Reporting Holly Wagner
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) – The lines are longer at licensing centers as Minnesotans try to beat the possible suspension of many state services scheduled for 12:01 a.m. Friday.
One block from the state Capitol, the Driver and Vehicle Services office is packed. Jennifer Greunzer of St. Paul rushed to renew her drivers’ license which is set to expire in a few weeks. And she had plenty of company. Branch manager Katie Orth says drivers’ license renewals hit a record this week. She says many people are worried their licenses may expire during a possible government shutdown.
The Department of Driver and Vehicle Services isn’t on the list of essential state offices that will remain open during the shutdown. But, Minnesota Public Radio News reports limited services, such as license renewal or a state ID application, will be provided during a possible closure.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation already started closing down rest stops in the state. Kevin Gutknecht, from MnDOT, said they planned to have all rest stops shut down by 5 p.m.
Park rangers are planning to spend the afternoon telling campers at state parks to pack up and prepare to leave. According to the DNR, state parks will close at the scheduled time Thursday.
People across the Twin Cities scrambled to get their business taken care of.
At the Hennepin County Service Center for drivers licenses at the Midtown Exchange, people started lining up an hour before it opened Thursday. The place was packed.
At Fort Snelling State Park, which seemed quiet for a day leading up to a holiday weekend, Laura Lundgren of Highland Park brought her kids for a swim. She said she’s frustrated about the possible shutdown and says she’d like to see a compromise between the governor and GOP leaders.
“It’s just such a waste. The zoo, this is a big month for state parks and we planned to camp later this summer and that won’t happen. Those plans are canceled,” Lundgren said. “Shutting down should not be an option. I’m glad that some vital things are shutting down so that the impact should be great, so that people feel it and realize it just shouldn’t be option.”
While the Minnesota Zoo will close if the government shuts down, a small staff will be kept on to take care of the animals. The zoo will also stay open for the scheduled concerts.
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