November greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
SLP voted! Records were shattered as SLP voters participated in extraordinary numbers during the recent election. A total of 32,622 people voted in our community - that's 86.8% of all registered voters. Other stats of interest:
Covid-19 - please do your part: As the holiday season approaches, it's tempting to want to gather with the people we love, despite the risks. But with hospitals on red alert due to a shortage of ICU beds, and a growing shortage of nurses and other caregivers due to their own illness or the need to quarantine, this is the year to do things differently. Small household gatherings have been found to be an important contributor to the virus's spread in our state; the Governor's new Executive Order places restrictions on these and other types of celebrations in order to save lives. Check out these recommendations from the CDC for holiday celebrations during the pandemic and please follow the Governor's orders!
Perspectives gets state support: Perspectives, a 44-year-old local nonprofit working to break cycles for struggling families and children, was recently awarded $4.5 million in state funds to support major renovations and expansion of their facility at 3381 Gorham Ave. S. Perspectives provides supportive housing, case management, mental health/recovery services, employment assistance, food, nutrition education, family reunification, and children’s programming for mothers and their children who are unhoused. They also provide academic, social and nutritional support to K-8 students who are unhoused/at-risk and attend SLP Schools. Congratulations and thank you, Perspectives!
D.A.R.E. program discontinued: After many years of being delivered to students in SLP schools, most recently all fifth-graders, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program has been discontinued in our district. Over the years, research has called the efficacy of the program into question. The SLP officer previously assigned to D.A.R.E. has been reassigned to a new role called Community Youth Outreach.
Poems in pavement: As part of the Historic Walker Lake revitalization project, poems by community members were recently selected and installed on sidewalks in the area. Find a map of the poems here; you can read the poems themselves here, or head out to see them in person! Thanks to community members for adding to the beauty and interest of this area with their original poems.
Stabilizing housing during the pandemic: The City has partnered with STEP to provide rent and mortgage payment assistance to SLP households impacted by Covid-19. Between April and October, a total of 64 households (199 people) were assisted with between 1-3 months of rent, at a total cost of $108,000.
Increasing diversity of our city staff: One of the many ways the City of St. Louis Park is working to become a more inclusive community is hiring and retaining more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Here's a short read by SLP's Racial Equity Manager about our progress to date.
Demo/new home construction: While going door-to-door during my campaign a few years ago, I heard a lot of concern about the purchase and demolition of existing homes in SLP by builders to make way for new, larger homes, particularly on smaller lots. In addition to potential negative impact on adjacent properties, this practice risks further reducing opportunities for affordable homeownership while benefiting builders. I'm happy to report this topic will come before the council soon; likely the first quarter of 2021. Potential mitigation strategies include reducing the allowable footprint of a new home; establishing maximum ground floor elevation; and deeming ceiling heights over eight feet as a second story. Please share your thoughts here and stay tuned.
Home Energy Squad Challenge: SLP recently joined 15 other cities in a challenge to promote home energy efficiency, which can lower home energy bills and make homes more comfortable. Many people (including my household) have found this very worthwhile! Both virtual and in-person visits are available for owners and renters. As of today, SLP is tied with Bloomington. Help SLP win! The challenge runs through Dec. 31. Info and sign up here.
New Ward 2 rep: Lynette Dumalag was one of eight Ward 2 residents who sought to represent Ward 2 on the City Council following the resignation of Anne Mavity. After an application and interview process with the candidates, council selected Dumalag to fill the seat through the end of 2021. Welcome, Councilmember Dumalag!
Here's a short list of upcoming events:
Friends of the Arts' Virtual Fundraiser with Friends: Nov. 16-20. Stories from the past year will be posted each day to show how support and donations to Friends of the Arts make an impact in St. Louis Park. The arts are a vital force in creating a healthy, inclusive community; please consider making a donation today to this wonderful community asset. Here's their website.
Small business Saturday: Nov. 28. This year, more than ever, instead of supporting large online shopping networks, please consider buying local, including on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28! There are more choices to buy and support local than you may think:
Here's a list of local stores with all kinds of interesting and useful products (SLP and Golden Valley).
Here's a list of local restaurants offering dine-in, takeout & delivery (get a gift card!).
Here's a list of BIPOC-owned eateries and businesses in SLP.Thanks for reading, be well, and stay in touch.
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