St. Louis Park could eliminate its primary elections in an effort to reduce election costs and resources.

The City Council last week approved the first reading of an ordinance that would eliminate local primary elections, which are held to narrow the field if three or more candidates file for an elected office.

The ordinance also would raise the number of signatures required to file candidacy, from 15 to 50 registered voters.

If the amended law goes into effect, all candidates would be placed on the general election ballot. The second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for May 15.

St. Louis Park has held nine primary elections since 1975. Each primary costs the city about $16,000, according to city documents. Eleven of Hennepin County’s 45 cities offer primary elections when needed.

The St. Louis Park School District does not have primary elections.

Miguel Otárola

EXCELSIOR

East Town proposals to get public review

Excelsior is weighing its development options for a section of the Lake Minnetonka city dubbed East Town.

Officials are hosting two upcoming open houses for residents to share feedback on the city’s 2018 comprehensive plan, including concept plans for East Town. The meetings will be held in the old library building, 343 3rd St., from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, and June 1.

After “exploding” with redevelopment, the City Council passed a nine-month moratorium last winter on significant development in the eastern part of the city and hired a consultant to help with the planning process.

The East Town area is important not just for its prime lakeside location but also its history. The popular Excelsior Amusement Park was located in the area from 1925 to 1973.

The city has decided to hold off on the sale of a former police station building, at 810 Excelsior Blvd., until it decides how high-density residential buildings might affect other properties. The nearby Bayview Event Center closed its doors for renovations last year, and there are preliminary proposals to redevelop parking lots into housing.

KELLY SMITH

City hires MSR to develop Commons plan

Excelsior is moving forward with plans to revamp its Lake Minnetonka park, the Commons, by hiring a consultant to create a master park plan.

The City Council approved hiring an architectural and interior design firm, MSR, for up to $50,500 to develop the plan. MSR, which renovated Minneapolis’ Mill City Museum, was picked out of seven firms. The council also hired a preservationist for no more than $5,000 to guide MSR on which park features should be preserved.

The master park plan is being funded by the city’s $1.3 million capital improvement fund.

City officials want to revitalize the 13-acre park, which has been in the public domain for more than 160 years. Arguing that the park should be supported regionally and not just by Excelsior’s 2,100 residents, they have asked legislators to approve a half-cent sales tax to raise $7 million for park improvements.

A conservancy group, Community for the Commons, was established last year to lead private fundraising.

KELLY SMITH

Edina

Forum to address Holocaust, genocides

Edina is holding its seventh annual “Days of Remembrance” forum on May 7, an observance of the Holocaust and other major genocides throughout the generations.

The city will host the forum from 1 to 3 p.m. at Edina City Hall, 4801 W. 50th St. Joni Sussman, the former president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, will speak about her parents, who were Holocaust survivors.

Tea Rozman Clark, the executive director of Green Card Voices, a group that aims to connect recent immigrants and non-immigrants, will also speak.

Edina has acknowledged other humanitarian crises in previous events, including the Rwandan and Amernian genocides.

Miguel Otárola

PLYMOUTH

Waffle breakfast to benefit crime, fire fund

Plymouth will host its seventh annual waffle breakfast fundraiser next month to support its crime and fire prevention fund for special initiatives that enhance safety in the community, such as medication disposal bags and a training fire tower.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 7 at Fire Station III, 3300 Dunkirk Lane N. Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 on the day of the event, and $4 for children ages 10 and under.

To buy tickets in advance, contact plymouthcrimefire@gmail.com or call 612-516-3143.

KELLY SMITH