The City Council received an update on the Strategic Plan as of the end of third quarter at their Dec. 7, 2016 meeting.

Reforming Organizational Culture

  • Strategy #1: Training and Travel Committee (Tuition Reimbursement): No update at this time.
  • Strategy #2: Evaluate Benefits for 2017 Budget: An increase in the city contribution to employees' health savings accounts {HSA) was included in the 2017 budget, and the city contributions will be deposited two times per year instead of four times so employees have more funding in their HSA earlier in the year.
  • Strategy #3: Health and Wellness Committee: Administration staff and wellness committee members participated in a CORE Assessment facilitated by Teri Erhardt with NFP. The results will help the wellness committee in planning 2017 activities based on employee needs and organizational culture.
  • Strategy #4: Emphasize Career Path Options During Annual Reviews: completed
  • Strategy #5: Compensation Plan for 2018: Five responses to the RFP for Position Classification and Compensation System Study were received. Staff is reviewing proposals.
  • Strategy #6: Interviews were conducted and the background process for recommended candidates is underway. Three full-time firefighters will be added. The positions were dependent on the 2017 budget being adopted. City Council adopted the 2017 budget at their Dec. 6 meeting.
  • Strategy #7: Employee Survey: No update at this time.

Make Cottage Grove a Recreation Destination

  • Strategy #1: Park Improvement Plan: Staff utilized the South Washington County Athletic Facility Needs Study to guide decisions made for Oltman Middle School fields; Staff worked with ISD 833 to improve Grey Cloud and Cottage Grove Middle School softball and baseball fields.
  • Strategy #2: River Oaks Business Plan: Council approved the new business model based on pro forma reporting; Improvements to the interior of The Eagles Bar and Grill restaurant were completed in time for the Nov. 17 grand opening.
  • Strategy #3: 1) Create Mississippi River Access: The Parks Commission approved a master plan for the park which includes a narrow woodchip trail and seating area at the overlook. This creates access to the beautiful views of the Mississippi River while still maintaining the treasured natural resources of the park. 2) Boat Launch on Mississippi River; Staff continues to have challenges attaining access to form a boat launch site on Grey Cloud Island. The landowner group is not responsive based on concerns of what they perceive as "conflicts of interest" with future land use of the island. Staff will make one final effort to make this facility available to the public again. The Hazen P. Mooers Park and Mississippi River access were featured in the October "My Cottage Grove" video produced by SWCTC, which can be viewed here:

Engaging the Community and Forming the Vision

  • Strategy #1: Hire Facilitator for Community Engagement: This item is complete.
  • Strategy #2: Develop Communications Plan: The community engagement project was branded as My Future Cottage Grove and has its own logo that accompanies communications for the project.
    • Continuing action steps: The community engagement project continues to be promoted through the City website, newsletter, social media sites, and news releases. A section specifically for community engagement was created on the City's website.
  • Strategy #3: Develop Engagement Strategies/Gather Community Input: The City has been using "One Wish" chalkboards, Town Hall Community Visioning sessions, and social media campaigns to gather feedback from the community; the City will work with the consultant to reach out to targeted focus groups for additional input.
  • Strategy #4: Develop Community Plan: no action at this time.

Engaging the Community and Forming the Vision

  • Strategy #1: Hire Facilitator for Community Engagement: NEXT Generation Consulting was hired to facilitate the project; plans are underway for a kick-off meeting, town hall meetings and focus groups; Steering Committee members were appointed at the Sept. 7 meeting.
  • Strategy #2: Develop Communications Plan: the community engagement project is being promoted through the City website, newsletter, social media, press releases and videos with SWCTC; a community engagement section on the website is being developed.
  • Strategy #3: Develop Engagement Strategies/Gather Community Input: "One Wish" chalkboards, social media campaigns, online surveys, town halls, and focus groups will be used to engage with the community.
  • Strategy #4: Develop Community Plan: no action at this time.

Positioning for Growth

  • Strategy #1: Hire ED Director: Economic Development staff completed the on line prep class for the BR&E (business, retention and expansion) process; The BR&E Task Force has been formed and will begin training in January 2017; The BR&E leadership Team has been participating in practice interviews; Letters will be sent to businesses in January 2017 inviting them to participate.
  • Strategy #2: Develop Successful Business Park Plan: More than 20 acres in the business park are graded and are going through the DEED Shovel Ready Certification and Xcel Energy's Site Certification Program; Staff is waiting for the landowners to sign the purchase option to complete the DEED Shovel Ready Certification; Staff is working with Xcel to complete an archeological assessment to finish the Xcel Energy's Site Certification program; The EDA and Council approved an agreement with WAG Trust and staff is waiting for the landowner to sign the agreement; Economic Development staff continue to market the business park and Cottage Grove; Staff recently attended the Minnesota Commercial Area Realtors (MNCAR) Expo and the Industrial and Economic Development Annual Summit; Feedback from the BR&E will also be incorporated into the marketing plan; Staff worked with Washington County to finalize the BRT stations, with the Red Rock Corridor Commission approving the Implementation Plan in October 2016; Staff is reviewing City ordinances requiring Class I building materials in Industrial zoning. Proposed changes will go to the Planning Commission in January 2017 and to the Council in February 2017.
    • Continuing Action Steps: Stantec is continuing to work on the Comprehensive Plan update, which will also review the boundaries of the business park; Staff is finalizing a draft plan for the expedited review of development project proposals which will provide a consistent point of contact throughout the development process; Staff is continuing to review business subsidy policies and will bring recommendations to the EDA September; The SAC credit policy is also being reviewed.
  • Strategy #3: Space Needs Study for Public Works and Parks: Two firms were interviewed and proposals are being reviewed.
  • Strategy #4: Conference with Developers, Real Estate Brokers, and Land Owners: The Realtor Forum held in October, focused on development in the City.  There were 120 people in attendance; A developer or landowners' forum has not been discussed. Staff is receiving feedback from the industry that it is better to meeting developers and landowners on a one-on-one basis.
  • Strategy #5: Finalize RRCC BRT Stations: The Red Rock Corridor Commission approved the Implementation Plan at the Oct. 26, 2016 meeting. The Implementation Plan calls for improved local service between Cottage Grove and Downtown St. Paul to help build transit demand for the BRT stations.

For more information on any of the Cottage Grove strategic directions, contact City Administrator Charlene Stevens at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 651-458-2822.

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