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.

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 edenprairie.org/cityconnect.