Kara Hildreth / contributor
Minnesota House Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, provided local officials on Monday, July 18, with an update on how legislative changes will impact the city and school district. From the city side of taxes, Garofalo explained the most noticeable change will be substantial tax relief for businesses, especially small businesses and commercial properties. "Specifically, there is something called the citywide property tax, which use to have an automatic increase in it that would automatically raise a portion of taxes that small businesses would pay," Garofalo said.
Runners and walkers who relish in fitness outdoors and chose to interact with nature on city park trails will find one stretch of Vermillion River Trail closed off this summer. During July and August, construction crews are improving the river bank as part of the Vermillion River Streambank Habitat Restoration Project. The City of Farmington is restoring the bank and a 500-foot stretch of trail that runs south of County Road 50 and directly north of the Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena near Rambling River Park.
The sticker on Jeff Achen's drone carries a backstory. The word "call sign" stems from his boyhood when he was fascinated with code names and call signs. The number 51 links back to his military career and his ship's number when he served in the U.S. Navy. As a boy, Achen was fascinated with cool code names and today keeps a large collection of G.I. Joe collectible military figures in his Farmington home office. Now Call Sign 51 represents his video company where he gets energy from telling stories via the perspective of nonprofit and business owners.
The Farmington Economic Development Authority on June 27 heard an update on the downtown plaza concept, a short-term strategic economic development plan and a long-range comp plan or roadmap for development in the city over the next two decades. Adam Kienberger, community development director, updated the Farmington Economic Development Authority (EDA) on the Rambling River Center Plaza Concept plan. He also included information about the 2040 Comp Plan and the 2016-2018 Strategic Plan for Economic Development in Farmington.
An invasive, wood boring green beetle may be tunneling under ash tree bark now in Farmington that could lead to Emerald Ash Borer tree disease. "EAB has not been found in Farmington yet it does not mean that it is not here," said Katy Gehler, public works director and city engineer with the City of Farmington. EAB has infested ash trees in Eagan, Apple Valley and the Lebanon Hills and Burnsville areas. "It is not far away and what we have heard, as it relates to EAB, is that it can be a community for a few years before it actually becomes visible," Gehler said.
A Minnesota dark volcanic stone embedded as a keystone serves as a reminder to one Costa Rican family of how love rose to the occasion. Their outdoor brick oven came to be built after a simple conversation between friends, Jeff Larson and Nancy Alvarado. They wanted to find a way to help a family sustain their way of living in this lush, Central American country. These two Minnesota friends were committed to living up to old adage: If there is a will, there is a way. Friends brainstorming
Farmington School Board members discussed the graduation fee and who should pay in a heated debate Monday, June 26. Board member Melissa Sauser requested in May to look into the graduation fee. Sauser said she heard community members were unhappy about the cost for graduation. Jane Houska, district finance director, explained the history of the $45 graduation ceremony fee. "It is no different than an event like when you go to a basketball game or a wrestling meet or football game, you are going to pay an event fee," Houska said.
Farmland near Farmington High School will be developed into residential neighborhoods after zoning changes were approved by the Farmington City Council. Farmington City Planner Tony Wippler presented a proposal to the council June 19 to review comprehensive plan amendments and rezone a portion of agricultural property owned by Richard Sayers. The 24-acre parcel is part of 50.61 acres at the northwest intersection of County Highway 50 and Flagstaff Avenue. The land has been for sale for years and was farmed in years past.
A downtown Farmington business was damaged by fire Wednesday. Fire crews were called shortly after 11 a.m. to a fire at EZ Auto Repair, 312 Elm St. Crews from multiple agencies battled the fire for more than an hour. Nobody was reported injured. Eric Zeimet bought the former MR Auto this spring, taking it over under the new EZ Auto Repair in March.
Managing summer construction projects across Farmington school district can be a balancing act. Farmington District Finance Director Jane Houska used a Jenga game analogy when she shared a referendum and summer projects update recently with the Farmington School Board. "Every question I get, I attempt to answer and pull that piece out strategically without allowing the Jenga tower to fall," said Houska. "I am making the decisions and placing it on top and, hopefully, everything is going to stay together."