The City of Edina recently launched the first part of its new website. If you haven’t already seen it, please check it out at www.EdinaMN.gov.
In the header and footer on most pages, you will find “Speak Up” links. These links go to our new civic engagement site, www.SpeakUpEdina.org. We are using a platform for civic engagement originally developed by I Can Make It Better and first used in the City of Austin, Texas. On our new civic engagement site, users can post an idea, weigh in on ideas they like or join a discussion about a topic City staff or others post. We’ve set up a few discussions to start the conversation. You’ve been a great participant here on the Edina Citizen Engagement site and I hope you’ll consider visiting www.SpeakUpEdina.org and posting an idea or responding to a discussion board that we’ve set up.
Our Edina Citizen Engagement site will remain in place for a few more weeks. Then, those who use the www.edinacitizenengagement.org URL will be redirected to www.SpeakUpEdina.org. The City is very thankful to Griff Wigley for moderating the original Edina Citizen Engagement site and I’m sure he won’t be a stranger in our future online engagement efforts!
In May 2011, the Edina City Council authorized the Edina Transportation Commission to draft a Living Streets Policy and implementation plan. Over the next few months, the Commission will work with the community to develop such a policy and plan.
Living Streets balance the needs of motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders in a way that promotes safety and convenience and enhances community identity, economic vitality and opportunities for active living, better health and environmental sustainability.
National urban planning expert Ryan Snyder, who coordinated the recently published “Los Angeles County Living Streets Model Street Design Manual,” will be the featured presenter at the Feb. 14 session. Snyder is an instructor with the Federal Highways Administration Pedestrian Safety Design, a certified National Safe Routes to School instructor and teaches a class on Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning to graduate students in the UCLA Urban Planning Department. He is also the former Vice President of the Los Angeles Board of Transportation Commissioners.
This event is sponsored by City of Edina and supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) as part of a new initiative called do.town. do.town is a collaborative initiative of the cities of Bloomington, Edina and Richfield and Blue Cross to improve the health of each community by making sustainable changes that support healthy eating and active living choices. Living Streets is an example of how cities can be designed and built to help support the environment, provide economic value and improve people’s health by making the healthy choice the easy choice.
The presentation is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, contact Commissioner Katherine Bass, 651-662-9326.
Update 2/15: Photos from the start of last night’s workshop:
Two recent Edina Citizen Engagement blog posts have active discussion threads going right now:
Members of the Grandview District Steering Committee have started discussing the final draft of the Grandview Plan. See the comments attached to Kevin Staunton’s blog post and feel free to participate with your comments and questions.
The 2012 budget was approved by the Edina City Council earlier this week (Scott Neal blog post here, video clip here). We’ve got a few more things to add to the 2012 budget blog site in the next week or so, most notably, the final budget document.
But we won’t be putting the blog site to sleep permanently, as planning for the 2013 budget will commence in a few months. There will be a minor name change to the site, however. I’m sure you can guess what that’ll be.
The Edina Liquor blog includes information from the City’s Liquor Operations Director and staff of the three municipal liquor stores, providing readers with information on Edina Liquor’s extensive selection, as well as interesting stories and tidbits.
The Edina Park & Recreation Department blog includes information on the City’s 40 parks and open spaces and its 10 recreational facilities, which include the Edina Aquatic Center, Art Center, Braemar Arena, Braemar Golf Courses, Braemar Golf Dome, Centennial Lakes Park, Edinborough Park, Fred Richards Golf Course, Arneson Acres Park and the Edina Senior Center.
Not all council members were convinced the change is necessary. While Joni Bennett said the change is aimed not at homeowners but to make a healthful change at one of the top three spots visited in the city, Ann Swenson bridled at converting the outside fireplace. "When you’re stuck indoors [with smoke] it’s an entirely different situation than when you’re outside," she said. Mary Brindle said park managers told her no one complained about smoke. She worried that the park ambience could change. "The atmosphere and mood [the fireplaces] create is part of the reason people go there," she said. "I would not be in favor of switching it."
Mayor Jim Hovland said he enjoyed the smell of a wood-burning fireplace but said it was disingenuous for the council to deny a restaurant’s recent application for a wood-burning fireplace while it continues to burn wood in the park. "I make no judgment whatsoever about fire pits on private property and fireplaces indoors," he said. "But I think we have had our level of awareness raised about the danger … and I think we should contemplate doing something that’s in the interest of public health at these three locations."
With a council member absent and a split vote looming, the council agreed 3-1 to convert the indoor fireplaces to natural gas.
At the Council’s September 20 joint session with the Energy & Environment Commission, the Council discussed the proposed conversion of the wood burning fireplaces to natural gas at Centennial Lakes Park.
I have discussed this proposed with staff. Staff have discussed it with members of the public who frequent the facility and with customers who have rented the facility and used the fireplaces. Staff encountered what they would describe as a moderate amount of disappointment at the proposal among customers who use the fireplaces. However, the proposed conversion would not prevent or discourage their future use of the facility. The cost of converting the three fireplaces is minimal. The plumbing to accommodate a gas fireplace is currently in place. The EEC recommends the conversion. If the Council wishes this conversion to happen, I will cause it to happen.
Video clip of Scott Neal’s report and Council discussion of the issue: