July greetings! Here’s city-related news for residents of Ward 1 and beyond.
Spin scooters are coming: Last month, Council approved the city’s first-ever mobility sharing license with Spin, which is owned by Ford Motor Company and currently provides services in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Spin scooters will be available in St. Louis Park sometime in 2019. According to the terms of the contract, at least 40% of the devices must be staged in neighborhoods in the center of the city, which includes all six Ward 1 neighborhoods. So far, no bike sharing companies have responded to the city’s RFQ. More about mobility sharing in SLP can be found here.
Big-picture planning for the arts in SLP: St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts, our terrific nonprofit community arts organization, recently secured a grant award from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to create a strategic plan for the arts in SLP. The plan will outline a path for arts and culture to develop in support of the city’s strategic priorities and support artists, arts organizations, and creatives living in SLP. A 2016 study facilitated by MN Citizens for the Arts showed our city benefits from over $1.5 million annually in economic impact from the nonprofit arts and culture sector. Learn more about (and support!) Friends of the Arts here.
Walker Lake beautification: More good news! City staff recently secured a $50,000 grant award from Hennepin County to fund a façade improvement program for the Historic Walker Lake Business District, St. Louis Park’s original downtown. The matching grant program will support business and property owners in the area to make exterior façade improvements such as painting, signage, awnings, exterior restoration, doors and windows. Please note that most Walker Lake businesses including Sota Clothing, SLP Nutrition, American Legion Post 282, and Mexico City Café (see below) are open during road construction taking place in the area now. Please help these local businesses by patronizing them often this summer!
New restaurant & parklet: Mexico City Café, SLP’s newest locally owned eatery, opened in May and is earning great reviews. The restaurant is located in the former Park Yogurt space, across from the SLPHS sports field at 6416 W. Lake St. Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine in the cozy interior space or take your food outside to the parklet temporarily located on the street in front of the restaurant. New to SLP but popular in other communities, parklets are seasonal extensions of pedestrian space that seek to activate and enliven public space, calm motor vehicle traffic and help communities re-imagine the uses of streets. Check it out!
US Internet is live in Sorensen: Thanks to the good work of city staff, SLP is now one of only a handful of communities to offer more than two broadband providers to support increased competition and customer choice. Residents of the Sorensen neighborhood can now sign up to receive price-competitive broadband services from US Internet, and as of this writing, more than 50 households have already done so. The company has indicated plans to expand to other areas of SLP in the near future.
Dakota Park Bikeway & Bridge Project: Work continues to make this long-awaited pedestrian/bike connection between north and south parts of the city a reality. The next public meeting on the Dakota Park Bikeway & Bridge Project is set for Tuesday, July 9, from 6-7:30 pm in the Lenox Community Center cafeteria, with free childcare provided. City staff will present an overview of what’s currently proposed for the project overall, including unique art elements on the bridge structure, as well as revised plans for the bikeway along Dakota Avenue from Minnetonka Boulevard to Lake Street, based on community feedback.
July 8 study session/Pledge of Allegiance: Last month, city council approved two procedural changes regarding our regular meetings and study sessions: moving the start time from 7:30 pm to 6:30 pm, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance less often (not banning or eliminating the Pledge). The latter change has created unintended impacts in the community. At our study session on July 8, we'll briefly discuss whether/how we might revisit this topic in the future, in a way that moves the community forward. Per standard protocol for study sessions, public comment will not be taken, but as with all study sessions and council meetings, the public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Meet me in the parklet: My First Sunday Meetups are on hiatus for the summer, but with lots going on in the community and lots to talk about, I’m hosting informal “office hours” at the parklet (on the 6400 block of Lake Street) on Saturday, July 27, from 1-3 pm. Grab a smoothie from SLP Nutrition or a meal from Mexico City Café and let’s talk!
Here’s a select list of events in July:
Jim Crow of the North:The National Council of Jewish Women is hosting a screening and panel discussion on Jim Crow of the North, a TPT documentary that explores the work of Mapping Prejudice and puts it in the context of the African American experience in the Twin Cities. Tuesday, July 23, 7-9 pm at the Sabes Jewish Community Center. Info here.
MAC Listening Session: The Metropolitan Airports Commission is hosting a listening session for residents of the West Metro to hear questions & complaints about airplane noise. Wednesday, July 24, 7 pm, at the South Metro Public Safety Training Facility in Edina. To file a complaint, find information, or sign up for updates: macnoise.com.
STEP Fundraiser at Steel Toe: Enjoy food trucks, beer samples, and the opportunity to learn about STEP’s successes and future goals at this annual fundraiser for our community's safety net, with a focus on raising funds to prevent homelessness in SLP. Thursday, July 25, 5-7 pm at Steel Toe Brewing. Info & 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.