Excelsior gave final approval last week to an independent senior housing development that will be the first of its kind in the Lake Minnetonka city.

On a 3 to 2 vote, the City Council approved plans for the Waters of Excelsior, a 115-unit senior living facility near Hwy. 7 and Water Street. The complex, which will replace a restaurant and apartment building, is expected to open in early 2018.

Since the council’s initial approval of the project last summer, two memory-care units and five apartments were added by converting some two-bedroom apartments into one-bedrooms.

It will be the city’s first independent senior living facility and first four-story building, which has raised concerns that it will be out of scale for the community, the reasons why Council Members Jennifer Caron and Todd Carlson voted against it.

Proposed landscaping for the right of way on Hwy. 7 was rejected by the state Department of Transportation for safety reasons.

The project straddles the Excelsior-Shorewood border, requiring Excelsior to annex 1.3 acres of Shorewood. The cities will split the property taxes. Shorewood and the state still need to approve the annexation.



Residents get refunds from garbage haulers

Bloomington residents who paid separately for garbage or recycling services after Sept. 30 should expect to receive a refund from their former hauler.

The city switched to an organized trash collection system in early October, bringing all private haulers under one roof. Since then, the cost for garbage and recycling pickup has shown up on residents’ water bills every other month.

Haulers should disperse all necessary refunds by the end of the year, city officials said. Haulers will send a separate bill if a resident subscribed to annual yard waste pickup.

Former customers of Burt’s Disposal will get their refund from Waste Management, which bought the company during the switch to organized hauling.

Miguel Otárola


City installs flashing yellow arrows

Minnetonka is the latest metro area city to install flashing yellow arrows, adding the traffic signal to the Hopkins Crossroad and Minnetonka Mills Road intersection.

It’s part of a pilot project with the city, Hennepin County, the state Department of Transportation and Hopkins to collect more information while developing plans for future traffic signals that will be converted to flashing yellow arrows.

From Eden Prairie to Woodbury, more and more cities have added the traffic signal to streets since 2010, allowing drivers to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Studies show the flashing yellow arrows prevent delays and result in fewer accidents than yield-on-green signals.

In Minnetonka, the city paid about $10,000 for the equipment while the county covered labor costs. City engineers are now reviewing all traffic signals, officials said, to develop a citywide plan for traffic signal updates.



Council finalizes $6.2 million sports dome

The Chaska City Council has approved final plans for the Eastern Carver County school district’s new sports dome, a project that voters passed as part of a $66.7 million referendum in 2015.

The complex, which will be 450 by 230 feet, will cost $6.2 million and have three multiuse sports fields along with a fabric dome. It will be built west of Chaska Middle School East.

By day, Chaska Middle School East students will use the facility for gym classes since the school is short on gym space, said Mayor Mark Windschitl. Chaska Middle School East and Chaska Elementary students also will have access to the facility. The fields will be open to community-based and extracurricular sports teams the rest of the time.

The dome will be up for about half the year and removed during warm-weather months. Completion of the dome is expected in fall 2017 and to be usable for sports that winter.

“We’ve been talking about it for a long time,” Windschitl said. “It’s just something that’s clearly needed.”

Erin Adler


Dec. 12 event discusses Dakota history

The history of the Dakota tribe on Lake Minnetonka and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 will be discussed at a free event Monday.

The 7 p.m. event, which is open to the public, features state legislator Dean Urdahl and was organized by the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society as part of its monthly series, “Tapping History: Pints & Reflections on Lake Minnetonka’s Past” at Excelsior Brewing.

For more details, go to elmhs.org.