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Volume 10: Edition 10, October 2012 Print the Newsletter

Public Safety Center  
open house is October 23
City Center location helps enhance police and fire service

The city of Mankato's Public Safety Center, 710 South Front Street.

The city of Mankato will celebrate the upcoming opening of its Public Safety Center, 710 South Front Street, on Tuesday, October 23. The dedication and program begin at 12:30 p.m. The public are invited to view and tour the building during an open house from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event. The open house provides a one-time opportunity for the public to see the complete building and its updates. Once staff and materials are moved into the building, special clearances are needed.

The Public Safety Center brings police and fire staff together for the first time ever. By housing them in one location, substantial resources can be deployed to keep the community safe. A key benefit is the optimal response time to areas that were previously underserved: West Mankato, hilltop and neighborhoods to the west, south and north of the university. Plus, co-location saves money, enhances services and provides the best use of public dollars. The building also features additions the department didn’t have in its previous building—an emergency operations center, training and meeting spaces, a video viewing room, locker rooms and a parking ramp to protect vehicles from the weather.

“We’re excited about entering a new era of public safety service,” says Todd Miller, director of public safety. “By bringing staff together at one location, we are better positioned to provide service across the city of Mankato.”

For more information, contact public safety staff at 507-387-8793.

What’s “your take” about safe streets – safe neighborhoods

Public safety has a safe streets—safe neighborhoods initiative in place to address community-identified problems occurring in Mankato's City Center. Learn more about the strategies within this initiative. 

What ideas do you have for contributing to safe streets and safe neighborhoods? Give “your take.” 

Spotlight on volunteers
Twilight Garden Club

A winning photo featured for May and winning second place overall in Mankato's 2013 calendar. "Bleeding hearts with a background" by Karina Rose, Mankato.
The Twilight Garden Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The club began in 1962 with 15 members who focused on Mankato’s Sibley Park gardens. Today, the club has grown to more than 30 members and they now care for city gardens at the Hubbard House.

“Volunteers are so important in making a difference,” says Karna Swenson-Stock, co-president of the Twilight Garden Club. “We can’t expect the city to do everything. This garden really enhances the community.”

Twilight Garden Club members Marsha Natvig and Rita Dauw help care for the Hubbard House gardens.
The Twilight Garden Club has helped build community and keep it strong for half a century by maintaining city gardens. Learn how to get involved in city of Mankato volunteer opportunities, watch a video and apply to volunteer online.

For more information contact city staff at 507-387-8621.

Mankato River Ramble is Sunday, October 7

The second annual Mankato River Ramble is Sunday, October 7. The ride begins in Land of Memories park off of Hwy 169. Cyclists will ride through scenic Mankato area trails, some that run along the river.

The city of Mankato is a proud sponsor of this event.

Home Stretch funded another year  
Citizens benefit by learning about the home buying process

Mankato City Manager Patrick Hentges, Citzens Community Federal Bank District Manager Ryan Gustafson and Divisional Manager Aaron Loken. Gustafson and Loken presented a check to the City Manager in support of Home Stretch.

The Mankato Economic Development Authority recently received more than $8,000 in funding to continue to provide workshops for its Home Stretch program. Home Stretch workshops teach participants what they need to know about buying a home. Local supporters:

Bank Midwest
Bremer Bank
Citizen’s Community Federal Bank
First National Bank, Minnesota
Frandsen Band and Trust
Habitat for Humanity
Pioneer Bank
SouthPoint Federal Credit Union
United Prairie Bank
Wells Fargo
Wells Federal Bank

If thinking about buying a home, sign up for upcoming Home Stretch workshops Thursdays, October 4 and 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The course fee is $20, payable to the city of Mankato the first night of class. Participants receive a certificate upon completion. Preregistration is requested because of limited space.

For more information, contact housing staff at 507-387-8631. 

Water main flushing begins Sunday

Click image for printable water main flushing map.
The city of Mankato will flush water mains from Sunday, September 30 through Friday, October 5.

