City Manager search: The City has hired Illinois-based recruiting firm GovHR to facilitate the search for a new city manager to replace Tom Harmening, who has capably held this important position for the last 17 years. The recruiting process is underway, with finalist interviews tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 5, open to the public and most likely held in the Council Chambers (with the opportunity to watch online) and someone new taking up the mantle no later than August. Here’s the job posting.
Lower speed limits on local streets: Along with neighboring communities Minneapolis, Edina, and Golden Valley, and in line with national trends toward lower urban speed limits, SLP is considering lowering speed limits citywide, with most residential streets proposed at 20 MPH. You can find lots of information on this topic, including an interactive map with current and proposed speed limits, here. Specific questions and comments should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or (952) 924-2656. You can also email me with your thoughts. If approved, changes will be implemented this summer.
Bollards on Dakota Avenue: Several changes have recently been made to Dakota Avenue as part of the city’s Connect the Park plan to make walking, biking, and rolling safer and more comfortable. Now, this spring, flexible plastic bollards will be placed along Dakota between Minnetonka Boulevard and Lake Street to create the city’s first protected bike lane. This is a demonstration project to test the impacts of bollards for bikers, walkers, rollers, and drivers. As part of the data collection process, residents are invited to complete an online survey. You can find it here.
More bikeway news: At our meeting tomorrow night, Council will be asked to approve a nearly $2.9M contract for the second and final phase of the Monterey Drive/Beltline Boulevard/36th Street Bikeway Project. Changes will include a roundabout near the Rec Center to replace the traffic signal and a combination of new on-street and off-street bike facilities throughout the area. Work is anticipated to start soon and be completed by Fall 2021. Info and maps here.
Contruction/Related: Here’s a map of all city-led construction projects planned for 2021 and here’s a nice video staff put together that outlines a typical construction process including service impacts, property impacts, restoration activities, private utilities, and what the end of construction looks like.
SLP PD Reports: Our Police Department has put out their 2020 Annual Report as well as a 2020 Use of Force Report which includes race data. Council is in ongoing productive conversation with our PD and other city staff on a variety of topics related to policing and safety, with a current focus on understanding and addressing racial disparities in the use of force; determining the role of police in achieving mental health outcomes; and defining and improving overall community safety. Stay tuned for more.
Racial covenants: Discriminatory covenants were once used to keep Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) from buying houses in many Minnesota neighborhoods, including in St. Louis Park, creating segregated communities and stifling access to wealth, education, neighborhood parks and other amenities for BIPOC individuals and families. While racial covenants can no longer be enforced, formally discharging them provides an opportunity for communities to acknowledge their racist history, pursue reconciliation, and seek solutions that create equity in housing. SLP is preparing to join the Just Deeds Project to support homeowners in discharging covenants and working to build more inclusive communities. More info coming soon.
Children First changes: This 28-year-old community initiative has a new director and a new focus: creating a data-informed, cradle-to-career initiative focused on closing race and poverty opportunity gaps so that all kids in SLP can realize their brilliance. Called "Park Partnership for Success," the initiative will involve stakeholders from across the community and include action groups focused on strategies to support early, middle/high school, and postsecondary learners. Children First relies on donations to do this important work and the pandemic has impacted their capacity to fundraise. Please consider donating to Children First. You can do so here.
New local eateries: Good news – three new food establishments have recently opened or are coming online soon including Hazelwood Food and Drink in the Bridgewater Bank building across from Trader Joe’s; and Angel Food Bakery + Donut Bar and Brito’s Burritos at the Texa Tonka Shopping Center. See you there sometime!
Thanks to all who provided opinions on the conversion therapy ban and targeted residential picketing ordinance in response to my request for feedback in last month’s update. I got a lot of emails on both topics which helped inform my thinking and votes. Please continue to share your views as it helps me be a better representative. You can reach me via email here or via phone at (952) 928-1447. Thanks!
Thank you for reading and be well,
I send out a monthly summary of city-related news to Ward 1 residents and interested others, posted here. If you’d like to receive it via email, let me know here.