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Halloween Fest 2017The 2017 Halloween Fest was moved indoors to the Diamondhead Education Center due to inclement weather. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
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Halloween Skate 2016The Burnsville Ice Center’s annual Halloween Skating Party was Sunday October 30, 2016. Costumes were encouraged, meaning skaters might skate next to a zombie, Spiderman or a Pokémon. This event includes prize drawings and trick-or-treating. Free mini-private lessons will be offered for new skaters of any age. Admission is free. Skate rental is $3. Skate rental and private lesson space is limited. The Burnsville Ice Center is at 251 Civic Center Parkway. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
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Halloween Skate 2016The Burnsville Ice Center’s annual Halloween Skating Party was Sunday October 30, 2016. Costumes were encouraged, meaning skaters might skate next to a zombie, Spiderman or a Pokémon. This event includes prize drawings and trick-or-treating. Free mini-private lessons will be offered for new skaters of any age. Admission is free. Skate rental is $3. Skate rental and private lesson space is limited. The Burnsville Ice Center is at 251 Civic Center Parkway. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
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Burnsville VFW 2019Burnsville VFW members are selling Buddy Poppies at the Cub in Burnsville’s Heart of the City. Photo May, 2019.
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Heart of the City street sceneHeart of the City, winter view compliments of the City of Burnsville.
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Burnsville Community Builders 2019The Community Builder Award began in 1998 and has been presented each year to individuals, groups or businesses that make contributions that build community and a lasting impact on the quality of life in Burnsville. Jack Kennelly's Burnsville Historical Society project, this site, was included in 2019.
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Farmers MarketThe Diamondhead Farmers Market, September 2019 at the School District Administration Building.
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Welcome to BurnsvilleThe reverse side of the Welcome to Burnsville sign, just outside of Savage. Photo 2019.
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International Festival sponsorship 2012The International Festival of Burnsville is a time to celebrate diversity and rejoice in the variety of cultures that are in our community! This is done with the sharing of art, food, music and other creative expression.

Set in the beautiful Nicollet Commons Park, the global array of cultures and community showcases the beautiful world we live in.
As a sponsor of this event, you can celebrate along with people representing all corners of the world! A number of sponsorship opportunities are available.
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International festival marks 10 years (2017) 2 pagesThe July 15, 2017 International Festival at the Nicollet Commons Park in the Heart of the City, will be the 10th anniversary. The event is sponsored by 26 organizations including the Burnsville Lion's Club. Amber Cameron is chair of the non profit festival.
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The year 2019 in Review - Burnsville - growth, planning, Trum and Vonn made the headlines Year in Review: Growth, planning, Trump and Vonn made headlines in Burnsville

by John Gessner Dec 27, 2019 Updated Dec 27, 2019 - Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News

Groundwork being laid for future redevelopment

A new growth phase continued in Burnsville this year, with apartment and senior projects in the works that are expected to add about 1,000 new housing units by the end of 2020.

Visions of large-scale redevelopment are more distant. The city continued laying the groundwork for a Burnsville Center-area revitalization dubbed Center Village, and continued to push for a cleanup program that will safeguard drinking water beneath the old Freeway Landfill and Dump while opening the properties for development.

Burnsville hired its first female police chief and gained national recognition for its abundance of women in leadership roles.

But they weren’t the only VIPs in town. President Donald Trump and skier Lindsey Vonn made stops in Burnsville this year.

From the pages of Burnsville-Eagan Sun Thisweek, here are some highlights of 2019.

Growth and development

“Coming out of the ground” is a phrase Burnsville Economic Development Coordinator Skip Nienhaus uses often these days.

It means development that has broken ground or is in progress. Between three apartment projects in the Heart of the City and a senior housing project on Grand Avenue, Nienhaus figures 1,000 new housing units will be built in Burnsville by the end of 2020.

“Which is pretty good for a city that’s 98 percent developed,” he said.

Years after the Great Recession, Burnsville is hot again, at least in the booming multifamily market. Two major redevelopment efforts — the Center Village plan for the Burnsville Center retail area and the Minnesota River Quadrant — have yet to get fully cooking.

But the city has laid out its visions, and Nienhaus is counseling patience. After 14 years as economic development coordinator he’s retiring Jan. 3, probably years before any significant action.

“That is probably the hardest hurdle in redevelopment, for people to understand that it takes a long time,” Nienhaus said, speaking slowly to amplify his point. “You put a plan together, and that plan’s not going to happen in a year or two. Like in Center Village, we’re looking at five-, 10-, and 15- and 20-year possibilities.”

The city also launched a branding and marketing campaign in 2019, anchored by the slogan “You Belong Here.”

Landfill

City officials and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency agree: The top priority in cleaning up the old Freeway Landfill properties in Burnsville is protecting drinking water from contamination.

But while the MPCA appears to be agnostic on the cleanup method, Burnsville is rooting hard for one that leaves the most land for development and tax base growth.

The city reasserted its position at a Nov. 26 City Council work session meeting with MPCA officials. The city wants a “dig and haul” plan that would unearth some 6 million cubic yards of garbage from the Freeway properties and truck it over a private road to the nearby Burnsville Sanitary Landfill.

The MPCA is preparing to go out for bids on two plans: dig and haul and “dig and line.” The latter would unearth garbage from the Freeway properties but put it back into a new, lined landfill on the Freeway Landfill property west of Interstate 35W.

Either way, city and state officials agree, the Freeway garbage — dumped in the days before liners were required under landfills — needs to be moved to a lined facility. When the Kraemer Mining and Materials quarry south of the Freeway Landfill ceases operations years from now, it will stop pumping huge volumes of water from the quarry, the groundwater flow will reverse, and drinking water supplies for Burnsville and Savage will rise into the garbage, officials contend.

The MPCA says it will bid both options, present the costs to the state Legislature and ask for a decision and funding in the 2021 session. The city prefers dig and haul because it would leave more prime freeway land for development than leaving the garbage on Freeway Landfill property.

A Freeway Landfill solution is the top priority on the city’s state legislative agenda. It’s also the top priority among landfills in the MPCA’s Closed Landfill Program.

Center Village

The city will again in 2020 seek the state Legislature’s approval for tax-increment financing authority to build infrastructure and incent redevelopment in the Burnsville Center area north and south of County Road 42. Efforts fell short this year.

But as officials continued to pursue the Center Village plan the City Council approved in late 2018, some council members wondered aloud if the mall’s owners and managers are doing enough on their own to revitalize the 42-year-old regional mall which, like many malls, has struggled with vacancies.

“I think our biggest problem, or biggest opportunity, in the mall is the ownership,” Council Member Dan Kealey said during a council work session in October. “We’ve been hearing lip service for the last three and a half, four years, and I’m, quite frankly, tired of it. And I think they need to get off it, move on, or get serious about investing in that center.

“And there’s not much we can do as a council. But I’m tired of listening to chatter and seeing absolutely nothing happen there other than backfilling at low rents and not taking care of the place.”

The mall is owned by Tennessee-based CBL Properties, which also manages it; Seritage Growth Properties, which owns the Sears space that closed in 2017; and Macy’s and J.C. Penney.

“I will say that the Burnsville Center is not high on my priority list personally, as a council member, until they decide it is high on their priority list,” Council Member Cara Schulz said. “We do have other parts of this city that are revitalizing.”

New chief

Tanya Schwartz, a 23-year Burnsville police veteran, was promoted from captain to chief May 9 by City Manager Melanie Lee. Burnsville’s first female top cop replaced retiring Chief Eric Gieseke, who endorsed her for the job.

Her connection to policing can be traced to Augsburg College, where the Minneapolis Edison High School graduate majored in psychology and minored in sociology.

“I really wanted to work with kids and families,” Schwartz said. “That was really my passion.”

After graduating she worked briefly with disabled adults but didn’t chart a career path until a friend at the Eden Prairie Police Department got her on a ride-along and she spent a summer as an Eden Prairie park ranger.

“Psychology is really about human behavior,” Schwartz said. “You get an up-front seat to seeing people and their behavior and what they’re going through, and I just saw a lot of compassion in that from law enforcement.”

Women in leadership

With Schwartz’s appointment, female leadership in Burnsville reached a “critical mass,” said Elizabeth Kautz, the city’s mayor since 1995. The former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who served from 2009 to 2011, said she checked around with colleagues from across the nation and was assured Burnsville’s abundance of female leadership is an anomaly.

Nine of those leaders, including Schwartz, Kautz and then-newly hired School District 191 Superintendent Theresa Battle, were interviewed on July 8 at City Hall for NBC’s “The Today Show.” The others were Lee, Dakota County Commissioner and board Chair Liz Workman, District 191 School Board Chair Abigail Alt, City Council Member Cara Schulz, Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Harmening and Experience Burnsville Executive Director Amie Burrill.

Codes and inspections

In actions initiated by City Council Member Cara Schulz, the council took steps in 2019 to relax property codes and inspections.

