Washington Conservation District on the move

Agency leaving Valley Ridge Mall in spring for larger Oakdale location

The Washington Conservation District is on the move.

The water conservation and education agency is leaving its current Valley Ridge Mall office in Stillwater this spring for a larger, more centrally located location in Oakdale, according to WCD Executive Director Jay Riggs.

Riggs said the move to a larger commercial warehouse space in Oakdale allows the WCD to bring all its operations to one location. He added that the agency is “bursting at the seams” in its current 3,600-square-foot mall location.

“We needed more space. We wanted a facility with storage and work space,” he said. “Our storage is off site and our work space is not connected to our current space. And we want to do more demonstration projects at our office.

“The other thing the new space provides is training spaces,” he added.
The WCD handles water-related issues in conjunction with the county’s several conservation districts; offers programs on issues ranging from rain gardens to removing invasive plants, and assists property owners in planning and planting rain gardens and other landscape restoration projects.

Riggs said the new WCD office is a 10,000-square-foot building at 455 Hayward Ave. in Oakdale. The agency found the facility after a lengthy search, he added.

“It’s a commercial warehouse building. We looked all over (the county) for five years. We wanted a site that was centrally located,” he said.

Although Riggs said WCD officials kept county officials informed of their building search, the agency does not need County Board approval to move. He added that the WCD’s move was approved by the state Board of Water Resources.

Riggs stressed that the WCD will not leave its Stillwater location until sometime in the spring. “We’re not moving for awhile,” he said.

One reason it took the WCD several years to find a new location was locating a large enough space for all the agency’s operations, according to Riggs.

“There aren’t that many 10,000-square-foot spaces out there,” he said.

There are also economic reasons, along with space considerations, prompting the agency’s decision to move, Riggs said.

“We’re getting three times the space for the same rent at Valley Ridge Mall,” he said. “This is something over the long term that we can offer our services more efficiently.”