Maplewood public works department earns praise

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency recently installed a solar array at North High School as part of the Hometown Solar Grant program. submitted photo

You might not know their names but you certainly know their work. And it’s that work that recently led the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce to present the Maplewood public works department with this year’s Leaders in Local Government Public Works Award.

Chosen from among four finalists, Maplewood was praised for its snow plowing, park maintenance, Living Streets initiative, commitment to storm water sustainability and its comprehensive asset management.

Michael Thompson, the city’s public works director, gave the credit to his team of 36 employees. “Without them our ideas and initiatives couldn’t be implemented,” he said. “They do a great job each and every day.”

Thompson added that public works departments generally only hear from the public when someone is upset, so an award like the one is an important accomplishment. “You never get a call when the streets are in good shape,” he added with a laugh. “On a daily basis, we have people down manholes, inside pipes, standing in water, you name it. I’m really proud of the team we have here.”

City manager Melinda Coleman praised Thompson and his staff. “We see the great work they do every day throughout Maplewood,” she explained. “I’m thrilled for the entire public works team for their achievement and for being recognized as leaders in our region.”

Mayor Nora Slawik said the award from the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce is a testament to the city’s commitment to maintaining excellent services. “The award really is a big deal,” she explained. “Our Public Works Department is fantastic and they play a key role in making Maplewood the kind of place that people are happy to call home.”

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