In a presentation Mayor Sandy Martin said would make people ‘proud to be residents of Shoreview,’ Public Works Director Mark Maloney shared ‘innovative infrastructure successes’ that have made his 23 years of city employment enjoyable ones.
“This community gets awards for having a long-range perspective on how to manage & take care of public infrastructure,” said Maloney.
Shoreview’s infrastructure is broadly defined as: (1) production & delivery of drinking water (2) sanitary sewer (3) street lighting (4) surface water management services (5) oversight of residential street construction (6) curbside recycling (7) fleet management and (8) urban forestry.
The bulk of the director’s talk was spent on the ‘innovation themes’ of water degradation, asset protection, responsible use of groundwater, and sustainability as they relate to the city’s infrastructure. Sound innovations that repay themselves over the life cycle of the project generally stand a chance of being put in practice by Public Works.
Highlights of the presentation included:
- Shoreview is a rare municipality for the practice of sweeping all its streets a half dozen times between spring and fall. Besides the aesthetic value, this also prevents unwanted runoff in the stormwater drainage system that flows into lakes.
- There are 1100 street lights in the city limits, with 700 of them being owned by the City and 400 by Xcel Energy. 100 of the 700 have been converted to LED, and Public Works is on a trajectory to replace the other 600 with LED in the coming years.
- The City rebuilt the pond on Red Fox Road by the Target Store recently, in recognition of the fact that local governments are increasingly expected to be responsible for all water quality in the confines of the city, not just that which falls on public land. The pond filters– and doesn’t just store– water, marking a shift in approach since the 1970s and 80s.
- Shoreview prides itself on using minimal salt and no sand in treating the ice and snow on winter roadways. One measure that permits this is the application of a ‘brine’ chemical prior to snow events. Even with a successful de-icing approach, Maloney laments, “We get talked into managing roadways as speedways. For winter driving, we need to drive accordingly.”
- Regarding its urban forest, Shoreview became an Emerald-Ash-Borer confirmed community in 2011. Maloney described the city as having a balanced approach to managing its 20,000 trees, and that doing so is important for keeping this quality-of-life indicator in good shape.
- Shoreview was the first city to perform a ‘full depth reclamation’ rebuild of a street– a process which has done well in preventing cracks associated with seal coating. Six or seven miles of roadway at a time are redone using this method for city road going forward.
- The Woodbridge Neighborhood near Lake Owasso was the recipient of a globally-recognized pervious pavement project in 2009. Made of 25′ wide streets and 7″ of pervious concrete, this searchable-on-YouTube project ‘moved the needle’ in the pervious pavement industry– the key difference between pervious and traditional pavement being the lack of hole-filling sand in the former, thus allowing rainwater to soak through into the ground in a matter of seconds.
- Shoreview is a drinking water producer, and it runs this public works component like a business by accounting for its revenues and costs. In the last 10 years, it has dramatically cut its amount of “unaccounted for water,” which is the difference between water pumped out and water sold (essentially water lost).
“This city stands up a little taller in being willing to try things,” Maloney said. “We’ve made a strong connection between the quality of life and natural resources, and that has always been a consistent theme of our elected officials.”
(Note: The presentation- including the Q & A- runs 1:22:30. Should a playback issue arise, please visit: EQC Speaker Series #3)