September greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
Sam’s Club site - what’s next? The closing of Sam’s Club last year created an opportunity for the City to proactively guide redevelopment on this 13.5-acre site, in a prime location near the future light rail line. On Sept. 16, council will give final approvals to rezone the site from Commercial to a combination of High-Density Multiple Family Residential and Business Park, enabling the potential for at least 500 new housing units and 100 jobs on the site. The property, including the 150,000-square-foot former store, was recently listed at $12.5M; soil contamination and the site’s high water table will limit what can be built there. More info here.
Tax time: It’s that time of year again, when council sets the preliminary tax levy for the coming year. Last year’s levy increase was 4.35% over the previous year, or an increase of about $56.29 (annual) for a home assessed at $275,100, the median value home in St. Louis Park in 2019. The impact on renters, who make up about half of SLP residents, is harder to measure. A 5.61% increase for 2020 is the most recent preliminary levy discussed by council, with discussion continuing until the final vote in December. Local taxes fund critical city services as well as discretionary spending guided by council and community priorities. Do you have an opinion about property taxes in St. Louis Park? Please email me. You can find info on the city budget here.
Cool new hangout: Family-owned distillery Dampfwerk will open a 74-seat cocktail room and off-sale micro distillery next month in their 3,000-square-foot space at 6311 Cambridge St., near the existing Copperwing Distillery. In addition to cocktails, owners plan to offer non-alcoholic beverages, tapas-style dishes, and a Sunday “kaffee klatsch”-style brunch. Also set to come online this fall is The Block, a 112-seat restaurant/brew pub including a 50-seat dog-friendly patio in the former Park Vacuum building at 7007 Walker Street. Nice to have new places to gather!
Environmental cleanup: SLP residents will soon receive a detailed mailing from the city regarding the Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume Site, formerly referred to as the St. Louis Park Solvent Plume Site. Longtime residents will remember the vapor intrusion study and remediation that took place more than a decade ago; more recently, contaminants from this site led to the replacement of Water Treatment Plant #4 to address high levels of VOCs in drinking water. Superfund designation is being sought that will make the area eligible for federally funded investigation and cleanup. More info here.
Vote November 5: Did you know there’s a local election this fall? We’ll have the opportunity to choose two city council members, the mayor, and four school board members. Here are handy links to help you get to know the candidates:
City Council candidates, At-Large A (ranked-choice voting will determine the winner in this race)
City Council candidates, At Large B
St. Louis Park School Board (voters will be asked to choose 4):
C. Colin Cox
Find out where to vote on Nov. 5 here. You can also vote early starting Sept. 20.
Fern Hill Pavement Management: Several streets are scheduled for rehabilitation in the Fern Hill neighborhood (east of Monterey) in 2020. New sidewalks/trails may also be added. If you missed the public meeting last week, you can find materials here. Watch for additional meetings in the coming months, and sign up for updates here.
You gotta watch this: Check out (and share!) this inspiring video to kick off the 2019-2020 school year in SLP!
Here’s a select list of events this month:
My September meetup is TODAY, Sunday, Sept. 8, from 3:30-5 pm at the Birchwood Park shelter. The topic will be city-school partnership in St. Louis Park. All are welcome!
Community Storytelling Forum on Voting: Thursday, Sept. 12, 6:30-8 pm, St. Louis Park Public Library. An evening of stories on the theme of voting. Hear what voting means to a 25-year resident who came to America as a refugee from a war-torn nation run by military dictators, a 17-year-old looking forward to casting her first vote, and others. Hosted by Moth StorySlam winner Mary Christine Kane. Info here.
2ndAnnual St. Louis Park Art Fair: Saturday, Sept. 14, 10am-5pm, at the ROC. Over 60 Minnesota artists as well as food trucks and a community art project. Info here.
Thai Street Food Festival: Sunday, Sept. 15, 10 am-6 pm, Wat Promwachirayan Temple. Authentic Thai street food and traditional Thai and Southeast Asian dance and music. Family and dog-friendly event. Info here:
Mock election: Tuesday, Sept. 17. If you’re still not sure how ranked-choice voting works, stop by the citywide mock election to try the new system before casting your official ballot. Election judges will be on hand to assist and answer questions. You don’t need to be registered; anyone who attends is welcome to participate, including youth. Info on where to cast a vote on in the mock election here.
Dakota Bikeway meeting: Thursday, Sept. 19, 6-8 pm, City Hall. This meeting will focus on design alternatives suggested at previous meetings; staff will present their recommended layout. Info here.
Birchwood Neighborhood 5K Fun Run/Walk & Kids’ Dash: Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 am, Birchwood Park. Shout out to my neighborhood for this annual event, which is open to residents of other neighborhoods too. Enjoy face painting, music, food trucks, and more. All are welcome! Info and sign up 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.