New apartments & shopping, winter walking & biking, local climate change impacts, and more
October greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
New apartments & shopping in Ward 1: Last month developer Sherman Associates shared a conceptual site plan for a major redevelopment project next to the future Beltline Boulevard SWLRT station at Beltline & County Rd 25. The preliminary plan calls for 400 apartments, 20% of which would be affordable at 50% AMI; neighborhood commercial space potentially anchored by a grocer; a 362-stall park & ride ramp next to the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail; green spaces, plazas, and public art. Developers took comments from council on the concept and will continue to make changes in the coming months, with final approvals anticipated in spring 2020 and construction expected to begin soon after.
New bikeway & trail segments: Connect the Park is our city’s plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity across the community by creating a system of sidewalks about every 1/4 mile and bikeways every 1/2 mile. As part of the plan, new bikeway and trail segments are being proposed along Monterey Drive, Beltline Boulevard, and 36thStreet. A public hearing on the plan is set for tomorrow, Oct. 7, during our regular city council meeting which begins at 6:30 pm. If you can’t attend but have input on the plan, please share with staff here.The work is proposed to take place between 2020-2022.
Winter walking, biking & bus riding: Do you move around town without a car in the winter, via foot, bus, or bike? Is it challenging for you, and if so, exactly where and how? I’d like to know. Later this month, council will discuss the city’s role in maintaining safe walkways, bikeways, and bus stops in SLP year-round, in support of our Comprehensive Plan commitment to prioritize biking, walking, and mass transit use over the use of personal motor vehicles. Watch for more info on this and again, please share your ideas and experiences here.
Wettest year affects us here: You may have read that 2019 is the wettest year on record in the U.S.; in Minnesota, it’s the second wettest (so far), part of a longer term trend on record rainfall that is forcing us to change our climate assumptions as we plan for the future of our community and world. One example of local impact is Hannan Lake/Cedar Manor Pond, where city staff began pumping water about three weeks ago to address flooding impacting homes in the area as well as the new playground at Park Spanish Immersion School. Staff are exploring the feasibility of installing a lift station to address future flooding in this area, which will require an investment of community resources. Related: As part of its Climate Vulnerability Assessment work, the Met Council has created a localized interactive flood map that shows potential surface flooding locations in the Twin Cities, including St. Louis Park, in great detail.
Property taxes cont’d: Staff and council continue to work on determining the property tax levy increase for 2020, with a final vote in December. I've appreciated public input on this topic and encourage you to keep sharing your ideas and questions with me and my colleagues in the coming weeks. Cleargov is an interesting and useful new interactive tool that provides a demographic and financial profile of St. Louis Park including details on revenues, expenditures, and debt. I encourage you to check it out!
Municipal elections & endorsements: Municipal elections are Nov. 5. In my last update, I shared links to the website/FB page of all candidates running for city council and school board (who had one at the time) in order to promote informed voting. Some of my city council colleagues have endorsed council candidates in the upcoming election, which is their prerogative and certainly common practice in SLP. For myself, I choose not to endorse out of concern that putting my thumb on the scale may undermine the process of grassroots campaigning that I feel benefits both candidates and the community. Regardless of your approach to choosing candidates, please get out and vote in this election! Here’s information on all the ways you can vote, starting now.
Here’s a short list of upcoming events in the community you may not have heard about:
First Sunday meetup:My first Sunday Meetup is TODAY, Oct. 6, from 3-4:40 pm at the Birchwood Park shelter, 2700 Zarthan Ave. S. The topic will be growing small businesses in SLP but all topics, ideas, and questions are welcome and invited. Come on out for a discussion!
The Block is opening: Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 11 am, the new Block Restaurant at 7007 Walker St., in the remodeled former Park Vacuum space, will open their doors. Like many people in the community, I’m excited about this new local hangout.
Pop-up mobile voting: In our community’s ongoing efforts to increase voter turnout, staff has set up pop-up style mobile voting this election cycle. The second and last opportunity to vote mobile this this year is Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 3-7 pm at the Louisiana Court parking lot, 2705 Louisiana Court. Anyone can vote at this location during this time. The more people who do so, the more likely we will be able to offer this option in the future.
Airplane Noise Listening Session: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 7 pm, 6040 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis. The Metropolitan Airport Commission’s Noise Oversight Committee (NOC) will be gathering feedback from the public about their work plan related to noise mitigation at this meeting. More info 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.