A council majority agreed at an Aug. 13 work session to rewrite its the ordinance for trash enclosures at commercial and apartment buildings, dropping requirements that they have roofs, gates and building materials compatible with those of the principal structure. Among 15 comparable cities, only Burnsville and St. Louis Park required roofs.

On Dec. 3, council members voted unanimously to drop the screening requirement for trash and recycling bins in Burnsville neighborhoods. Bins stored outside in single- and two-family neighborhoods will no longer have to be fully screened from view, hidden behind fences, shrubs or trees.

On Dec. 17, the council voted 3-2 to end street-level inspections of each single-family neighborhood every three years and return to mostly complaint-driven responses to code violations. Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Council Member Dan Gustafson cast the dissenting votes. Supporters were Schulz and council members Dan Kealey and Vince Workman.

But the council voted unanimously against Kealey’s proposal to inspect each rental unit every six years instead of every three. Code inspection and fire officials opposed the change.

The multifamily and single-family proactive inspection programs were the city’s responses to decrepit conditions at Country Village Apartments in 2011 and 2012 that led to the city emptying the buildings so they could be repaired and relicensed.

Trump on Tax Day

In a Tax Day visit to Burnsville, President Donald Trump said Republican tax cuts he signed in 2017 have fueled an economic boom in the country.

“We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel for the American economy,” Trump said Monday, April 15, “and we were absolutely right.”

His private, invitation-only appearance at Nuss Truck and Equipment on Dupont Avenue in northwest Burnsville was billed by the White House as a “roundtable on the economy and tax reform.”

The hourlong program doubled as a rally for Trump’s re-election campaign. He reminded the audience of about 350 that he “almost won” Minnesota in 2016, losing to Democrat Hillary Clinton by 1.5 percent.

About 200 Trump supporters and roughly the same number of detractors gathered along Dupont Avenue as the daily business in the industrial park continued with semi-trailers rolling past and vehicles arriving with invitees.

“Everything went great,” said Burnsville police Capt. Jef Behnken, the scene commander for local law enforcement and the main police liaison with the Secret Service. “Nobody was hurt, and all was peaceful.”

Nearly 70 officers from local communities were involved in providing security, he said.

Lindsey Vonn at Buck Hill

“Anything is possible,” Lindsey Vonn told wide-eyed young skiers Sept. 23 during a dedication ceremony for the tow rope that ferried a young Lindsey Caroline Kildow hundreds of times to the top of Buck Hill in Burnsville.

The tow rope, which was christened “Kildow’s Climb,” includes markers along the way that tell the story of Vonn’s rise to becoming the world’s most successful female skier of all time.

The Kildows lived in Apple Valley during Lindsey’s early years, and she trained under Buck Hill Ski Team coach Erich Sailer, who helped guide several skiers to international success.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” Vonn said. “I would sit up at the shack at the top with Erich sometimes when it was cold.”

Sept. 23, 2019, was designated as Lindsey Vonn Day in Burnsville. Mayor Elizabeth Kautz read and presented a framed copy of the proclamation to Vonn.

Dick Ames dies

Richard “Dick” Ames, whose work as a contractor is spread across the nation and legacy as a philanthropist is abundant in local communities, died Jan. 30 of pneumonia. He was 89.

Ames was the local legend who stayed put, keeping the headquarters of his company, Ames Construction, in Burnsville even as it opened offices in other states and became one of the nation’s premier civil and industrial general contractors.

He built and rebuilt Burnsville’s Nicollet Avenue in the 1960s when it was a gravel road. Decades later he did the grading for the Denver International Airport, one of the megaprojects that vaulted Ames Construction to the top of its industry.

He and his family company donated millions. His name is on the Ames Arena in Lakeville, the Ames Sculpture in Burnsville and the Ames Center, Burnsville’s performing arts center, for which he bought the naming rights. He received the first Director’s Award for his donations to the University of Minnesota Athletics Department.

“I’ve lived a fairytale life,” Ames said a few days before his death, according to his obituary. But you couldn’t tell, say many who knew him, describing Ames as a blue jeans-wearing common man who grew up with the land and still planted crops later in life at his farm in Green Isle, Minnesota.

“When he was in his communities, his Lakeville, his Burnsville communities, he was just an everyday guy,” said Bob Erickson, a former city administrator and current School Board member in Lakeville. “He would always reach out to people. You didn’t have to go to him and say, ‘I’m so and so.’ He would always come to your table. He would always come to you.”

DFL upstarts not seeking re-election

Two Burnsville-area Democrats who unseated Republican members of the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018 won’t be on the ballot next year.

