Mayor Dan Roe delivered his fourth annual “State of the City” address at city hall last week, where he touted some of the city’s accomplishments from last year and spoke of some of the city’s plans for this year.
Roe gave credit to the city’s residents, businesses, volunteers, staff and local officials for helping to keep the city in a strong state. He said Roseville is well positioned to face future challenges and is poised for continued success moving forward.
The mayor said Roseville is on the leading edge of an economic recovery that is starting to take place nationally. Employment numbers in Roseville are ahead of national and state averages, and there was an 11 percent increase in building permits issued last year over 2012, representing nearly $70 million, Roe said.
He said there are several redevelopment projects being discussed in the Twin Lakes area and ground is expected to be broken for a residential redevelopment project at the site of the former Dale Street Fire Station and adjacent property later this year.
Also in 2013, the Roseville Housing and Redevelopment Authority launched a Business Expansion and Retention program to study the local business climate, so the city can implement an economic development plan to help support business growth and development.
“It is an old truth that one of the greatest sources of growth in business activity in the community comes from its existing businesses,” Roe said.
Public safety initiatives
Roe highlighted local efforts to increase public safety, which include: the opening of a new, centrally located fire station with in-house training features for firefighters; the Roseville Police Department’s ongoing partnership with Ramsey County to end sex trafficking and prostitution, which led to a 76 percent decrease in prostitution-related arrests last year over 2012; and the installation of a specialized security camera at Rosedale Center, which has increased crime prevention and response to criminal activity at the mall.
Diverse housing and neighborhoods
“Probably the key area where Roseville has focused in 2013, and looking forward into this year, is our new Multi-Family Rental Licensing and Inspection program. The program was enacted by the city council in 2013 for implementation in 2014,” Roe said.
The licensing and inspection program requires that rental properties in the city of over four units in size be inspected and rated this year. Ratings will determine a property’s license fee and re-inspection interval. Roe said a key objective to the program is to ensure that people are living in safe and secure housing. Another objective, he said, is to keep rental properties from lowering neighboring property values and to make improvements in problem areas.
Other speech highlights
Roe paid tribute to local fire and police responders, public works staff and parks and recreation crews, who joined in the cleanup effort following strong storms in June of 2013 that uprooted trees and cut power in may parts of the city.
“In all, the city spent nearly half a million dollars for the cleanup, which could not have happened nearly as smoothly as it did without our strong financial reserves,” Roe said.
The mayor also applauded local efforts to make Roseville a welcoming, inclusive and respectful community. In May, the police department partnered with the Karen Organization of Minnesota, Roseville Schools, Roseville Lutheran Church and the Roseville Human Rights Commission to host a series of “New American Forums.” The forums, Roe said, were an opportunity to hear the concerns of new immigrants to the Roseville community, as well as to provide advice on crime and victimization prevention.
Local efforts toward being environmentally responsible were also touched on during Roe’s address, some of which include: steps taken to help prevent the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Roseville; steps to ensure a diverse tree population in order to limit the devastation that can be caused by a single pest, such as EAB; a new three-year, single-sort recycling contract with Eureka Recycling which provides larger wheeled carts making bi-weekly pick-up possible, and; the new fire station, which was built to the equivalent of LEED Silver Standards and makes use of the city’s geothermal system for its heating.
Roe also mentioned Roseville’s ongoing Park Renewal Program and said residents can look forward to new park shelter buildings, new play areas, refurbished ball fields and pathways starting this year.
“I am grateful to be a part of an effective team of leaders in the community with my fellow council members, and I think we are positioned very well going forward with our new city manager, Pat Trudgeon, and our tremendous staff - including some new faces and many more familiar ones,” Roe said.
The mayor’s State of the City Address can be viewed in its entirety on the city of Roseville’s website.
Joshua Nielsen can be reached at email@example.com  or 651-748-7824.