Weekly E-Newsletter - Winter

Dear Subscriber:

Thank you for signing up to receive the City of Elk River's weekly E-Newsletter! Here is everything you need to know about this past week, as well as news and information about upcoming projects, events, and more. Have a great weekend!

City Hall Hours:
(M-F) 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mike Milless - Active Elk River Personal Ties

Personal Ties to Active Elk River Run Deep For Project Superintendent

Construction is well underway on the largest of the Active Elk River recreation enhancements – a nearly 150,000 square foot multipurpose facility with community meeting and banquet rooms, exhibition/event opportunities, senior citizen programming, modern skating and hockey facilities, commercial lease space and a synthetic turf field house.

The person responsible for the daily efforts, from scheduling numerous tradesmen and deliveries, ensuring site safety to troubleshooting all sorts of challenges, working with architects, engineers and inspectors is a long-time Elk River resident, Mike Milless. You’ve likely heard the expression “labor of love” – well Mike has an interesting, and very personal tie to this project we’d like to share with you:

How long have you lived in Elk River (or did you live in Elk River)?
I grew up in Rogers, but since there wasn’t a high school back then I went to Elk River High School. After college in 1982 I moved to Elk River and have been a resident ever since.

What’s your professional background?
Growing up, my dad was in the construction trade as well as two of my brothers. I went to work early 1980’s framing houses and in 1987 went to work for Welsh Construction and stayed there for 32 years working as a commercial contractor superintendent. RJM later caught my attention with a special project right here in my hometown (this multipurpose facility) and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to be involved in revamping and improving The Barn – a place where I spent countless hours at in my younger years. I looked at working on this multipurpose facility as a way to pay tribute to all the good people that helped build The Barn and the Olympic rink.

Any memories stand out when you think of the time you spent at the Elk River Arena in your youth?
I can remember as a seventh grader in 1971 joining other local volunteers to do block work at The Barn. When it was finished, I thought it was a palace. I played high school hockey at the Elk River Arena, and during those days Tarz Peterson was the Arena Manager and he often opened the big garage door on the north end of the rink, both when we practiced and during games. We were used to feeling as though it was warmer outside than inside, even at -10 degrees, but during games the opposing teams always seemed to focus a bit too much on staying warm rather than playing the game.
That was a “home rink advantage” that stands out, in addition to the old chicken wire fence on top of the boards rather than Plexiglas. Visiting teams would walk in and think we some ragtag, country team but more often than not they left the Elk River Arena with their pride damaged.

What does it mean personally to you being involved in this project given your history with the arena?
It is an honor to help on this project after laying blocks to help build the facility, playing high school hockey here, then coaching youth hockey for years along with playing men’s league after college. One of the best parts about my involvement is working with the great team of professionals from RJM and 292 Design Group. I see familiar faces like Rich Czech, the current Arena Manager, city staff I’ve known throughout the years, but I also find the challenges that come with schedules, weather, etc., exciting.

As someone who is literally watching this project evolve day in and day out, what excites you the most about it, or what do you think residents can really look forward to?
I love seeing the great features these new rinks will incorporate along with the beautiful two-story entryway/lobby and upper floor concession stand. I have no doubt this facility will be right up there with any top hockey establishment in the state that players and parents will love visiting for years to come. But what’s great is there is so much more to this facility – a new senior center, community meeting and event space, commercial retail space, turf field house, and so much more.

Bottom line, I thought I was contributing to the creation of a palace in 1971 as I placed blocks for The Barn, but this facility will truly give the people of Elk River something to be proud of.

Learn more about the various projects that make up Active Elk River by visiting: ActiveElkRiver.com.


ERPD 2019 Crime Statistics 

We’re pleased to report crime statistics in Elk River for the year 2019 illustrate a major downtrend in many incidents when compared to the previous year. The following stats represent the percentage each crime decreased, or in a few categories increased, in 2019 versus 2018:

  • Aggravated Assaults - 28.57% (reduction)

  • Burglaries - 43.94% (reduction)

  • Arson - 100% (reduction)

  • Criminal Sexual Conduct - 25% (increase)

  • Robbery - 50% (reduction)

  • Theft - 1.08% (increase)

  • Vehicle Thefts - 4.10% (reduction)

  • Total Part I Crimes - 7.62% (reduction)

*Crimes such as aggravated assaults, burglary, theft, robbery, and rape.

  • Total Part II Crimes - 6.35% (reduction)

*Crimes such as other assaults, forgeries, fraud, vandalism, weapons, sex offenses, narcotics, DWI’s, liquor laws, and disorderly conduct.
2019 also saw a 13.39% reduction in property damage motor vehicle accidents, with an increase in personal injury motor vehicle accidents of 16%.
Officers diligently worked to ensure the highest level of safety on our city streets possible, evidence by a 11.52% increase in traffic citations and a 54.55% increase in written warnings and 7.06% increase in verbal warnings for traffic-related offences.

Energy City Insights

Introducing Energy City Insights

We’re excited to announce a new initiative called Energy City Insights, offering quick tips on environmentally friendly best practices residents can easily take on at home every month!

From water conservation, home energy efficiency, recycling options and more, visit ElkRiverMN.gov/EnergyCityInsights to check out the first sustainability tip which highlights some common recycling errors many people don’t even know are actually mistakes!


Upcoming Council Agenda Ready

Feb. 3 City Council Agenda Available

The agenda for the Monday, February 3 City Council meeting is now available online here.

On the agenda next week includes an update on the
update on the Lake Orono Restoration and Enhancement (LORE) project, potential impacts to the current access of Hillside Park, and much more!

Council meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.,and the third Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. or immediately following the Economic Development Authority meeting, whichever is later.  

Volunteer of the Month, Dar Johnson

Dar Johnson, Volunteer of the Month

Join us in congratulating Dar Johnson, Elk River’s Volunteer of the Month. Mayor John Dietz recognized Johnson at the January 20, Elk River City Council meeting for her dedicated service to our community.

Johnson generously gives of her time each week by leading a government prayer team, tending the Coffee and Gift Shop at Guardian Angels Care Center and serving over 35 hours as receptionist for the Sherburne County Government Center.

For over 13 years, Dar Johnson has been actively involved in service through her church as well. She has led prayer groups, played the organ and piano, and directed the music program and choir.

Each month, Mayor Dietz recognizes individuals for their outstanding volunteer efforts which ultimately contribute to the overall quality of life in Elk River. To learn more about award eligibility, or to nominate a resident, click here

Woodland Winter Walking Events

Winter Walking Events at Woodland

When you live in Minnesota, cabin fever can be all too real. That's why it's important to find an outdoor activity/hobby to enjoy during the long winter months.

Elk River Parks and Recreation is hosting a series of magical moonlit walks at Woodland Trails Regional Park, with the next walk set for Monday, February 10. This professionally guided walk, led by two Woodland Trails park volunteers, will lead attendees along the most beautiful groomed winter trails in search of both serenity and wildlife.

Look for the group in the parking lot of Woodland Trails Regional Park located at 20135 Elk Lake Rd. NW at 6:00 p.m. Bring a flashlight or head lamp and be sure to dress for the weather and wear proper winter walking shoes or boots. Can't make the February 10 walk? Don't worry, same time, same place on Monday, March 9.

Liquor Store Specials January 20-February 2
Liquor Store Specials Feb 3-16

Employment Opportunities 

  • Police Officer - FT
  • Reserve Officer - PT
  • Liquor Store Clerk - PT
  • Recreation Assistant - PT
  • Election Judge - PT
  • Ice Arena Worker/Ice Resurfacer - PT

To learn more about employment opportunities with the city click here.

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