Hennepin County’s latest tool to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species was unveiled in Spring Park Monday.

The watercraft cleaning stations are solar-powered and user-operated.

The pilot program includes five stations. The others are at North Arm on Lake Minnetonka, Bryant Lake and Riley Lake in Eden Prairie and Pike Lake in St. Louis County.

“For years, we’ve been raising awareness and engaging anglers to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Finally, we have smart tools that empower people to do the right thing,” said Pat Conzemius, conservation director of an invasive species prevention campaign called Wildlife Forever.

Boaters can use the cleaning stations to learn the best practices for cleaning, draining, drying and disposing of bait. The stations include compressed air, a wet/dry vacuum, marine lights and a series of low-tech, cable-tethered tools.

The cleaning stations provide boaters with round-the-clock education and tools at a cost similar to having an inspector on site for limited hours. The waterless and solar-powered stations are cost-effective to install and maintain.

“Preserving the health and vitality of our lakes and streams is an important part of Hennepin County’s environmental mission,” County Commissioner Jan Callison said. “The innovative cleaning station being installed in Spring Park is an example of how local governments and agencies have the ability to get creative in educating the public and providing services so that we make lasting impacts.”

The county gets about $300,000 from the state for invasive species prevention. CD3, a Minnesota-based company, developed the watercraft cleaning station.

David Chanen

St. Louis Park

Rep. Keith Ellison to host forum on civics

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is leading a public forum on basic civics Wednesday in St. Louis Park.

Ellison, who represents the state’s Fifth Congressional District, will be joined by St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano and other local politicians. Topics for discussion range from how the levels of government work, to shaping public policy and the legislative process.

Questions can be directed in advance to Matt.Croaston@mail.house.gov or to 612-522-1212.

The forum is from 6-7:30 p.m. at the banquet room of the St. Louis Park Recreation Center, 3700 Monterey Drive.

Miguel Otárola


City has opened its first public parking ramp

Wayzata’s first public parking ramp — the Mill Street Ramp — opened this month near Broadway Avenue with nearly 400 parking stalls.

The ramp cost replaces a 182-stall surface lot at a cost of almost $9 million. City officials said the ramp was needed to address a growing parking crunch in the popular Lake Minnetonka city. Downtown Wayzata has one privately owned ramp; street parking is free.



City Council will hold a public hearing next month on Arden Park restoration project

The Edina City Council will hold a public hearing Sept. 6 on a contested proposal to renovate a portion of Minnehaha Creek and the park that surrounds it.

The hearing follows a lengthy delay on a council vote on the topic, partly spurred by a neighborhood campaign to protect a popular fishing hole on the creek near the intersection of Minnehaha Boulevard and W. 54th Street.

The Arden Park restoration plan, a collaboration between the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and Edina, seeks to remove a dam that creates the rapids that formed the fishing hole. Project developers look to smooth water flow and quality along the creek and add new trails and features around the park.

The City Council balked at a decision on the proposal in June. Project developers presented the proposal to the council at the council’s August meeting. The council decided to schedule the public hearing to make a more well-reasoned decision, Mayor Jim Hovland said.

The $4 million project would only move forward with the council’s approval. The public hearing will take place during a special council session at 7 p.m. in City Hall, located at 4801 W. 50th St.

Miguel Otárola

Hennepin County

New assistant county administrator named

Chet Cooper was appointed Hennepin County’s assistant county administrator.

The position oversees management of the county’s operations division and proposes direction to other county leaders. He most recently served as director of the Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation. He has been with the county since 1985.

Cooper replaces Judy Regenscheid, who will retire in December. She has held many leadership roles inside and outside of the organization.

David Chanen

Eden Prairie

City seeks housing input from millennials

Eden Prairie is looking to its younger residents as it works to update its long-term comprehensive plan.

The city launched an online survey for millennials — people between 18 and 35 years old — to gather feedback on their housing preferences. It asks about their preferred forms of housing, whether they rent or own and the most important factors when they choose a home.

The survey is available online at bit.ly/2g2DsQQ. It is open through Wednesday.

Miguel Otárola