The Lilleskogen Park Restoration Plan was amended at the March 18 Scandia City Council meeting to reduce the butterfly garden from 5,000 to a more manageable 2,000 square feet.
Park and Recreation Committee Chair Greg Zauner said the change is temporary; more area can be added later.
The council also voted to have the butterfly garden certified as a Monarch Waystation.
Every fall, monarchs migrate from the U.S. to Mexico, returning in the spring. Milkweeds fuel their flight and feed their caterpillars. Lack of milkweed has contributed to the record low monarch count.
Once common, milkweeds have suffered as farmers switched to genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crops. Milkweeds can survive tilling but not repeated herbicide use.
Land development, weed control in lawns, ditch mowing, drought and temperature extremes are also factors.
To counteract this trend, landowners can plant milkweeds to create a corridor of monarch feeding stations.
Monarch Watch, a nonprofit program, provides seed kits with common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).
The city will receive an official sign explaining the site’s purpose.
Butterfly garden advocate Janie O’Connor has been presenting monarch seminars in Scandia, recruiting volunteers and donations. At the February Park and Recreation committee meeting, she reported that 11 people have volunteered time, and the Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails and the Scandia-Marine Lions have offered financial support.
The butterfly garden is expected to cost about $4,400. Planting may begin this fall.
After the meeting, O’Connor said the reduction makes sense.
“5,000 square feet is a very large space,” she said. “When we looked at all the resources needed (seeds, plugs, water, volunteers, maintenance), it was logical to start with a smaller plot of ground.”
The council voted unanimously to approve a 10-year intergovernmental agreement with other Washington County cities to address groundwater issues. The purpose is to build a coalition; no new regulations or costs are required.
A state law passed in 2012 gives the Department of Natural Resources commissioner authority to create groundwater management areas and limit water use. This could affect residents and businesses who receive water permits.
In Scandia there is no municipal water service. Many residents have private wells, and two water companies, Hilltop and Scandia Water Company, have wells that supply water to downtown businesses and residents.
To make sure the city allows enough time for building high-quality homes, the council amended city code to allow someone building a new home to have a temporary dwelling unit for a year instead of six months.
When the year is up, temporary housing must be removed within 30 days. The amended code will let the city grant an extension allowing up to 90 days for good reason, for example, when parts of the old home are being reused in the new home. Both changes were recommended by the Planning Commission.
The recycling contract with SRC Inc. of Wyoming was extended for another year. SRC provides homeowners with 65-gallon wheeled carts and picks up recyclable materials every other week. The 2014 cost will be the same as it has been since 2001, $27,846. About 25 percent of this expense is offset by grant revenue from Washington County.
There will be no Scandia Heavy Metal Day this spring. Instead of bringing spring cleanup materials to the community center, residents are invited to take them to SRC at 6320 East Viking Blvd. in Wyoming from April 26 to May 3. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays. Residents must prove they live in Scandia to receive a 20 percent discount on fees.
The council also took the following actions:
– Approved a minor subdivision to create two lots from a 10-acre parcel on Meadowbrook Avenue.
– Accepted a $1,000 donation for Leonard Wojtowicz Skating Park from Roberts Family Funeral Home, organizer of the Vinterfest Scanley Cup hockey tournament, and a $100 donation from the St. Croix Horse and Carriage Society, which holds meetings in the community center.
– Approved a resolution supporting legislation that would allow cities to designate a city website, instead of a local newspaper, to publish public notices. Scandia spends about $2,000 a year on legal notices.
– Renewed an agreement with Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys for summer 2014 recreation programs at Camp Lakamaga on Big Marine Lake. The city promotes the classes and River Valleys staffs them. Scandia receives 20 percent of the registration fees paid for camps such as archery, skateboarding and tennis; last year the city’s portion was $1,121.
– Voted to send City Administrator Kristina Handt to the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference in St. Cloud in June, where she can choose from sessions such as “Tax Increment Financing Oversight” and “City Officials – They Can Be Oh-So-Good and Oh-So-Bad.” The registration fee is $325. Handt will stay with relatives, avoiding a hotel charge.
– Heard from Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Majeski of a burglary at Am-Tec Designs, a vehicle theft on Pilar Road and a burglary at an ice house on Big Marine Lake.