Flushing hours are scheduled from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily to ensure convenience for residents. See the online flushing map.

Water mains are routinely flushed to clean the distribution system. Avoid or limit water usage during flushing operations, because although the water is safe to drink, it may stain. It is best to allow at least an hour after daily flushing operations for the water to clear.

For more information contact public works staff at 507-387-8661 (24-hour service) or 507-387-8663.

Citizen input important part of budgeting process

As part of the 2013 budget, the city continues to take a service-based budget approach while considering citizen input. Staff has continued to determine the city’s essential (core), non-essential (secondary) and livability services, which serve as the budget’s foundation. Even though there’s been growth, the city of Mankato has kept expenses constant for the past several years.

“This places pressure on how well staff can maintain the service levels that citizens have come to expect,” says City Manager Patrick Hentges. “The goal of our service based approach is to budget so that the level of services provided to the public can be maintained.”

Recent citizen satisfaction survey results, input from focus groups, information learned through an online budget input tool and the city’s strategic plan all are important to the city’s budget approval process.

Citizen input is important and helpful when making city decisions. Plan to attend upcoming budget meetings Mondays:

  • 6 p.m., October 22 special budget work session to discuss capital improvement
    plan (2013-2017)
  • 6 p.m., November 19 special budget work session
  • 6 p.m., November 26 special budget work session (tentative)
  • 6 p.m., December 3 2013 budget citizen public hearing
  • 7 p.m., December 10 adoption of final property tax levy amounts and adoption of
    2013 budget

For more information, contact Assistant City Manager Tanya Ange at 507-387-8609. 

Winter preparations in Mankato’s parks

Animals to leave Sibley Farm
Stop by Sibley Farm in Sibley Park, 900 Mound Avenue, before all the animals leave. Some animals will be sent to alternative homes beginning October 15 and all animals are expected to be gone by November 1.

Restrooms to close
City of Mankato park restrooms are expected to close October 15. These annual closures are done to save repair costs by preventing extensive damage that can occur if restrooms are left open through the winter.

One exception is the restrooms at Sibley Park’s amphitheater, since the Kiwanis light show will be held in Sibley Park.

For more information contact staff at 311 or 507-387-8600. 

Ready for roundabouts?

An example of a roundabout. See a video about roundabouts. Source: Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Roundabouts have many benefits, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. They:

  • often are used in new or remodeled intersections to reduce crashes and driver delay;
  • show a 48 percent decrease in all crashes and a 78 percent drop in injury crashes;
  • can handle high levels of traffic with less delay than most stop signs or signals;
  • decrease idling where roundabouts replace signals, which reduces vehicle emissions and fuel consumption by 30 percent or more.
  • reduce driver delay by up to 89 percent.

See plans for roundabouts in south central and south western Minnesota. View a video and learn more about roundabouts online. 

Apply to volunteer as a firefighter or reserve officer

The Mankato Department of Public Safety is recruiting resident volunteer firefighters and reserve police officers. Training is provided.

  • Resident volunteer firefighters: community members who live at the fire station and staff calls for service in exchange for rent.
  • Reserve police officers: trained volunteers who assist with emergency calls, foot, park and trail patrols, community events, direct traffic and work with technology.

Applications are available online and due Thursday, November 1. A completed application may be emailed to fire or police staff. Applications may also be mailed or delivered to:

Mankato Department of Public Safety
501 South Victory Drive
Mankato, MN 56001

For more information contact public safety staff at 507-387-8703 (volunteer firefighters), or 507-387-8780 (part-time police officers).

New release of City-School News

City-School News provides information about the city of Mankato and Mankato Area Public Schools.
Look for the latest edition of City-School News in your mailbox. City-School News is a shared project between the city of Mankato and Mankato Area Public Schools.

Its purpose is to keep citizens well-informed. Many articles are written in response to questions. The newsletter is also available now.

For more information contact staff at 507-387-8516.

