Spring 2019 Update

As the snow melts, many are finding a lot of water coming into their homes – including mine. Neighbors on social media are posting their experiences of home and street flooding. Public works crews went around the city clearing snow drains and helping clear standing water on flooded streets. This has been a very tough winter for many of us! Crystal Public Works Director Mark Ray shared this FEMA cleanup document to help avoid mold and mildew with flooded basements.

Event Highlights:

We’ve had several fundraising events this past month, including Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (supporting local military members and families), Empty Bowls (funding local food shelves), Bowling for Leo (our new police K9), Cheers to Crystal (for Becker Park inclusive playground equipment) and Firefighters Fighting Hunger. Thanks to everyone who organized these successful events and supports our community!

Beyond The Yellow Ribbon


Cheers program


Coming Soon to Crystal:

  • North Clinic (former Chalet Liquors at 5109 36th) – anticipated opening late April – early May
  • El Taco Riendo (in former Subway at 5101 36th) – anticipated opening mid-March
  • U-Haul (converting the former Thriftway at 5717 West Broadway into storage)
  • Ocean Cajun (sit-down restaurant in former Wendy’s at 5440 West Broadway)
  • Theatre Elision Playhouse (former Mill End Fabrics at 6105 42nd) – anticipated opening mid-June

Look for a Target remodel inside and outside this year, too!

Summer is just around the corner, and Crystal Recreation invites you to their Incredible Summer Kickoff on Friday April 12 at 6:30 pm. Enjoy free activities – plus Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” movie. Concessions will be available for sale.

Incredible Summer

> See all activities in the Summer Program

For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.


January 2019 Update

We’re in the middle of a sub-zero arctic blast – a good time to remind us all to dress warmly, keep an eye on our kids and pets outside, and have emergency provisions in your car. Crystal Police linked to this site with good tips on cold weather safety.

At our recent January 15 council meeting, the subject of traffic sign changes was discussed. Two residents came to speak on the topic that night and CCX Media recently reported on the changes and why:

Public Works Director Mark Ray took me on a tour last month to review some of the changes and how intersections were evaluated before a change was made. They are also re-purposing signs to replace faded and worn ones around the city. Mark and city staff are monitoring any issues with traffic sign changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact him at mark.ray@crystalmn.gov or 763-531-1160.

There are a few restaurant changes occurring around town. Wendy’s closed late fall and “Cajun Ocean” will be moving in. A new Taco Bell will be coming to Crystal Shopping Center this year (in the north parking area of Target), and recently Broadway Pizza closed – we’re working on a new restaurant or business to open there soon.

With not much snow this winter, our outdoor activities are hampered but the skating rinks are in great condition. Check with Crystal Park/Rec to confirm if warming houses are open during sub-zero temperatures. Hopefully more snow will come for better sliding at Valley Place Park! See what other Park/Rec events are offered.

A big welcome to our new City Council members, Therese Kiser (Ward 1) and Brendan Banks (Ward 2) who began their 4-year terms this month. I am honored to begin my third year as your Section 1 city council representative.


Thanks to Beacon Academy’s Student Council members for leading the Pledge of Allegiance and an update at our Jan. 15 council meeting! If your group is interested, please let me or the city know and we’ll arrange it.

Beacon Acedemy

Upcoming Events:

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Bowling Fundraiser: Sunday, Jan. 27, 11am-1pm at New Hope Bowl, followed by lunch and bowling prizes at the Crystal VFW. Only $20 per person, with proceeds helping local military service members and their families. For more info, see BTYR’s Facebook page.

Family Sweetheart Sock Hop: Friday, Feb. 8, 7-8:30pm. Families with kids ages 12 and under can flashback to the 50’s and 60’s. Kidsdance will lead interactive dance, win prizes and more. Visit Park/Rec’s Facebook page for details!

Light of Crystal’s Halfway Happy Hour is Friday, Feb. 15, 5-7:00pm at the Crystal VFW on Bass Lake Road. All are welcome – LoC is an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building. Join their Facebook group page here.

Moon Walk: Tuesday, Feb. 19. Ages 8 and older are invited on a special walk (all youth must attend with an adult). Explore the natural world at night. Dress for the weather and walking on snowy and unmaintained trails. Three Rivers Park District staff will guide the walk. Free, but limited space – visit Crystal Park/Rec by Feb. 14 for details and to register.

Stay warm, and enjoy winter events here and around the metro! For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.


