April 2017 - District One News

Mike Opat, Hennepin County commissioner

Spring 2017



Commissioner Mike Opat
Phone: 612-348-7881
A-2400 Government Center
300 South 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487

Steve Gershone, principal aide
Phone: 612-348-5206

Mary Buck, administrative secretary/scheduling
Phone: 612-348-5202


This district serves the cities of Brooklyn CenterBrooklyn ParkCrystalNew HopeOsseo and Robbinsdale.

Seen around the web


METRO Blue Line Extension Public Open House in Brooklyn Park on April 13

Open houses in Robbinsdale, Crystal, Minneapolis took place last week, with one more open house in Brooklyn Park on April 13. Feel free to come and go at any time. Staff will be available to answer your questions and receive comments.

The METRO Blue Line Extension project has completed approximately 60 percent of design and engineering for the 13-mile light rail line connecting Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Crystal, Robbinsdale, and Brooklyn Park. The open houses are an opportunity to learn about the design process, review design concepts, and give feedback to project staff. Other project information will also be available including updates on LRT design issues in each community.

Brooklyn Park

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 4:30-7:00 pm

Brooklyn Park Library, Mississippi Room, 8500 W Broadway Ave, Brooklyn Park MN 55445

Hennepin County provides resources for homebuyers to better inform the process

Spring home buying season is here. Hennepin County has resources for house hunters to enhance, inform and supplement the home buying process.

This information is more accurate, comprehensive and reliable than home buying aggregate websites, and features unique historical information and records not found anywhere else.

Register now for the Step to it challenge, May 1 - 28

During the Step to it challenge May 1 - 28, track your steps for a chance to win tickets to a Minnesota Twins game or other prizes. The challenge is an easy way to get moving while connecting with family, friends and neighbors.

Try something new or log points for activities already part of your routine, such as:

  • Cleaning your house
  • Vacuuming
  • Washing your car
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Zumba

Register for the challenge to enter a prize drawing. Track the most steps in your community and age bracket to win a pair of Twins tickets.

The newly redesigned website makes it even easier this year to track your steps. Log activity using the step conversion chart or an activity tracker.

Join the challenge

Get inspired, find more information and register for the challenge by visiting steptoit.org or calling 612-348-5618.

2017 Environmental Response Fund grants

Starting in 2017, there will be only one Environmental Response Fund grant round. Applications are due by November 1, 2017. Please be sure to use the current application from the website.

The Hennepin County Environmental Response Fund provides grants to assist the evaluation and cleanup of contaminated sites where the added environment cleanup costs hinder site improvements or redevelopment. Projects supported by ERF grants provide a variety of community benefits, including the creation of affordable or moderately priced housing, economic development, green space and infrastructure improvements.

Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants include municipalities, economic development agencies, housing and redevelopment authorities, non-profit organizations, public companies and private for-profit companies.

Funding available

In 2017, Hennepin County is planning to award grants in the fall funding round with approximately $1.2 million to be awarded.

Contact us

If you are considering applying for an ERF grant, contact us to discuss your project, its appropriateness for this funding source, and how to best complete your application. Contact:

Submitting applications

Submit your application by 4:30 p.m. on November 1, 2017, to:

Hennepin County Department of Environment and Energy

701 4th Avenue South, Suite 700

Minneapolis, MN 55415

Funding will expand community policing to Crystal

The County Board approved $120,000 of funding to extend a partnership to the City of Crystal that builds ties between law enforcement and local cultural communities.

Crystal will join six Hennepin County cities already belonging to the Joint Community Police Partnership. Each partnering city employs a community liaison, recruits and trains cadets and community service officers, provides cultural awareness training for officers, hosts community meetings and meets with diverse groups of community leaders to discuss community policing.

Read more about expanding the partnership to Crystal.

Board lays over resolution on proposed new sales tax

The board concluded its public hearing on a proposed new sales tax of up to one-half cent to fund transportation and transit projects. The new sales tax would replace the current one-quarter-cent sales tax imposed by the county for the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), should CTIB dissolve. Because all five CTIB counties have not agreed to dissolution, with Dakota County opposing, the board laid over a resolution to both terminate the joint powers agreement establishing CTIB and adopt the new sales tax. The resolution may be brought up again in its current form, at a later date, at the call of the chair, for action by the board. View the resolution.

Spring Youth Sports Equipment Grants Awarded

On March 28, the board awarded $125,000 in Hennepin Youth Sports small equipment grants to twenty-one organizations and $125,000 for five playground projects. Since the Youth Sports program began in 2009, the county has awarded $19.6 million to 122 facility projects, 221 small equipment projects and now ten playground projects. 

District One projects include:

  • $1,899 to the City of New Hope for gymnastics mats and training aids at Sandburg Learning Center
  • $10,000 to the City of Robbinsdale for baseball training aids, fencing, and storage shed at Lakeview Terrace and Lee Parks
  • $6,853 to Three Rivers Park District for a self-service boat rental unit, kayaks, paddleboards, paddles, and life jackets at the Twin Lakes Boat Launch
  • $25,000 to the City of New Hope for a new playground at Fred Sims Park

Funding awarded via Hennepin Youth Sports pilot project to prevent youth drowning

Organizations will use more than $35,000 of grant funding to provide swimming lessons to Hennepin County youth.

The grants were made possible through a partnership between Hennepin County, USA Swimming and Minnesota Swimming. 

The following organizations will receive funding:

  • Brooklyn Center Community Center
  • City of Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks
  • Great Wolf Swim Club
  • Robbinsdale Area Schools Community Education
  • YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, Minneapolis Downtown Branch
  • YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, Harold Mezile North Community Youth and Teen Enrichment Center
  • YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, New Hope Branch
  • YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, Ridgedale Branch

Make a Splash is a national, child-focused water safety campaign, aiming to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. To date, more than 4 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner network comprised of more than 800 qualified lesson providers across the nation. Learn more about Make a Splash. 

Earlier this year, Hennepin County, USA Swimming and Minnesota Swimming collaborated to offer these grants.

Read more about the partnership.

Hennepin County starts 2017 road and bridge construction

Monday, March 27 marks the beginning of Hennepin County’s transportation construction season. During 2017, Hennepin County’s Transportation Department will deliver on several projects designed to get residents around the county safely and efficiently within a balanced, environmentally sound county transportation system. 

Two major projects begin and several others continue

This spring, large reconstruction projects start on 66th Street (County Road 53) in Richfield and Wayzata Boulevard (County Road 112) in Long Lake and Orono. Both are multiple-year efforts that will provide – among other improvements – better driving surfaces, new facilities for pedestrians and enhanced aesthetics. 

Other major county projects that are resuming work this year include:

  • Bottineau Boulevard (County Road 81) in Brooklyn Park
  • Douglas Drive (County Road 102) in Golden Valley
  • Washington Avenue (County Road 152) in downtown Minneapolis

These projects are scheduled to resume March 27.

Later this year, crews will begin reconstruction work at the intersection of Pinto Drive (County Roads 115 and 116) and Highway 55 in Medina.

City-led construction projects

Two city-led projects on county roads are also in the mix. The City of Bloomington continues its work on Normandale Boulevard (County Road 34). And, the City of Plymouth will embark on adjacent reconstruction and repaving projects on County Road 24 near Highway 55.

Other notable activities

Other projects that have begun or will begin soon include: continued rehabilitation under-the-deck work on the Franklin Avenue (County Road 5) Bridge in Minneapolis; bridge replacement work on the 46th Street (County Road 46) Bridge over the Godfrey Parkway in Minneapolis, the Brown Road (County Road 146) Bridge in Orono; and a maintenance project on Lake Street (County Road 3) Bridge over the Mississippi River.

Starting around May, Transportation operations and maintenance crews will begin several smaller-scale road projects including repaving, restriping and pavement sealing projects.

Additional information about 2017 county road and bridge projects and activities can be found at www.hennepin.us/residents#transportation.

The county appreciates residents’ patience and understanding during these projects and activities. We remind people to slow down when traveling past construction sites and county crews and to allow for extra time when traveling during construction season. 

Committee will advise staff, Board on child well-being

The Board established the Hennepin County Child Well-being Advisory Committee to guide work to protect and care for children.

In October, the Hennepin County Child Protection Oversight Committee laid out six core recommendations to improve the well-being of children in Hennepin County. The newly created advisory committee will continue these efforts.

I will chair the new committee and will be joined by Commissioner Debbie Goettel and up to 18 other members.

Hennepin County is working to:

  • Adopt a new focus on child well-being to prevent maltreatment
  • Recruit and retain the workforce and allow for reasonable caseload distribution 
  • Improve professional supports by co-locating work teams to the same offices
  • Offer early and practical help to families that are at risk for violence or dysfunction
  • Improve data collection, analysis and collaboration
  • Continue monitoring improvement and ensuring accountability

The key of this new focus is prevention – providing support to at-risk families.

The advisory committee will track the county's progress in adopting the new child well-being focus. Hennepin County staff and partners are using multiple approaches to prioritize children’s physical health, emotional and social health, relational health and development. 

Now Hiring: Hennepin County Library's Teen Tech Squad

Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad is hiring teens to research, design and lead interactive workshops for and with youth, and teach STEAM skills through tinkering and making. STEAM includes science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. 

Teen leaders work with adult mentors to create innovative programming for school-aged participants in programs held afternoons and on weekends. Teen Tech Squad employees work approximately 25 hours per month on nights and weekends, and earn $15/hour. Teens ages 16 to 18 can apply online at www.hclib.org/about/jobs. The library system will accept applications March 17 to April 7.

The program gets financial support from Friends of the Hennepin County Library.

Teens lead workshops at seven library locations

In its fourth year, Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad program has employed 71 teens; currently, 30 teens work at Brookdale, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Franklin, Hosmer, North Regional and Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Minneapolis Central Library downtown. More than 1,200 students have participated in Teen Tech programming.

Library staff members and teen employees at several libraries are available for media interviews. Please contact Maria Elena Baca or call 612-348-7865 for assistance setting up an interview.