The Minneapolis Farmers Market, which moved last year to the Hennepin County Government Center's grassy south plaza due to Nicollet Mall construction, will return to the Government Center in May.

The Hennepin County Board last week approved the downtown Minneapolis market's return to the plaza, starting May 4 and running through Nov. 9 depending on the fall weather. The market will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

County officials say the relocation of the market was a "tremendous success," bringing downtown workers to Government Center events over the lunch hour, including Summer on the Plaza music, lawn games and food vendors.

On the other side of the Government Center, the brick north plaza will reopen this spring with double the outdoor seating it had before, new pedestrian ramps and repaired retaining walls. The plaza was renovated last year in a $3.5 million project that repaired the distinctive central pool and waterfall fountain.



Council OKs plans for fifth water plant

Preliminary studies for the design and construction of a fifth water treatment plant in Edina are set to begin this month.

The City Council recently approved a plan with engineering company AE2S to begin water quality and environmental studies, outline capacity for the treatment plant and provide a cost estimate.

The AE2S project will cost $75,000, according to city documents. It will begin this month and be completed in August.

Edina began planning for the plant more than a decade ago. Since then, the city has opened one treatment plant and shut down another one.

Four plants currently treat 10 of 18 wells in Edina. During the summer months, untreated wells have higher levels of manganese and iron, leading to taste and odor complaints.

Miguel Otárola

St. Louis Park

Council welcomes Buddhist temple

St. Louis Park City Council members last week took note of a Buddhist temple soon to open in the city, saying they hope it will bolster the community's ecumenical feel.

The Thai Buddhist Center of Minnesota in January bought a former church property off Hwy. 100 and across from Beth El Synagogue, with the intent of renovating it into a Thai Buddhist temple to be called Wat Thai of Minnesota.

The council approved an amendment to allow up to 15 clergymembers or employees to live in a religious institution in a residential zoning district. It is typical for Buddhist monks to live in a temple anywhere from a week up to a year.

If it passes a second reading, the amendment will go into effect April 14. Once open, Wat Thai will be within eyeshot of the synagogue and Benilde-St. Margaret's, a Catholic high school.

"I have a feeling you will become a good partner to some of the other religious organizations in that area," Mayor Jake Spano said.

Miguel Otárola

Harcey chosen as city's new police chief

A 25-year veteran of the St. Louis Park Police Department has been chosen as its next police chief.

Lt. Mike Harcey was selected by City Manager Tom Harmening after a lengthy search for a new chief. The City Council is expected to swear in Harcey at its meeting Monday.

Harcey worked for the Richfield Police Department before joining the St. Louis Park department in 1991 as a police and school liaison officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2000 and lieutenant in 2006.

He has a master of arts degree in police leadership from the University of St. Thomas and also attended the University of Minnesota and Normandale Community College.

The city embarked on a search for a new chief after Police Chief John Luse announced he would retire at the end of last year. Three candidates were interviewed by city staffers and participated in two public forums.

One of Harcey's first jobs as chief would be to fill the position of deputy chief, according to city officials.

Miguel Otárola


County Board appoints watershed positions

The Hennepin County Board reappointed incumbent Richard Miller and appointed former Orono City Administrator Jessica Loftus last week to two positions on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board.

They were selected from a field of nine candidates that included incumbent Pam Blixt of Minneapolis and candidates Dan Gustafson of Wayzata, David Kaplan of Minneapolis, Lili McMillan of Orono, Tom Neiman of St. Louis Park, Linnae Nelson-Seys of Minneapolis and Rachel Seurer of Hopkins. Board managers serve three-year terms and get paid $75 per meeting for the Minnetonka-based watershed district.