July 2017 E-Newsletter

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Jan Callison - News from District 6

  July 2017


I hope you are enjoying my electronic newsletters, and find them interesting and informative about county activities. In addition to my monthly newsletter, the county sends various newsletters and notifications available by email or text message. To explore the many opportunities to subscribe or to change your preferences, visit the subscription webpage.

Please feel free to send me your comments through my feedback form on issues that concern you or you would like covered. I value your opinions.

Warm regards,

Jan Callison

In this edition

Board meetings

June 13, 2017

Board approves new sales tax for transit and transportation 

The board voted to terminate the joint powers agreement establishing the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) and impose a half-cent sales tax in Hennepin County supporting the county’s transit and transportation projects. 

The four other CTIB counties — Anoka, Dakota, Ramsey and Washington — all had to do the same for CTIB to dissolve and the new tax to take effect in Hennepin County. 

The current quarter-cent CTIB sales tax will end on September 30, 2017, and the county’s half-cent sales tax will begin on October 1, 2017, for a net quarter-cent increase on taxable goods and services in Hennepin County. 

A $20 excise tax on new car sales will replace a current $20 excise tax, as well.

Annual county revenue from the sales tax could be as much as $125 million initially. This is projected to be enough to cover the local share of capital and operating costs for the county’s current and future transit lines through 2036. 

These lines include the current Blue Line, Green Line and Northstar Commuter Rail, and the future Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension), Bottineau LRT (Blue Line Extension), I-35W South BRT (Orange Line) and Riverview Corridor.

Sales tax revenue also has the potential to cover county transportation projects and improvements, for example, road and bridge work planned in the county’s Capital Improvement Program, if designated in the future by the board after a public hearing.

Read more about the action.

See the sales and use transportation tax implementation plan.

County sells Century Plaza for estimated $9.4 million

Century Plaza

The board approved negotiation of the sale of Century Plaza, a former county human service location, to DEHL Properties. The developer proposes to renovate the six-story, 297,650-square-foot building into office and flexible space to complement the Minneapolis Convention Center and downtown hotels. The county selected DEHL Properties out of four responses to a request for proposals issued in January. Hennepin County officially closed the 1930s-era building in May as part of a multi-year effort to re-locate human services closer to where people live, work and attend school. 

Learn more about the sale of Century Plaza.

Learn more about Hennepin County’s regional human service centers.

Program will provide pathway to commercial driving careers

The board approved a $150,000 agreement with Summit Academy OIC to implement a program to recruit, train and place up to 24 people into jobs as commercial drivers. This program will become one of several Career Pathways training programs that connect people facing employment barriers to jobs with Hennepin County and other regional employers. The board Tuesday also approved an agreement to renew funding for Career Pathways.   

Read more about Career Pathways training programs.

Regional effort will deliver emergency alerts in multiple languages


The board approved a $165,000 agreement to broadcast and stream emergency preparedness information using Twin Cities Public Television channels. Funding will provide for a regional effort, one of the first in the nation, to deliver emergency alerts in multiple languages: Spanish, Hmong, Somali and English. Regional programming will also deliver information to help residents prepare for a variety of emergencies. Hennepin County Emergency Management will administer the program on behalf of regional emergency managers in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television, ECHO Minnesota and other public and private partners.

Learn more about this partnership.

Learn more about emergency management.

June 27, 2017

School recycling grants awarded


The board awarded the following two school recycling grants totaling $90,000:

  • Minneapolis Public Schools: $40,000 to improve recycling and start organics composting at Anderson United Community School, Seward Montessori, Southwest High School and Webster Elementary.
  • Richfield Public Schools: $50,000 to add recycling stations outside buildings and athletic fields, improve organics and recycling collection and install bottle-filling stations to reduce waste from plastic water bottles.  

Hennepin County will award nine additional grants totaling approximately $60,000:

  • Arete Academy in St. Louis Park will start organics collection, improve recycling and replace disposable food ware with compostable alternatives.
  • Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis will improve and expand recycling throughout the school.
  • Edina Public Schools will expand and improve their recycling and organics recycling program throughout the middle schools and high school.
  • Good Shepard School in Golden Valley will improve and expand recycling throughout the school and install bottle-filling stations.  
  • Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School in St. Louis Park will start organics collection, improve recycling and replace disposable food ware with compostable alternatives.
  • International Spanish Language Academy in Minnetonka will start organics collection, add outdoor recycling stations and replace disposable food ware with compostable items at events.
  • LoveWorks Academy in Golden Valley will expand recycling throughout the school and add outdoor recycling stations. 
  • Noble Academy in Brooklyn Park will start composting on-site and perform neighborhood clean-ups.
  • Venture Academy in Minneapolis will expand recycling and organics recycling to the school’s new addition and start recycling at events.

