Park Perspective May 2017
Contents 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Fire Department Open House Yard waste collection tips Spring cleanup day Ecotacular Texas Avenue reconstruction project Mike Harcey selected as police chief Westwood Hills Nature Center news
The Park Perspective is printed on 30 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper in an effort to meet the city’s environmentally preferable purchasing policy.
City council and school board election information 2017 Municipal Election dates • Primary Election, if necessary: Aug. 8, 2017 • General Election: Nov. 7, 2017 (all precincts open)
Offices on the ballot
• S ignatures can only be collected during the candidate filing period.
• Councilmember Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 • S chool board offices for ISD #283 will only appear on the General Election ballot Primary Election requirement A Primary Election will be held on August 8 only if three or more candidates file for the same city office. Stay tuned for information in the July Park Perspective.
• Filing fee is $20 • A ffidavit of Candidacy (provided by the City Clerk’s office at the time of filing) Absentee voting • P rimary Election, if necessary: June 23 – Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. • G eneral Election: Sept. 22 – Nov. 6 at 5 p.m.
5005 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55416-2216
City Hall (7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) 952.924.2500 Emergency 911 Police (non-emergency) 952.924.2618 Municipal Service Center 952.924.2562 Winter Parking Hotline 952.924.2180 The Rec Center 952.924.2540 Westwood Hills Nature Center 952.924.2544 For city events, activities and news, visit stlouispark.org.
nextdoor.com facebook.com/stlouispark twitter.com/stlouispark Make service requests or receive city information via the app or visit
Candidate filing • C andidate filing for city offices opens May 16 and closes May 30 at 5 p.m. • C andidates may withdraw May 31 – June 1 by 5 p.m. (remove their name from the ballot) • F iling takes place at the City Clerk’s office (3rd floor of City Hall) • C ity Clerk’s office is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Candidate filing requirements • C andidates must reside within the ward from which they are seeking nomination. • N ominating Petition signed by at least 15 currently registered voters qualified to vote for the office specified in the petition. The form of the nomination petition must be substantially similar to what is outlined in the City Home Rule Charter.
Questions? Call the City Clerk’s office at 952.924.2503 or visit slpmn.us/elections.
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Park Perspective is published by the City of St. Louis Park to provide residents with city news.
Texas Avenue reconstruction project This project started construction in April with expected completion in November 2017. Details page 6.
Get involved with your neighborhood organization
Strong neighborhoods: • B uild investment and pride • Increase feelings of safety and security • C onnect neighbors with each other and with the city • C reate and maintain a sense of community
If you are interested in getting involved with your neighborhood, contact your neighborhood association leaders. Visit stlouispark.org for contact information. If your neighborhood isn’t organized, contact Breanna Freedman, community liason, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.924.2184.
Don’t make recreational fires a burning issue for neighbors The St. Louis Park Fire Department wants you to enjoy your small backyard recreational fire safely. The term “recreational fire” means “cooking fires and camp fires using charcoal or firewood for cooking or pleasure.” Fires used for debris disposal purposes are not considered recreational fires. Yard waste including grass, leaves, branches, twigs, garbage and recycling must be disposed of via your garbage hauler or the city’s brush drop off site. Be a good neighbor In addition to following the rules in the recreational fire permit, please consider your neighbors as well. Remember that smoke and the smell of smoke often carries into neighboring homes, even on calm days. Not everyone likes the smell of a campfire, especially inside their home. The smell of smoke can be an irritant. Young children, the elderly and people with asthma, lung or heart disease are especially vulnerable to wood smoke in the air. If you suspect an illegal burn, call 911 and let us investigate and educate. What’s required All wood burning recreational fires within the City of St. Louis Park require a Recreational Fire Permit which is available at slpmn.us/t3eg or Fire Station #1, 3750 Wooddale Ave. S.
For more information call 952.924.2595 during normal business hours. There is a one-time fee of $25 for a lifetime permit for the current resident residing at the property. • R ecreational fires must be 25’ away from any structure and 10’ away from the property line. • O nly burn untreated, unpainted, clean, dry, aged firewood that is at least 1” in diameter. Fires that are unreasonably offensive or injurious to others as determined by the city will be required to be extinguished. • R ecreational fires are not allowed when prevailing winds are greater than 10 mph or if the state has issued burning restrictions. Details: dnr.state. mn.us or pca.state.mn.us. • T he permit holder is responsible for conducting, controlling and extinguishing the fire. All fires must be extinguished completely to ensure that there is no smoldering or potential for reigniting. Never leave a fire unattended and always have a garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby. • R ecreational fires are permitted Sunday–Thursday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – midnight.
