{ Monitor in a Minute } December 2020


Hamline Park playground funds
New playground equipment for Hamline Park is getting a boost in the form of a grant. On Nov. 18, 2020, the St. Paul City Council authorized the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept a grant of $79,122.36 to reduce the cost of play equipment for the park at 1564 Lafond Ave.
The park was chosen for an update using federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars, based on a ranking done regularly by parks staff. Staff look at issues including condition of current equipment and neighborhood need. The project went through the city’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget process.
Minnesota-Wisconsin Playground was recently selected by parks staff to provide the new playground equipment valued at $237,933.64. The firm is a Minnesota company and an industry leader in supplying and installing new play equipment products and components that include best-selling play structures and components nationwide.
The project is getting help from the playground equipment company GameTime. GameTime has a grant program which will reduce the cost of the equipment. City Council action is required to accept the grant.

Energy study on tap for Como
A geothermal feasibility study of the Como Zoo/Conservatory Campus has obtained an $8,114 from the city’s Energy Conservation Loan Fund. The St. Paul City Council approved the allocation, which will cover the city’s 25 percent share of the study costs.
The remaining costs of $24,342 will be covered by Xcel Energy. A local company, Darcy Solutions, is also involved in the study.
The intent is to find a replacement for an old steam boiler system at the conservatory and zoo. The city is trying to reach a goal of carbon neutrality in municipal buildings during the next decade. Geothermal systems use groundwater to heat and cool buildings. They are preferred not just for long-term cost savings but also for reduction of carbon emissions.
The study is expected to be completed next year and should inform city leaders as to issues including which aquifer to use and how a system would be set up. The city will then look for ways to pay for a new system.
The Energy Conservation Loan Fund was established by the mayor and City Council in the 2008 city budget as a means of financing energy projects that support sustainable economic, social and environmental development through the implementation of energy efficient and renewable energy measures.

Business among honorees
A pandemic cannot keep St. Paul city leaders from honoring small businesses. The St. Paul City Council in November presented its annual St. Paul Business Awards.
Businesses are nominated by the public and chosen by a committee of past award winners. Businesses are typically honored in person, with awards and a reception, but that couldn’t happen this year. A video tribute was prepared for the businesses.
Council members said it’s especially important to honor businesspeople during what has been a very challenging time.
Flannery Construction, which is located in Snelling-Hamline neighborhood at 1375 St. Anthony Ave., was given the Good Neighbor Award. This award is for business that has shown dedication to improving the community, and working with community partners. Flannery is a second-generation business, getting its start in 1980.
Other businesses honored are Candyland in downtown St. Paul, West End business Jandrich Floral and the East Side’s Karibu Grocery & Deli. Businesses are honored as newcomers, longtime community establishments and in a people’s choice award.


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