Rep. Hunter Cantrell, DFL-Savage, announced Nov. 12 he won’t seek re-election in District 56A. Cantrell, 24, said he’ll leave the House to complete his bachelor’s degree, which he put on hold after being diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

Rep. Alice Mann, DFL-Lakeville, couldn’t be reached to confirm reports that she won’t seek re-election in District 56B. But another DFLer, Burnsville resident Kaela Berg, announced her candidacy this fall.

Mann and Cantrell were part of the 2018 wave of DFLers whose victories in mostly suburban districts helped the party gain majority control of the House. Mann defeated two-term Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, and Cantrell defeated two-term Rep. Drew Christensen, R-Savage.

Cantrell represents part of northwest Burnsville and all of Savage. Mann represents southern and east-central Burnsville and part of northern Lakeville.

More candidates

Pam Myhra, a former Republican state representative from Burnsville who served two terms before seeking higher office, is running for her old seat in the House of Representatives.

Myhra announced her bid at an Aug. 19 meeting of Senate District 56 Republicans, after local party leaders launched a “Draft Pam Myhra” campaign. Myhra is seeking the House District 56A seat held by first-term DFL Rep. Hunter Cantrell, of Savage.

A longtime Burnsville resident and 1975 Burnsville High School graduate, Myhra was a local party officer before her first election in 2010 in the old District 40A. She was re-elected in 2012 in the newly drawn District 56A.

Instead of seeking re-election in 2014, Myhra ran for lieutenant governor on the ticket of Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert, who finished third in a five-way primary. Myhra briefly sought the 2016 Republican nomination for Minnesota’s 2nd District congressional seat.

In 2018 Myhra was the Republican candidate for state auditor, losing to DFLer Julie Blaha.

DFLer Jessica Hanson, of Burnsville, has announced her candidacy for the 56A seat.

In Senate District 56, two DFLers are competing to face Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, who is seeking re-election. They are Lindsey Port and Robert Timmerman.

Meeting protest

The Oct. 22 Burnsville City Council meeting collapsed into an angry mass of shouts, chants and profanities as protesters demanded the release of evidence in a fatal shooting by police.

Siblings and supporters of 23-year-old Isak Aden said their early July request for Burnsville police evidence, including body and dash camera footage, had gone unanswered, though the data are public under state law.

Burnsville City Manager Melanie Lee says the city had withheld the data lawfully.

Burnsville was one of nine law enforcement agencies at the scene of a July 2 standoff with Aden at a parking lot on Seneca Road in Eagan. Protesters wanted evidence in the Columbia Heights man’s shooting, which authorities said followed nearly four hours of negotiating with him to drop a gun and surrender. All Burnsville officers wear body cameras.

“And I expect an answer at the end of this, otherwise we will disrupt the meeting,” said Isak’s sister, Sumaya, who delivered as promised near the end of the 35-minute confrontation, which started during the meeting’s open comment period.

She flung council members’ nameplates from the dais, commandeered a microphone and hurled profane insults at Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.

Reviewing the events Nov. 12, council members agreed to review city policy on responding to data requests and to omit rarely invoked references to a 10-minute limit for comments during the citizen comment portion of meetings.

Also in November, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom concluded that police officers, including four from Bloomington, were legally justified in firing their weapons in the fatal shooting.
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I love BurnsvilleEveryone is getting ready for the Annual I Love Burnsville Event.
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Evelyn Kjos Poster - Boxes of MemoriesRetired city clerk assembled the keepsakes
by John Gessner Thisweek Newspapers
It had been years since retired City Clerk Evelyn Kjos last packed a box for posterity at Burnsville City Hall. Now Kjos was helping unpack boxes, ones she had stuffed with city artifacts, and she was tickled by some of the finds.
“Look at the Eldorado,” Kjos said, showing a photo of a Highway 13 beer joint and restaurant that lasted from 1949 to 1969 and was later replaced by a liquor store of the same name. Out came a 1963 voter registry on which a Burnsville Township election official had recorded, in cursive, the names and addresses of every voter.
“Here I am!” Kjos said, locating her name. “I voted that year.”
She and four other self-assigned Burnsville historians gathered on Monday morning in the basement of City Hall to begin inspecting and sorting the contents of some 17 boxes Kjos had filled over the years.
Her intent all along was to build a piecemeal historical record of Burnsville, which incorporated as a village in 1964 after fighting off annexation efforts by Bloomington to the north.
When she learned last year that a group of residents was resurrecting a lapsed Burnsville chapter of the Dakota County Historical Society, Kjos alerted the leader of the effort, Len Nachman, about her treasure trove.
Kjos and Nachman were joined Monday by three city residents who are among the handful involved in the history chapter: Godan Nambudiripad, Mary Dickson and Roberta Norris-Norvoll.
“I have an interest in history in general,” said Norris-Norvoll, a Burnsville resident since 1991 who serves with Nachman on the county historical society board. “These people who set everything up and made the structure of the city and set the goals of the city, they’re not going to be around forever. We need to tell their stories.”

