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St. Paul Park council to discuss future of Heritage Days

It has been a month since St. Paul Park city officials launched an online campaign aimed at garnering public input on the future of the annual Heritage Days celebration.

The City Council turned to citizens for direction as longtime organizer Jim Domeier is stepping down; the city doesn’t plan to provide funding next year; and there was an increase in police activity on Broadway Avenue during the three-night event this summer.

On the city’s website, residents could answer whether or not the annual festival should continue and what steps could be taken to improve it. The results of the month-long poll are in and the council has scheduled a workshop to discuss the comments and suggestions.

In a recent interview, council member Sandi Dingle said she feels there is a consensus on the council: Heritage Days should continue.

“We really need to sit down as a council and figure out what happened this year,” she said. “Do we want it to be discontinued? No.”

Despite the desire to continue, the council did not allot its annual funding to the festival because “we’re not sure of which direction to take it,” Mayor Keith Franke said last month. Last year the city put $5,000 toward the festival and another $5,000 toward the royalty program, which will not continue for 2013-14.

The Heritage Days workshop will follow the regular council meeting on Monday, Oct. 21. The workshop is open to the public.