In response to a pair of incidents of racist graffiti in Scandia and May Township, the Scandia City Council passed a formal resolution condemning the hateful messages.
“I do think it’s important that the council speak out against this,” councilwoman Patti Ray said.
A handful of city residents were on hand at last week’s council meeting to express their support for the resolution.
“Seeing this in our community, it’s really disturbing,” Christopher Johnson said. “I am gratified that you’re acknowledging it.”
Johnson, whose vehicle was spray-painted with the “N” word and a swastika, noted that his Black Lives Matter signs had been torn down a number of times prior to the graffiti incident.
“We do know that the overwhelming (majority of) members of this community are supportive and believe that everyone belongs,” Mayor Christine Maefsky said.
Maefsky noted that the incident occurred not long after the city sponsored “1,000 Acts of Kindness” project.
Several people said the resolution was a first step and that there would be additional community efforts centered around promoting inclusion and belonging.
The council discussed a handful of potential pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety projects with Washington County traffic engineer Joe Gustafson, including slowing speeds along the length of Oakhill Road North, and improving the walkability of the intersection of Highway 97 and Olinda Trail and the downtown area.
Washington County Sheriff’s Department officer Tim Harris encouraged city residents to report incidents of speeding and vehicular misbehavior to the sheriff’s department in addition to reporting them to the city office.
County Commissioner Fran Miron also chimed in his support for the projects.
• The council rescinded its previous vote to deny a variance to Dan and Melissa Potter for an additional deck and staircase within a lake and side setback. Facing a potential denial, the Potters agreed to amend their plans and remove a small deck they wanted to build. The issue will be reconsidered at the council’s July 20 meeting.
• The council approved a resolution asking to reinstate the city as a member of the Forest Lake Cable Commission. City Administrator Ken Cammilleri noted that the membership was a “mutually beneficial relationship” and that the management and leadership of the cable commission have drastically improved since the city first voted to end the relationship in 2016.
• The council set a joint meeting with officials from Mellerud, Sweden, in an effort to establish a Sister City relationship. That joint meeting will be held on Aug. 24, at a time to be determined. There is a seven hour time difference between the two towns.
The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held July 20 at 7 p.m.