The group made it through half of the boxes on Monday and vowed to finish the job on Wednesday. Nachman said he’d like to secure a space somewhere in Burnsville to store and display some of the finds, which include photos, slides (including many from the 1965 superflood in the Minnesota River Valley, city records and publications, and dozens of newspaper clippings.
Official records would remain with the city, but historians would like to at least post some online, Nachman said. The group, calling itself the Burnsville historical Society, has a website@burnsvillehistory.org
"Our goal is not to write books, such as the two volumes of Burnsville history already published in 1976 and 2000, Said Nachman, a Burnsville residence since 1969. We are done with that. We want the records that are there to be available to future generations. Kjos was especially eager to retrieve the box of documents dealing with Burnsville's response to Bloomington's annexation and its incorporation as a village, which was cemented in a voter referendum on June 16, 1964. Kjos said the law firm that handled Burnsville's affairs at the time left the documents in her care years ago when the firm left the cities employ.




“Here’s the headline: ‘Bloomington moves to annex 25 square miles,’ ” Kjos said, reading from an old newspaper. “This is real history. This is what caused Burnsville to incorporate and become what it is.”
The 17 boxes have sat for years in a City Hall records room. On Monday, current City Clerk Machael Brooks helped Kjos and the historians wheel them to a nearby conference room.
Kjos and her late husband, Roy, moved to Burnsville in 1959. They lived on Sandy Lane in the Northview Addition near Lakeville before moving in 1967 to a lot on Crystal Lake, where they and their three children could keep horses. The family later moved to Prior Lake.
Kjos, who now lives in Savage, worked for Burnsville over a 40-year span. Hired in March
Cedar Avenue Bridge built 1887-closed 1980
1965, she was one of the village’s first full-time employees.
Hired to do sewer and water billing, Kjos was immediately diverted to the task of assembling a records system for the fledgling village. She also served as secretary to the first village manager, Patrick Mclnnis.
The village hall was a small building on the current Ames Construction property on County Road 5. Women in the office noticed the smell of diesel from the attached village garage clinging to their hair and clothes, Kjos said.
“And in the women’s biffy was the coffee machine and the mimeograph,” she recalled.
She was named city clerk in 1981, when then-City Manager Jim Spore decided that the combined job of finance director and clerk, then held by Les Anderson, was too big for one person.
Kjos retired from the city in January 1990, returned in 1992 to help out with the election, and remained a part-timer working on special projects until October 2005.
Now pieces of her past were spread before her on a conference room table:
A 1976 Burnsville Sun story in which newcomer Connie Morrison said she was “baffled” to have been the top vote-getter in that year’s City Council race.
A photo of Morrison, as mayor, christening a new ambulance by smashing a bottle on the fender.
A brochure the city published before its successful 1982 referendum to raise money for parks.
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Burnsville Sanitary LandfillThe landfill is located at 2650 Cliff Road West.
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Burnsville Sanitary LandfillThe landfill is located at 2650 Cliff Road West.
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Interior Burnhaven Library, 2017Over the years there have been a number of updates made to the interior of the library. This is a reading area in 2017.
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Local firefighters provide new coats to Burnsville -Eagan- Savage District students 2018November 12, 2018 Savage Pacer reports: Local firefighters handed out hundreds of new coats to elementary students in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District last month, according to a news release.

It's the second consecutive year that students were given coats through a partnership with Operation Warm — a national nonprofit that manufactures brand-new coats for kids in need. Coats were purchased through donations from individuals, groups and local corporations.

Members of the Burnsville Professional Fighters Local 2910 and 4481 presented 360 coats to all students who wanted them in at Vista View Elementary School in Burnsville.

“We hope students realize there are many people in the community who think they are very special and want to make sure they stay warm all winter long,” said Capt. James Glover with the Burnsville Fire Department.

Last year, firefighters from Burnsville provided nearly 400 new coats to students at Sky Oaks Elementary in Burnsville.

They encouraged firefighters in Eagan to join the effort and provide new coats to students this year, Glover said. On Oct. 26, 150 coats were given to students in preschool, kindergarten and first grade at Rahn Elementary School in Eagan.

He thanked donors and also praised school social workers Katie Keller at Rahn and Kelly Freeburg at Vista View for coordinating distribution day.

At both events, firefighters assisted students in selecting brightly-colored warm coats that fit them just right. Then they helped students write their names in the coats with permanent marker.

“As our Minnesota winter approaches, we greatly appreciate local firefighters providing coats to our students to keep them warm and to show support for their success in school,” Superintendent Cindy Amoroso said in a statement. “This is truly what we call Community Strong.”
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June 9, 2017 I Love BurnsvilleMayor serving cake at the I Love Burnsville event. Photo provided by: Burnsville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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Minnesota Valley Transit AuthorityMinnesota Valley Transit Authority bus stop, South River Hills in Burnville.
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Minnesota Valley Transit busMInnesota Valley Transit bus interior 2018.
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Native Plant Market 2019The City of Burnsville hosts a Native Plant Market each spring as a way to encourage people to grow native plants in their yards. In addition to beautifying the community, native plants provide food for pollinators, help improve water quality, and require less care than traditional garden plants. Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
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New city manager Melanie Mesko Lee sees opportunities ahead 2018Council hires Hastings administrator Mesko Lee

Burnsville’s next city manager sees the city as a land of opportunity.

Melanie Mesko Lee, the Hastings city administrator who will begin work in Burnsville on Jan. 14, said the job offers professional advancement in a bigger city and an opportunity to help Burnsville chart its future.

Mesko Lee is familiar with the area, having grown up in Eagan and graduated from Burnsville High School in 1992. And through collaboration with other local governments in Dakota County while working in Hastings, she said she knows the Burnsville city staff’s reputation.

“So I know that there’s good things happening,” Mesko Lee, 44, said in an interview. “There’s a lot of opportunity. I find that the (City Council) has done some very nice strategic visioning, and the staff is highly regarded. I’m looking at it as a package deal with lots of opportunities, and I was hoping it would be a good fit. Luckily, it seems like it is.”

After a split vote on city manager selection two weeks earlier, the council voted unanimously Nov. 20 to approve a one-year contract that will pay Mesko Lee a starting salary of $170,000 in the city of 61,439. Her salary is $143,909 in Hastings, a city of 22,722.

In Burnsville she will lead a staff of about 280 full- and part-time employees (not including seasonal workers). Hastings has about 150 employees, including paid, on-call firefighters who supplement the full-time fire and EMS staff, she said.

The council split 3-2 on a Nov. 5 vote to select a replacement for Heather Johnston, who resigned as city manager in June.

Council members Bill Coughlin, Dan Gustafson and Cara Schulz voted for Mesko Lee. Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Council Member Dan Gustafson backed Dana Hardie, the only internal candidate among three finalists. Hardie, Burnsville’s administrative services director, is serving as interim city manager.

Aside from the interim post Hardie has no city manager experience. Mesko Lee has been city administrator in Hastings since 2013 and had been the assistant administrator since 1999.

Kautz prefaced her Nov. 20 vote by saying she has “mixed emotions” about Mesko Lee’s appointment and is “anxious about the path that has been chosen.”

“You come to us, Ms. Lee, to a city that is three times larger than the city you now are in, and very complex,” the mayor said, addressing Mesko Lee. “However, I remain optimistic, because, Ms. Lee, you’re not going to be doing this alone. You will be joining a team of extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, professional and experienced staff, a staff that I trust and care about deeply.”

It “isn’t a negative when people work well together,” said Kautz, who had touted an abundance of praise for Hardie from a committee of city department leaders that interviewed the finalists.

“I’m excited,” Mesko Lee said when asked about the split vote and Kautz’s comments. “And I’m looking forward to getting to know the team a little better. This is a good organization. It’s got a lot of great things going for it, and I just feel fortunate to be offered the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Schulz followed Kautz with her own remarks, welcoming Mesko Lee back to Burnsville.

“It’s always nice to have a graduate come back home,” Schulz said. “It’s also been nice to hear from people who have worked with you who say they will miss you, will miss your leadership. They were so pleased to work with you and be mentored by you.”

Redevelopment “is the term that I heard consistently” while researching Burnsville and talking with staff and council members, Mesko Lee said. It’s a chance to build relationships with business owners and influence the city’s future, she said.

Burnsville’s Minnesota River Quadrant is targeted for redevelopment from mining, landfilling and heavy industry.

“We’re thinking about what’s the long-term end game,” said Mesko Lee, who has a master’s in public administration from Hamline University and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Mankato State University. “I know the city has some identified ideas, and they’re working with the property owners. I certainly am looking forward to learning more about the proposals and the opportunities. But it’s a very complex, very nuanced development challenge.”

Under her leadership Hastings has had its own redevelopment projects, including the city-led Riverfront Renaissance. Planning began in 2013 for trail and park improvements along the Mississippi River and streetscape and parking improvements in the nearby historic downtown.

Through its Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority the city has also been involved in projects such as renewal of the former Hudson Manufacturing Building, which the city bought and this year transferred to a developer for a 67-room hotel, 22 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail and event space.

“That will tie into the Riverfront Renaissance, because that’s on the west side of the bridge,” said Mesko Lee, who noted that completion of the new Hastings Bridge in 2013 was a catalyst for riverfront projects. “Downtown is on the east side of the bridge.”
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New festival to include former music event 2019April 26, 2019 Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News reports:

New festival to include former music event- by John Gessner

Under photo:
Singer Mick Sterling, left, and Burnsville City Council Member Dan Gustafson are reviving the Art and All That Jazz Festival, which ran from 2004 to 2012 in Burnsville’s Nicollet Commons Park.

Art and All That Jazz will close Party on the Plaza series

A new community festival and a local music event that went missing are coming to Burnsville’s Heart of the City this summer season.

The city of Burnsville is launching Party on the Plaza, a series of three daylong, street-fair-style events in and around Nicollet Commons Park and the adjacent Ames Center plaza.

The first two events, on Thursdays, June 6 and July 25, will begin with children’s entertainment at noon and continue until 9 p.m. with adult bands and adult beverages.

The series finale will be the Saturday, Aug. 17, return of Art and All That Jazz, a music and art festival that ran from 2004 to 2012 in the Heart of the City. A day of music in the park and in the Ames Center’s black-box theater will be capped by “A Billy Joel State of Mind,” an outdoor performance at 8:30 p.m. featuring Minnesota singer Mick Sterling accompanied by the Dakota Valley Symphony.

“Potentially, a 60-piece orchestra is going to be joining us,” said Sterling, the veteran soul and rock singer whose company, Mick Sterling Presents, is booking the entire day’s lineup and the evening headliners for the other Party on the Plaza dates.

The Johnnie Brown Experience will play from 7-9 p.m. on June 6, and Stereo Kitchen from 7-9 p.m. on July 26.

Hearing word that Art and All That Jazz might make its return this year, the city held open the last of the three dates, said Garrett Beck, Burnsville’s parks, recreation and facilities director.

“So we partnered with them to kind of be the grand finale of our Party on the Plaza event,” Beck said.

The idea of an outdoor fair with food, music and merchandise started with City Council members Cara Schulz and Dan Gustafson, who were familiar with the weekly Thursdays Downtown in Rochester.

Asked to consider ways to bring those features to Burnsville, Beck and his staff looked to sync up with existing Burnsville events, namely the Wednesdays in the Park music series at Civic Center Park and the Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour concerts for kids at Nicollet Commons.

With Party on the Plaza, the city announced it will no longer host Wednesdays in the Park or the New Spaces Sunday Music in the Park series.

The city’s parks master plan calls for bringing more events involving food trucks and other vendors to city parks, Beck said.

Party on the Plaza fits the bill, he said. The city has commitments from 10 food trucks and cart vendors, he said. Other attractions will include craft and art vendors, a Kids Village, a bouncy house and participation by event partners including the YMCA, the Dakota County Library, School District 191 and youth athletics, Beck said.

“We want our community to come out to it, and we want our community groups who are serving our community to be a part of it,” Beck said. “It’s a both-way type of situation that we’re excited about.”

Music festival

Art and All That Jazz — founded by Council Member Gustafson, a one-time Minneapolis nightclub owner — drew up to 15,000 people over the course of a day but eventually fell on hard times.

The nonprofit festival was offering free admission while seeing corporate sponsorships drop the last three years, Gustafson said.

“Corporate spending was in a different direction at that time — survival mode, basically — so they couldn’t do it,” he said. “But things have changed, and corporations are coming back now and they’re getting more engaged in community events. The timing’s good.”

Leaning toward smooth jazz with some rhythm and blues, the festival attracted such national headliners as Larry Carlton, Greg Adams, Nick Colionne, Jesse Cook and Mindi Abair. One year when the festival was too strapped to bring the scheduled headliner, Gustafson gave the gig to Mick Sterling and the Irresistibles, a 10-piece soul and R&B band.

“I will tell you this: The year that he headlined, the crowd was just as big,” Gustafson said.

He credits Doron Jensen, co-owner of Jensen’s Cafe in the Heart of the City, with assembling the principals, including Sterling, needed to revive the festival this year.

Its new moniker is Mick Sterling presents Art and All That Jazz.

