There’s a change in the air in Golden Valley. The city recently committed to building a new community center; it hired a new police chief; and there’s a major surge of development along the Interstate 394 corridor.
The city also has a new manager: Tim Cruikshank, who was hired by the City Council in September after 14 years running the city of Anoka. He replaced Tom Burt, who retired after more than 13 years as Golden Valley’s manager.
Cruikshank, who grew up in Maple Lake, says he feels right at home.
“I’m a Hwy. 55 kid,” he said. “My dad drove Hwy. 55 from Maple Lake to Minneapolis for 45 years.”
In the coming years, Cruikshank said, he’ll have his hands full managing the city’s role in the development surge. In addition to the I-394 corridor, the area along Hwy. 55 from Hwy. 169 to Douglas Drive is seeing a lot of interest from developers. Cruikshank confirmed that the city has been in discussions with the Wedge, the popular Minneapolis food co-op, about locating a new grocery store along Hwy. 55.
“I think they’ve had some initial interest,” he said. “But nothing is imminent.”
Golden Valley also is deeply engaged in planning for and gathering community input on the proposed Bottineau light-rail line, which would bring two stations to the city. Perhaps the city’s biggest challenge, Cruikshank said, will be getting people to and from the stations.
“Planning for and around the stations, and the infrastructure that’s needed to service the stations — that’s key,” he said. “Getting people to them. Maybe bus routes or a bus system that gets folks to and from the station, and looking at multimodal connections, whether it’s walking or biking.”
Golden Valley has had more than its share of official dysfunction in recent years. But Cruikshank said he hopes to create a system “that might be considered a well-oiled machine.”
“There’s such a solid foundation of really good things going on in this community,” he said. “Everybody is jelling and working together at a high level.”