A luxury car condo complex that will be the second of its kind in Minnesota has received final city approval.

The Medina City Council unanimously approved the project last month after delaying the vote. AutoMotorPlex will build a 237,500-square-foot, 12-building complex of private garages on nearly 20 acres of farmland in the west metro suburb near Hwy. 55, east of Arrowhead Drive.

Construction is expected to start in early spring, with the business’ first phase opening later in 2017. This is the company’s second Minnesota location. It opened a 40-acre complex in Chanhassen in 2008.

“The demand for such a facility in the Minneapolis area remains strong, and I believe Medina will be a highly desirable location close to where many of these people live,” company founder Bruno Silikowski said in a prepared statement.

Medina officials decided in November to wait on a vote after learning that the development could trigger a mandatory environmental assessment under state law. They later determined the assessment wouldn’t be needed.

The garage “condominiums” have been likened to a country club for cars, with 160 units for collectors to stash and show their prized autos.

Supporters said the development will boost the tax base and draw visitors to Medina. Others said they were opposed to the car condo’s monthly events because they would bring traffic and noise and affect the rural, residential feel of the area.



Police offering new drug deactivation bags

The growing abuse of prescription pills has prompted more police departments to step up ways to help residents get rid of unused pills.

Plymouth has started handing out drug deactivation bags that contain activated carbon, which neutralizes the medication and prevents it from contaminating the groundwater. They can be used to dispose of liquid medication, transdermal patches or pills.

Nearly a dozen cities in Hennepin County have drop boxes for residents to dispose of prescription pills and over-the-counter medicines. The drug deactivation pouch system has emerged as another way to get rid of prescription pills.

Eden Prairie police started handing out the drug deactivation bags in 2014. And last fall, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, a St. Louis-based company, announced the donation of 30,000 drug deactivation pouches to be handed out locally to people who want to easily dispose of opioids at home.

In 2016, more than 80 people in Hennepin County died from an overdose of heroin and other opioids. A state report says three-fourths of heroin addicts first abused prescription opioids.

In Plymouth, residents can go to the police department and pick up the bags for free, thanks to donations by the Armstrong-Cooper Youth Hockey Association and the Plymouth Crime and Fire Prevention Fund. For more details, go to plymouthmn.gov.


St. Louis Park

City shuts down water treatment plant

St. Louis Park shut down a problematic water treatment plant Wednesday, in hopes of upgrading it by the summer of 2018.

Over the last two years, the water treated by the plant tested for contaminants above levels set by the Minnesota Department of Health. Although the water was considered safe to drink, the state and residents urged the city to find a permanent solution to reduce contamination.

The city is working with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to have designs for the plant ready by April. The new treatment plant, estimated at $4.5 million, would feature air strippers that remove volatile organic compounds found in the water.

The safety of its drinking water has been a concern for St. Louis Park officials and residents for decades, mainly due to contaminated groundwater from industrial activity.

“The decision to take [the treatment plant] out of service was made out of an abundance of caution and to preserve public trust in the quality of the city’s water,” officials wrote on the city’s Facebook page on Wednesday.

Miguel Otárola


Free radon test kits available at City Hall

In recognition of National Radon Action Month, Edina’s health division is offering free kits to test homes for the radioactive gas.

The test kits are available while supplies last at Edina City Hall, 4801 W. 50th St. Testing usually takes around three to five days, according to the city.

Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that is found in the soil and can build up in homes. The gas is the leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Testing should be done in the lowest level of the home. The city suggests installing a radon mitigation system if the gas level is above 4 picocuries per liter (piC/L).

For more information, contact Lee Renneke at 952-826-0464 or LRenneke@EdinaMN.gov.

Miguel Otárola


Franklin Bridge bike lanes win recognition

A bike advocacy organization has named the new bike lanes on the Franklin Avenue Bridge some of the best in the country in 2016.

People for Bikes, the advocacy arm of the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association, highlighted the bridge’s bike lanes, which are behind a curb and rail.

The bridge, which spans the Mississippi River, reopened in September to traffic after Hennepin County closed it over the summer for renovations. Besides a new driving surface, the bridge features new dedicated and separated bike and pedestrian lanes on both sides. The concrete dividers for the bike lanes are topped by a metal rail.