Learn more about the grant awards.

Learn more about school recycling in Hennepin County.

Child well-being director appointed to lead new child protection focus

The board appointed Michelle Farr to guide county staff carrying out the county’s new child well-being focus. This approach focuses on preventing child maltreatment by prioritizing children’s physical, emotional, social, relational health and development.

Hennepin County selected Farr for this position following an extensive national search. She brings 30 years of related experience to the county, most recently serving as deputy director of entry services with the Washington, D.C., Child and Family Services Agency.  

Hennepin County has undertaken significant efforts to advance recommendations laid out in October 2016 by the Child Protection Oversight Committee.

In an effort to stabilize the child protection workforce and allow for reasonable workloads, the county has hired nearly 50 additional child protection workers this year. By the end of 2017, the county plans to hire more than 60 additional staff. 

Hennepin County has also launched several efforts aimed at improving quality, creating community partnerships and reducing disparities to enhance the system in meeting the needs of children.

Read more about Farr’s appointment.

Read more about the county’s new child protection focus.

County approves maximum levy and plan amendments for watershed management commissions


The board approved maximum levy amounts and plan amendments for several watershed management commissions to accomplish water quality improvement projects targeted to reduce phosphorus and sediment in lakes, streams and rivers. 

  • Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission: $1,346,815 for projects to improve water quality of Northwood Lake and Bassett and Plymouth creeks.
  • Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission: $490,000 for projects to improve water quality of Fish Lake, the Crow River, Elm Creek and the Mississippi River.
  • Shingle Creek and West Mississippi watershed management commissions: $295,000 and $104,800 for projects to improve water quality of Shingle Creek and the Mississippi River and throughout the watersheds.

Board briefings

In addition to our regularly scheduled board meetings, the board often meets on Thursday mornings to receive board briefings. These are informal opportunities to discuss emerging issues. No decisions are made. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

June 1, 2017

Library preservation

Library staff presented regarding future capital needs.  They discussed changes in the library capital plan as it and the library system have evolved since 1970. They propose developing evaluation criteria to guide future library capital work and anticipate developing a 12-year capital plan.

June 15, 2017

Legislative update

Staff provided an overview of the results of the 2017 legislative session describing legislative action in areas such as bonding, criminal justice and public, environment and energy, transportation, and health and human services. They also identified potential areas to be included in the county’s 2018 legislative agenda.  

County calendar

July 6, 2017

Accepting applications for Riley-Purgatory-Bluff-Creek Watershed District Board



We are accepting applications for vacancies on the Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District Board.  Because of the nature of the board, it is helpful for members to have a background in water conservation, development, law, engineering, environment or public administration.

  • There are 2 open positions.
  • The application deadline is July 6, 2017

For more information on this board as well as other current openings visit http://www.hennepin.us/advisoryboards.

July 15, 2017

Anime lantern festival


Dress up, hang out and have a great time - otaku style! Join Anime Clubs from around Hennepin County for a night of costumes, games, anime and music.

Where: Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka

When: July 15, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Learn more about this anime event.

July 20-22, 2017

Limited services at service centers

There will be interruptions to motor vehicle and driver’s license services at Hennepin County service centers July 20 - 22.

  • Thursday, July 20, and Friday, July 21: Residents will be unable to complete motor vehicle transactions, including vehicle registration, title, tabs and plates.
  • Saturday, July 22: Residents will be unable to complete motor vehicle and driver’s license transactions.

These interruptions are due to a statewide technology change. The centers will remain open during this time and continue providing all other services, including ATV, boat and snowmobile registration.

Residents can call 612-348-8240 or email license.gc@hennepin.us with any questions.

July 29, 2017

From Earth to the Stars: A Tour of the Universe

Earth to stars

Ron Schmit, a veteran of five total eclipses and an astronomy educator in the Twin Cities for 30 years, will provide a grand tour of the universe, share the latest information about exoplanets, and discuss the upcoming total eclipse on Aug. 21.

Where: Westonka Library, 2079 Commerce Boulevard, Mound

When: July 29, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

Learn more about this science event.


Go outside this July for free

go outside

Go Outside with Hennepin County is featuring free events and activities throughout the summer. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy outdoor movies and trivia at Target Field Station. Join us for piano performances, food trucks, yard games, the Minneapolis Downtown Farmers Market and more at the Government Center South Plaza.

Target Field Station events

Location: 335 North Fifth Street, Minneapolis, outside Target Field’s Gate 6


  • July 13: outdoor movie: "Inside Out," 7 p.m.
  • July 11: trivia night, 7 p.m.
  • July 20: Candid Canines Film Festival, a new Minneapolis Aquatennial event featuring 40 minutes of submitted dog videos, 4 - 9 p.m. (multiple showings)
  • July 25: trivia night, 7 p.m.

