In September, we've had the Public Works Grand Opening, voting on the preliminary Levy, Run for Rocco, and Council members bagging groceries at Cub, among many other things. I'll provide an update on the biggest issues currently at play.
On September 1st, the council voted to set the preliminary Levy at a 3% increase. This means that the increase cannot exceed 3% when we vote on the final Levy in December. Please see my last post for background. The EDA Levy was also increased by 3%. The EDA is a separate entity, and has its own budget and Levy. As I’ve stated before, I would like to continue working with staff to find ways of lowering this number for the final December vote. Council Member Kolb talks about the Budget process in his council recap here.
METRO Blue Line Extension
The plans for the Blue Line Light Rail are progressing. On Monday, September 28th, community members met to identify strengths and weaknesses of the area immediately surrounding the proposed LRT station. The meeting was very well attended, and residents provided thoughtful and insightful input. For many years, The LRT project has been planned and managed by groups outside of our community, but the people who really matter are Crystal residents. We know and love Crystal, and our opinions are essential to any plans that these groups may have. The Federal Transit Administration, Hennepin County, Met Council, the Counties Transit Improvement Board, and MNDot are all very powerful entities, and our own community may seem lost in the shuffle. It’s essential that we are present to advocate on behalf of our city. There is also a myriad of committees- Mayor Adams and I are members of the Corridor Management Committee and the Steering Committee. We also have the Crystal Community and Business Advisory Committees, and the Community Working Group. The CWG is focused on managing the plans for the area immediately surrounding the proposed station, and is made up of residents, council members (Julie Deshler and myself), and city staff. All these committees are active for the purpose of bringing the community's interests to the table. Here is a link to all the committees involved, and the dates on which they meet: METRO Blue Line Committees.
One specific LRT issue that the Council recently resolved is the West Broadway “S Curve” intersection at 48th Avenue. This intersection will not be functional as is if Light Rail is built, and we had to negotiate with the County to find an appropriate solution. We did not want the burden of remediation alone, as the County suggested, but we did arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. You can see the proposed layout here. Hennepin County is responsible for construction, and will continue to maintain West Broadway as a County road.
Future Meetings and Opportunities to participate:
Please give your feedback on the LRT station by filling out this survey. In the Seach window at the top left corner type "Crystal", and you will be directed to the appropriate section.
The next community Open House will be on Monday, October 19, 5:00–7:30 p.m. at the Crystal Community Center. This meeting will provide information on the results of the Environmental Analysis. Click here for more details.
Many residents in Section 2 have expressed a desire for creating Quiet Zones at train intersections, specifically at Douglas Drive. City Staff are currently researching the details of this project. The Federal Government regulates all laws pertaining to freight rail, but the financial burden of establishing Quiet Zones falls directly on local communities. Here is some basic information on what is involved in this process. This is a lengthy and expensive project, and often times, cities may receive County or State funds to make it possible. You can contact our County Commissioner Mike Opat, and State Representatives Lyndon Carlson and Ann Rest, and let them know that this is important for your quality of life as a Crystal resident.
Click Here to contact Commissioner Opat
Click Here to contact Representative Carlson
Click Here to contact Representative Rest
Twin Oaks Reconstruction
On October 1st, the City held an informational meeting for those in the Twin Oaks Neighborhood. Earlier, Julie Deshler and I door knocked on Wilshire Ave to inform residents that a sidewalk was proposed for their street. During the open house, residents were polled on their preference regarding the sidewalk. The jury on it is still out, so there is plenty of time for residents to weigh in. Please don't hesitate to contact me with your opinion on this issue.
A Public Hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 6th, 7:00pm, at City Hall. This is another opportunity for residents to give their input on this project.
The Council recently came to a consensus on how to improve the function of our Commissions. This conversation spanned the entire summer, and I am confident that we have reached a good conclusion. Here are the changes that we hope to implement:
- Move to annual recruitment and interview process for commissions.
- The whole Council interviews candidates.
- We will be working with the City Code Review Task Force to move Commissions from the Code to Resolutions.
- Implement annual orientation for Commissioners.
- Formalize expectations of Commissions, with a work plan and annual reporting- There will be a whole work session on this soon.
- Require biennial review of Commissions.
- Increase City Staff presence during Commission meetings.
I feel that these changes will put Commissions on the forefront of Council priorities, improve communication and our ability to work more cohesively.
City Code Review Task Force
I recently attended a City Code Review Task Force meeting. The caliber of work was impressive, and I am looking forward to discussing their ideas with the whole Council! I am pleased to see diversity of background and opinion in this group, and feel confident that their proposals are made with careful deliberation. Simplifying the City Code is one of our top priorities, and we cannot do this without the work of our volunteers. Thank you to all who have stepped up to this challenging task!
Council Member Kolb wrote a recap of this event. You can read it here.
Here is what's coming up in Crystal!
Crystal Shopping Center’s Halloween Event
Click Here for the Facebook Event Page
Fourth Annual Herzing from the Heart- Healthy Halloween Fun
Light of Crystal Half Way Happy Hour
Thursday October 15th at El Loro, 5:00pm.
Are you interested in getting to know your Crystal neighbors? You are invited to this casual and fun social gathering!
Click Here for the Facebook Event Page.
That's all for now! As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns!