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The Blaine Planning Commission will give a second look Tuesday to a hotly debated solar project application that it tabled last month after hearing from worried neighbors.

Connexus Energy wants to lease a former landfill site and build a solar project on about 23 acres of the 40-acre parcel, which is owned by the National Sports Center. Connexus, working with SoCore Energy, needs a conditional-use permit to run the solar farm.

Early plans calls for panels that would be a maximum of 9 feet in height when tilted. For security and safety, a chain-link fence topped by barbed wire enclosing the operation has also been proposed.

The energy project, which would be built at 10510 NE. Flanders St., has rankled residents living in a nearby upscale neighborhood who have raised concerns about it being too close to a residential area.

They aired some of their property value worries during a public hearing last month, and the Planning Commission tabled the item until this week.

Because of the nature of the old landfill site, which contains buried concrete, it has few potential uses, said Mayor Tom Ryan.

"It's a piece of land that just sits there," Ryan said. "We need to figure out why [neighbors] are so afraid of it."

Hannah covington


Winter farmers market to run through Feb.

Shoreview is staging an indoor farmers market this winter, with vendors offering a mix of winter produce, canned goods, baked goods, chocolate, nuts, honey, gifts and other items.

The market will be held at the city's community center, 4580 N. Victoria St., on selected Tuesday afternoons from November to February.

Next dates up are Nov. 21, Dec. 5 and 19, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Santa will visit on Dec. 5 and 19 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Sellers and their offerings include Green Bros Micros (microgreens), Bright Future Farms (lettuce, tilapia, baked goods), Dulceria Bakery (Mexican-baked goods), Nordic Waffles, Dahl Hobby Farm (jam, honey, curry) and Davis Urban Farm (soap, jams, canned goods and beeswax products).

David Peterson

Brooklyn Park

Council weighs $4M in City Hall upgrades

Brooklyn Park city leaders are mulling fixes of up to $4 million to the suburb's 26-year-old City Hall, which may include sprucing up the facility's interior and building a small addition.

Council members last week looked at the proposed rehabilitation project at a work session and will consider it again Monday as part of a first draft of the city's Capital Improvement Plan, with financing options still being ironed out.

The project would seek to remedy wear-and-tear and space issues, such as upgrading windows, bathrooms, furniture and boiler improvements, according to city staffers.

If an addition is built as part of the project, early estimates place the remodeling work at about $4 million, said Dan Ruiz, director of operations and management.

A 2012 study zeroed in on space needs at City Hall and resulted in fixes to the building's customer service counter and a conference room. The study recommended other phases of work, which were not completed.

If the project is approved as part of the Capital Improvement Plan, construction could begin as early as fall 2018.

"You have to keep reinvesting back into City Hall," Mayor Jeff Lunde said. "There are things that need to be taken care of. You either take care of them now or you pay a bigger price later."

Hannah covington


Work to be delayed on Osgood rail crossing

Work on a problematic railroad crossing in Baytown Township, south of Oak Park Heights in Washington County, will be delayed a year because of a busy 2018 construction schedule.

The work on County Road 24 (Osgood Avenue) and County Road 21 (47th Street North) also will include roadway improvements when bidding and construction occur in 2019, said Andrew Giesen, the Washington County engineer coordinating the project.

Traffic is heavy at the intersection near the elevated rail crossing, where the county created a three-way stop to prevent vehicle damage at the crossing.

Washington County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the city of Stillwater are coordinating a large number of road projects after interstate traffic shifted in August from the Stillwater Lift Bridge to the new St. Croix River bridge downstream from downtown Stillwater.

The county will conduct another public open house before construction begins, Giesen said.

Kevin Giles