“Dan created the blueprint,” said Sterling, who once played Gustafon’s old club with his former band the Stud Brothers. “We’re not really doing anything different than Dan’s already created. We’re just kick-starting it again. It’s a beautiful festival.”

The festival will include an art show, a staple since the beginning, along with food vendors and other attractions.

Sterling’s Billy Joel segment is one of the numerous tribute shows the versatile singer offers and stars in through his production company. The tentative lineup also includes:

Outdoors in the park — “AMY,” an Amy Winehouse tribute featuring Cate Fierro; Steeling Dan; Patty Peterson and the Women of Jazz; “Take Me Back Home,” a Merle Haggard tribute featuring Bobby Vandell; and Steve Clarke and the Working Stiffs with an all-star high school band.

Indoors in the Ames Center — The Adam Meckler Orchestra, Jaedyn James and the Hunger, Joyann Parker, Rhaelee Gronholz, and two high school bands to be named.
Nicollet_Plaza_area_demographics.pdf
Demographics prepared for Nicollet PlazaDemographics prepared for the Nicollet Plaza, Highway 13 and Nicollet Avenue, 2019.
Nov_254.pdf
Burnsville Commonplace websiteNovember 25, 2011 - This Week News - Introducing the Burnsville Commonplace websiteeeeeee.
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Orchard Garden Station - photo 2017
Orchard Gardens Railway Station

Location: County Road 5 and 155th Street
This small railroad station was built in 1910 on the new Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Traction Railroad, better known as the “Dan Patch Line.” Running between Minneapolis and Northfield, the line stopped at this area called Orchard Gardens, a subdivision of five to ten-acre plots platted that year. The railroad constructed the trackside shelter near the area’s main road for passenger and produce service to the Twin Cities. In 1918 the railroad was reorganized as the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern.

Additional Information:
According to the National Register nomination, Orchard Gardens farmers concentrated on onion production until 1920 when disease damaged this crop. Eggs, milk, apples and flowers replaced onions on the station's dock. A new commuter crowd evolved in the 1920s and 30s after agricultural depression forced many local landowners to find employment in Minneapolis. In 1983, the Skyblazers 4-H club of the Burnsville-Lakeville area renovated the station as part of their annual community service program.
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Orchard Gardens Railroad Station 2017Side view of the Railroad station. Although a National Historic site - there is no plaque or information on the building or site.

Location: County Road 5 and 155th Street

This small railroad station was built in 1910 on the new Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Traction Railroad, better known as the “Dan Patch Line.” Running between Minneapolis and Northfield, the line stopped at this area called Orchard Gardens, a subdivision of five to ten-acre plots platted that year. The railroad constructed the trackside shelter near the area’s main road for passenger and produce service to the Twin Cities. In 1918 the railroad was reorganized as the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern.

Additional Information:
According to the National Register nomination, Orchard Gardens farmers concentrated on onion production until 1920 when disease damaged this crop. Eggs, milk, apples and flowers replaced onions on the station's dock. A new commuter crowd evolved in the 1920s and 30s after agricultural depression forced many local landowners to find employment in Minneapolis. In 1983, the Skyblazers 4-H club of the Burnsville-Lakeville area renovated the station as part of their annual community service program.
orchardroof.JPG
The Orchard Garden Station rafters 2017This small wooden structure - built as a railroad station "depot" was designated a historic site and still stands on Co. Rd. 5. This photo shows the simple wooden roof.


Orchard Gardens Railway Station

Location: County Road 5 and 155th Street
This small railroad station was built in 1910 on the new Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Traction Railroad, better known as the “Dan Patch Line.” Running between Minneapolis and Northfield, the line stopped at this area called Orchard Gardens, a subdivision of five to ten-acre plots platted that year. The railroad constructed the trackside shelter near the area’s main road for passenger and produce service to the Twin Cities. In 1918 the railroad was reorganized as the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern.

Additional Information:
According to the National Register nomination, Orchard Gardens farmers concentrated on onion production until 1920 when disease damaged this crop. Eggs, milk, apples and flowers replaced onions on the station's dock. A new commuter crowd evolved in the 1920s and 30s after agricultural depression forced many local landowners to find employment in Minneapolis. In 1983, the Skyblazers 4-H club of the Burnsville-Lakeville area renovated the station as part of their annual community service program.
original_eb_ridges_building.JPG
The original Ebenezer RidgesSince first being built the campus and services at Ebenezer Ridges have expanded beyond a nursing home. This was the original building.
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Friday Night Flicks 2018Friday Night Flicks on the Bricks returns during Friday Fest at Nicollet Commons Park, 2018 compliments of Experience Burnsville.
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