#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 City 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 6 years.

We are very proud of these rankings and attribute it to all those that 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.

2016 Star Tribune Top Workplace

This past Sunday, the City of Eden Prairie was named a 2016 Top 150 Workplace by the StarTribune. There were several Minnesota companies of various sizes listed among the Top 150. We were once again recognized in the midsize company category with between 150-499 employees. More than 74,180 employees shared their views throughout Minnesota — this was an increase from 69,100 employees in Minnesota that participated last year. The survey was made available to all of the City’s full-time and regular part-time employees and 211 participated. This is a participation rate of more than 75 percent of our workforce.TWP_2015_FINAL

This is the third year in a row we have received this designation. The most impressive part of this designation to me is that it is completely based on what our own employees think and say to a third-party evaluator. The StarTribune retains a national company called Workplace Dynamics to administer the employee survey. The questions they ask address the most important facets of employee engagement and satisfaction such as:

  • I feel genuinely appreciated at this company
  • I believe this company is going in the right direction
  • New ideas are encouraged
  • At this company, we do things efficiently and well

An interesting item to note, is that we are the only city on the list. I completely understand that most local governments do not participate in this program, but this distinctive recognition is something that we are very proud of.

Finally, we may be the only Minnesota city on the list, but we are not the only Eden Prairie employer on the list. Congratulations are in order for the following Eden Prairie businesses on the 2016 Top 150 list:

Large Businesses: Edward Jones, Keller Williams Realty Elite, Bremer Bank and C.H. Robinson

Mid-Size Business: (in addition to the City of Eden Prairie) Wings Financial

Small Businesses: IdentiSys, Inc., CHOICE, Inc. and ECA Marketing.

Congratulations to all of these Eden prairie businesses!

 

 

Water Tower Makeover

In an earlier blog, I had stated that the City of Eden Prairie constructed our 2-million-gallon Market Center Water Tower back in 1997. Like your home, water towers must be recoated with a fresh layer of paint every 15 to 20 years. Because the tower is now almost 20 years old it is in need of a fresh coat of paint. That time for a new paint job is now.

Eden Prairie Market Center Water Tower

Work begins this week on our most prominent structure — a water tower that has been the cornerstone of our water system and one that has allowed our community to mature into the City that exists today.

The $1.4-million project entails sand-blasting and repainting the interior and exterior of the 2-million-gallon water reservoir.

Eden Prairie Water Tower Rendering

Rendering of water tower with new graphic

Preparations over the next week include removing the four blue fluorescent clocks and installing a giant curtain, which will be raised during blasting and painting to absorb dust. After all of the existing paint is removed, spot welding repairs and other modifications will be made to the steel tank. Following that work, a silver zinc primer coat will be sprayed onto the tank and then multiple finish coats of paint will be roller-applied.

For the final step in the 16-week project, a new Eden Prairie graphic will be painted onto the recoated structure.

Final completion of the project is expected to occur in November of this year.