Ride the bus with us

Ride the bus with the city of Mankato. Call 507-625-RIDE (7433).
Mankato’s bus service is your destination on time. City buses are convenient, reliable and affordable transportation that provides more direct service to major destinations in the Mankato area:

  • direct service to the River Hills Mall and Wal-Mart on routes three and six;
  • more frequent service (30 minutes) between downtown and Minnesota State University, Mankato from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
  • streamlined service in North Mankato;
  • same level of service on MSU routes one and eight
  • route six redesigned to mimic Stomper Express
  • expanded service to the YMCA and Cub Foods on Riverfront Drive

See the bus schedules and learn more about Mankato's bus service. For more information, about Mankato's bus service call 507-625-RIDE (7433). To advertise on a city bus, contact staff at 507-387-8655.

Connect with local government

Become a Facebook fan and connect with the city of Mankato, the City Council and City Manager Patrick Hentges. Follow the city of Mankato on Twitter.

For more information, contact public information staff at 507-387-8692.


City of Mankato 2013 calendar photo contest winners

AJ Dahm of Mankato watches as Mayor Eric Anderson reveals Dahm's photo, "Liftoff at the airport," as this year's first place winner in Mankato's calendar contest.
The results are in for Mankato’s 2013 calendar photo contest. Look for the calendar in the November 27 issue of Home Magazine. It will also be available online.

Thank you to AgStar Financial Services, ACA and Minnesota Soybean for partnering to sponsor the 2013 calendar. Without this sponsorship, printing of the calendar could not continue. The year’s calendar aligns with Mankato’s strategic plan by celebrating farming and agriculture and their importance to the local economy.

This year’s winners are:

Pat Christman, a photographer at “The Free Press,” judged the more than 300 entries submitted.

Mankato’s city calendar, a 43-year tradition, is a useful communication tool that features public meeting dates and locations, contact information, 24-hour service numbers and important key city service messages for residents. The photo contest encourages citizen involvement and showcases Mankato’s quality of life, spaces and places. The top two winning photographs are enlarged, framed and placed on the walls of the Intergovernmental Center for public viewing.

For more information contact Mankato’s public information staff at or 507-387-8692. 

New! Chat with 311

311 or 507-387-8600--one call does it all.
Check out 311 Mankato’s new customer service option—live chat. Go to and click on “live chat support” to talk online with a customer service representative in real time between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Call center staff can also be reached at 311 or 507-387-8600. A major benefit of 311 is that it serves non-emergency calls once directed to 911. Currently, 311 is available to Charter, HickoryTech, Verizon and Sprint customers. City staff are looking to expand 311 with other carrier providers.

For more information contact public information staff at 507-387-8516. 

A winning partnership

An honorable mention, "Sibley Park" by Jim Burt, Mankato. Volunteers in city parks make a difference. To volunteer, contact staff at 507-387-8621.
Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU) students are volunteering as part of the city of Mankato’s Sibley Farm zoo crew. They get hands-on experience working with animals. Director of Public Works Mark Knoff formed the volunteer relationship through his work with the biology department. Knoff says he saw it as an opportunity to connect students with the city. Dr. Robert Sorenson, associate professor and advisor of the volunteer group, agrees. “It was a great way to use the students' strengths and interests for tasks that needed to be done for the city."

Student volunteers helped care for the animals including feeding and watering. They also picked up trash at the playground nearby to keep it looking its best. In addition, students earned credits and volunteer hours needed to graduate.

"It's great when the city and university can find ways to work together," says City Manager Patrick Hentges. "Students have an opportunity to apply book knowledge with practical experience, and the city benefits because students provide different perspectives while also enhancing quality of life."  

Since the partnership proved to be a great success, city staff hopes to continue the volunteer effort at Sibley Farm and look for ways to grow it and other volunteer opportunities.

"Volunteers come to help the city in many ways," said Parker Skophammer, program administrator. “City staff looks for common sense ways to connect students and people in the community so we can advance their objectives while giving back to the community at the same time."

