County Board actions: Expanding fiber optic infrastructure, Youth Sports grants criteria updated

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969


County board actions

Votes Tuesday create a process to expedite fiber optic expansion, to clarify Youth Sports Grant application criteria and to partner with the City of Eden Prairie for reconstruction of Flying Cloud Drive.


Ordinance change will include fiber optic projects in some utility project proposals along county roads

The County Board approved a change to county ordinance to allow an expansion of fiber optic infrastructure as part of utility construction projects on county rights of way. The permits office typically issues 860 utility permits on an annual basis to public, private and nonprofit entities. Hennepin County Ordinance 22 governs the placement and maintenance of critical utilities, including electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, rainwater, telecommunications and cable and other services. Following the change, the county will be able to require contractors on targeted projects to include the fiber optic work, at the county’s expense. The change will allow the county to expand its fiber infrastructure at a lower cost and minimize construction disturbances, such as lane closures, detours and construction noise. 


New categories for Youth Sports grants

The County Board amended the criteria for the Hennepin Youth Sports Program, which provides grants to local units of government to build, repair and renovate sports facilities, and to purchase sports equipment or small capital assets for use at sports facilities. The County Board also created a new grant category for playground purchases and enhancements, and reserved funding for a potential swimming lesson pilot project. The 2016 Hennepin Youth Sports Program grant cycle will total $2.25 million. Of that amount, $1.8 million will be allocated for facilities grants; $250,000 will allocated for the purchase of equipment and/or other small capital assets; $125,000 allocated for playground projects; and $35,000 is to be reserved for swimming lessons if that pilot project is approved at a future meeting. Since the program began in 2009, 94 facilities grants have been awarded totaling more than $14.4 million, and 154 equipment and small asset grants have been awarded totaling more than $1 million. Applications will be available via the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. The deadline for submission is November 2. 


Agreement with Eden Prairie moves Flying Cloud Drive project forward

The County Board approved a joint powers agreement with Carver County for the reconstruction and widening of Flying Cloud Drive (Hennepin County Road 61) between Carver County Road 101 in Chanhassen and Charlston Road in Eden Prairie. Carver County will reimburse Hennepin County for project costs incurred within Carver. The project will include two new bridges, nine retaining walls and a shared use path. Reconstruction of 3.5 lane miles in both counties is scheduled to begin in 2017, with completion expected in 2019. 


Paint to be included among household hazardous waste disposal options

The County Board approved an amendment to the State of Minnesota joint powers agreement for the operation of a household waste management program to handle disposal of architectural paint, which is interior and exterior coatings sold in containers of five gallons or less. The state will reimburse the county for expenses related to managing paint collected at the drop-off facilities in Bloomington and Brooklyn Park and at seasonal household hazardous waste collection events. The estimated annual reimbursement amount is $700,000.  


Grant will fund supervised release program

The County Board agreed to allow the Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation to receive a $3.8 million, two-year grant from the state Department of Corrections to fund the Intensive Supervised Release Program from July 1, 2015 through June 2017. Primary elements of the program include face-to-face contacts at offender's residence and place of employment and supervision provided by specially trained agents with small caseloads, a maximum 15 offenders per agent. Other primary elements include house arrest, electronic monitoring, strict curfews, mandatory work or school, random drug testing and programming that addresses offender risk factors, such as lack of employment and suitable housing, drug/alcohol dependency, sexual deviance, anti-social attitudes and offender associations. 


Amendment clarifies stance on e-cigarettes

The County Board agreed on an amendment to clarify that e-cigarettes are covered under the Tobacco Free Property Policy. Use of these electronic delivery devices on county-owned and leased property, including grounds, structures, parking ramps, parking lots, and equipment is prohibited.  


HCRRA will support Met Council's capital grant application for transit

The County board, voting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, agreed to support the Metropolitan Council’s 2016 capital grant application to the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) for project development and engineering activities for the Bottineau Light Rail Transit (METRO Blue Line Extension); engineering, land acquisition, and construction activities for Southwest Light Rail Transit (METRO Green Line Extension); project development, engineering, and land acquisition activities for METRO Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit; and Mall of America Transit Station improvements. Grants requested for a variety of projects could total $133.76 million, dependent on  final commitment of funds for the transitway improvements to the  Mall of America Transit station. The program requires formal support from host counties for grant projects located within those counties. 

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