The Edina City Council recently approved rooftop dining in the city, ending a ban that it had enacted in 2011.

The ordinance allows rooftop dining at restaurants from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in commercial districts, pending a permit from the city. Restaurants will be required to install some sort of partition between the deck and nearby homes, along with safety fencing for customers.

Noise levels will be regulated by Edina’s city code, and outdoor lighting limited to the rooftop area. Restaurants also will have to update liquor licenses to serve alcohol outside.

The law change was requested by Life Time, a fitness club expected to open at Southdale Center in 2019.

The council banned rooftop dining seven years ago after residents living near prospective restaurants complained that it would lead to noise and privacy violations.

Mayor James Hovland said the council was worried that rooftop dining would keep people from moving into nearby developments at the time of the Great Recession.

Council Member Mike Fischer said that he didn’t expect many restaurants to retrofit their decks.

Miguel Otárola

Exhibit opens on Edina during World War I

The Edina Historical Society opened a free exhibit Thursday about what life in the city was like during World War I.

“No Place Like Home: Edina During World War I” uses local artifacts to tell the story of the war period. Contributions came from Edina Morningside Community Church, the Richfield Historical Society and Edina Historical Society board members, curator Rachel Houck said.

Historical Society officials expect a lot of attention due to their connections with local schools and the Edina Veterans Memorial, and promised “little prizes” on the exhibit’s opening night to kids who brought mementos or pictures of relatives who served in the war.

“It’s just something fun to get them interested in history and genealogy,” Houck said.

The exhibit will be open to the public until August 2019 at the Edina History Museum, 4711 W. 70th St., in Arneson Acres Park. Consult the society’s website,, for hours.

Emily Allen


Council OKs $1.1M contract for street project

A $1.1 million contract has been approved by the Richfield City Council for a streetscape project that is part of a comprehensive reconstruction of 66th Street.

The council awarded the contract to Cedar Ridge Landscaping at its meeting last week. The company’s bid was the lowest of four submitted to the city.

The entire $2.7 million streetscape project will include fencing, tree planting, signs and other additions to 66th Street. The city will pay for two-thirds of the project cost, with the balance coming from Hennepin County.

Unspent funds would go toward other streetscape work in the city, including public art, lighting on an Interstate 35 bridge, utility boxes and other amenities.

Crews began work on a major reconstruction of 66th Street from Xerxes to 16th avenues last spring. Major construction is expected to pick up again this spring, with the project expected to be finished in 2019, according to Hennepin County officials.

Project leaders will provide an update at 5 p.m. on March 14 at the Richfield Municipal Center, 6700 Portland Av.

Miguel Otárola


County gets $123K for youth homelessness

The Hennepin County Board last week accepted two grants totaling $123,000 to combat youth homelessness and jail recidivism.

The state Department of Human Services provided $73,000 for the county’s Front Door homeless program. The grant will fund two permanent positions to help homeless youths, ages 15 to 17, find immediate shelter, locate their parents, resolve issues and get referrals for other services.

The second grant, for $50,000, was provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to study juvenile post-sentence recidivism risk factors. The grant will help create an assessment tool to help community correction staffers focus resources on clients with the greatest risk factors.

For more than 10 years, Hennepin County has been involved in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, receiving funding from the state and federal governments and foundations. The county was one of the first three metro counties in the state to develop juvenile jail alternatives.


County Bar to defend at mental health court

The Hennepin County Bar Association has agreed to a three-year deal to represent indigent defendants who land in the county’s mental health court.

The $3.9 million contract is part of a court-ordered settlement from 1980 to create a panel of attorneys to represent such defendants. County officials issued requests for proposals for the services, and the County Board chose the bar association because of its quality work for many years.

The previous contracts had been for two years. The hourly rate charged by the bar will be $83 by the end of the three-year commitment.


Anoka County

McCarthy appointed to 10th District bench

Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Karin McCarthy, a Washington County prosecutor, to replace B. William Ekstrum as a judge in Minnesota’s 10th Judicial District.

McCarthy’s chambers will be in Anoka County, one of the eight counties in the 10th Judicial District along with Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington and Wright.

McCarthy was an assistant attorney in the criminal division of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput’s office.

Ekstrum, who was appointed to the bench in 2005 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, retired from the 10th District in January. He will serve statewide as a senior judge through mid-2019.

Kevin Giles