Learn more about city of Mankato volunteer opportunities, watch a video and apply to volunteer online. For more information contact city staff at 507-387-8621. 

Area trails feature kiosks with maps and other useful information  

New kiosks display maps for Mankato area trail goers.
Mankato area trail goers will now find maps and other information on display in kiosks located at:

  • South Riverfront Drive and Woodland Avenue 
  • West Mankato trail by the YMCA
  • Minnesota River trail junction of the West Mankato and Minnesota River trails
  • Minnesota River trail (Main Street access)
  • Riverfront Park 
  • North Minnesota River trail (North Riverfront Drive access)

Not only do the maps show area trails, they also indicate general areas of interest, such as parks. City staff seeks public input for the maps currently on display to further develop them to best meet citizen needs. 

Space is available for organizations interested in sponsoring a kiosk. For more information contact public works staff at 507-387-8647. 

Leaf pick up begins October 15

Leaf pick up is a value-added service for Mankato's recycling and refuse customers.
The city of Mankato’s seasonal leaf pick up service is tentatively scheduled to begin October 15, and will be determined based on when the majority of the leaves have fallen. Once service begins, it is budgeted to last four weeks.

Leaves are removed from the street the day after recycling/garbage is picked up. Areas that have garbage picked up on Fridays are scheduled for  leaf pick up on Mondays.

It's important that leaves are not placed in the street prior to the leaf pick up start date because they end up in storm drains, which can be costly. 

Other compost options
Compost at home or take to the Southern Minnesota Construction (SMC) compost site, 57032 231st Lane, Mankato  (one mile north of Highway 14 and the Third Avenue intersection). There is no cost for Mankato, non-commercial residents. The compost site is generally open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 507-388-3122 for more details. Residents may also schedule curbside pick up for an extra charge. Learn more about these compost options.

Leaf pick up is a value-added service for Mankato's recycling and refuse customers. For more information contact staff at 311 or 507-387-8600.

New police officer joins city of Mankato team 

Police Officer Jacob Prices takes oath of office. Also pictured are Director of Public Safety Todd A. Miller and City Clerk Cheryl Lindquist.
Jacob Price recently took oath of office. Price, a graduate of Metropolitan State University, is participating in a 16-week training program to prepare to serve the community.

It's the People’s Choice

Tireless, by Chris Batson, Lake Crystal

The top 20 "People’s Choice” winners have been selected by the public. "People's Choice" was a citizen suggestion. This year’s People’s Choice winners are:

For more information contact Mankato’s public information staff at 507-387-8692. 

Mayo Clinic Health System donates two defibrillators to city of Mankato

Defribilllators can help save lives in an emergency.
The Mankato Department of Public Safety received two automated defibrillators (a value of $3,105) from the Mayo Clinic Health System. Each defibrillator will be carried on a fire vehicle used to respond to medical emergencies.

"Since early defibrillation can save lives, having them is a great benefit to the community," says Deputy Director Jeff Bengtson.

For more information contact staff at 507-387-8703.

Enjoy quality entertainment at the Verizon Wireless Center  

Fantastic night at the civic center by Ted Jacobson, Mankato.
Munchkin Markets
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, October 6
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, October 7

The Fab Four
7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 6

MSU Maverick Men's Hockey vs. Lethbridge
5:07 p.m., Sunday, October 7

Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson Twins of Evil Tour
7 p.m., Tuesday, October 9

MSU Maverick Men's Hockey vs. RPI
7:37 p.m., Friday, October 19
7:07 p.m., Saturday, October 20

Celtic Thunder Voyage
7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 27

Sign up for EventMail to receive the latest news about civic center events. For more information contact staff at 507-389-3000.

24-hour city services 

Other helpful phone numbers

  • Compost site: 507-388-3122
  • Household hazardous waste: 507-304-4242
  • Non-emergency calls: 311 or 507-387-8600