Last Call for the New Pedestrian and Bike Plan

A goal of the City since 2012 has been to create a new city-wide master pedestrian and bicycle plan.  Since receiving a grant from Hennepin County in 2013, we have spent much of this year developing this city-wide 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.

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The Administration Department

Our annual city-wide open house was held this past Saturday at the City Center.  We hold this event each year in early October.  Every event features the Police, Fire, and more recently- the Public Works Department.  Every other year, including this year, we open up all of our facilities on the City Center campus to feature all of our city departments.  In addition to the aforementioned Departments, we also have the Parks and Recreation, Community Development, and Administration Department that we feature at the open house during even-numbered years. Solar Voltaic Panels, wk of July 16 007 

As the City Manager here, I am also considered the head of the Administration Department. The divisions within this department, which I assume are very similar to private sector businesses, include:

  1. City Clerk;
  2. Communications;
  3. Facilities;
  4. Finance;
  5. Human Resources and Support Services; and
  6. Information Technology

These divisions provide support to the other four City Departments and keep the City ticking.  It’s an enjoyable (and many times easy) job for me because we have excellent division managers working with such great employees who understand their fields of expertise so well. 

For residents to better understand what our Administration Dept. does, we provided the following “fun facts” at our open house this past weekend: 

  • Our facilities staff operates and maintains 32 city-owned buildings and 3 leased facilities.
  • As part of our 20-40-15 Energy Initiative we have increased efficiency in city-owned buildings by 18% since 2005. This translates into annual energy savings of $250,000.
  • IT staff provides connectivity and support to 16 remote locations.
  • IT supports nearly 500 computers, 75 printers, 50 servers and more than 50 tablets.
  • The average employee tenure is 10 years, and the employee with the longest tenure is 42 years.
  • HR staffs 276 full-time and 500+ seasonal positions.
  • We receive up to 300 applications for each full-time opening.
  • Our information desk handles more than 45,000 contacts each year, or about one contact every three minutes.
  • Since 1956, our City Clerk’s office has processed or managed: 2,077 sets of meeting minutes, 1,834 city ordinances, and 9,335 Council resolutions.
  • The City of Eden Prairie Facebook page has more than 3,800 fans.
  • Our web site had more than 650,000 visits from more than 400,000 visitors last year.
  • Our CITY NEWS e-mail/text service has nearly 16,000 subscribers who received information on 63 topics.

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The Administration Department of any business or organization may not be highly visible or glamourous- but at the City of Eden Prairie it is the glue that holds everything together and keeps us moving forward.

Nearing the 20-40-15 Finish Line

Back in 2006, the City of Eden Prairie kicked off what is known as the “20-40-15” initiative. This green initiative 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 year 2015.

Eight years have now passed and we are just a few months away from 2015. How have we done? 

As of the end of 2013, our City’s facilities are 18 percent more energy efficient and we have seen a 36-percent increase in fuel efficiency with our vehicle fleet since 2006. 

We recently produced a 20-40-15 update video that we shared with the City Council at their last workshop. It gives a detailed overview of the project and our progress. 

 

While there are still several projects planned or underway, we are starting to discuss what comes after 20-40-15.

Stay tuned for an update of what’s next in early 2015.

Progress at the Closed Flying Cloud Landfill

Back in 2011, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) approached the City regarding the need to consolidate waste and make repairs at the closed landfill that the State of Minnesota owns on Flying Cloud Drive in Eden Prairie. The landfill was owned and operated by BFI from 1970 to 1988. Soon after its closure the management and responsibility of the landfill went to the State. In fact, since 1994 the State has taken over 112 landfills throughout Minnesota as part of its closed landfill remediation program. 

The Eden Prairie landfill project began in June 2013. Below is the detailed history of the project since its commencement as told to me through two emails by project manager Pat Hanson of the MPCA.

Landfill 1

March 5, 2014

Rick- here is a short summary about progress at the site. Progress has been excellent at the site since construction started June 1, (2013).  No major problems have been encountered and no delays other than a short shutdown this winter.  Contractor has moved approximately 750,000 cubic yards of waste onto the new footprint of the site- this is 31% of the total waste expected to be moved. The old landfill was approximately 96 acres and we are reducing the size to approximately 56 acres.  The waste that has been relocated has been covered by buffer soil. The goal is to have all of waste on the east half of the site relocated and covered with soil by this Spring to reduce the odor issue that the residents were experiencing last summer.  There still will be odors as we work on the west half but the distance will help disperse the odor before reaching the homes.  The contractor will start drilling the new gas wells on the east side this month and is expected to install the new cover system on the east side starting May 1st and having this work completed by late summer including seeding of grass.  This summer the contractor will relocate the remaining waste on the west side and hopes to have that work completed by fall and start the final cover system on that portion immediately.  We are expecting the final completion to be summer of 2015. 

 The quantity of waste is running a little greater than what our waste borings were showing and we are not getting as much compaction as expected so we need to find room for some additional waste.  We will probably expand the footprint on the west side by five acres and increase the final height by 5-10 feet on the west side also to take care of the extra waste.  There will be no noticeable change (very slightly taller) to the final look of the site to the residents on the east side with either of these changes.

Landfill 2

 All parties have been pleased with the progress and are hoping the project continues at the same pace.  The biggest complaint has been the odors from last summer- the odor can be bad on certain weather conditions but with the waste relocation work being completed on the east half by May the residents should not be impacted like last summer.

September 10, 2014

Rick- Progress has been excellent since my last update.  Our goal was to have the east half of the landfill completed and seeded by July 1 and we accomplished that.  The east half was seeded and the contractor watered the seedling so by August 1st that side was totally green with grass. The contractor has been relocating waste in the southwest and north side this summer and has relocated approximately 1,000,000 yards of waste in those areas this summer.  He estimates he will have the remaining waste relocated and covered by buffer soil by the end of the year.  This winter he will install the remaining gas wells on the west end and expects to install the plastic liner in May and have all the components of the liner system installed on the west half by mid summer 2015 and we are expecting final completion of the project in late summer 2015.

I have received very few calls this summer from residents as once the east side was seeded the disruptions to their lives have been reduced greatly.  There is still some site work to be done-storm water, final grading of buffer areas but the major work is complete for them.   There are still odors from the work on the west side but the impact to Allied Waste is offset from the smells from their transfer station operation and I have not heard from them.

 We have made some minor adjustment to the final design grade and shape on the west side as I indicated in my last message- the design changes are so slight most people would not notice the change from the original design. 

Overall comment is the project is going great, the residents on the east side are generally happy, and we expect to have the total project completed by this time next year.  Thanks, Pat.

As you can see, the project will be completed next summer. I have had the opportunity to talk with a few of the affected residents over the past two years and can attest to the accuracy of Pat’s update — from the occasional odors to the high quality of the work. We all agree that the end result will be an improvement.

Public Stewardship

Many times there are items on a City Council meeting agenda to approve bids for city projects.  In almost every case, these projects have been programmed in a capital improvements plan and the money has been identified and earmarked.   

But there are times when the bids are not approved and the project does not move forward. 

This has been the case on the following three occasions this summer:

no spending

1. At our City Council meeting in June we rejected bids for the total reconstruction of the tennis and basketball courts at Franlo Park.  Only one bid was received for this project.  This $249,485 bid was nearly $100,000 over the estimated cost.  We recommended that the bid be rejected and that we re-advertise the project in 2015.

2. This past Tuesday night we rejected a $194,395 bid for a landscaping project on Pioneer Trail between Flying Cloud Drive and Shetland Road.  The sealed bids that were received were 32% over our estimate. We decided to reject this bid as well and re-advertise in 2015.

3.  Also, on Tuesday we rejected a $420,300 bid for the steel erection that is a part of our aquatics expansion project at the Community Center. This amount was significantly more than was budgeted and our city staff and consultants felt this amount is too high and should not be paid.  We then initiated other methods for securing contractors for this scope of work and received separate quotes for different types of work that were significantly lower. 

In all three of these examples, we want to move forward with these important projects.  We understand that economic activity is picking up throughout the metro area, and contractors of all types are getting busier and projects could be getting more expensive. However, we felt that the best course of action is to wait and plan for a more advantageous bidding environment in the future.    

I feel that these actions exemplify a value we hold dearly in Eden Prairie city government- public stewardship. It is a city shared expectation and a value that we take very seriously.  On a daily basis we have city employees that are making decisions to not purchase something at a certain time because it is simply not the best use of public dollars.