Senator Karla Bigham Announces Two Major Investments in East Metro Public Safety

St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) today announced two major investments in east metro public safety approved Sunday, May 20 by the Legislature. By a bipartisan vote of 42-25 in the Senate, lawmakers approved a package of public construction projects, including significant funding to construct the HERO Center in Cottage Grove and the SMART Center for Dakota County. Governor Dayton now has an opportunity to sign the bill into law.

“At one point this year, it appeared that these vital public safety projects for our area would be ignored, but the need for the HERO and SMART centers is so large that I refused to back down on this,” said Sen. Bigham the next day. “At the last minute, Senate Republicans softened their opposition and let me know that they listened and heard me loud and clear. It’s heartwarming to know that in my first year as a state senator, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers were able get these projects across the goal line. It’s by far my top accomplishment this session.”

In addition to improving regional public safety, building the HERO and SMART centers will drive job growth for local construction companies and their workforce.

Dakota County Regional Public Safety Center

Dakota County will receive a $6.2 million grant to acquire land for and to predesign, design, construct, furnish, and equip the Safety and Mental Health Alternative Response Training (SMART) Center. The center will serve as a centrally located regional hub and provide training space for the Minnesota Crisis Intervention Team as well as provide a central location for other public safety resources.

East Metro Training Facility

Cottage Grove will receive a $9.5 million grant to construct, furnish, and equip a Health and Emergency Response Occupations (HERO) Center in Cottage Grove. According to local officials, the 41,000-square-foot facility would fill a void in training for public safety personnel including police officers, firefighters and EMS staff needed in the southeast metro area. The HERO Center will equally benefit the cities of Cottage Grove and Woodbury.

Senator Karla Bigham
Karla Bigham represents District 54 in the southeast Twin Cities metro, including parts of Dakota and Washington counties.

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