What to do when the outdoor siren sounds
As severe weather season begins, be aware that when sirens sound, they are for real emergencies and are designed to warn people who are OUTDOORS to seek immediate shelter. They are NOT designed to warn people who are indoors. The siren sound is always the same, regardless of the type of emergency. If the sirens sound, DO NOT call 911 to ask what’s going on. Seek shelter and tune in to the TV or radio for information.
Sirens are sounded in St. Louis Park for three reasons: 1. A tornado warning has been issued by the National Weather Service or a trained spotter has seen a developing tornado in or near St. Louis Park. 2. Straight-line winds have been clocked in excess of 70 mph. 3. Testing of emergency sirens takes place on the first Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. All St. Louis Park sirens are checked by city staff for proper operation.
2017 Fire Department Open House is June 13 June 13, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Fire Station #1, 3750 Wooddale Ave. S. Displays and demonstrations • Kitchen safety • Fire extinguisher demo • Burn rooms/fire sprinkler demo • Emergency preparedness • Older adult safety • HCMC ambulance • Hands-only CPR • Police squad car • Public works heavy equipment • Minnesota Safety Council • City departments • North Memorial Helicopter (if available) For kids • Sparky the Fire Dog • Squirt house • Take pictures of your kids in “kid-sized” fire gear Food • Hotdogs, cookies, chips, popcorn, fruit drink, water
Please bring non-perishable food items for STEP.
The Fire Department Open House has historically been a great family event, widely attended by all age groups. Enjoy displays, live fire demonstrations including sprinklered and non-sprinklered burn rooms, and fire trucks for kids young and old to explore. The St. Louis Park Fire Department, along with other city departments, is working toward building a more resilient community for our residents. For more than 100 years the fire department has been part of this vibrant, fast-changing community, delivering high-quality fire protection and emergency medical services. The demands placed on the fire department have evolved over time and now include fire suppression, medical response, hazardous materials, public education and code enforcement, just to name a few. A strong connection between the community and the fire department has always existed. Today we still support that relationship with our part-time fire staff and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which are St. Louis Park residents prepared to help the community in case of emergency.
A demonstration at last year’s Fire Department open house
Yard waste collection tips What is yard waste? Yard waste includes all garden plants, grass clippings, leaves, weeds, prunings, twigs and small branches (less than four inches in diameter and less than four feet long) and wood chips. Yard waste does NOT include sod, dirt, rocks, gravel, bricks, flower pots, garden implements or household garbage.
Residential brush drop-off now open
Reduce your trash with organics recycling
The site is located at 2501 Edgewood Ave. S., at the intersection of Cedar Lake Road and Colorado Avenue South. The site is monitored by city staff.
Participating in the organics recycling program keeps food scraps and other compostable materials out of the trash.
Organics recycling service is available at no extra cost to any resident with city garbage and recycling services. Residents can also save money by reducing the size of their garbage cart.
• Saturdays: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Preparing yard waste for collection
• Sundays: Noon – 4 p.m.
• U se a personal reusable container. Reusable containers must be 32 gallons or smaller and weigh no more than 40 pounds when filled. The container should be sturdy and have a lid and handles so it can be lifted by a single person. Containers do not need to be lined with a compostable bag. Residents are encouraged to label their containers using free “Yard Waste Only” stickers, available by calling Advanced Disposal at 763.786.7233 or the City of St. Louis Park at 952.924.2562.
• Tuesdays: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• U se a bag. Acceptable bags include brown paper lawn bags and certified compostable bags that are BPI certified and meet the ASTM Specification for Compostable Plastics (D6400). Each bag should weigh no more than 40 pounds filled.
Materials NOT accepted: Grass clippings, leaves, root balls, lumber, wood scraps, fencing, trash, sod, fill, any commercial services material, construction material or similar items.
• U se the brown-lidded organics cart (if signed up for organics recycling). Unbagged yard waste can be put directly in the organics cart along with bagged food scraps, food-soiled paper and other compostable material. • D o not include grass clippings if you receive the “Yard Waste Credit” on your city utility bill. Yard waste collection dates
Twenty percent of St. Louis Park households already participate. Don’t wait, get started today!
Cost: No charge for St. Louis Park residents. Minnesota ID or driver’s license as proof of residency is required. Materials accepted: Woody vegetation including brush, branches and logs.
The intent of the residential brush program is to help residents with larger branch removal from yards, storm clean-ups, promote the removal of buckthorn on private properties and reduce the amount of illegal dumping of woody vegetation that occurs on city properties. Yard waste (grass clippings, leaves and small branches) are collected curbside and not accepted at the brush drop-off site.
Yard waste is collected from April through November, weekly, on the same day as garbage. Have yard waste out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.
To sign up visit slpmn.us/organics or call Utility Billing at 952.924.2111. After signing up: 1. V isit City Hall or the Municipal Service Center to pick up certified compostable bags at no charge. Place food scraps, napkins, coffee grounds and other compostable materials in these bags for collection. Regular plastic bags are NOT compostable. 2. Wait for brown-lidded organics cart to be delivered, about one to two weeks after signing up. 3. O nce bags and cart arrive it’s time to start. Just sort it, bag it, drop it!
The material set out for organics collection is composted at a local, large-scale commercial composting facility that produces compost used to improve soil health, reduce soil erosion and decrease the need for chemical fertilizers.
What NOT to do with yard waste • D o not throw yard waste in the garbage – this is illegal (MN Statutes §115A.931).
• D o not place “Extra Garbage” stickers on bags of yard waste.
Separate food scraps, napkins, coffee grounds and more.
• R esidents signed up for the “no grass clippings” option should not set out grass clippings. Verify yard waste options by calling Utility Billing at 952.924.2111. Wondering what to do with big branches that fall after a storm? If branches, brush or logs are greater than four feet long or four inches in diameter, they are too big for residential curbside collection. Residents can bring them to the city’s brush dropoff site.
Bag it d Roa ke a L ar
Put organics in a certified compostable bag, available throughout the city or retail locations.
Brush drop-off site
drop it Place bagged organics in the brown-lidded cart for weekly collection.
Sprinkling ordinance conserves water Permanent restrictions
To conserve water, St. Louis Park prohibits lawn sprinkling between noon and 6 p.m. In addition, all households and businesses must follow an odd/even schedule when sprinkling lawns. (Property addresses that end with an odd number sprinkle on odd-numbered days on the calendar; property addresses that end with an even number sprinkle on even-numbered days.)
New sod or seed, newly planted shrubs, trees, landscaping and flower gardens are exempt from the odd/even schedule. Even in these circumstances, however, sprinkling must be done before noon or after 6 p.m.
Additional conservation measures may be required during critical water shortages, including limiting watering to once every five days or banning all outdoor sprinkling. The public will be notified if these measures are needed.
Spring cleanup day is June 10 The annual spring cleanup is Saturday, June 10, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the St. Louis Park Municipal Service Center, 7305 Oxford St. The event is for St. Louis Park residents only; personal ID is required.
Items collected for a fee (charged per item)
Currently, failing to follow sprinkling restrictions can result in an initial fine of $25 with subsequent violations rising by $10. (For example, the second violation is $35; the third violation is $45, etc.).
• CRT Monitors and Box/Tube TV’s • Appliances and microwaves • Tires • Mattresses and box springs • Stuffed chairs, sofas, sectionals Items without individual fees (charged by volume)
• H oliday lights, extension cords, electrical wire. • P aper for shredding: Limit five grocerysized bags per vehicle. Shredded paper will be recycled. New this year, an additional paper shredding event is available on June 17. See article below. • F luorescent bulbs: Limit 10 bulbs per vehicle (including compact fluorescent lights, U-shaped and circular fluorescent tubes, bug zappers, black lights, germicidal bulbs, high output bulbs and cold-cathode fluorescent bulbs). Must be intact/unbroken. Bulbs contain mercury, carefully wrap bulbs in bubble wrap or newspaper to protect from breaking. • T extiles: Clean and dry items only. Clothing in any condition (including torn and stained), shoes, linens, towels, fabric scraps and rags. • H ousehold goods for reuse: Dishes, cookware, small countertop appliances, collectibles and small furniture (end tables, lamps, etc.) in good condition.
• L arge trash items: Broken/unusable items including chairs, tables, lawn/patio furniture, toys and storage containers. Smaller trash items should be placed in your curbside garbage cart.
• Remodeling debris, scrap wood
• Yard waste, tree debris
• Business waste • Garbage • Recyclables • Dirt, sod, rocks
Visit stlouispark.org for an event-day price list or call Waste Management at 763.783.5423 for fee information. Cash and checks only. Items collected for free • Bicycles in any condition.
Curbside collection of clothing, small home goods available They will be delivered on your next recycling day. You may also pick-up orange bags at City Hall, The Rec Center or Municipal Service Center. lace clothing, shoes and home P goods inside the orange Simple Recycling bag and tie shut.
The City of St. Louis Park has partnered with Simple Recycling to provide convenient curbside collection of unwanted clothing, shoes and small home goods. Items collected are either circulated for reuse regionally and overseas or recycled into carpeting, insulation or sorbent material for spills. This new curbside recycling opportunity is free and completely voluntary. Pick up is on your regular recycling collection day, at your front curb. How does it work? Simple Recycling provides specialized orange bags to put clothing and home goods in for collection. If you do not have bags, you may contact Simple Recycling at 866.835.5068 or by the email or website listed to the right to request bags.
Set the bag at your front curb by 7 a.m. on your recycling collection day. Bags must be placed at the curb even if your recycling is picked up in the alley. When collected, replacement bags will be left for you to fill up again. What’s accepted? All types of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Small home goods such as kitchenware, books, toys, etc. are also collected. Please make sure all items are clean and dry. Questions? Didn’t receive bags or need more? Bags not picked up on your recycling day? Call: 866.835.5068 Email: email@example.com Visit: SimpleRecycling.com
• S crap metal: Grills, steel shelving, bed frames, filing cabinets, gutters, etc. Lawn mowers and snow blowers must be drained of all fluids. • E lectronics: Laptops, notebooks, desktop towers, flat panel monitors, printers, keyboards, flat screen TVs, VCR/DVD players, stereos, mobile devices (cell phones, tablets, MP3 players).
• Concrete • Batteries • H ousehold hazardous waste (paint, chemicals, automotive fluids, etc.) Hazardous waste can be brought to Hennepin County’s event at the St. Louis Park Middle School, June 9 – 10, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit hennepin.us/dropoffs for disposal options. The St. Louis Park cleanup day is sponsored by Waste Management and the City of St. Louis Park, and is provided as a lower-cost alternative to home pick up. For more information, call Public Works at 952.924.2562.
Free paper shredding offered at Parktacular June 17 Free paper shredding is available on Saturday, June 17, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. in The Rec Center parking lot, 3700 Monterey Drive. Residents are encouraged to bring documents with sensitive information to the event where it will be shredded on-site. Limit five paper bags/bankers’ boxes per vehicle. This event is offered by the City of St. Louis Park as a way to keep shredded paper out of recycling carts. Shredded paper can get stuck to recyclables, which can lower the value of those materials and in turn makes them difficult to recycle. For more information, call Kala Fisher, solid waste program coordinator, at 952.924.2183.
Inject ash trees against Emerald Ash Borer It’s been found along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and near Lake Calhoun. EAB lays its eggs on ash trees (Green, White and Black ash are common in Minnesota and St. Louis Park; mountain ash is not susceptible to EAB). The eggs hatch into larva that eats the cambium layer of the tree and with enough EAB in one tree, will cut off the circulation of water and nutrients to the tree, killing the tree. After the larval stage, EAB transforms into a beetle where it can fly to nearby ash, lay its eggs and begin this destructive cycle all over again.
In St. Louis Park, more than 3,000 mature ash trees are on public properties, with more than 5,000 ash trees on private property. A loss of all of these trees at once would be devastating to the community.
Unfortunately, Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive insect rapidly spreading throughout Minnesota, particularly the metro area. It hasn’t been found in St. Louis Park, but it’s knocking on the door.
Household hazardous waste drop-off event June 9 – 10 Hennepin County is holding a spring community collection event for county residents to safely and properly dispose of unwanted garden and household hazardous wastes. Items are accepted for free and must be household waste. Business waste is not accepted. Hennepin County does not accept electronic waste at event collections. Electronics are accepted at the permanent dropoff facilities. The 2017 collection event will be at the St. Louis Park Middle School, 2025 Texas Ave. S., (enter school parking lot from 22nd St. West) on Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Household, lawn and garden products • Aerosols • B atteries: Tape both terminals • C FLs and other fluorescent lamps, and HID lamps (limit 25) • D rain, oven and other corrosive cleaners • G as cylinders: Propane less than 40 lbs.; specialty gases (oxygen, helium, etc.) less than 59 lbs. will be evaluated onsite; some may not be accepted.
• Liquid cosmetics • M ercury thermostats and thermometers • P aint, stain, varnish, solvents (limit three 5-gallon pails) • Pesticides • Petroleum adhesives • Pool chemicals Automotive products • Antifreeze • Auto paints • G as, fluids (except oil), fuels (containers will not be returned) No electronics, sharps or motor oil. More details: hennepin.us/collectionevents or call 612.348.3777. As a year-round alternative to this collection, Hennepin County provides residents with permanent drop-off facilities located at 1400 W. 96th St. in Bloomington and 8100 Jefferson Hwy. in Brooklyn Park. Visit hennepin.us/dropoffs for hours, directions and accepted materials at these sites.
Parks recycling a success in 2016 A big thank you to park goers who noticed and used the new blue recycling containers throughout the city’s parks last year. Park visitors recycled 11,580 pounds of cans, bottles and newspapers in 2016. That’s nearly 8,000 pounds more than the previous year!
The city has solicited bids for preventive EAB treatment to healthy ash trees with an insecticide (not a neonicotinoid that has proven harmful to pollinators) that will be effective for two seasons of protection against EAB. Rainbow Treecare is the city provider for this program and will be injecting public trees as well as private trees upon order by the property owner. The cost to inject an average-size (16” diameter) ash tree on private property will be approximately $115. Ash injections can only be done during the growing season when trees are fully leafed out and drawing water from their roots.
Consider injecting ash trees this growing season. For more information, contact Rainbow Treecare at 952.767.6920 or rainbowtreecare.com/stlouispark.
Free dollars for outdoor projects: Rainwater Rewards Program Residents who are thinking about an outdoor project at their home this year may be eligible for city funds. The City of St. Louis Park Rainwater Rewards Program will provide money and technical assistance to residential property owners who install projects that: • P rotect and restore stormwater by capturing pollutants in rainwater runoff; • Increase the watershed’s ability to store water; • P reserve and restore native plant and wildlife communities; and/or • P rotect and preserve groundwater quality and quantity. Just a few examples of projects that would qualify for the Rainwater Rewards Program include green roofs, pervious pavement, biofiltration and infiltration trenches, rain gardens, rain barrels and tree planting. Note: Trees sold as part of the annual Arbor Day sale are already subsidized and not eligible for this program.
Residents interested in participating in Rainwater Rewards and willing to implement one or more of the above features on their property, can get advice on how to do it. The Rainwater Rewards Program offers not only cost share, but also help in selecting the best fitting project for a property, finding a designer and builder and planning for future maintenance.
Ecotacular is June 17 The City of St. Louis Park will host Ecotacular as part of the annual Parktacular event on June 17, 2 – 6 p.m. in Wolfe Park, 3700 Monterey Drive. Come enjoy environmentally friendly activities and demonstrations. Fun for all ages including mini-golf, ask-an-arborist info booth, fix-it demonstrations, recycla-bowling, repurposed materials crafting, honeybee hive and pollinator facts and more! A greener planet is in YOUR hands!
By encouraging residents to incorporate stormwater management projects on their property, the city hopes to reduce the amount of runoff and pollutants that enter the storm sewer system – and ultimately, lakes, rivers, streams and ponds that are enjoyed by everyone. The Rainwater Rewards Program is currently only available to residential properties in St. Louis Park. Applications will be accepted year-round until funds are gone. To learn more, visit stlouispark.org or contact Erick Francis, water resources manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.924.2690.
Saturday, June 17 | 2 – 6 p.m. Wolfe Park, 3700 Monterey Drive
Fun for everyone!
Enjoy environmentally friendly activities and demonstrations.
A greener planet is in YOUR hands!
Construction updates Stay informed by email, website and direct mailings. Sign up to receive updates on current and future construction projects happening in St. Louis Park at slpmn.us/construction.
Questions? Call 952.924.2656.
2017 Connect the Park bikeways, sidewalks and trails 2017 is the fourth year of the city’s Connect the Park initiative to add additional sidewalks, trails and bikeways to our community. Sidewalk segments include Xenwood Avenue from 27th to 29th Street, Barry Street, 36 ½ Street from Monterey Drive to Excelsior Avenue.
Trail segments include Utica Avenue from 27th Street to the North Cedar Lake Trail. Bikeways include 28th Street from Virginia Avenue to Highway 100, Texas Avenue from the Cedar Lake Regional Trail to 28th Street. These projects are expected to begin in early May with final completion in September 2017.
Project limits: Minnetonka Boulevard to Hwy. 7 Project highlights • C enterPoint Energy work started in April.
The program features: • L ow, fixed-interest rates and easy monthly payments • U p to $35,000 for home improvements or energy efficiency upgrades
The city also offers remodeling advisor visits at no cost to residents. This free service includes a home visit to answer any remodeling questions, identify necessary repairs and provide assistance reviewing bids. The Center for Energy and Environment Lending Center is a local nonprofit offering nontraditional lending programs tailored to meet a wide variety of needs. Contact the Lending Center at 612.335.5884 or visit mnlendingcenter.org for more information.
• T erms up to 20 years with no pre-payment penalties • No home refinancing necessary • A n online application option and application question assistance
For home additions, the Move Up in the Park deferred loan is another great resource. The loan covers 25 percent of the project cost up to $25,000. Payment is deferred until the sale of the home, or forgiven after 30 years. Income limits apply. Sarah Grace Photography
• N ew street will have two vehicle travel lanes, on-street bike lanes and on-street parking. • Pedestrian improvements include bump outs at intersections, sidewalk reconstruction and safety improvements throughout the corridor.
Emergency repair program for low-income residents Qualified St. Louis Park residents may want to use the emergency repair program: • Grants of up to $4,000 • Immediate emergency repairs such as furnace replacement, roof repair, etc. • H ousehold income of 50 percent of area median income (current income limits based on household size: Family of 1 - $30,050; family of 2 - $34,350; family of 3 - $38,650; family of 4 - $42,900; for larger families contact Bill O’Meara for income limits)
• S ignal improvements and street light replacement are included.
• A dministered by CAPSH for the City of St. Louis Park
• S treet trees will be planted throughout the corridor in 2018.
• Contact Bill O’Meara at 952.697.1310
• M etro Transit bus service will be detoured to Sumter Avenue. • V ehicle through traffic will be detoured to Louisiana Avenue.
• C ity project starts in early summer.
W. 37th Street bridge Project The W. 37th Street bridge project includes the rehabilitation of W. 37th Street between Boone Avenue and Aquila Avenue. This project includes road reconstruction, sidewalk and street lights. Along with the reconstruction of the road some minor private utility work will take place. During construction, W. 37th Street will be open for local businesses. Businesses located west of Minnehaha Creek can be accessed via W. 36th Street. Detour signage will be provided to help guide traffic. This project is expected to begin in early June with final completion in November of 2017.
Sorenson, Birchwood street construction starts this spring This project includes the reconstruction of streets and the construction of new sidewalk segments in the Sorensen neighborhood and along Utica Avenue in the Birchwood neighborhood. The City Council approved the project on February 6, 2017, and authorized the project to be advertised for bid. Construction began in April with expected completion in November 2017.
The City of St. Louis Park’s low-interest home improvement loan program administered by the Center for Energy and Environment Lending Center can help make home improvement visions a reality. Low monthly payments and manageable terms make it easier to pay for these projects.
• H ousehold income limit is $99,500/year
Texas Avenue reconstruction project Texas Avenue reconstruction started in April with expected completion in November 2017. The city is coordinating the street reconstruction work with CenterPoint Energy’s project to replace a 24-inch natural gas main and 10-inch distribution line. Texas Avenue will be closed to through traffic, with a detour on Louisiana Avenue, for the duration of the project.
Home improvement loans available
Selling a home in St. Louis Park? Point-of-Sale Permit required Selling a single family home, townhome or condo? A Point-of-Sale permit and initial inspection is required before listing the home. Apply for the permit online at stlouispark.org; download the permit and either email or fax in the permit or stop
by the Inspections Department, City Hall second floor, to apply for the permit and schedule the initial inspection. Questions? Call the Inspections Department at 952.924.2588.
Call inspections before starting a project FYI for DIY-type people! Before starting remodeling or finishing projects call the Inspections Department at 952.924.2588 for assistance, or stop by Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 5005 Minnetonka Blvd. Inspectors can consult on projects and provide permit history and a copy of a property survey if one is on file.
Mike Harcey selected as St. Louis Park police chief “It has been my honor to serve the citizens of St. Louis Park alongside the exceptional officers, civilian staff and volunteers that I have worked with for the last 25 years,” said Lt. Harcey. “I am humbled to have been selected as the next chief of police and I look forward to working in partnership with the community to provide the highest quality police services.”
Coming soon: A new way to view and pay your utility bill The City of St. Louis Park is implementing a new online payment and electronic billing service that will offer greater flexibility in paying your utility bill. With the improved bill pay service, customers will soon be able to receive and view bills electronically and make payments online, by phone or by text with a credit/debit card or bank account. Additionally, customers will be able to enjoy the convenience of scheduling automatic payments. Here are some highlights of what’s to come:
• Easy-to-use interface • P ay anytime, anywhere online, by phone or by text • S chedule a payment for the same day, a future date or enroll in Auto-Pay • R eceive email reminders when a payment is due and a confirmation after making a payment • R egistration is not required
Police Chief Mike Harcey of the St. Louis Park Police Department was sworn in as police chief at a City Council meeting March 20. Chief Harcey has been with the St. Louis Park Police Department since 1991, first serving as a police officer and school liaison officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2000 and to lieutenant in 2006. Prior to joining the St. Louis Park Police Department, Chief Harcey worked for the Richfield Police Department as a dispatcher and community service officer. He has a master of arts degree in police leadership from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn., a bachelor of arts in sociology of law, criminology and deviance from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and an associate’s of applied science degree in law enforcement from Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn.
After the previous police chief anounced his retirement effective the end of 2016, the city embarked on a search for a new police chief. That included working with an executive search firm to attract a large pool of candidates that was then narrowed down through a series of interview steps.
Be a part of shaping the future of St. Louis Park by participating in the city’s third visioning process, St. Louis Park Vision 3.0.
• O n March 16, more than 35 community members attended a Town Hall meeting at St. Louis Park City Hall.
A nine-person Steering Committee has been selected to guide the public engagement process.
Here’s how to be involved:
• O n February 21, about 55 community members were trained as facilitators to host a future-focused conversation with their neighborhood or community group, and report insights back to the Vision 3.0 Steering Committee. • O n February 22, about 30 community members attended the first Town Hall meeting at St. Louis Park City Hall to discuss their vision for St. Louis Park. • O n March 2 and April 13, Facebook Live Town Hall meetings took place. If you missed the live broadcasts, you can view them on the city’s Facebook page @stlouispark. Your comments and answers to questions are welcome and will be recorded.
City launches healthy living grant
The final three candidates, including Chief Harcey, were interviewed by panels of city senior staff and community members, met with police department sworn and civilian staff, and participated in two open houses at which members of the public could meet and comment on the candidates. All feedback received throughout the process was taken into account during the final selection.
Vision 3.0: We need you
Here’s what’s happened so far:
• Choose to eliminate paper bills and go paperless
• A nswer the Vision 3.0 Question of the Week on Facebook, Twitter or Nextdoor. Questions are posted each Tuesday on Facebook and Twitter and on Wednesdays on Nextdoor. To provide more private responses to the question, send an email with the question and answers/responses to Meg McMonigal, principal planner, at email@example.com or Jacqueline Larson communications manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions are available at slpmn.us/vision.
Health in the Park is a grassroots initiative that began in 2013 to inspire a healthier, more active community for individuals and families. In support of this initiative, the City of St. Louis Park is launching a healthy living grant program. This program is designed to support healthy activities that promote community building, and is available to anyone who lives, works or does business in St. Louis Park. Contact Laura Smith, wellness and volunteer coordinator at 952.928.2847 or email@example.com to learn more and apply.
• S hare ideas via online surveys, community events and more, which will be advertised as they become available.
Trumpeter Swans, continued
RFP ISSUED FOR NEW INTERPRETIVE CENTER In May 2016, Miller Dunwiddie Architecture completed a master plan for Westwood Hills Nature Center. The purpose of the plan was to review the current facility to provide recommended changes and improvements; to evaluate programming and develop a plan for future recreational and educational needs; and to understand and reflect the need of the community and identify the vision and path for future development. It was determined that the Interpretive Center (built in 1981) is too small and not sustainable, and ongoing maintenance is not cost-effective. The master plan is available at http://bit.ly/2oIGlsT. As a result, the city issued a Request for Proposal for concept plans for building a new Interpretation Center, with the requirement that it be a net-zero building with sustainable design features visible to the public that will serve as teaching tools. Proposals are due in late April and a contract will be considered at the June 5 City Council meeting. Should the council approve moving forward, construction of a new interpretive center would start in 2019 and be complete by fall 2020. Estimated cost is $12 million.
Trail cams, continued
Changes to the management of Trumpeter Swans and a vigorous plan to reintroduce them to their native wetland areas resulted in a comeback of the species. Westwood Hills Nature Center played a significant role in the reappearance of Trumpeter Swans to this area. As part of the Three Rivers Park District (then Hennepin Parks) reintroduction program, Westwood Lake served in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a summer residence for a pair of swans with clipped wings – called a “breeder pair.” Most swan pairs don’t build a nest their first year; however, if this pair does decide to stay and build a successful next, cygnets (baby swans) may appear by early June. If you see the swans on a visit to Westwood, help record their behaviors by stopping in to the nature center to report your observations.
Also be on the lookout for coyotes, who have been keeping an eye on the local rabbit population at Westwood.
NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT PLAN Westwood is working with Great River Greening to remove buckthorn and other non-native species at Westwood Hills Nature Center. These will be replaced with a diversity of wildflowers, understory bushes and shrubs, and trees, in order to build up the forest layers and preserve the natural habitats at Westwood Hills. Much work remains to be done. If you’d like to volunteer to assist, sign up for the Metro Woodland Restoration event Saturday, June 3, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
BOARDWALK CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Pre-registration is required; sign up at http://bit.ly/2nOIG1I or call 651.272.3993. OTTERS, COYOTES SPOTTED ON TRAIL CAMS
Construction of the Westwood Lake floating boardwalk is planned to begin in late May with completion by mid-June, weather permitting. The boardwalk has been closed since last year due to safety concerns. However, the Trumpeter Swans that have returned to Westwood (see related article on this page) have taken up residence near the northeast corner of the lake – where one end of the boardwalk will be located. Should they decide to nest in the area, the boardwalk construction will be delayed so as not to disturb the swans. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through the process for replacing the boardwalk.
TRUMPETER SWANS RETURN TO WESTWOOD
Thank You to our volunteers! Otters, members of the weasel family, have been spotted via trail cam photos and by photographers in and around Westwood Lake. Keep your eyes open for these playful animals on the lake, as they tread water and hold their heads above the surface for a good look at their surroundings.
On April 5, the nature center hosted a thank you breakfast for its volunteers. In 2016 nearly 5,000 volunteer hours were donated to Westwood by junior naturalists and adults. That’s nearly half of the citywide total of 10,700 volunteer hours in 2016! Our volunteers cared for animals, staffed the front desk, painted bookshelves, moved trail cams and sifted through thousands of trail cam photos, and undertook many other tasks large and small to ensure the nature center could continue to run smoothly and serve its visitors. Since early March, a pair of Trumpeter Swans have made their home on Westwood Lake. At one time Trumpeter Swans nearly vanished due to excessive hunting and lack of regulations for protection. With fewer than 69 counted in the entire continental United States in the early 1900s, wildlife biologists feared extinction of the species.
If you’re really lucky, you may even spot a mother and her young traveling together.