Plans to build a coffee shop for St. Louis Park students are moving forward, after the City Council voted Monday to match $25,000 for the project.

Students from St. Louis Park High School are raising money to open the shop and study space, to be called The Nest, in a leased space at 3412 Library Lane. They hope to open on Sept. 4, the first day of school.

So far, almost $20,000 has been raised in donations for the project. The council will match the funding once it reaches $25,000.

"This investment … just gives them a shot," Mayor Jake Spano said. "We'll see if they can make a go of it."

First-year funds will go toward rent, operating expenses and hiring a staff person, according to Julia Schmelzer, a parent advising the students.

"It feels great to have the council behind us," she said. "There were a lot of council members that liked the idea."

The Nest would partner with Muddy Paws Cheesecake, a local bakery, to provide food.

Miguel Otárola


Curling club opens at city Ice Arena

The Richfield Curling Club started its inaugural season last week, opening its first space at the Richfield Ice Arena.

The club installed four sheets for the sport at the arena, 636 E. 66th St. Club founder Lisa Rudolph said it's the sixth curling club in the metro area and the only one in Hennepin County.

Rudolph said she had tried to persuade city officials for years to introduce curling at the facility. The club got the support of the United States Curling Association, which loaned it rocks, brooms and other equipment.

"It's really cool to see this come to fruition and nice to provide another use for our ice arena," she said.

Starting this weekend, the club is offering a beginner's league on Sundays, and it will launch an open league on Sundays starting July 8. Two "Learn to Curl" classes are scheduled for June 15 and 29, and children's lessons are scheduled throughout June and July. All equipment will be provided by the club.

To register and view the full schedule of activities, visit

Miguel Otárola


Council OKs Pentagon Park redevelopment

The Edina City Council on Tuesday approved preliminary plans to redevelop a large plot of land near Interstate 494 and Hwy. 100 for hotels, stores and offices.

Under the plan, Solomon Real Estate Group would redevelop a vacant 12.5-acre site known as Pentagon Park South. Scott Tankenoff, who owns the property, called it "clearly one [of], if not the most blighted and challenged property in the city of Edina."

The first phase of construction involves two hotels with 193 and 153 rooms, a parking ramp and 11,800 square feet of retail space, according to city documents.

The second phase would include two five-story office buildings, another parking ramp and 19,000 square feet of retail space.

One hotel would be dual-branded and developed by Minneapolis-based firm JR Hospitality, and the other would be a WaterWalk extended stay hotel.

Miguel Otárola


State commits $2 million for pool project

A new outdoor 50-meter pool is taking shape in New Hope, thanks to $2 million in state funding tucked into the bonding bill recently signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

The pool complex, estimated to cost about $10.5 million, would replace one torn out by the city to make way for a new police station and City Hall building.

The plans drew pushback from some pool users, including area swim teams that objected to proposals to reduce the pool's size and noted that it was one of the few outdoor pools of its kind left in the metro area.

The feedback spurred city officials to seek state funds by citing a regional need for competitive swimming facilities in the west metro, according to a city news release.

New Hope officials are now deciding what other features to include in the swimming facility, said Jerry Beck, a city spokesman.

The pool will be built on the site of City Hall, which will be torn down after city staffers move into the new City Hall building next summer. City officials expect the new outdoor pool will open in summer 2020.

Hannah Covington


Police to begin body camera pilot program

The Chaska Police Department soon will begin a yearlong pilot program to outfit its officers with body cameras, making it the first department in Carver County to use the gear.

After studying the technology for more than a year, authorities have agreed to a free trial period to evaluate the cameras. Chief Scott Knight said he hopes to have the body-worn cameras fully implemented by the end of June.

"I do believe that we are on the cusp of making a technological 'quantum leap' regarding our steadfast commitment to community policing by deploying" body cameras, Knight wrote in a memo to the City Council.

More suburban police departments across the metro area are considering equipping their officers with body cameras in an effort to improve accountability and transparency, partly in response to public outrage over excessive use of force by officers.

In neighboring Scott County, at least four cities — Shakopee, Prior Lake, Belle Plaine and Elko New Market — have rolled out body cameras.

Savage police also plan to pilot the technology when they equip five officers with body cameras by year's end.

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association found that more than 67 percent of municipal chiefs are in favor of body cameras and that 23.5 percent are seeking more information on the cameras.

liz sawyer