Plans for a new distillery in Eden Prairie are expected to move forward after the Hennepin County Board approves a $50,000 grant for the business.
The County Board discussed the grant at a committee meeting Sept. 27 and is set to approve it Tuesday. The McKnight Foundation will fund the grant through its Moving the Market program to support business development near transit stations.
Because the Flying Dutchman Distillery would go into an old vacant warehouse near the proposed Golden Triangle Light Rail Transit station, it meets the grant requirements of creating new jobs, diversifying land use and promoting bike- and pedestrian-friendly connections, among other measures. The Southwest Light Rail Transit line is planned to span 14 miles from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.
McKnight’s grant money would flow to the project through Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and Neighborhood Development Center. The county said the grant would go toward remodeling and getting disadvantaged business contractors to do a quarter of the work. According to the county, the grant will help Flying Dutchman Distillery get off the ground and generate a projected $2 million in wages and $1.6 million in sales, state and federal taxes over five years.
The owners told the Star Tribune earlier this month that they hope to open the business off Shady Oak Road and Flying Cloud Drive between December and February. For more details about the new distillery, go to strib.mn/2dhXiB8.
City wins award for Central Park
Maple Grove’s newest park is getting some state recognition.
The Minnesota Recreation and Park Association recently awarded the city an award of excellence for Central Park. The park opened last fall with a climbing wall and 24-foot tower, splash pad fountain, gardens, trails, playground and an 810-foot-long refrigerated ice skating loop — Minnesota’s first such attraction. It drew more than 65,000 visitors last winter. The city expects the ice loop to remain a popular destination when it reopens in mid-November, depending on the weather.
Central Park, just northeast of the city’s Arbor Lakes retail area, was in the works for more than 30 years. It’s the suburb’s second community park and first so-called urban park because it’s in the middle of the suburb and has a central lawn instead of ball fields. The 40-acre park replaced longtime gravel mining pits and is near a fast-growing residential development.
City approves water treatment plant
The Chanhassen City Council has approved a $20 million water treatment plant in the Lake Harrison neighborhood despite protests from a homeowner’s association that believes the plant will diminish property values. Members of the group also had other concerns, including the possibility of a toxic chlorine spill. The city bought the land in 2005 with plans to build a water treatment plant.
Free boating safety course set for Oct. 20
Registration is open through Oct. 13 for a free boating safety course held by the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District.
The course will run from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Westonka Public Schools’ Education Service Center in Minnetrista. A watercraft operator’s permit is required for anyone age 12-17 to operate a boat with a motor exceeding 25 hp without adult supervision. The state Department of Natural Resources issues the permits. Adults who get a permit can receive discounts on their boat insurance.
The course is free, but the permit costs those passing the exam $22.50; anyone age 12 to 17 can have the fee reimbursed through the conservation district. For more details and to register, go to lmcd.org.
Bike advocates embrace pedestrian interests
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is going biped.
The seven-year-old bike advocacy lobby is adding travel by foot to its work. That results from working closely with pedestrian advocates on recent projects and finding that striking a balance between walking and biking interests is important to helping improve a street for both, according to Ethan Fawley, the coalition’s director.
The adoption of the expanded mission puts the muscle of the coalition, which Fawley said can reach 15,000 people via e-mail or social media outlets, behind walking advocacy. Walk and bike advocates have worked closely on such efforts as the newly adopted city Complete Streets policy and the Safe Routes to Schools program. Pedestrian advocates have voiced concern that their issues don’t get the same weight as those raised by cyclists.
Coalition board President LaTrisha Vetaw said the organization will hold listening sessions with people in the city before revising its name, mission and priorities to reflect its revised role.