Crews are expected to conduct controlled burns in three Richfield parks this week in an effort to restore native grasses there.

The burns are scheduled for Adams Hill, Taft and Sheridan parks. Residents who live near the parks have been notified by mail, according to city officials.

Officials hope the burns will bring back native grasses and attract pollinators such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths and beetles. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Dobesh said the fires will be set in a “safe, controlled and minimally invasive manner.”

Exact dates and times for the burns haven’t yet been set, and the city will release the information through its website once that is determined. The burns will be rescheduled for the week of Nov. 23-27 if weather conditions are poor. If that week does not work, the burns would be pushed back to next spring.

Miguel Otárola


County to sell downtown parcel to Aeon

Hennepin County commissioners, acting as the Regional Railroad Authority, last month agreed to negotiate the sale of a small county-owned parcel near U.S. Bank Stadium to nonprofit developer Aeon for an affordable housing project.

The estimated sales price is $2.45 million.

The property, slightly more than a half-acre, was part of the Dome Spur railroad corridor purchased by the Railroad Authority from the Soo Line in 1991.

The authority conveyed all but the parcel to the Metropolitan Council in 2001 for the Blue Line light-rail project. The property is at 3rd Street and 10th Avenue S.

The authority issued a request in August for proposals for the property, and received 11 responses for either parking or housing on the site. Aeon is proposing to build a 110-unit affordable housing complex there.


City Council to review Shake Shack plans

The City Council is expected Wednesday to review plans to build a Shake Shack restaurant in a parking area near Southdale Center.

Simon Property Group, which owns Southdale, sought city approval on behalf of the restaurant. It would be built on the southeast corner of France Avenue S. and W. 66th Street in an area of overflow mall parking, with trees and sidewalks linking the mall and the restaurant.

The Edina Planning Commission last month approved plans for the restaurant. While the commission found no reason to oppose the development, a couple commissioners said they wished the site could be used for something else.

Planning Commissioner Ian Nemerov, who approved the plans, said he believed “a lot of members of the community are going to be disappointed that there’s a Shake Shack going in on that corner.”

Commission Chairwoman JoAnn Olsen agreed, saying she would prefer a denser development on that corner.

The only franchise of the burger chain currently in Minnesota is at the Mall of America.

Miguel Otárola

St. Louis Park

Skate park opens at Carpenter Park

St. Louis Park opened a new skate park last week, part of the renovation of a recreational area behind City Hall.

The skate park, located in Carpenter Park at Minnetonka Boulevard and Raleigh Avenue, was designed and built by California Skateparks, a company that has also built parks in Duluth, Bemidji and St. Cloud.

The 6,500-square-foot skate park features rails, stairs and a mini halfpipe. It was partly paid for with a $100,000 grant from the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program, funded by the county’s ballpark sales tax.

St. Louis Park also is in the final stages of installing a vault under the skate park to collect and filter runoff stormwater.

The city will hold a grand opening in the park next spring, once the entire project is completed.

Miguel Otárola


County awards grants for organics recycling

Hennepin County recently awarded grants totaling $720,000 to 28 cities to support their organics recycling programs.

Only 11 percent of households in the county participate in organics recycling, or about 52,000 households. To boost those numbers, cities plan to use the county funding to increase education, offset service costs and provide participating households with supplies such as compostable bags and kitchen pails.

The County Board adopted changes to the county’s recycling funding policy in 2016 that gradually allocates more money to cities for organics recycling. The board believes that organics recycling promises significant trash reduction and that financial incentives are needed to make it more widely available.



City, district launch invasive species project

The Nine Mile Creek Watershed District and the city of Bloomington have developed an aquatic invasive species pop-up education cart to educate the public on ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The pop-up cart was used by more than 670 people at parks, beaches and city events this summer. Activities included games that show how invasive species spread, education discouraging the release of pet fish into the wild, and art activities about native and nonnative fish.

In a survey of people who stopped by the cart, 76 percent said they would teach others about aquatic invasive species, 68 percent said they would clean their fishing gear before using it in a new lake and 66 percent said they would dispose of unwanted fishing bait in the trash.

The project was funded through an aquatic invasive species prevention grant from Hennepin County.