Crystal’s Night to Unite!

Last night Sgt. Lee-Faust and I made it to 8 Night to Unite neighborhood parties in only 3 hours. We made a great team, I only made it to 7 parties last year!

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It was fun to meet new people and catch up with neighbors I met last year. Excited to see so many neighborhoods become more connected and community oriented!

If you were not able to host or make it to a party this year, I hope you will get involved next year.  Just watch the Crystal website and Nextdoor.com for more information!

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Let get this task force started!

Last night the city council and I had the honor of interviewing 13 fantastic people for the upcoming City Code Task Force. It was so encouraging to meet such qualified applicants; all who want to help our city thrive.

We are very excited to get this task force off the ground. The city council could never tackle such a mammoth project on its own.

The City Code Task Force will be making recommendations to simplify, clarify and prune the code to make it more user-friendly and relevant to our city today. We know of no other city that has attempted something like this, so it will be a learning process for all of us!

In Crystal we have more lines of code than we have citizens, so this really is a huge undertaking, but I expect that it will be very interesting and rewarding work for our volunteers. I have no doubt that all citizens will benefit from and appreciate the results.

We expect the task force to convene their first meeting in June.

Update on Bassett Creek Regional Trail

This past week Crystal City Council voted on whether or not to give support to a Three Rivers Park District application, enabling them to receive money from Hennepin County to complete the Bassett Creek Regional Trail.
(You can watch the full meeting recording here. The part about Bassett Creek is toward the end.)

I think most of us on the council considered this a very difficult issue to vote on, because it could adversely effect those that live immediately adjacent the trail.  We received a lot of feedback from residents voicing their concerns and we took this very seriously. We also received letters from many citizens who are quite excited about the trail – but of course, we know it’s easy to be excited about a trail when it doesn’t cross your own front yard.

When it came down to making a decision, we found that to some extent the decision was already made for us.  A previous council had already made an agreement with Three Rivers Park district many years ago.  At the time the council desired to put in a pedestrian bridge across HWY 100, so they asked Three Rivers for the money. Three Rivers agreed, but only after the council signed an agreement that stated the city of Crystal would secure the easements necessary to complete the Bassett Creek trail.

On Tuesday Councilmember Jeff Kolb proposed the following Resolution with his own amendments (in red).  I added an amendment to the document as well.  After agreeing on the amendments, the resolution passed unanimously; Three Rivers will now submit their application for funds to Hennepin County.

Keep in mind, the process is not over. The council will have opportunities to review and approve plans for the trail before work begins.  For this reason I encourage constituents to continue to contact city council with your concerns and suggestions for how we can minimize any negative impact of this trail.

Thank you for your attention and continued feedback!

—-
A RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT FOR THREE RIVERS PARK DISTRICT APPLICATION TO THE HENNEPIN COUINTY 2015
BIKEWAY PARTICIPATION PROGRAM FOR THE BASSETT CREEK REGIONAL TRAIL

(New)
WHEREAS, Planning for the Bassett Creek Regional Train began in 1999; and

(New)
WHEREAS, the City of Crystal entered into an agreement with Three Rivers Park District (then known as Hennepin Parks)
in 2002 in which the City of Crystal received $159,942.50 for the funding of a pedestrian bridge over Highway 100; and

(New)
WHEREAS, in 2011 the Crystal City Council adopted a resolution approving the Bassett Creek Regional Trail Master Plan;
and

(Existing, no changes)
WHEREAS, the City of Crystal recognizes that Three Rivers Park District, the cities of Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Crystal,
New Hope and Plymouth and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Hennepin County and Minnesota Department of
Transportation have gathered significant public input in the development of the Master Plan for the Bassett Creek
Regional Trail corridor; and

(Existing, no changes)
WHEREAS, the City of Crystal recognizes that the Bassett Creek Regional Trail Master Plan is consistent with other
approved local and regional plans including the City of Crystal 2030 Comprehensive Plan; and

(Existing, no changes)
WHEREAS, the City of Crystal recognizes that Three Rivers Park District secured a 2011 Federal Transportation
Enhancement (TE) Program Grant in the amount of $1,030,000 to construct 2.8 miles of the Bassett Creek Regional Trail;
and

(Modified)
WHEREAS, the City of Crystal recognizes that all expenses incurred further establishing the acquisition, construction,
operation and maintenance of the Bassett Creek Regional Trail will be the responsibility of Three Rivers Park District; and

(New)
WHEREAS, Three Rivers Park District is funded in large part by the taxpayers of suburban Hennepin County, including
residents of Crystal.

