Spirit of Eden Prairie Awards

The City presented the 2016 Spirit of Eden Prairie Awards at its regular City Council meeting Tuesday night. This is a newer program that is now in its second year.

2016 Spirit of Eden Prairie Awards

(l-r) Greg Leeper, volunteer resident judge; Tom and Marilyn Torkelson; and Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens

A few years back, the City Council brought up the desire to create a program that publicly recognizes the significant investments and enhancements residents and businesses make to their own property. These enhancements contribute to the overall vitality and sustainability of the community. The program also aligns with a major overarching goal that the City has emphasized in the past few years — enhancing Eden Prairie’s sense of community.

This year, we presented the Spirit of Eden Prairie Award to one residential property and one commercial property.

Marilynn and Tom Torkelson received the award for their single-family residential property. With a shallow pond located behind their property, the Torkelsons have improved the shoreline with native plantings and the installation of a rain garden. Their property also features several pollinator-friendly native plants and educational signage about their “bee-safe yard.”

2016 Spirit of Eden Prairie Awards

(l-r) Greg Leeper, volunteer resident judge; Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies Facilities Manager Shawn Kinniry and CEO Christy Morse; and Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies was recognized for its recently renovated and expanded office building, which includes thoughtful design around sustainable materials and a healthy workplace.

Sustainable renovation strategies included reusing or recycling more than 95 percent of the materials from the original site; using regionally sourced products for construction; installing solar panels to help provide electricity to the building; using geothermal systems for heating and cooling; using water retention tanks and an innovative grey water drip irrigation system; and protecting the adjacent wetland by using native plantings, installing permeable pavers and building an extensive rain garden.

The renovation of its existing building has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, an independent verification of the building’s green features, and the organization is also pursuing LEED Platinum Certification for the new expansion.

Congratulations to the 2016 winners!