2015 State of the City

The State of the City address has been an annual ritual sponsored by the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce that typically occurs soon after the first of the new year.    

For several years now, the Chamber President, the School District Superintendent and the City Manager have teamed up to present a joint State of the City address at the monthly Chamber member luncheon. This approach has provided a comprehensive look at the latest developments in the Eden Prairie community, as well as a look ahead to what is to come in the new year. 

This year’s event took place Tuesday, Jan. 13. During the City portion of the address, I played the following video that provides a brief overview of the City’s 2015 budget and its associated services:

The positive feedback that has been received from this event has led to taking the City portion of the address “on the road” and expands the opportunities for those who are interested in seeing it. Over the next month, I will be making presentations to various groups in the Eden Prairie community — including the Lions Club, the Rotary Club and the Eden Prairie Community Foundation. (Note: Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens will be a special guest co-presenter at the Lions meeting).

Another community presentation of the State of the City address that is open to everyone will take place Friday, Feb. 6 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Senior Center (8950 Eden Prairie Road). The presentation will provide an overview of completed and upcoming projects in Eden Prairie along with an overview of the initiatives that the City will focus on in 2015. 

The event is free to attend and open to the public, I hope to see you there!

Flash Mob

If you happened to be in the Cub Foods store in Eden Prairie around noon on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I bet you were surprised when this happened!

 

This flash mob was instigated by our Senior Center Coordinator Sue Bohnsack. She partnered with Cub Foods to host the event. Along with three of our Community Center instructors, she choreographed the entire event that involved 90 adults and seniors. These folks danced to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I am told there was very little practice involved — maybe three short sessions at most.

This flash mob was a great way to show our community how fun and active our Community Center and Senior Center are in Eden Prairie. After the almost 4-minute “dance,” the participants handed out flyers to the Cub patrons explaining where they can go for more information about fun and active programs at edenprairie.org/seniorcenter, or to text “EP SENIOR” to 468311 for text message updates.

What’s Next for South West Light Rail

There was quite a bit of activity related to the South West Light Rail Transit project this year. Earlier this summer, the Southwest Project Office (SPO) of the Metropolitan Council completed the preliminary engineering phase of the project. This then culminated with the cities of Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Minneapolis and Hennepin County passing resolutions granting municipal consent for the project. Now that the municipal consent process has been completed, the SPO is moving forward into the final design stage of the project. 

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While the preliminary engineering phase of design focused mostly on light rail track alignment and station locations, the final design phase will concentrate on details such as station architecture, the incorporation of public art, streetscape and landscape elements, park and ride facilities, road configuration and bridge design. The final design will also address findings from the Final Environmental Impact Statement which considers impacts related to noise, vibration, wetlands, cultural resources and other environmental issues.

The SPO anticipates having the final design completed by the end of 2015. There will be a number of opportunities for the public to provide critical input throughout final design. There will also be a continuation of the Community Advisory, Business Advisory and Corridor Management Committees, which work to address issues that arise during design. 

Once final design is complete the Federal Transit Administration will need to authorize the project to move into the construction phase. This is done through an official Record of Decision. If granted, construction would begin in 2016 and continue through 2018. Light rail service would then begin in 2019 as an extension of the Green Line currently running between Minneapolis and St. Paul. When complete the extension of the Green Line will be a 16-mile route with 17 stations, five of which will be located in Eden Prairie. 

The total project budget is $1.65-billion, with 50 percent of the total cost provided by the Federal Transit Administration, and the remaining 50 percent coming from a combination of county and state funds. By 2030, the Green Line Extension is projected to reach 21 percent of the region’s jobs and will have 34,000 boardings per weekday.

Meet and Greet #312

One of my favorite duties as the Eden Prairie City Manager is to take part in the regular business meet and greet visits with our Mayor and Economic Development Manager.  It is a great opportunity for us to interact with the local business community. 

The main reason the program began back in 2002 was for the City to strengthen its ties with the business community and obtain feedback about City services.  The feedback we receive at these meetings is typically positive. Most of the business leaders we talk with relate the positive experiences they have had with the City and the services we provide.  We also receive questions about various things happening in the community such as road projects and new developments.

We do occasionally receive negative feedback. For instance, we have heard that traffic congestion in certain areas of city at certain times of the day can be a problem.  If we do receive a complaint or concern we follow-up by immediately communicating the issue to the appropriate City staff member or outside agency where appropriate.

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The picture to the left is from our meet and greet with Tesla Motors that we held last week.  Tesla, a manufacturer of premium all-electric vehicles, was the 14th meeting held thus far in 2014.  We then conducted meetings 15 and 16 this week with Vault Fitness on Valley View Road and Elliot Aviation at the Flying Cloud Airport.

Our plan is to conduct between 20-25 meetings every year.  We should be able to meet our goal for 2014.

Since the program first began, the City has conducted 314 meetings. I am looking forward to being a part of the next 300.

Last Call for the New Pedestrian and Bike Plan

A goal of the City since 2012 has been to create a new citywide master pedestrian and bicycle plan. Since receiving a grant from Hennepin County in 2013, we have spent much of this year developing this citywide plan to create safer, more navigable roadways, sidewalks and paths throughout the City. During 2014, the project advisory team analyzed regional and national research, collected resident survey data and hosted several public input sessions in Eden Prairie.

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Changes were made to the earlier draft plans based on all of the community feedback that has been received. The latest draft plan is currently being reviewed by the City’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Commission along with the Planning Commission. The plan is also expected to be presented to our City Council at their November 18 regular meeting. It is then anticipated to be approved by the City Council in December. 

We are not yet done. There is still time to provide feedback! Please follow the link below to the project website to read, review and comment on this important plan.   

 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan interactive website.

Comments will be accepted through Sunday, November 9.

Ped Pic 1