(Modified)
BE IT RESOLVED that the Crystal City Council supports that Three Rivers Park District seek a Hennepin County 2015
Bikeway Participation Program gran to offset the local match fund requirements for the Federal grants already awarded
for the project, pursuant to the conditions and guidelines delineated by the Master Plan and Federal grants, and subject
to the following conditions:

(Existing, no changes)

1. For the segments along Nevada and 32nd Avenues, the final design must recognize and be sensitive to the
potential impacts on adjacent properties including residences; and
2. For the crossing of Douglas Drive at 32nd Avenue, the final design must include reasonable steps to facilitate safe
crossing by trail users.

(Added by Council Member Elizabeth Dahl)
3. To minimize negative impact and to encourage clear communication toward citizens who live or own property adjacent the trail, Three Rivers Park District will involve Crystal City Council and staff on the final design.

Bassett Creek Regional Trail through Crystal and New Hope

At the April 7th City Council meeting (go here to watch) Three Rivers Park District requested a resolution of support for the completion of the Basset Creek Regional Trail, which will run through Crystal and New Hope.  They have been awarded a $1,030,000 federal grant for this work, and is seeking a local match of $100,000 from Hennepin County.

This route would connect French Regional Park in Plymouth to Theodore Wirth Park in Golden Valley.  It would follow 36th Ave from Winnetka to Nevada Ave, then south on Nevada to 32nd, then east on 32nd to the noise wall, then south to the bike bridge over Highway 100.

The trail will effect properties both in Ward 2 and Ward 1 in Crystal. Existing sidewalk will be ripped out and a much wider trail will be put in. If approved, this project is planned to begin in 2016.

Three Rivers Park will host an open house regarding the trail at the Crystal Community Center, on Monday, April 27th, 5:30-7:30pm.

I encourage residents to attend this open house and to also please contact me with your thoughts or concerns.

The vote to approve or deny the request for approval will take place at the May 5th council meeting.

One Hundred Days in Office!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 16, 2015

“Citizen Connection Initiative” – The First 100 Days

Significant Progress Made Toward Goals; Work to Continue

Crystal, MN – In January 2015, incoming Crystal City Councilmembers Olga Parsons (Section II), Elizabeth Dahl (Ward 1) and Jeff Kolb (Ward 2) announced the creation of the “Citizen Connection Initiative,” a program designed to guide their priorities and decision making throughout their term in office.

April 16 represents 100 days since the three new council members were sworn in, and there is much progress to report on the initiative.

“We are pleased to announce that the Citizen Connection Initiative was embraced by most of our colleagues on the council, and with their support we have accomplished several of the initial goals we identified,” said Parsons.

Key initiatives already accomplished include:

• Implementing new council rules to govern the council in a responsible manner

• Implementing a new tracking system to monitor feedback from residents

• Testing a new interview process for boards and commissions

• Sending thank you notes to citizens who speak at council meetings

• Began the Plain Language Initiative to streamline communications from the city to residents

• Restructuring work sessions to include dedicated time to discuss issues raised by residents

• Establishing an Ordinance Review Task Force to streamline outdated ordinances

• Kept residents informed about key issues, such as the proposed rail connection, through various channels

“While we have accomplished many of our initial goals, there is still much work to be done, and we intend to keep the focus on serving the residents of Crystal and maintaining a customer service focus in the city” said Dahl.

Ongoing and upcoming initiatives include:

• Reevaluating the structure and goals of city commissions and boards

• More neighborhood meetings throughout the summer

• A traffic symposium scheduled for this fall

• A long term branding and communications strategy

“Our goal was to make the Crystal City Government more transparent, open, and responsive to its citizens, and I think we are making good progress,” said Kolb. “I look forward to building on our success over the next few years.”

As a reminder Initial steps to the Citizen Connection Initiative included a pledge by all three incoming councilmembers to do the following:

• Maintain a personal website where they will post information about key votes made by the council

• Maintain a Facebook presence where residents can interact with their representative

• Post occasional updates to Nextdoor.com about relevant community meetings

• Strive for a 72 hour or less response time to citizen inquiries

For more information on the Citizen Connection Initiative contact the individual councilmembers using the contact information below:

Olga Parsons

612-217-2337

olga.parsons@crystalmn.gov

http://www.olgaparsons.com

Elizabeth Dahl

612-567-3353

elizabeth.dahl@crystalmn.gov

http://www.dahlward1.com

Jeff Kolb

612-314-5652

jeff.kolb@crystalmn.gov

http://www.jeff-kolb.com