Government Center South Plaza events

Location: 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis


  • Tuesdays: piano performances, noon - 1 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: food trucks, yard games and more, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • Thursdays: Minneapolis Downtown Farmers Market, 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

More information

See more details and the full list of Go Outside events.

Household hazardous waste collection events

hazardous waste

Hennepin County organizes collection events throughout the year to give residents more convenient local disposal options for their household hazardous wastes.

Events will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Friday July 28th and Saturday July 29th 

City of Minneapolis - Jenny Lind Elementary School
(Enter off Dupont Ave.)
5025 Bryant Ave N
Minneapolis MN 55430

Friday August 11th and Saturday August 12th

City of Minneapolis – Anthony Middle School 
(Enter off Sunrise Drive)
5757 Irving Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55419

Friday August 18th and Saturday August 19th

South High School
(Enter off 21st Ave. South)
3131 19th Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN  55407

Friday September 22nd and Saturday September 23rd

City of Shorewood Public Works Site
24200 Smithtown Rd.
Shorewood, MN 55331

For more information please visit http://www.hennepin.us/collectionevents.

County road and bridge construction activity


In addition to ongoing maintenance projects around the district, there are two major county construction projects that have been active this year.

Wayzata Boulevard reconstruction in Long Lake and Orono

Since April, construction crews have been replacing underground utilities, and rebuilding two new box culverts and reconstructing Wayzata Boulevard (County Road 112) between Willow Drive and Wolf Pointe Trial. So far the project remains on schedule.

Crews have also been working on the bypass for the second phase of the project, between Wolf Pointe Trail and Highway 12. Second phase work is slated to begin next year and overlap with the conclusion of the current phase of construction.

For more in-depth information visit www.hennepin.us/countyroad112.

To view a video detailing an overview of the project visit here.

Brown Road Bridge replacement in Orono

Bridge replacement work on the Brown Road (County Road 146) Bridge in Orono also continues.

The original bridge was built in 1921. The new bridge will meet current standards and be safer for road users with wider shoulders and updated railings.

Work began in June and is expected until the end of October. For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/brownroadbridge.

Ridgedale Library to close for major renovation project


When Hennepin County Library – Ridgedale reopens in 2018, patrons will find many practical enhancements that will improve the library experience. The library will close at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 9, for a renovation that is expected to take at least a year. The interior space of the library has not been updated since 1999, and many of the major building system components, such as the roof, air handlers, chiller plant and electrical systems date from original construction in 1981. 

“This renovation is designed to ensure we meet the expectations of patrons who expressed their wishes about what they wanted their library to be,” said Hennepin County Library Director Lois Langer Thompson. "The design allows for a modern, more open floor plan with flexible, adaptable spaces that can accommodate groups and individuals while maximizing the outdoor, wooded setting. We’re fortunate to be working with an architect who has completed several successful renovations for us. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back next summer.”

Other offices open at Ridgedale Regional Service Center

During the renovation, the exterior book return will remain open for patrons returning library materials. A pickup area for holds will be provided on the second floor, in the area most recently occupied by the used bookstore. The pickup area will be open Monday – Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday  9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will be closed on Sundays.  

Other government offices located in the building – the service center, courts and human services – will remain open; so will the Dunn Bros. coffee shop.  

About the project

The library will reopen in an enhanced space based on patrons' input and recommendations in community meetings. The architect on the project is Gensler & Associates. Some basic improvements will make the library more comfortable and pleasant for patrons and staff. Those include: 

  • A more open floor plan with greater access to the collections and lower shelving to showcase the large windows and outdoor environment
  • New furniture, arranged to offer an assortment of seating options, including a central "living room" space
  • More natural light and new LED lighting throughout

Changes will include upgrades to technology at the library, such as: 

  • Additional computers and better Wi-Fi coverage and better connectivity
  • More power stations for charging personal devices, such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets

The library will be reconfigured to better serve specific user groups. Some of those changes include: 

  • Designated play and learn areas for toddlers, kids and teens 
  • Multipurpose gathering spaces for community meetings and quiet study 
  • A sensory room, to offer quiet space for patrons who are on the autism spectrum, and their caregivers
  • A wellness room, to provide space for nursing mothers, or people who would like a private area for prayer or meditation

The project is budgeted at $21.4 million. 

About District 6

District 6 map

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners consists of one commissioner from each of seven districts. I am proud to represent Deephaven, north Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, northern Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata and Woodland.

County information

District 6 staff

Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Sellwood
Policy Aide

Christine Hoyles
Administrative Assistant


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