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Viewpoint: Dakota County going up in the world

Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins welcomes questions and comments. He can be reached at 651-438-4430 or Joe.Atkins@co.dakota.mn.us.

There is a lot of "new"s in this e-update: new laws, new businesses, new additions to the Fortune 500 list, new roads, and a new survey.

NEW SEX OFFENDER RESTRICTIONS. Two more cities in Dakota County have joined the list of communities limiting where Level 3 sex offenders can live. An ordinance approved by the Farmington City Council restricts Level 3 sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of a school, park, playground, church, licensed child care facility or sex-oriented business. A new Hastings ordinance extends out 750 feet. In Minnesota, sex offenders are issued a number when they leave prison, and Level 3 is considered the highest risk to re-offend. Farmington and Hastings join South St. Paul, Apple Valley, West St. Paul and Rosemount in creating zones where convicted sexual offenders cannot live. Across Minnesota, over 40 cities now have adopted such ordinances.

NEW RETAIL. Watch for 29,000 square feet of new retail at Robert Trail and Diffley.

NEW BUILDING, MORE JOBS NEAR EAGAN/IGH BORDER. Prime Therapeutics started construction of a massive, 400,000-square-foot office facility near the Eagan-IGH-Mendota Heights border, next door to the new Vikings headquarters along 494. The building will replace the pharmacy benefit manager's current headquarters and allow the company to consolidate its Minnesota operations.

NEW FORTUNE 500 COMPANY. It was just announced that Mendota Heights-based Patterson Companies jumped 96 spots to make the Fortune 500 list at No. 466. A distributor of dental and animal health products, Patterson joins CHS in Inver Grove Heights on the vaunted list.

Minnesota now has 18 companies in the Fortune 500, and the Twin Cities area has more Fortune 500 companies than any other metro area in the nation.

BEST PLACE TO START A NEW BUSINESS. Inver Grove Heights just got named the best small city in Minnesota to start a business, and No. 29 in the nation. IGH is home to a remarkable number of successful small and/or home-based businesses. Source: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-small-cities-to-start-a-business/20180/#m...

NEW ROADS. In addition to all the road construction you see going on around here right now, just wait till next summer. Projects in 2018 include: Highway 3 (Robert Trail) from Highway 55 to Highway 149, including reconstruction of the goofy intersection at Rich Valley Boulevard; installation of a roundabout at 70th and Highway 3; and reconstruction of Broderick Boulevard from 80th Street to Concord, among others.

MN FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR. Congrats to Jeff Davis, a 44-year member of the Inver Grove Heights Fire Department, on being named Minnesota's 2017 Firefighter of the Year!

ICE CREAM. Thanks to the Friends of Inver Glen Library for hosting an ice cream social at the library last week. I had a great time volunteering, and the hundreds of kids had a great time eating.

DAKOTA COUNTY RESIDENTS AMONG MOST LAW-ABIDING. With just eigh prison admissions per 10,000 residents, a recent national study shows Dakota County residents to be among the most law-abiding in Minnesota and nationally. Read the article: https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2017/06/why-tiny-polk-county-se...

2018 COUNTY BUDGET. The County Board has already started planning for the next year's county budget. Dakota County has the lowest property taxes per capita of any county in Minnesota, and there is a desire to keep it that way. Find out more at: https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Government/BudgetFinance/2018Budget/Document...

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