Excelsior residents apparently agree with city leaders that the city's Lake Minnetonka park needs to be revitalized.

In a report to the City Council last week, a committee tasked with planning improvements to the Commons presented residents' feedback. The council also approved seeking proposals for a consultant to create a master park plan in 2017.

The city long has wanted to revamp the 13-acre city park along the lake, which has been in the public domain for more than 160 years. A vintage band shell and bathhouse date to the 1950s and '60s, and the city has sought to improve its facilities and concessions. After failing to get state bonding funds, the city started the park committee.

In focus groups and online, residents said the park needs to be revitalized and that the design should reflect both their preferences and those of business. They said the city should make the park more walkable and accessible, improve the beach area and facilities, address shoreline erosion, redesign the port and revamp the band shell.

Residents also said the city needs to address maintenance issues and develop a different fee policy. A park conservancy group, Community for the Commons, was established last year to lead fundraising and has since launched an endowment fund.



Swenson leaves City Council after 12 years

Ann Swenson attended her last meeting as a member of the Edina City Council on Tuesday after serving as a council member for 12 years.

"I just want to thank all of you for the support," Swenson said at the meeting. "I'm going to go home tonight thinking that 12 years was too short."

"She cares about this town like few have cared before her," Mayor Jim Hovland said. "She's brimming with character and integrity."

Before her time on the council, Swenson served 10 years in the city's Planning Commission. She did not seek re-election this year. Mike Fischer, who has lived in Edina for 16 years, was elected this fall in her place.

Miguel Otárola


Library continues to expand digital collection

Want to check out a school yearbook from 1890 to 1977? View details about Minneapolis musicians in the 1930s? Or see neighborhood street scenes from the early 20th century? It's all available with the click of a button, thanks to the Hennepin County Library adding 34 digitized collections online last month.

It's part of a growing digitized collection for the county that's being assembled with the help of library staffers, interns and volunteers. From maps and atlases to yearbooks, theater programs, posters, business trade cards, newspaper photos and editorial cartoons, people can view and download thousands of documents about Minneapolis and Hennepin County history without needing a library card.

New items will be added every week, county officials say, and with a few exceptions access is free. For more info, go to hclib.org/digitalcollections.



Exhibit to feature Terrace Theatre artifacts

The large letters that once announced the Terrace Theatre to moviegoers, and chandeliers inside the 1950s-era Robbinsdale landmark, are being preserved.

After crews demolished the 1,300-seat theater this fall to make way for a Hy-Vee grocery store, the Robbinsdale Historical Society and the Save the Historic Terrace Theatre Board announced that some of the theater's most prominent features will be restored and become part of an upcoming exhibit.

Another preservation group, the Friends of the Terrace, sued the theater's owner, Brixmor Property Group, to try to stop the demolition but was denied a temporary restraining order.

St. Louis Park-based Inland Development Partners is redeveloping the site and half an adjacent mall for Hy-Vee, a convenience store, coffee shop and gas pumps.



County holds free household repair clinic

Hennepin County will host a free Fix-It Clinic on Jan. 14 in Minnetonka, giving county residents a chance to get help in repairing household items.

Participants may bring small appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and other items to the clinic, where experts will help them take apart, troubleshoot or repair the items.

The clinic will be open from noon to 4 p.m. at Hennepin County Library-Ridgedale, 12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka. The next event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 12 at Arc's Value Village, 2751 Winnetka Av. N., New Hope.

The monthly clinics were started in 2012 to help residents learn new skills and repair items instead of throwing them out.