July 2019 E-Newsletter

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Jan Callison - News from District 6


  July 2019


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 4, 2019

Enhancing small business districts in Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Wayzata

The cities of Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Wayzata will receive funding to strengthen priority small business districts and main streets.

The board awarded Business District Initiative grants for the following projects:

  • City of Hopkins, $10,000 to evaluate feasibility and support for the establishment of a downtown business improvement district
  • City of St. Louis Park, $50,000 to fund a façade improvement program for the Historic Walker Lake business district
  • City of Wayzata, $40,000 to develop a marketing and communication plan corresponding with multiple construction projects impacting travel to its downtown

Services for children at risk of truancy

The board approved funding for the County Attorney’s Office Be@School Program, which keeps students out of the criminal justice system by focusing on attendance. In the 2017-18 school year, those services successfully diverted more than 3,500 children from court hearings.

Advancing the Southwest Light Rail Project


The county board and the regional railroad authority authorized the Metropolitan Council to submit a request for a second Letter of No Prejudice to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for the Southwest LRT project. The letter is required to ensure that spending on the Southwest LRT project continues to qualify for federal matching funds.

In response to an FTA request, the board also authorized a revision to a resolution approved in November 2018, in which the county agreed to cover a cost increase or funding shortfall up to 10 percent of the total project budget on Southwest LRT, in addition to contingency funds already included in the budget.

June 18, 2019

Southdale Library's move to Southdale Center


The board authorized staff to negotiate a lease agreement to relocate Hennepin County Library - Southdale to the nearby Southdale Center mall.

Under the current proposal, mall developer Simon Property Group will demolish the former Herberger’s building and construct a new building that would house the library. Construction will start in 2020 with completion anticipated in 2022.

In 2015, due to the age of the building and projected cost, the county determined that renovations to the nearly 50-year-old library building would not be prudent. As a result, Hennepin County developed a strategy to relocate services housed at the library. The service center relocated to Southdale Center in 2016. District Court functions also moved out of the building in 2019.

Building the library at the Southdale Center allows for seamless library services, as the library won't have to close during construction. The new location, accessible by public transit, may also attract new library patrons.

Find out more about the project.

Fremont Bridge funding

Midtown Greenway

Construction activities on the Fremont Avenue Bridge over the Midtown Greenway are scheduled to begin this summer. On Tuesday, the board accepted $661,525 of state bridge bond grant funds for the project. Learn more about the project.

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 votes are taken. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

June 6, 2019

After session legislative update

The board approves legislative priorities on an annual basis.  Priorities for 2019 are child protection, mental health, system modernization, safety-net health services, housing, disparity reduction, and transportation.  Some positive results from this legislative session for the county include: increased BCA funding for six scientists, an opioid response bill that will help jurisdictions address the opioid crisis, election reforms to receive federal funding, legislative approval to allow Hennepin County greater flexibility for its Library Director position that will result in a more diverse and larger candidate pool, and an increase in county program aid.

June 20, 2019

Jail population review

In 2015, Hennepin County started the Adult Detention Initiative to use best practice strategies system-wide to asses who needs to be in detention, create alternatives for those who don't, and reduce the length of detention while protecting public safety.  This initiative has had great successes in making sure that those who do not need to be in jail are not.  Despite the efforts, which are implemented through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, the county saw the jail population numbers increase in 2017. 

In 2018, the county ordered a system analysis to understand the issues.  Our partners in this effort include the  Fourth Judicial District, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, DOCCR, the Hennepin County Public Defenders Office, and the City of Minneapolis Attorney's Office.  Five recommendations were made to create system-wide change.  These include: creating an integrated criminal justice reform system, consider alternative detention options for MN Department of Corrections holds, alternatives to detention for technical probation violations, review probably cause holds, and examine use of pretrial release tools. 

The collaborative work with our partners has resulted in fewer inmates in our jail over the last year.  The Star Tribune wrote an article about our efforts which you can find here.

