Minneapolis/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 22, 2024
Anoka County 4-H Youth Win Leadership Award for Environmental Advocacy, Infrastructure Developments Gain MomentumSource: 123dieinafire, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Anoka County's youth are taking a stand against environmental challenges with their "Green Superheroes of Science" initiative, spearheaded by the local 4-H club which garnered them the prestigious 2024 Community Leadership Award presented by the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Anoka County website reports. These eco-conscious teens are inspiring the next generation, educating younger kids about the science behind and the impact of plastic pollution, a timely effort as opinions on environmental issues take center stage.

Infrastructure moves are also afoot in Anoka County, with the board giving the green light for multiple projects including bridge renovations over Seelye Brook and a traffic signal overhaul at Lexington and 122nd avenues in Blaine, the decisions came from back-to-back resolutions and are aimed at addressing current and future traffic, the first resolution underscores the right-of-way acquisition for a bridge on Rum River Boulevard Northwest while the second pins down a deal with Landwehr Construction, Inc. for the bridge on Ambassador Boulevard NW.

Long-awaited relief for drivers is on the horizon as Anoka County teams up with Ramsey County and the cities of Shoreview and Lino Lakes to build a roundabout at the heavily trafficked junction of Hodgson Road and County Road J/Ash Street, a contract amendment ensuring the project's continuity with a completion date eyed for September 2024 as per details from the Anoka County online bulletin. The board's packed agenda also highlighted a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health granting funds for toxicology testing in potential overdose-related deaths, a sobering nod to the area's commitment to tackling the persistent public health crisis.

Waterways and trails are also receiving their share of attention – Coon Creek restoration project is slated for commencement, poised to shore up streambanks, enhance stormwater outfalls, and bolster habitats for native species, this starts in winter 2024 and should conclude by summer 2025 but that's not all the Anoka County Board has championed a long-range blueprint for the Rice Creek West Regional Trail Corridor, putting to rest the uncertainties that have lingered since Fridley city backed out of a previous agreement last November, stakeholders have since struck a deal that sets the stage for future development including upkeep of the trail.

Lastly, Anoka County isn’t neglecting the human dimension of its civic responsibilities – the Board has approved its annual action plan for the Community Development Block Grant and Home Investment Partnerships Program, priming itself to request grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to sustain and create affordable housing units, showing that bricks and mortar are as important as parks and paths in the vision for a well-rounded community.