Dakota-Edgewood Bridge update: This major infrastructure project connecting Wards 1 & 4 is on track for completion this fall, likely October. I’ve been asked a lot about the sheer magnitude of the bridge (yes, it’s big) and why we didn’t build something smaller. Here’s why: The railroad company that owns the tracks (BNSF) mandates that the bridge rise 24.5 feet over the tracks, for safety reasons. And to achieve that height, while also meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for slope, requires the bridge to be the length that it is. I’m excited for this safe new north-south connection for bikers, walkers, and rollers, as well as the project’s planned public art components, which include student art facilitated by Ward 1’s own Joe DeCamillis and other art celebrating Indigenous/Dakota culture and history. Stay tuned for more.
Police pursuits: Following the tragic death of Leneal Frazier, who was killed last month in Minneapolis when an MPD squad car chasing another vehicle collided with his, SLP council members requested clarification of our own PD’s pursuit policy. SLP’s policy is conservative to guard against preventable crashes, injuries and death and would not, for example, authorize PD to chase burglary suspects not considered violent. Pursuit is authorized when subjects are believed to be involved in serious, violent crimes and can realistically be apprehended. Traffic offenses or the failure of a person to stop don’t warrant pursuit by SLP officers.
Drought and H2O use: Drought conditions are widespread across the state, with the DNR currently recommending water restrictions for more than 500 cities. Check out an informative drought map for Minnesota here. St. Louis Park is not on the DNR’s list for now; however, our daily water use is up about 10% from the same time last year. Please do your part and adhere to our city’s watering restrictions, which prohibit lawn sprinkling between noon-6 pm for all households and businesses and prescribe an odd/even schedule for sprinkling lawns. Properties that end with an odd number sprinkle on odd-numbered days; properties that end with an even number sprinkle on even-numbered days. Failing to follow sprinkling restrictions can result in fines. If you see someone watering when they shouldn’t be, you can report the violation anonymously by calling (952) 924-2562. Thanks for doing your part!
STEP expansion: The St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP), our community’s food shelf and human services agency, recently purchased two buildings adjacent to their current building at 6812 W. Lake Street. STEP plans to rehab and build out all three buildings later this year and will initiate a capital campaign to fund the work. It’s anticipated that the City will be asked to provide some financial assistance as well, a request I’ll likely support.
Related: STEP’s Back to School drive serves hundreds of students in our community each year. It’s currently underway, with donations accepted through August 28 but preferred by mid-August. Please support our students! Information on how and what to donate here.
Rooftop solar trending in SLP: Thanks in part to the city’s new Solar Sundown cost share program, at least 28 residential and five business properties in SLP are expected to install rooftop solar panels this year, doubling the amount of rooftop solar in the community and bringing us closer to our Climate Action Plan goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030. If you own a home or business in SLP, check your property’s suitability for solar here and find out how you may able to receive at least 30 percent back on a solar investment here. Funds are still available but going fast!
New senior housing proposed for Beltline Boulevard: Minnetonka-based Roers Companies has submitted applications for a development at 3510 Beltline Blvd. featuring a six-story, mixed-use development for residents 55+. Here’s a link to the project webpage. A virtual neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 19 at 6 pm; see the project page for information on how to join the meeting.
New ped & bike access to future light rail: Work on Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) pedestrian/bike improvements near the future Beltline Boulevard Light Rail Station are set to begin this coming week. The project includes a new trail on the west side of Beltline, new trail and sidewalks on Ottowa Avenue, and changes to Lynn Avenue and the CSAH 25 Service Road. Here’s a link to the project page. Work should be completed by the end of October.
Crime uptick: There’s been an uptick in certain types of crime this summer, including break-ins and auto thefts. Police agencies across the US, including in SLP, are recommending people adopt a 9PMRoutine to prevent crimes of opportunity. Every night at 9 pm, take valuables out of your car, lock your car, close and lock doors on your home, and turn on an outside light. Makes sense!
Wat Prom expansion: Wat Promwachirayan Temple at 2544 Hwy. 100 S. is planning a modest expansion to streamline operations for their special events, which are enjoyed by SLP residents and people from across the metro area. The approximately 30-foot by 60-foot expansion will house a new kitchen and additional storage space. Info here.
Fern Hill Park equipment upgrade: Every 13-15 years the city replaces playground equipment in city parks, for safety reasons, with residents voting for their preferred new design. Fern Hill Park residents chose this design which is planned for installation this month.
Minnetonka Boulevard overhaul: Minnetonka Boulevard between France Avenue & Hwy 100 is slated for reconstruction in 2024! Now is the time to make your voice heard on safety and aesthetic improvements on and around this major thoroughfare through Ward 1. Here’s an online comment form where you can share your thoughts and ideas and here’s an interactive comment map. Here’s a link to the county’s project page, where you’ll find a summary of input provided to date as well as a project timeline and other information. A detailed engagement plan is being developed by city & county staff which I’ll share when it becomes available. Minnetonka Blvd. was last reconstructed in 1952.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Stormwater is water that comes from rain or melting snow that eventually runs off to a water body, soaks into the ground or evaporates. Effective stormwater management is increasingly critical as the climate changes to prevent or reduce flooding as well as protect wildlife and waterways. The city is hosting a stormwater pollution prevention meeting on August 12 (info below in events). Learn how storm water discharges affect water bodies, how to reduce pollutants in storm water runoff and to provide feedback on the city’s stormwater prevention plan and efforts. Important!
PLACE Project/Via: Construction halted on this mixed-use transit-oriented project a while back due to financial challenges experienced by the developer. Good news is a lender and financing package have been secured that will allow construction to resume soon.
Local election 2021: Reminder that the filing date for school board and city council candidates for the 2021 municipal election is Tuesday, August 10. All four city council ward seats and three school board seats are on the ballot. Local politics matter! I hope some of you will considering running for office and that everyone who is eligible will make a plan to vote.
Related: I don’t plan to use this newsletter for campaign purposes generally; however, I’m running for a second term and invite your feedback and support as I embark on that effort. A campaign kickoff party is planned for Thursday, August 19, 7 pm, at the home of Thom & Karin Miller, 2900 Yosemite Ave. All are welcome! Please RSVP here.
Here’s a select list of upcoming events:
National Night Out, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 5-9 pm. NNO is an annual community-building event aimed at creating safer, more connected neighborhoods and communities. Not sure if there’s a party on your block? Here’s a map of registered parties. You don’t need to be registered to have a party – informal gatherings are great too! I’ll be out visiting parties in Ward 1 and hope to see many of you.
Thai Sunday Markets at Wat Prom Temple, Sundays, Aug. 8 & 22, 11 am-7 pm. These family-friendly community events in Ward 1 offer authentic Thai Food, souvenirs and performances. More info and link to order food online (recommended but not required) here.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Meeting, Thursday, Aug. 12, 6 pm, Westwood Hills Nature Center. Info here.
3510 Beltline Development Proposal meeting, Thursday, Aug. 19, 6 pm, online. Info on how to join here.
Rog for SLP campaign kickoff, Thursday, Aug. 19, 7 pm, 2900 Yosemite Ave. S. RSVP here.
Seeds Feeds 7th Annual Harvest Festival, Sunday, Aug. 22, 9-2, program 12-2, Aquila School. Tour the food bank gardens and enjoy kid-friendly activities. Free lunch for all donated by SLP restaurants. Info and to register here.
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.