Corrections Advisory Board

The Community Corrections Act requires jurisdictions to create a corrections advisory board with community representation.  Hennepin County contracted with Marnita's Table to develop a community advisory board that will bring the community's experiences, expertise, as well as the input of individuals who have been in our system, to the advisory board and to help policy makers improve our system, work on disparities, and improve trust.  Our partnership with Marnita's table will help us engage the community through a number of community sessions, recruit and onboard advisory board members, develop the advisory board charter and operating processes, and transition the advisory board to ongoing DOCCR operations.

County calendar

July 19, 2019

Workforce board openings

Help advance our region's workforce. Apply to serve on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Board. This board works with the business community to increase employment opportunities in suburban Hennepin and Carver counties. Learn more and apply at hennepin.us/advisoryboards by July 19.


Sign up for free and reduced swim lessons

Swim lessons

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among children — and children of color are at an even higher risk according to USA Swimming.

To help reduce this racial disparity, Hennepin County has teamed up with USA Swimming Foundation to offer free and low-cost swim lessons to kids.

So far, this program has served more than 2,500 kids, about 96% of which are from families of color.

Go Outside with Hennepin County

Go outside

Events at Target Field Station

  • Monday movie nights: July 8, 15 and 29, 7 - 9 p.m. 
  • Thursday trivia nights: July 11 and 25, 7 - 8 p.m. 

Events at Hennepin County Government Center

  • Tuesdays: farmers market: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: yard games and activities: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
  • Thursdays: piano music: noon - 1 p.m. 
  • Learn more at mplsdowntown.com/gooutside/. Follow along on social media using #mymplsdt.

Step To It challenge winners

Step to it

Community winners

  • Brooklyn Park, most active community (125.3 million total steps)
  • Maple Plain, most active residents (401,900 average steps)
  • Minnetonka Beach, most engaged community (9.9% participation rate)

Individual winners

Congratulations to 48 people with the highest number of steps in their community. View list of community winners at steptoit.org.

My call to public service - a Hennepin Story

As a part of telling stories at Hennepin County, the Board of Commissioners are being highlighted one by one.  Below is an excerpt from my Hennepin Story as well as a link to the full interview.

District 6 Commissioner Jan Callison has been involved in local government in some way for nearly 25 years. The South Dakota native, who worked abroad as a nanny before earning her degree from Harvard Law School, said public office represents the chance to be of service to the community.

“We have a very special form of government. We are able to govern ourselves," Callison said. “For that to be successful, we have obligations as citizens. We need to be informed, we need to communicate with our elected officials, we need to vote. And some of us need to run for office. And it's just not more complicated than that."

Read the full article.

Minnetonka library to close August 1 for site work

Minnetonka Library

Work will include a reconstructed entrance, stormwater management and landscaping repairs. The library will be closed for approximately three months during the project.  View more details at hclib.org/minnetonkaproject.

Wayzata Boulevard reconstruction update

Wayzata Boulevard

This series of photos shows crews grading the trail and pouring concrete pedestrian ramps.

Final construction activities beginning soon

The second phase of Wayzata Boulevard (County Road 112) reconstruction is nearing completion. Through July, crews will be working between Wolf Pointe Trail and Highway 12 on the following activities:

  • Paving the trail along westbound lanes to connect Wolf Pointe Trail and Luce Line Trail overpass.
  • Grading, paving and constructing medians along the east end between Orono Montessori school and Wayzata Boulevard West.
  • Constructing a pedestrian refuge island and crosswalk near Heather Lane to provide access to the trail.
  • Placing the final layer of asphalt between Wolf Pointe Trail and Highway 12 ramps.
  • Installing streetscape elements, placing sod and seeding.
  • Striping permanent roadway lines.





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

Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Sellwood
Policy Aide

Bill Fellman
Administrative assistant/scheduling


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