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.

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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.