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Cottage Grove, Woodbury meet to talk HERO Center, athletic field use and transportation

Public safety, athletic field use and planning for the future are topics on the list for discussion when members of Cottage Grove and Woodbury city councils and staff meet on Oct. 20.

It has been a few years since the two municipalities met together. The last time was three or four years ago in Woodbury. And quite a few things have changed since then.

For one, Cottage Grove has a new city administrator. Charlene Stevens just started her new post last week, and she’s looking forward to learning a little more about her community, and the neighbors to the north. 

At the same time, Woodbury City Administrator Clint Gridley has been around for a few years. He’s well aware of the changes that have come to the area, but he also wants to work with the neighbors to the south and plan for the future. 

“We have a lot of intersection with Cottage Grove,” Gridley said. “It’s interesting to know how many places we have in common with Cottage Grove.” 

Cottage Grove and Woodbury have been working on a joint training facility for public safety — the Health and Emergency Response Occupations (HERO) Center — for a couple of years. A grant has been approved by the Minnesota Legislature, and the cities have been working with the state on the grant agreement. At this point, Gridley said, the project is almost ready to be put out for consulting services. The joint meeting will be an opportunity for both city councils to get updates on the project. 

Both communities have a number of athletic fields. Between School District 833 Community Education and the various athletic associations in the area, the fields are used on a regular basis, but there has been much conversation about that same use, Gridley said. Cottage Grove and Woodbury together sponsored a study of the area’s athletics fields and use. That study will be presented at the joint meeting.

Woodbury and Cottage Grove are both members of the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission. Recently, Woodbury officials expressed a desire to look at the structure of the SWCTC joint powers agreement. Gridley said this is a good time to bring Cottage Grove into the conversation.

Both Cottage Grove and Woodbury have boundaries that will one day be affected by bus rapid transit lines. As part of the transportation discussion, officials will get updates on both the Red Rock Corridor, which runs through Cottage Grove, and the Gateway Corridor, which will affect Woodbury in the future.

The group will also look at the potable water supply study for the area, which was conducted by the Metropolitan Council, and get an update on the South Washington Watershed District Overflow Project. Before the meeting wraps up, city staff will share updates on economic development in both communities. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity for both cities to do this again, and kind of bring everybody together and look at what’s working and what other opportunities are there, and how to move forward in the future with it,” Stevens said. 

Gridley and Stevens agree that these kinds of meetings — and the conversations that come out of them — are what residents from both communities want to see now and again.

“The taxpayers expect that communities will work together to share resources and to coordinate activities that fit together,” Gridley said. “We do have a lot of places of intersection with Cottage Grove. They’re a very important part of our service delivery.”

The Oct. 20 meeting will be held at Cottage Grove City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway S. in Cottage Grove. It begins at 6 p.m., with a welcome by Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey. Bailey’s message will be followed by dinner. Discussion of topics will begin at 6:30 p.m., with each topic scheduled for approximately a half-hour of discussion. The meeting is open to the public, and is expected to end at about 9:30 p.m. 

“We’re very happy to be hosting it,” Stevens said. “We have two very good councils. I think it’s going to be a good meeting.”

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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