A safer Minnetonka Boulevard: At long last, in 2024, Hennepin County will be fully reconstructing Minnetonka Boulevard from Highway 100 to France Avenue including both the road and sidewalks. While the project will be disruptive for a time, the result will be a safer, more comfortable experience along this major corridor for all users including walkers, rollers, and drivers. The city and county are planning both virtual and in-person community engagement activities to ensure the project meets users’ needs. I’ll share information on opportunities to provide feedback as it becomes available. For now, here’s a link to the project webpage.
Speed limit change: After nearly a year of study, council is expected to approve an ordinance allowing a reduction in speed limits on most residential streets from 30 mph to 20 mph. Here’s a map of the proposed changes. I heard from many residents on this issue, the vast majority of whom are in support of lower speed limits. The changes are expected to be implemented this fall with new signage and a robust community education effort. Please, do your part and drive 20 mph or slower to make our streets safer for children and others.
Semi-truck parking: Semi-trucks move more than 80 percent of goods in Minnesota and hardworking truckers need safe places to park and rest. But streets where people live, work and shop are not the right place. Later this month, council will initiate a process to address the problem of semi-truck parking in residential and business areas that will ban trucks in some areas, including along the Hwy. 7 frontage road east of Beltline Blvd. where as many as 18 trucks are currently parked at any given time.
Scooters are back: After a hiatus last year, electric scooters are back as a shared mobility option in SLP. Currently about 50 Bird scooters have been placed in the City with a total of 125 scooters anticipated to be available in coming weeks. Be safe out there!
More family-size apartments: I’m a proponent of homeownership over renting as a way to build wealth, but for families who choose to or must rent, finding an affordable apartment in SLP big enough to house a family is tough because there aren't very many. Council recently approved a change to our inclusionary housing policy that requires new buildings with 50 or more units to include at least two affordable three-bedroom apartments. Buildings with more than 50 units will require incrementally more three-bedroom units. It won’t take care of everyone but it’s a start.
Free meals 24/7: The SLP Fire Department is partnering with nonprofit Every Meal (formerly the Sheridan Story) to offer non-perishable nutritious meals any time of day or night in the lobbies of Fire Station 1 and Fire Station 2. Please help spread the word.
Climate Champions: In support of our city's ambitious Climate Action Plan, a new cost-sharing and recognition program is available to commercial property owners/managers in SLP. Commercial property owners/managers who implement energy improvements eligible for rebates from other entities can receive an additional rebate from the city of up to $3,500 per property along with other types of support to reduce their energy use and costs. Info on the Climate Champions Program here.
Sustainable SLP: Our Climate Action Plan is inspiring other actions that are getting noticed. SLP was recently named a Step 5 Green Step City for our efforts to reduce energy use, conserve resources, and innovate to address climate change, and earned the SolSmart Silver Designation for addressing barriers to solar energy and fostering the growth of local solar markets. (Check out the city’s popular new rebate program for residential & commercial rooftop solar here!) Finally, SLP has been named a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Community for our efforts to build better places to bike. Let's keep it up!
Related: Please share your feedback on the protected bikeway pilot project along Dakota Avenue by completing this user-friendly survey. Community feedback is critical to informing future bikeway projects. Thank you!
Cedar/Isles Master Plan: The Minneapolis Park Board is currently spearheading a Master Plan for the Cedar Lake/Lake of the Isles area including the Cedar Lake Regional Trail between Highway 100 and Cedar Lake. If you use and care about the future of this area, please complete the community survey here. Find more information and sign up for email updates on the master planning process here.
Volunteer in the arts! SLP is lucky to have an active and inclusive community arts organization that partners closely with the city to build community through the arts. St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts (FOTA) is currently seeking volunteers for upcoming events including the SLP Art Fair and Trail of Small Wonders – sign up to volunteer here. FOTA is also seeking new board members. You can fill out an application here or contact executive director Jamie Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLP’s next City Manager: The process of selecting our next City Manager is nearing completion. Second interviews with the top three candidates are set for next week and contract approval is tentatively set for the June 21 council meeting. Seventy-two people applied for the opportunity to replace longtime City Manager Tom Harmening. Here’s a press release about the finalists.
Here's a select list of upcoming events in SLP:
Social Justice Art-Walk: Wolfe Park (walking trail around Wolfe Lake), now through the end of June. View more than 25 original works of art by SLP residents on the themes of racial equity and social justice. Here’s a three-minute video about the project, co-sponsored by Friends of the Arts and the SLP Human Rights Commission.
Aquila Schoolyard Urban Farm Nights: Tuesdays, now through August, Aquila Elementary School. 5:30 pm farm tours, 6:30 pm free dinner and food security forums. All are welcome! Hosted by Seeds Feeds; more info on the event here.
Parktacular is back! Saturday, June 19, 12-4 pm, Wolfe Park. A condensed version of this annual summer event will include a parade, live music, food trucks, business expo, and more. Info here.
Annual Fall Tree Sale: SLP’s popular tree sale is underway in partnership with Tree Trust. Trees are available for $35 each on a first-come first-served basis (limit three per property) and typically sell out quickly. Preview available trees and place an order here.
Thai Night Market: Saturday, June 26, 11am-9pm, Wat Promwachirayan. Authentic Thai food, live music and dance (fire dance at 8 pm), souvenirs, local vendors and more. Info here. Related: June 21, 2021 is Wat Prom Day in St. Louis Park, celebrating our partnership with this great cultural and community resource whose home is in Ward 1!
Thanks for reading and please stay in touch!
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.