Awards Night

We could label the Council meeting this past Tuesday night as awards night. We presented our annual Human Rights Awards and Heritage Preservation Award at this meeting.

I will start with the Heritage Preservation Award that is chosen by our Heritage Preservation Commission. This award is in its second year of existence and recognizes an individual, family or business who has made an outstanding contribution to the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and use of Eden Prairie’s heritage resources.

2015 HPC Award

(l-r) Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Heritage Preservation Award recipient Steven Schussler and Heritage Preservation Commission Chair Steve Olson.

This year’s recipient is Steve Schussler for the preservation of the Goodrich-Ramus Barn, now known as the Green Acres Event Center. Back in 2009, Steve acquired and renovated the Goodrich-Remus barn on Pioneer Trail at his own expense. By 2011, he turned it into an award-winning event center. This continues to be a great adaptive reuse for a historic city structure.

The next set of awards was presented by our Human Rights and Diversity Commission which recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant accomplishments in the field of human rights during the previous year.

The following 2015 Human Rights Awards were presented:

2015 Human Rights Awards

(l-r) 2015 Human Rights Award recipients Dennis Hosek, Kris Ichimuro and Wynne Anderson of World Auto Repair; Hanadi Chehabeddine (not pictured: Brunswick Zone)

The first winner in the business category is World Auto Repair. They provide inclusive, fair-minded and “above and beyond” support to many residents who use its car repair assistance program. The staff at World Auto offer respectful, sensitive and compassionate service to families who are facing barriers, often in a time of crisis. World Auto partners with PROP and has proactively built relationships with the case management team there to best serve their mutual customers.

The second business winner is Brunswick Zone. The staff are inclusive, accommodating and supportive for adults and children with disabilities. The Brunswick Zone staff works with the Adaptive Recreation & Learning Exchange (AR&LE) and Transportation Resource to Aid Independent Living (TRAIL), organizations that support individuals with developmental disabilities.

The final award is for an individual — Hanadi Chehabeddine. She upholds the values of the Eden Prairie Manifesto through her work to build bridges of unity by dismantling misinformation and fear about Muslims. She seeks to counteract negativity in the media by living out and speaking about the peacefulness of Islam.

Congratulations to all of the award winners this year!

Recreational Fires

EP CITY CONNECTBack in 2013, we debuted an online engagement platform called CITY CONNECT. It was a new method for residents to share thoughts, ideas and insights on City topics from the comfort of their homes and/or mobile devices. We launched this online platform because we know people are busy and don’t always have the time to attend a meeting or write to the City Council. Since its launch, CITY CONNECT has provided us with excellent feedback on a variety of topics.

Topics have included:

  • The Aquatics Upgrade at the Community Center;
  • The construction of the Green Mid-Market Neighborhood (Eden Gardens);
  • The City Budget; and
  • Allowing (or not allowing) backyard chickens

Fire Pit

The topic we are currently exploring is recreational fires. For many, a backyard recreational fire is the focal point of a neighborhood outdoor gathering. To others, it can be a nuisance and an irritant. With easier and cheaper access to portable fire pits, the use of recreational fires has appeared to increase throughout the metro area — in core cities and suburbs alike. Additionally, some concerns have been raised about the health risks of wood smoke.

Even though we do not have any intention or plans to ban recreational fires, we do want to know what residents think about our current guidelines and the current state of recreational fires in Eden Prairie.

To explore this topic and connect with others in Eden Prairie, please visit

The EPy Awards

Every year I have the honor of hosting our spring and fall employee recognition events. Yesterday was our spring recognition event where we presented our annual employee awards — appropriately called the “EPys.”

Following a welcome introduction by Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, we honored our fellow employees for reaching milestones in their years of service. We then recognized our fellow employees with these special EPy Awards. The awards pay tribute to those employees who consistently went above and beyond in 2015 to perform their duties and serve the people of Eden Prairie.

EPy Winners 2015

Pictured (L to R): Ryan Higgins, Jeanne Karschnia, Tony Molitor, Lori Brink, Dan Otten, Rick Getschow, Dave Buswell, Lori Creamer, Larry Doig

Congratulations to the following 2016 award winners:

  • Carl J. Jullie Award for Excellence in Customer Service: Dan Otten, Building Inspections
  • Mayor Jean L. Harris Award for Community Service (community service to the people of the employee’s home community): Lori Creamer, Planning
  • James G. Clark Award for Excellence in Teamwork: Tony Molitor, Parks Maintenance
  • Scott H. Neal Award for Excellence in Leadership: Carter Staaf, Police
  • City Manager Quality Awards: Lori Brink, Parks and Recreation; Dave Buswell, Assessing; Larry Doig, Streets Maintenance; Ryan Higgins, Information Technology; Jeanne Karschnia, Housing and Community Services


2016 State of the City

Earlier this month, I wrapped up a series of State of the City addresses that were provided to several local organizations including the Rotary Club, the Lions Club and the Eden Prairie Community Foundation.

The initial event actually kicks off in conjunction with the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce during the first month of the year. The Chamber of Commerce President, the Eden Prairie Schools Superintendent and I team up to present a joint State of the City address at the Chamber’s monthly membership luncheon. This approach has allowed us to provide a comprehensive look at the latest projects and initiatives in the Eden Prairie community — for both the previous year and the upcoming year.

For the past few years I have taken this event “on the road” and have tried to provide more opportunities for others to see this presentation without being a member of the Chamber. Any group that is interested in a presentation can feel free to contact me. Also, the full presentation from the late January Chamber event can be found here.

During this year’s City portion of the address, I played the following video that tells the story of why some of our residents “Love E.P.”

Mission Accomplished for 20-40-15

20-10-15 InitiativeBack in late 2006, the City of Eden Prairie kicked off what is known as the 20-40-15 initiative, which called for our City to improve energy efficiency in all of its facilities by 20 percent, increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicle fleet by 40 percent, and accomplish these goals by the end of the year 2015.

Now it is 2016, and it’s time to evaluate how we did. I am here to report ….. (insert drum roll) ….. that we made it! We achieved both of our goals in the 10-year time frame.

  1. Facilities — The goal was to improve the energy efficiency in all of our facilities by 20 percent and we were able to achieve a 21.8-percent increase in efficiency by year-end 2015. This is equivalent to $267,500 in annual energy savings.
  2. Vehicle Fleet — The goal was to increase the fuel efficiency of our entire citywide vehicle fleet by 40 percent by the end of 2015 and we were able to increase fuel efficiency by 44.4 percent. In achieving this goal, we were able to increase the miles per gallon in our entire City fleet from 7.93 to 11.45. If you multiplied the gallons of fuel saved and applied that to a $2.50 per gallon fuel cost, the savings over the 10 years would be $761,145.

The City Council celebrated this 20-40-15 achievement at their Feb. 16 meeting. The presentation below, given by the two people most responsible for this accomplishment Fleet Services Manager Paul Schleuter and Facilities Manager Paul Sticha provides more detail on the specific projects and initiatives that made 20-40-15 a success.