Little Free Libraries Coming to Eden Prairie Parks

Thanks to a donation from Girl Scout Troop 14286, Eden Prairie residents will soon notice little free libraries popping up in four of our neighborhood parks.

After learning that there are children in our community who do not have regular access to books in their homes, the troop decided to build and donate the libraries to the City for use in our neighborhood parks which are farthest from the public library – Homeward Hills, Crestwood, Prairie View and Edenvale. The girls collected books and building materials, designed the libraries and worked alongside seniors in the community woodshop at the Senior Center to build them.

Little free libraries work on an honor system – people are invited to take and leave books at their leisure. Since the goal of building these libraries is to inspire the love of reading in more children, the libraries will initially be stocked with children’s books.

Check out this video from the June 16 City Council Meeting to see what the girls had to say about their project.

 

Thanks Ella, Brianna, Ashley, Rosie, Josie, Piper, Taylor, Lauren and Elena, for pursuing your vision to help children in our community. We are thrilled with the donation!

2015 Star Tribune Best Workplace

The City of Eden Prairie was once again named a top workplace by the StarTribune this past TWP150-2015-4C[1]Sunday. We are very proud to receive this honor of being a 2015 Top 150 Workplace in the State of Minnesota for the second consecutive year.

The following is the communication I provided to our City employees earlier this week about the recognition:

Good Morning,

Yesterday the Star Tribune published “Top Workplaces 2015”— a list of the best places to work in Minnesota. I am excited to let you know that the City of Eden Prairie has received the special recognition of being named a Top 150 Workplace for the second year in a row, ranking 22 in the mid-sized company category!

More than 2,100 organizations participated in the survey this year, with more than 69,100 employees sharing their views. We are honored to, once again, be included in the Top 150 alongside many prominent public and private sector businesses.

Our ranking as a Top 150 Workplace is based upon feedback from an employee survey that many of you completed a few months ago — of our 282 full-time employees, 209 completed the survey. The fact that the rankings were compiled solely on the basis of your responses makes this designation especially meaningful to me, as it serves as an example of the great culture each of you strive to maintain each day you come to work.

I would also like to point out that once again, we are the only City in Minnesota to receive this recognition, further demonstrating how exceptional it is that Eden Prairie obtained this ranking.

I couldn’t be prouder to work alongside each of you every day who work to make the City such a great place to be. Congratulations, everyone, and keep up the great work! — Rick

Fitness in the Parks

I have been involved with the Mayor’s Community Health and Wellness Committee since its inception in 2013.  The Committee is a cross-section of residents and school representatives who have helped develop and implement health and wellness programs citywide.

A recent example of their work is the introduction of a city food trailer that will soon offer healthy food options at community events.  Expect the new trailer’s arrival at a City event near you this summer.

Another new initiative to come before the Committee for support and endorsement is a summer-long outdoor group exercise program called “Fitness in the Parks.”

Beginning next week – June 9 and through late August – residents will have the opportunity to participate in free fitness classes at several of our parks (Miller, Riley Lake, Purgatory Creek, Round Lake, Staring, Homeward Hills) on five different days of the week.

Fitness in the Parks

Fitness instructors from the Eden Prairie Community Center will teach a variety of classes designed to introduce people to physical activities. We will offer:

  • Kid’s Zumba
  • Adult Zumba
  • Kid’s Yoga
  • Adult Yoga
  • Burn It In 30
  • 3-on-3 Basketball

The full schedule can be found here. Check it out!

Mayor’s Water Conservation Challenge Results

The results are in! Eden Prairie finished 23rd in our population category of the 2015 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

The water challenge is a friendly competition between cities across the United States to see who can be the most “water-wise.” Every April, mayors from across the nation challenge their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their cities through a series of online pledges. The cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win – and participants from those winning cities are eligible to win hundreds of prizes.

The National Water Challenge Campaign was created by the Wyland Foundation and has grown into a huge competition with more than 1,000 cities from all 50 states participating each year. Eden Prairie first participated in 2012.

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Finishing 23rd isn’t too shabby; especially considering this is a national campaign. Congratulations to the City of Poway, California (a suburb of San Diego) who took first place.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s challenge and encourage all of us to continue thinking of ways to reduce our water and energy consumption. As evidenced by the fact that the 2015 pledges combined to save more than 1,500,000,000 gallons of water… individual efforts really do make all the difference.

Think Before You Flush

You may have seen the recent news coverage of how “flushable” wipes are causing issues for municipal sewer systems all over the nation. The New York Post first reported this issue because of the problems the City of New York is having with non-biodegradable material clogging their pipes. This same issue has hit closer to home, too – KSTP recently reported that the City of Wyoming, Minn. is suing the maker of flushable wipes, claiming that their advertising is leading people astray.

The problem is, though the wipes are marketed as “flushable,” they often do not degrade quickly enough to safely go through the sewer system. This eventually results in clogged pipes, which translates to increased maintenance costs – and sometimes those increased costs are significant. Wipes are not the only issue, however. Other products causing problems include pop-off scrubbers on toilet-cleaning wands, feminine hygiene products, disposable cleaning products, and even facial tissue and thicker toilet paper.

Here in Eden Prairie, we have also noticed an increase in the number of instances flushable wipes and other non-biodegradable materials are becoming trapped in our sewer system. Just like everywhere else, City crews are doing additional maintenance to prevent sewage backups.

Check out this video from the Water Environment Federation that demonstrates the significant damage non-biodegradable materials can do to a sewer system – and please, think twice before flushing such materials down the drain.