May greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
Dakota bikeway & bridge project: Years ago, residents and elected officials in SLP identified a need for more north-south connections in the city for pedestrians and bikers. On May 6, council will decide whether to move forward with one of these connections, a new bikeway and bridge between Dakota Avenue/Minnetonka Boulevard and Edgewood Avenue/Cedar Lake Road that takes travelers over the BNSF railroad tracks near Peter Hobart School. The proposed project includes curb extensions along Dakota and pedestrian flashers at crossings near the elementary school. The southern portion of the route, along Dakota Avenue between Wooddale and Minnetonka Avenues, has been put on hold and will be brought back for council consideration later this year, after additional community engagement has taken place. More info on the project here.
SWLRT construction and trail closings: Work will soon begin on the METRO Green Line Extension that will bring light rail transit to St. Louis Park by 2023. Beginning next week, the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail (also called the South Cedar Lake Trail) will be closed through fall 2021 from Excelsior Boulevard in Hopkins to France Avenue in SLP. The North Cedar Lake Regional Trail through St. Louis Park will remain open. View a map of closures and detours here, and visit swlrt.org to find out more about the project and sign up for weekly construction updates.
Wooddale bridge: Work (for now) on the Wooddale Bridge will be completed this month with resurfacing, painting and the installation of landscaping, with traffic detours scheduled for May 7 & 8. Stoplights and a regional trail underpass will be added in the future as part of SWLRT construction, with no exact date identified for their installation.
Affordable housing: City council, supported by staff, continues to look for ways to ensure residents of all income levels can have a home in St. Louis Park. Last month, council approved changes to the city’s inclusionary housing policy that requires developers seeking any kind of entitlement, including zoning and land use changes, to include a minimum number of affordable units in their projects. Previously, only developers seeking financial assistance from the City were required to comply. Council also approved a policy amendment that requires developers who demolish existing affordable housing to make way for new apartments, and request entitlements from the City to build those new apartments, replace the affordable housing that was lost "one-for-one" in the new development.
RCV Video: Check out SLP staff’s new one-minute video on ranked choice voting that addresses how ranked-choice votes are counted and how winners are declared.
Lock your cars: Our city has seen an uptick in the number of thefts from autos. In the past 60 days, at least 44 thefts were reported, and in 33 of these cases, the vehicle was unlocked. Here are some tips & reminders on how to prevent thefts from autos.
SLP PD Mental Health Program: Police officers across the country, including in SLP, are on the frontline when it comes to managing people in mental health crisis. The SLP PD is partnering with the Hopkins PD and Hennepin County on a pilot program to reduce the use of force and arrests for people suffering from a mental health crisis, improve service to people in crisis, and prevent repeat crisis calls. The two-year pilot will include services from a county social worker and begin June 1.
Here’s a select list of community-related events to consider adding to your May calendar:
First Sunday Meetups for Ward 1 residents and interested others: My May meetup is TODAY, May 5, from 3-4:30 pm at the Birchwood warming house, 2701 Zarthan Ave. S. The topic will be SLP's Connect the Park plan to add more sidewalks, bikeways & trails throughout the community. All are welcome!
Historic Walker Lake Area Public Meeting: Thursday, May 9, 6-7:30 p.m., Perspectives Inc., 3381 Gorham Ave.
An Evening at the Nest: Wednesday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 15, 7-8:30 pm, SLP Nest, 3416 Library Lane. Hear from student board members how SLP Nest, Park’s youngest coffee shop, is serving students and the community and what their plans are for the coming year. This community fundraising event will feature Driven coffee, Muddy Paws cheesecake & more! Info & RSVP here.
Workplace Stories with Sue Sanger: Thursday, May 9, 6:30-7:45 pm, St. Louis Park Library, 3240 Library Lane. Former Ward 1 City Council Member and retired corporate attorney Sue Sanger will share stories as part of SLP Friends of the Arts’ Community Storytelling Forum. Info here.
26th Annual Children First Ice Cream Social: Sunday, May 19, 2-5 pm, SLP Recreation Outdoor Center, 3700 Monterey Dr. Info here.
Voices Together: The St. Louis Park Unity Sing: Monday, May 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, Wat Promwachirayan (Wat Thai of MN), 2544 Hwy. 100 S. Info here.
SLP State of the Community (formerly State of the City): Thursday, May 30, 6-7:30 pm, SLP ROC, 3700 Monterey Drive. Info here.
And for June ….
Common Sound Music Festival: Sunday, June 30, 2-9 pm, Beth El Synagogue parking lot. Doomtree (all seven members, including Dessa!), Jeremy Messersmith, The New Grey, Stereo Kitchen & others will be in Ward 1 for the second annual Common Sound Music Festival, hosted by Beth El Synagogue & Benilde St. Margaret’s School. Information and tickets 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.