster creative solutions with private industry and other agencies to provide excellent services and a great quality of life. This is probably what makes Roseau the hockey capital of Minnesota.

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