The City of Savage kicked off the second season of its indoor athletic facility by officially dedicating the building last month. Representatives of organizations that were involved in the development of the Savage Sports Center helped celebrate the occasion on November 2.
Members of the Burnsville Athletic Association, Prior Lake Athletics for Youth and Prior Lake Soccer were among those who attended. The three organizations initially presented the concept for a seasonal athletic dome to the City of Savage over two years ago. Today, their teams are the building’s most frequent users. Special recognition was given to Brian Flakne, former BAC commissioner, who devoted numerous hours to gain community and City Council support for the facility.
As part of the event, Mayor Janet Williams and City Administrator Barry Stock expressed appreciation to the City’s partners, and then unveiled a dedication plaque that features their names. In addition to the athletic organizations, recognition was extended to City Building Official Jay Scherer, Public Works Director John Powell, Project Architect Tushie Montgomery and Project Manager Oppidan.
A member of the Savage Police Department has received statewide recognition for his work to prevent crime. James Caauwe, Savage’s crime prevention specialist, was honored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association (MCPA) at its annual conference October 22.
Caauwe came out of retirement to join the Savage Police Department in January 2012. His professional career spanned 27 years in law enforcement, 12 of which were in crime prevention. While he had no intentions of getting back into his old line of work, he was intrigued when he saw there was a crime prevention position open in Savage.
Much of Caauwe’s time is spent working directly with the public, whether it be connecting with neighbors to strengthen the City’s Neighborhood Watch Program, training managers in the Crime-Free Multi- Housing Program, overseeing the City’s chaplain program or educating local servers on laws pertaining to serving alcohol.
Some residents may recognize Caauwe from TV. He produces “Crime Time,” a monthly television show to promote safety tips and raise awareness about crime trends. He’s as comfortable behind the camera as he is in front of it – having served as the event photographer for the MCPA’s conference and local Special Olympics fundraisers.
Outside of the limelight, Caauwe enjoys analyzing crime and learning about ways to make existing programs better. “One of the things I like about this job is that there is always something new on the horizon,” Caauwe said.
Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer nominated Caauwe for the Crime Prevention Specialist of the Year Award. “(James) Caauwe is a person of outstanding character,” Seurer wrote. “His professionalism, positive attitude, work ethic and commitment to public service make him an outstanding representative of the Department.” Caauwe’s award marks the second in a row to go to Savage staff members. Last year, the MCPA recognized three employees for their efforts to distribute messages relating to crime prevention.
The MCPA provides leadership and educational resources to members who work in state, county and local law enforcement; or in private enterprises relating to safety, loss prevention or crime prevention.
Residents and businesses annually prove their support for the Savage Fire Department by attending pancake breakfasts, purchasing calendar ads and buying dinner tickets. This strong community participation is helping firefighters to be better prepared for the unexpected.
The fundraisers that benefit the City’s fire department are held by the Savage Fire Relief Association (SFRA), which is comprised of active and retired firefighters. Over the past five years, the SFRA has been able to give more than $40,000 in proceeds to the Savage Fire Department. Recently, the SFRA donated $15,000 for equipment and public education materials. The allocation – along with grants and other donations – augments the funding the Savage Fire Department receives through the City’s budget so firefighters can do their job a little more effectively, efficiently and comfortably.
The Fire Department’s budget is funded by property taxes and sufficiently covers standard firefighting gear and tools subject to low bid. Money from fundraisers, however, makes it possible for the Department to upgrade or expand its equipment where appropriate. For example, the Department may opt to invest donated funds in a higher quality, waterproof boot that enables firefighters to stay on their feet longer without experiencing discomfort later on.
Part of the recent SFRA allocation will be used to purchase education materials for the Department’s annual open house, Halloween party and visits to schools. In the interest of preserving the Department’s history, the association also assigned $4,000 toward the restoration of an old truck and a project aimed at getting photographs of every retired firefighter.
In addition to holding fundraisers, the SFRA oversees the pension that is given to retired Savage firefighters. The pension is entirely funded by a fee included on homeowners’ insurance premiums (also known as State Fire Aid) and the City of Savage. None of the funds raised through community projects and events are used to support the firefighters’ pensions.
Great things are happening at the Savage Senior Club, formerly known as the Savage Social Club. Last month, meetings were relocated from the McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center to a more permanent location in the Savage Library. At the same time, the club decided to expand its meeting schedule. The new Savage Senior Club meeting days and times are: Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursdays, noon to 3 p.m.
Tuesday meetings occasionally feature presentations from various community representatives, and Thursdays include a card club. The group also has a book club. All meetings are free and open to anyone interested in “coffee and conversation,” although the meeting times and presentations are established with those in mind who are 55 and older.
