District 1 Updates from Commissioner Frethem

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Serving the communities of Arden Hills, Gem Lake, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township, and parts of Mounds View, Spring Lake Park and Blaine.

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May 20, 2020

Ramsey County


Nicole Frethem
Commissioner, District 1
651-266-8362 or 651-425-9580 

Sheena Denny
Principal Aide

Nancy Larson
Administrative Assistant

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Follow on Facebook

Commissioner Frethem is sharing information and access to resources in real time on Facebook. Follow us there for more COVID-19 and other county content.

Commissioner Frethem sitting at her desk

Virtually meet with Commissioner Frethem on Zoom

We will be holding virtual chats and check ins via Zoom on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.

Learn more at the Facebook Event Invites or join in by clicking the link https://zoom.us/j/4574765166 and entering the Meeting ID: 457 476 5166 at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 21.

Flooding Meeting Reschedule and comment on feedback

photo of lake

We will be hosting a VIRTUAL community conversation on the flooding issues on Tuesday, June 9 from 5-7 p.m. This will include the presentation we had planned to provide on March 12, 2020 which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. We plan to include a Q&A opportunity, but are still finalizing how that can be done virtually.

I have received several emails and calls on the proposed master plan update at Vadnais-Snail Lake regional park. Response to these has been postponed both due to my work addressing high-priority pandemic planning but also to provide time for me to reach out to partners to better understand and address the concerns. I plan to follow up by the end of the week and provide a broad response to all.

In the six months that I have been at the board, collaborating to address flooding has been one of my top priorities. I have spent countless hours reviewing studies and meeting with community members and staff to understand the complexity of this issue. There are multiple factors leading to the flooding and not all of them are within government control. Although it is (probably always) true that our governments could have responded faster, more comprehensively and more transparently, I haven’t met anyone working on this at the city, watershed district, Met Council, or county level that isn’t sensitive to the significant negative impacts it is having on our community and residents.

I want to speak specifically to a consistent message some of the feedback that I've been copied on related to the Vadnais-Snail Lake Parks Amendment that pits pumping against park changes to install more resilient structures for trails. I support pumping as a solution to try and restore the condition of wetland A. However, I don't want to oversell the idea of pumping to anyone. We don't know that it will be fully effective because there will still be high rain incidents and snow melt that could result in overflow. Climate change in our community means that water is acting differently than it did decades ago. Further, before a pumping program could be fully implemented, downstream improvements must be made to prevent flooding of habitable structures in our neighboring communities. This is not an either/or situation. We can build resiliency in the park area AND pursue solutions to restore the wetland area. I will not stop pushing for restoration, but there is also significant community demand for reliable access to  parkland and the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the need across the county for investment in community park spaces.

I hope to continue this conversation with all of you on June 9 and provide some of the additional background and context that I've been learning in this role.

Public Works and Parks Updates

I694 and Rice Street Roundabouts rendering

Hodgson Road

Hodgson Road (County Road 49) will be reconstructed between Gramsie Road/Rice Street and Highway 96 in City of Shoreview, MN (Local Government) in 2022.

Preliminary design is underway and will include:

• A proposed roundabout at the Gramsie Road/Rice Street intersection.
• New sidewalk and trail.
• A three-lane road design.

Visit ramseycounty.us/HodgsonRoad to learn more, share your feedback on an interactive map and survey, and sign up for project updates.

South Shore Blvd

Since cancelling the March 31st in person Open House, Ramsey County has been reworking our public engagement strategy for the project.  We will be posting a Virtual Open House web page on Friday May 15th through May 25th.  The Virtual Open House will include a short video presentation, posted layouts of the developed concepts, a survey, and an interactive map where comments can be left.  We will be advertising this by sending a mailer, posting on social media, and a newspaper ad in the White Bear Press.

Vadnais-Snail Lake Regional Park

The county received excellent participation and feedback regarding the Snail Lake picnic area shelter and its possible future location. County staff has modified the preferred plan based on the feedback, and this revised concept is available to the public for further review. This concept shows the proposed relocation to occur near the existing beach and lower parking area. It is anticipated that the parking lot would be reconfigured when the shelter is relocated to potentially add additional parking and update the stormwater infrastructure. This will allow the new small shelter to be located along the lake, near where it is currently, but at an elevation unlikely to flood. The development site may also feature a new sand volleyball court or other amenity to complement the shelter and beach.

Review the final concept:

Board of Commissioners on Zoom

Board of Commissioners Virtual Board Meeting

Today's board meeting was a virtual board meeting via Zoom. You can hear our discussion and watch the board meeting on Ramsey County's website.

Census Update

Census 2020 MN

District 1 cities are doing great at completing their census forms - well above the state and national average. Take a look at these response rates:

  1. White Bear Township – 85.8%
  2. Shoreview - 84%
  3. North Oaks - 83.1%
  4. Arden Hills - 81.9%
  5. Gem Lake - 82.4%
  6. Vadnais Heights - 81.1%
  7. Blaine - 80.1%
  8. Spring Lake Park - 77.5%
  9. Mounds View - 75.7%

If you haven't completed your census yet, you can do it online at my2020census.gov to report who is living in your home. The census helps define our representation and funding allocations at the national level so a high response rate is critical. Your information is confidential and cannot be shared for any other purposes.

For more information about the census, check out ramseycounty.us/census.


Stay up-to-date on COVID 19

City COVID-19 case statistics as of 5/12/2020

Ramsey County launches new data dashboards

Data about the COVID-19 outbreak specific to Ramsey County is now available in a public health dashboard on the Ramsey County website. This data dashboard includes city-specific case data and is updated daily. 

A separate data dashboard shares data about usage of modified service delivery sites and activity.

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Ramsey County continues to provide information and updates via our website at https://www.ramseycounty.us/coronavirus. The best actions to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe are:

Additional resources and information can be found at:

Other hotlines and help

Ramsey County’s Customer Contact Center is available from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday at 651-266-8500 as a one-stop option for directing and resolving questions.

The Ramsey County Sheriff's office has set up a COVID "Help Team"

Contact 651-448-3874 (voice and text) or HelpTeam@co.ramsey.mn.us.

  • Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Sat-Sun 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

If you have specific questions, reach out to one of the statewide hotlines set up to respond:

School and child care questions

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Seven days a week

Health questions

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Seven days a week

Housing questions

For single-family residences: 
For multi-family residences: 
Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm