New Ways to Maintain Pavement

Maintaining pavement and increasing the life expectancy of a street may not seem like the most exciting topic, but it is a very important and essential city government function. As a city, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver services — and maintaining Eden Prairie’s streets is a big part of that. There are two new areas of pavement management that are proving to be quite promising. One is a Texas underseal and the other is a fog seal.


Typical Chip Seal

First, I will start with the Texas underseal. On most of our city streets we perform the typical mill and overlay. This is when you mill up the current pavement on the road and then complete a new overlay.  Within a few years a high percentage of cracks can reappear through the new overlay. When we perform a Texas underseal as part of a mill and overlay, only a small percentage of cracks reappear. Basically, a Texas underseal is when you mill a road, add a chip seal and then overlay. This new second step of adding the chip seal is rather minimal in cost, and does involve more coordination between contractors — but the final product is better.

Next is the fog seal. This is when you place a final layer of oil over a regular chip seal. Fog seals lock the chips in place which can get pulled out by plow operations and turning vehicles. This prolongs the benefit of a chip seal. Fog seals also reduce citizen complaints about loose chips in driveways and garages. It keeps chips out of the storm sewer system (and ultimately lakes, wetlands and creeks).  The fog seal also protects the crack fill material from being pulled out and exposing cracks. Finally it looks nice and its black color absorbs heat in the winter helping reduce ice build-up. The fog seal also adds a little cost and causes some traffic disruptions, but the final product is also better.


Chip Seal and Fog Seal

Overall, the Texas underseal is doing a very good job of improving ride quality, reducing/eliminating reflective cracking and preventing water intrusion into the base. The fog seal locks in the chips, protects and camouflages crack fill material, further waterproofs the road and makes the road look brand new when done.

We believe that the minor added cost for both of these treatments will be greatly offset by the prolonged life we get from our overlays and chip seals. Early indications are that these new treatments will alter the reoccurring need to overlay and chip seal by several years (less disruption) and save the City more money in the long run.

Almost Time to Fill

Eden Prairie Town Center Water TowerThe Town Center water tower repainting project is nearing its completion as the final inspections of the coating system are occurring very soon.


There are a few items to be completed before the project is finalized and the tower can be filled with water. We need to refurbish the clocks on the four sides of the column, complete some concrete repair to the surrounding sidewalk, reinstall the decorative fence and complete cleanup of the work area.


The early feedback we have received on the water tower’s new look is very positive. Here is a comment I received from a resident regarding this project last week:


“I really like the new paint job and graphics on the Eden Prairie water tower. It has a very clean look and the lettering font is easy to read. I also like the marsh theme below the lettering.”


As I mentioned earlier, an item left to be completed are the clocks. The blue clocks that we came to know so well are being repainted black in color, and will feature nighttime illuminated hands and dials which can be displayed in various colors. This is a feature you may have seen on other new structures in the area such as the I-35W bridge. The illumination will be provided by a digital, computer-controlled LED lighting system requiring very little electricity to operate.


The clock is expected to be installed and operational by mid-November.

#2 Best Place to Live in America

This past Monday morning we were pleased to learn that we had earned the ranking of the #2 Best Place to Live in America according to MONEY magazine for 2016. They released their Top 50 Best Places to Live for cities with populations of more than 50,000 — which is something they have done every other year.

Eden Prairie #2 Among MONEY Magazine's Best Places to Live

You may recall that we were ranked #1 in 2010 and then #3 in 2012. This newest designation means that we have occupied all top 3 places within the last six years.

We are very proud of these rankings and attribute it to all those who live and work in Eden Prairie.

Here is the video from the Tuesday evening City Council meeting where we discuss how the rankings work, including the rationale by MONEY magazine for our #2 ranking:

Almost Ready

Staring Park Play 1If you have been to Staring Lake Park this summer you may have noticed that our play area is undergoing a major renovation. Even though the amphitheater was open and active all summer with events like Movies in the Park, Starring at Staring and Kidstock concert series, the play area was closed.

I am now pleased to announce that the Staring Lake Park play area will soon reopen for public use. I stopped over at the park the other day and snapped this picture of the crew putting some of the final touches on the area.

The renovation will feature a music- and theater-themed play area with shaded seating to observe, picnic and view performances. Accessibility has also been enhanced through additional grading and a tiered design with play features transitioning from one tier to another. The tiers also encourage active play and separate age appropriate equipment. A part of the redesign includes enhanced drainage and stormwater treatment along with additional plantings and native grasses.

Residents are invited to join the grand opening celebration on Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

We hope to see you there.


Round Lake Park Phase 2

Round Lake Splash Pad

Round Lake Splash Pad

After wrapping up another successful Hometown Celebration on July 4 earlier this week, the second phase of our Round Lake Park renovation project began as planned the next day, July 5, with the removal of the existing ballfields, basketball court and a number of trees.

Round Lake Skate Plaza

Round Lake Skate Plaza

The overall project stemmed from a Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Commission visioning process that began in 2011 and resulted in a master plan for the redevelopment of the park. The first phase of the plan, which was completed and opened for use in spring 2013, included significant improvements to the play areas and equipment, picnic pavilion and accessibility, as well as a new splash pad and a renovated skate plaza.

Phase 2 calls for converting the existing four ballfields into three new extended ballfields that meet current standards for size, with a common gathering area between the fields. Parking capacity will also be expanded to accommodate the increasing volume of visitors to the park. The parking areas will include new retention ponds to improve storm water management and large areas will be planted with native prairie grasses and flowers, and new trees to re-establish screening and provide shaded areas for park users.

The construction is expected to be completed this fall, with the parking lots and basketball courts ready for use. The ballfields will need time for the turf to establish and will be ready to use in the spring of 2018.