From city properties to public safety, council members for the City of Marine on St. Croix reviewed updates during the March meeting for business both old and new.
Power of the St. Croix Utility Box Murals
“All boxes have been claimed by artists and the budget was raised privately. Once the snow melts and weather warms up we will have artists begin, council approving,” said Fitzie Heimdahl, who started the project in 2018.
Pieces scheduled for this year’s installation are by artist Emily Anderson, her work titled “Beloved Place” will be located at Broadway and 6th Street. Artist Carrie Katzenmeyer’s work titled “Winter Meal” will be located at Stugas Development and young artist Stephanie Howell has proposed a piece for a utility box located along the bike path.
“They will be installed when temperature is consistently above 40 degrees,” said Heimdahl.
The Power of the St. Croix Utility Box Mural Project was imagined by Fitzie Heimdahl and funded with a 2018 Great Idea Competition Grant from the Stillwater Area Foundation. The murals were done in partnership with the City of Marine on St. Croix, the City of Stillwater, and the Washington County Historical Society.
The theme of this project was the St. Croix River, which connects these communities. The project coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act protecting the St. Croix Riverway. The idea to transform something that is unattractive – the common, bland green or gray utility boxes – into something beautiful is not new. Cities across the country, from Minneapolis to Fort Collins, have completed similar projects to beautify and enliven their downtowns.
The Power of the St. Croix Utility Box Mural Project will celebrate the St. Croix River and local artistic talent, while mitigating the negative effects of unwanted postings on utility boxes. It will also create lasting pieces of art that will improve the appearance of downtown for residents and visitors alike.
To see more about the project visit stcroixutilitybox.weebly.com
Keepin’ it clean at Gazebo Park
“The word on my agenda is poop,” said council member Bill Miller. “There have been issues with dog [waste] over the last three, four years. I don’t know why people aren’t policing their own pets, whether it’s local or not…the worst part about it is the amount we are seeing in Gazebo Park is shocking,” he said.
Council member Anderson and I are asking the council’s approval for a post, signage system at the park.
“I walk the trails a ton and I amazed at how much I see even downtown, on sidewalks in front of businesses,” said Miller. “We had the assistant clerk to research the cost of putting up a post with signs and a bag distribution piece without a garbage can, we can use the one that is already on-site.”
“We’ll make sure not to get stuck with a large expense for bags, this is a cheap endeavor that way.”
“We have vacillated over this for years,” said Anderson. “Let’s start here, see if it works. then expand.”
Council members approved the request. The cost the post and signage is $130. It will be installed at Gazebo Park this spring.
Maintenance agreement with
St. Croix and Carnelian-Marine St. Croix
Watershed District (CMSCWD)
Council member Wendy Ward presented a quick review of new water basins that will be installed on Oak Street.
“As part of the downtown improvement plan and program that we finished two years ago, there were two other water run-off mitigation basins that were to be put in but we didn’t quite have the money for to do it,” said Ward. “But the money has been found by the Watershed and the water basins will be going in on Oak and 2nd Street.
“For maintenance of those storm water facilities on Oak Street, the Watershed District will take care of them for two years and then it is handed off to the Washington County Conservation District where upon we contract out with them.”
Next month, Ward will be presenting a brief summary about the location and purpose of the water basins.
Short-term rentals (STR)
Council member Charlie Anderson and mayor Kevin Nyenhuis will be taking comments and meeting with concerned citizens regarding concerns with the city’s existing STR ordinance.
“Right off the bat, I know regarding some of the feedback from Christine Maefsky, two major points that need to be looked at are reporting and understanding there is a difference between citizen complaints and city official reporting,” said Anderson.
“We also need to look at whether or not anonymous reporting is something we want to keep (and I’m in favor of that on its face) and then working on notification, see if we can work in a phone call other than just a letter,” he said.
“Those are the things at the top of my mind. I know there are others that would like to have a lengthier conversation, I invite folks to reach out to the mayor and I. At this point, we cannot plan on having a public meeting for that. We will take those comments to our city attorney. It’s worth noting our STR ordinance has been tested unlike many others and has been found to stand up in court.”
Anderson noted that more information about specific dates and time frame for public feedback regarding STR concerns will be included in the city’s newsletter.
Council member Anderson noted that MidCo has expresses interest to expand their terms for a franchise agreement.
“The city attorney and I will continue to work with them on that,” said Anderson.
“This is a reminder to homeowners that do not have cable or internet service through MidCo and desire it, they should contact MidCo…especially those in the downtown grid and those that live in the upper and lower villages. The density for a cable mile is such that with new build, MidCo has the ability to provide that service to them at no charge,” he said. “Meaning homeowners would still have to pay for cable, they wouldn’t have to pay for the cable to run to their house.”
Vinco – 5G design
“Council member Pardun, myself and the city attorney have been in discussions with the land lease negotiations with Vinco,” said Anderson.
“Citizens need to know that Pardun and I understand and appreciate that this is not a matter of a cell tower at all costs. We are advocating for the best possible compromise or agreement we can get to,” he said. “There are some points that need to be discussed and we will not rush a timeline in order to put up a tower. Once we have specifics on those negotiations, we will bring those forward. Understand negotiations are ongoing.”
Planning Commission chair Scott Spisak reported during the February planning commission meeting they spent time making final review of 5G design and sent those back to the consultant for final comments and response to some questions.
“Some of the discussion was technology is changing and we will only be able to get those guidelines as right as we can for this moment in time, we may need to review them again in three to five years,” he said. “If you recall the wireless ordinance was originally implemented 20 some years ago under the technology that existed then became outdated.”
“We expect, pending receipt of that by next meeting, we will send information forward to council.”
A public hearing will be held to discuss amendments to the city’s current liquor license during the April city council meeting 7 p.m.
Marine Community Library - MARLA
City council approved the memorandum of understanding agreement for Marine Community Library through December 2025.
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