The city of Prior Lake has named Steve Frazer as its new police chief. Frazer will oversee the department’s 35 employees along with its $4.6 million budget.

Frazer has more than 27 years of law enforcement experience. He started as a police officer in Roseville and moved on to St. Paul, where he served as a commander. His most recent position was as chief deputy in the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.

Frazer will lead a department that has seen a number of leaders in quick succession. Police Chief Mark Elliott resigned in December after about 3½ years on the job. He was followed by interim Chief Booker Hodges, who left when he was appointed assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The most recent interim leader, Don Gudmundson, was appointed interim chief April 15.

Frazer will be sworn in May 20 at the Prior Lake City Council meeting.

Erin Adler

CHASKA

Arboretum is No. 1 in country again

For the second time in three years, the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum was voted the country’s Best Botanical Garden in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Contest. Readers chose from among 20 gardens nominated by horticulture experts.

The arboretum also came in first in the poll in 2017, then slipped to second place in 2018.

The arboretum encompasses 1,200 acres of natural areas, public gardens and tree and plant collections. It is one of the country’s top horticultural field laboratories, with cold-hardy plant and fruit research. Last year, it drew more than 450,000 visitors.

Katy Read

Brooklyn Park

Mayor takes city’s message on the road

Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde will be offering his annual update on city affairs Monday — with a twist.

Lunde will talk park projects, economic development, crime and other topics at an event that begins at 4:30 p.m. at Edinburgh USA, 8700 Edinbrook Crossing.

But for the first time, the mayor will also deliver his message and field questions from more than 30 community groups in the coming days, including schools, churches, an Islamic center and a teen homeless shelter.

The mayor has typically given a “State of the Cities” address each year alongside leaders from Brooklyn Center, Osseo and Maple Grove. But after the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce, the event’s primary sponsor, dissolved last year, Brooklyn Park officials decided to revamp the city’s approach and open up the mayor’s annual address to any interested community groups, Lunde said.

Hannah Covington

Scandia

City adopts new solar ordinance

Community solar projects are once again allowed in Scandia after the City Council approved a new ordinance last month. The ordinance followed years of back-and-forth decisions regarding such projects.

Based on input from the community, the new ordinance increases setback and screening requirements and restricts the solar projects to agriculture core zoning districts.

Mara Klecker