Those who would like more information on the Savage Senior Club may call Ann Klein at 952.440.2733; otherwise, just show up!
Secret Holiday Shop | 9 to 11 a.m., December 14 at Harriet Bishop Elementary School. The 17th Annual Secret Holiday Shop provides children with the opportunity to purchase gifts for their parents without giving away the surprise. Volunteers will be on hand to assist the young shoppers and a variety of gifts will be available for the choosing. Presents will be wrapped and labeled for children at the end of their shopping experience. Gifts range between 50 cents and $11 each. No pre-registration is required.
Indoor Walking or Jogging | The Savage Sports Center offers a state-of-the-art artificial grass field, which is ideal for walking or jogging. The center is inflated from November through April, providing a convenient indoor space for winter exercise. Walk or jog indoors for FREE with your family and friends. Strollers are welcome. Sorry, no food or pets are allowed inside on the turf area.
The public may also use the fields at the Sports Center during open times posted at savagesportscenter.com. Times and dates vary, depending on demand. Admission is $5 per person. The Sports Center is at 13450 Dakota Ave., within Savage Community Park.
Warming House Information | The outdoor skating season is scheduled to begin Monday, December 16 (weather permitting) and will run through February. Warming houses at the following parks will be maintained and staffed this winter season: Trost, Canterbury, O’Connell, Warren Butler, and Woodhill. The rink at Schroeder’s Acres Park will be flooded but the warming house will not be staffed. Warming houses in each park will open once both the hockey and pleasure rinks at that park are in skating condition. Skaters are advised to call the WEATHER/ INFORMATION LINE at 952.882.2688 prior to heading out.
Park Shelter Reservations | Reservations for park shelters may be made up to 365 days in advance. To make a reservation, just stop in at the Public Works Building (13770 Dakota Ave.) and fill out the paperwork. The reservation fee is $50 for residents and $75 for non-residents, which is due at the time of reservation.
The Savage City Council has approved a proposal for a building that will house a Goodwill store next year.
The 20,600-square-foot building will be constructed on the southeast corner of County Road 42 and Alabama Avenue. The site is adjacent to O’Connell Square, which is home to Aldi’s, McHugh’s Public House and several other commercial businesses.
Primary access to Goodwill will be via Alabama Avenue, off of County Road 42. Alabama Avenue also provides access to a residential neighborhood located south of the site. The road leads to South Park Drive, which connects to County Road 27. During the application and approval process, residents voiced concerns that the project would increase the amount of traffic through the neighborhood as store customers try to find a shorter route to County Road 27.
In response, the City Council is requiring that the site be developed so that vehicles exiting onto Alabama are restricted to turn right only, or northbound. Traffic also will be able to exit the site by traveling through O’Connell Square to O’Connell Road.
The store is being developed by Goodwill/Easter Seals of Minnesota, which aims to help people with disabilities or other barriers achieve their goals. A total of 27 Goodwill stores throughout the state sell and accept donations of clothing, shoes, household goods and furniture to raise funds to provide employment and support services. In 2012, Goodwill/Easter Seals served 22,165 individuals and made 880 job placements. The Savage location will have a staff of up to 30.
Construction on the Goodwill store is expected to begin in the spring.
Eroding banks along the Credit River in Hidden Valley Park received some “TLC” recently, thanks in part to grants secured by the City of Savage and the Scott County Watershed Management Organization (WMO).
The Clean Water grants, matched by both jurisdictions, supported a project to reshape the stream banks and protect them with “toe wood-sod mats.” The $18,000 initiative is intended to stop the edges of the Credit River from washing away and depositing sediment in the water, which causes issues for fish and wildlife.
The grants offset the costs of materials and labor. A crew from the Conservation Corps worked alongside CBI Excavating to fill the stream bank voids with brush, logs, roots, soil and rocks. They then covered the materials with a blanket of sod. Cables and anchors were used to secure dogwood, cedar and willow cuttings to the face of the stream bank.
While other restoration processes could have been used in Hidden Valley, the selected approach was chosen for a number of benefits. It uses native vegetation, which grows quickly and develops dense roots. In addition, the woody material used as fill provides a natural habitat for aquatic and terrestrial life.
The stream bank stabilization project at Hidden Valley Park is one of many efforts by the City of Savage, Scott County and other agencies to enhance the Credit River and other natural resources within the community. Details are outlined in the City’s Storm Water Resource Management Plan, which can be viewed at cityofsavage.com.
Property owners will receive their annual proposed property tax statements this month. The statements provide notification of the taxes various jurisdictions are proposing to levy against the owner's property in 2014. The graphic below, similar to the statement that will be sent by Scott County, explains each section. Those with questions about their statement are advised to call the Scott County Customer Service Center at 952.496.8150.