Joe Atkins represents District 4 on the Dakota County Board of Commissioners.

New Local Sex Offender Law, New Businesses, New Roads, New Survey

There is a lot of news in this 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

Prime Therapeutics started construction of a massive, 400,000-square-foot office facility near the Eagan-Inver Grove Heights-Mendota Heights border, next door to the new Vikings headquarters along Interstate 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 recently announced that Mendota Heights-based Patterson Companies jumped 96 spots to make the Fortune 500 list at #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, according to Wallet Hub. Inver Grove Heights is home to a remarkable number of successful small and/or home-based businesses.

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.

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.

Law-abiding residents

With just eight 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 here:

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



I would appreciate your input. You can weigh in by emailing me at or calling me at (651) 438-4430.

1. Sex Offender Residency Limits. Do you agree with city ordinances that restrict 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. Yes

B. No

C. Unsure

2. Greatest Challenge. What do you feel will be the three biggest challenges faced in Dakota County over the next 10 years? You can add you own item(s). Additional comments are welcome.

A. Lack of affordable housing

B. Lack of adequate workforce to support our local businesses and economy

C. Transportation. Examples: congestion, deteriorating roads

D. Meeting the needs of on aging population

E. Crime

F. Providing a good education to all students

G. Inadequate access to affordable higher education

H. Attracting and growing businesses and jobs

I. Lack of broadband (or lack of affordable broadband)

J. Other ___________________

As always, I welcome comments and questions.