April greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
Historic Walker-Lake update: Work will begin this summer on new sidewalks, boulevards, street trees, and streetlights to revitalize the Historic Walker-Lake District, St. Louis Park’s original downtown. The momentum is building for this area to become a great new destination in SLP. Along with the recently opened American Legion, Sota Clothing, SLP Nest, and SLP Nutrition, more small businesses will be opening soon including the 24-seat Mexico City Cafe (opening next month in the old Park Yogurt spot), The Block (new 112-seat restaurant in the old Park Vacuum space), and a new woman-owned salon on Lake Street. Construction season will be hard on these small businesses, so please visit them often this summer and fall!
Dockless bikes, scooters & more: Nice Ride, Lime, Bird, Spin, Lyft…which will it be? This year, the city will pilot a mobility sharing service with one or more companies to learn about challenges and opportunities related to bike sharing, car sharing, and/or electric scooters. Up to 250 devices, at least 40 percent accessible in the middle of the city, will be available to users via both smartphone and cash access. Staff’s full recommendation to council can be found here. Watch for more information in coming weeks.
Dakota Park Bikeway & Bridge project: Final approvals on the Dakota Park Bikeway & Bridge project plan are set for next month. The staff-recommended design accommodates concerns from Peter Hobart families and others regarding the location of the bridge; the proposed bikeway eliminates some street parking Dakota Avenue south of Minnetonka Boulevard. A public hearing on the project plans will take place April 15 at 7:30 pm at City Hall. If you can’t make the meeting but want to comment, please do so here.
Equal Rights Amendment: Did you know that the Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced to the U.S. Congress in 1921, was never ratified? If the answer is no, you’re not alone; according to ERA Minnesota, 76% of the population believes we already have an Equal Rights Amendment. At our March 18 city council meeting, in response to resident requests, St. Louis Park joined several other Minnesota cities in passing a resolution urging the Minnesota Legislature to include a question on the 2020 ballot asking voters if they approve amending the state constitution to read, “Equality under the law shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender.”
Ranked Choice Voting video: This fall, for the first time, St. Louis Park residents will use ranked choice voting to choose our mayor and at-large city council members. City staff have produced a one-minute video to answer the questions: “What is ranked-choice, and how do I vote a ranked-choice ballot?” Watch it here.
Rock Island Park cleanup and preservation: I continue to hear from residents about their interest in and energy for preserving Rock Island Park, a pretty cool piece of history hidden behind the sound wall near Toledo Avenue and 28th Street in the Fern Hill neighborhood. Energetic residents are planning a cleanup event on May 4 from 9-12. All are welcome!
Here’s a select list of other upcoming events:
Water Treatment Plant Tour: In my February update, I shared that Water Treatment Plant #4, shut down for two years, had come back online with new equipment to remove harmful chemicals. The city is hosting a free public tour of the newly refurbished plant on Tuesday, April 16 between noon-1:30 and 5:30-7 pm. Sign up here.
Interpretive Center Groundbreaking at the wonderful Westwood Hills Nature Center, 8300 W. Franklin Ave. Monday, April 22, 5:30-6:15, with remarks at 5:45. Information here.
St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP) Inaugural Fundraising Breakfast, Thursday, May 2, 7:15-8:30 am, Metropolitan Ballroom, 5418 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley. Info and registration here.
First Sunday Meetups: My April meetup is TODAY, April 7, from 3-4:30 pm at the Birchwood warming house, 2701 Zarthan Ave. S. We'll have an open discussion on issues of interest to residents, with no specific topic on the agenda this month. All are welcome!
Thanks for reading and please stay in touch!