June greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
Pesticides in the parks: I’ve been hearing from residents about their concerns regarding the City’s use of pesticides in some of our parks and other public spaces. While we don’t spray in the general park system, we do treat active athletic fields and other high-use areas like Wolfe Park, the Oak Hill picnic areas, and the Excelsior & Grand greenway. Products used include Garlon 3A & 4, SureGuard SC, and, in select areas, Roundup. These products are used to deliver expected quality to the public for athletic and other uses. What do you think about our City’s use of pesticides to control weed populations in select locations? Please email me your thoughts.
Bike trail detours: You may be noticing more bikers on Minnetonka Blvd. these days, as the Cedar Lake Regional Trail detour became official on May 13. The detour pulls bikers away from construction areas and onto city streets and alternative trails during the years-long construction period for Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT). The detour presents some challenges, and user feedback is important to addressing them. If you have concerns, questions, or ideas for improvement, please email both the SWLRT Outreach Coordinator and Three Rivers Trail Manager. They need to hear from you! Drivers in SLP can also expect to see lane shifts, lane closures and road detours as early as next week, starting on Louisiana Ave. Sign up for weekly SWLRT updates here.
Speaking of bikes: Check out the first installment of the City’s Bikes in the Park video series, which includes a helpful summary of SLP’s 10-year Connect the Park plan. If you’re on Facebook, I also recommend Bike & Walk the Park!, a resident-run page for idea-sharing and advocacy around making SLP more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Given that nearly 40% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our city are from vehicle miles traveled, getting around via walking, biking or taking mass transit instead of a personal vehicle will be critical to achieving our Climate Action Goals.
City doing our part: Thanks to expert advocacy by residents who are members of SLP’s Environment & Sustainability Commission, City Council directed staff last month to enroll all the City’s electrical accounts in Xcel Energy’s Windsource program beginning June 1. The shift to purchasing all-renewable energy will cost taxpayers about $100,000/year, or about $2 per resident per year. While municipal energy use comprises just 2% of energy use citywide, the move to all-renewable is meaningful in that we are putting our money where our mouth is as we ask businesses (about 40% of GHG emissions citywide) and residents (about 20%) to do the same.
Accessory dwelling units & home-based businesses: Council will take up these intersecting topics at our June 10 study session, examining if and how we might change our existing rules & regulations regarding what kinds of new structures homeowners can build on their property and what uses (live/work) are allowed in the added structure and existing home. More on this soon.
Airplane noise: The month of May was a doozy for residents of SLP when it comes to airplane noise. Planes are loudest in SLP when they approach from the north; according to the MSP Noise Oversight Committee, 59% of all aircraft arrivals in May were from the north, compared with 31% in March. Wind & weather are major factors in determining which runways are used and where the noise pain is felt, but resident voice is also important in addressing challenges across the region. Register your complaints about airplane noise here.
2020 Census: The accuracy of the 2020 Census is threatened by political shenanigans at the highest levels of government, but a full and accurate count of residents is critical in 2020. Results will determine how much federal funding we receive for our schools, roads, hospitals, and emergency services, as well as how many representatives we will have in the U.S. and Minnesota House. The City is forming a Complete Count Committee to raise awareness and encourage all residents to be counted. Are you interested in joining the Complete Count Committee? Email here to learn more. Thanks!
Here’s a select list of upcoming events:
Breathe Clean, Electric SLP: Test-drive an electric vehicle, try out an electric lawn mower and learn about the many benefits of electricity over gasoline. Saturday, June 8, 11-2 at the ROC. Info here.
Prospective Councilmember orientation: Thinking about running for City Council or Mayor this November? Learn about the filing process and roles and responsibilities of elected officials in SLP. Thursday, June 27; check the City website for details as the date draws nearer. All are welcome!
Common Sound Music Festival: Doomtree, Jeremy Messersmith, Stereo Kitchen, the New Grey, and others will perform here in Ward 1 as part of the second annual Common Sound Music Festival hosted by Beth El Synagogue and Benilde-St Margaret’s School. Sunday, June 30, 2-9 pm. Tickets & info here.
First Sunday Meetup: My First Sunday Meetups are on summer hiatus. I look forward to our next meetup on Sunday, September 8 (moved back a week to accommodate Labor Day), from 3-4:30 pm. You can find a schedule and future meeting topics 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.