November 2018 Update

Congratulations to elected Crystal city council members: Olga Parsons (Section 2), Brendan Banks (Ward 2) and Therese Kiser (Ward 1)! Running for office is a tough job, even on a local level – and kudos to all candidates for stepping up to represent Crystal. I want to thank outgoing council members Jeff Kolb (Ward 2) and Elizabeth Dahl (Ward 1) for their excellent service and positive changes to Crystal these past four years. It’s been an honor to serve with them, and I look forward to serving with our new members in 2019! See all election results at mnvotes.org

Elected council members

Are you new to Crystal and bought a home? New homeowners can file for a homestead credit on their property taxes at Crystal City Hall during business hours (Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). The deadline to own and occupy is Saturday, Dec. 1; the filing deadline is Monday, Dec. 17. The Homestead Application Form is available at bit.ly/2ON2bcr. For more information, contact assessing/customer service specialist at 763-531-1118 or gail.petschl@crystalmn.gov.

Since we’ve had an early start to winter, put Saturday, December 1 on your calendar for our annual Winterfest! This free event from 10:00am to noon features music and entertainment along with free activities inside and outside the Crystal Community Center. Activities include: visiting with Santa, make and make crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides, DJ music by Kidsdance, outdoor petting zoo and more! See what other great winter activities are offered at Crystal Recreation. Get more information here.

Our famous and much-appreciated police K9 Rocco retires at the end of this year. Join us to celebrate his service to Crystal on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 4:30 – 6:30 at City Hall. Crystal will be “hiring” a new K9 in 2019.

Rocco retirement

Speaking of dogs, Crystal no longer requires dog licenses. City council made a change to our ordinance this year. Rabies vaccinations are required, so keep a rabies tag on your dog’s collar and/or proof of vaccination with you in case of emergency.

West Metro Fire Auxiliary is hosting a Craft and Vendor Show on Dec. 8 at Fire Station 3. Proceeds support WMF firefighters, family, staff along with Crystal and New Hope communities.

WMF craft show

Enjoy November and have a very Happy Thanksgiving! For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.


Cleaning up after heavy rains September 20

A week ago on Sept. 20, we experienced 3.8″ of rain fall in Crystal in a just a few hours. Here’s a report from CCX media to show clean up efforts by public works staff. Many are still cleaning up areas that got flooded, and thanks to city staff , first responders and neighbors who helped!

Special Materials Drop Off Day is Saturday, October 13 at the Brooklyn Park facility at 8300 Noble Ave. N (off 169 and Brooklyn Blvd). Get details on what they accept and any fees here.

Fall 2018 Update

The Minnesota State Fair is underway, which means autumn is near and time for a fall update.

August saw a lot of city-wide events, including a Lions corn feed, antique car run, Wet & Wild Water Fun Day, and Night to Unite. I rode with Crystal Police Investigator Derrick Hacker and visited 8 parties in southern Crystal. There were 72 parties overall, and a big thanks to everyone who hosted!


The statewide primary election was August 14 and Crystal had another year of good turnout, including over 300 residents registered to vote. There are three Council seats up for election this year: Wards 1 and 2 and Section 2. For more information on candidates and voting, visit our city voting and election page. Absentee/Early voting for the General Election begins September 21 at City Hall.


I attended the Becker Park Open House August 15 to see the latest updates on designs and features. A new playground will feature a splash pad and a zip line for kids of all abilities. Green spaces will be open for games and outdoor events like farmers markets and food truck festivals. Becker will be closed in 2019, and the Crystal Frolics will be held at Welcome Park on a small scale – then back to Becker in 2020 on a big scale! To help pay for improvements, grant applications have been submitted and area businesses are offering fundraisers, like Buffalo Wild Wings – 10% of your bill will be donated to the project, just mention Crystal or Becker Park when you order. If you’d like to make a personal donation, visit parksandrec.crystalmn.gov/recreation/contact_us/gifts_and_memorials

City Council met this month to discuss the 2019-2020 budgets. We are switching to a 2-year budget model which streamlines and reduces lengthy yearly preparations while allowing for tweaking the budget as needed during the two year cycle, and you can view the work session presentation here. Council approved the West Metro Fire Board’s budget and the preliminary tax levy will be voted on in September. We recognized Crystal National Karate’s team members for their accomplishments and upcoming trip to Athens for the world championships! Crystal Police has a new officer, Zach Fecteau (pictured below) – and Officers Elfstrom and Vang were each recognized for 2017 officer of the year at the August 21st meeting.

Officer Fecteau

Upcoming Events:

Wed. August 29, 3-6pm: Battle of the Badges Blood Drive at Station No. 2, 4141 Douglas Dr. N. in Crystal. This is a friendly life-saving competition between teams of first responders. Sign up at www.mbcherohub.club and enter sponsor code 0372 (Crystal); or contact Joel at jnelson@westmetrofire.com or 763-230-7007.

Wed. August 29, 5-9 pm: Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Quad Communities‎ Pork Chop Dinner and Fundraiser at VFW Post 494. $10 includes a pork chop, baked potato coleslaw and garlic toast. Get your meal to go or dine in. Please RSVP on the BYTR Facebook page.

Sept. 8 and 9:  MAC Wildlife Area’s Ribbon Cutting and Expo will celebrate the opening of a new, 460-foot pedestrian-only boardwalk and park learning station. The ribbon cutting is Saturday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. The free and informative park expo, with family-friendly activities, is both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9 from 1 – 5 p.m. The event is at the northeast corner of the park, near Nompeng Academy in Brooklyn Center with parking also at Kylawn Park. Get full details here.

New to Crystal or want to meet more neighbors? Try out a Halfway Happy Hour with Light of Crystal, an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building. The next HHH is Sat. Sept. 15, 5-7 pm at Nonna Rosa’s in Robbinsdale. All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

The Crystal Recreation Fall catalog is out! Check out all the offerings here (PDF format).

Enjoy the start of fall and school! Please drive safely on the roads and watch for kids. For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.

July 2018 Update

I hope you’re enjoying your summer with all the events and activities around Crystal! Here are some highlights:

Pizza Ranch

Welcome to Crystal, Pizza Ranch! I met co-owner Randall Hubin in June after their grand opening. Pizza Ranch offers dine-in and take-out options with the state’s first Fun Zone Arcade. Also, council approved planning for a new Taco Bell, located in the the north end of the Target parking lot, which will open in 2019.


At the June 19 city council meeting, Police Chief Stephanie Revering presented the Chief’s Award to Joann Leser for her life-saving efforts on June 2 at the Crystal Cafe & Grill. Leser saved the life of a diner by performing the Heimlich maneuver. KARE 11 has more on her heroism:

Council was invited to join the Park/Recreation Commission with staff on a park tour on June 20. We visited parks in Plymouth, St. Louis Park, and Hopkins to see examples of innovative projects. From alternative tennis court surfaces to community gardens and hockey rinks, we enjoyed a taste of what we could adapt and create in our Crystal Parks.

MRPA award

Speaking of parks, Mayor Jim Adams and the Crystal City Council was presented with a 2017 Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) Award of Excellence for its Park System Master Plan. Congratulations to Recreation Director John Elholm and staff, with the Park/Rec Commission and YOU for providing input and guidance through the planning process!

Civil Air Patrol

The Crystal Airport Open House was another big hit, and thanks to council member Julie Deshler for organizing and volunteers for helping. I met Major Alan Trombley with the Civil Air Patrol and learned about their Cadet program for kids 12-18 held at the airport. Is your child a fan of flying, maybe as a career? Learn more at GoCivilAirPatrol.com

Construction projects:

  • The Hwy. 100 Bassett Creek pedestrian bridge is closed until late August for major routine maintenance consisting primarily of railing repainting. The railings must be removed and painted off-site.
  • The Bass Lake Road streetscape project is ahead of schedule and wrapping up work in August. Look for new sidewalks, bike racks, street lights and plantings!

Upcoming Events:

Becker Park Outdoor Concerts. FREE! Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders July 9 and Chad Edwards July 23, Bring a blanket or chair. Support the Crystal Lions by purchasing concessions. More summer fun details here.

Light of Crystal FREE Pizza in the Park – July 15. Enjoy some free pizza with neighbors! 5-7pm at Crystal Highlands Park, 6800 Markwood Dr. LoC is an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building.  All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

Free Fitness in The Park • July 11 & 25. Get a workout in over your lunch break with Jazzercize Strength 45, 12:00 noon at Becker Park, details here. Love yoga? Come to Basset Creek Park on Monday, July 23, 6:30 pm – free and all levels welcome, located south of the dog park.

Crystal Frolics – July 26-29. Games, music, food and fun at Becker Park and other areas around Crystal. Visit CrystalFrolics.org for details!

For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.

May 2018 Update

Apologies for missing an April update, but I imagine you were also busy clearing snow all month! Crystal was treated (along with Hennepin County) to its first blizzard in 35 years. Crystal crews worked hard to clear snow, which took an extra day or two. To thank public works staff, city manager Anne Norris treated them to a hot lunch on April 23, and we were introduced to a new wheel loader that was immediately put to work plowing. One worker told us that a neighbor in the Winnetka Hills neighborhood ran out with hot sandwiches to workers when their plow got stuck during the storm. Thanks to everyone who helped their neighbors dig out!

public works lunch wheel loader

As summer arrives, the parks master plan is proceeding with a major project this year at Welcome Park. Welcome Ave. between 46th & 47th is closed to begin work on improvements and adding a lighted ball field. In 2019, Becker Park will close for the year to begin a storm water retention project and constructing new features. Becker Park’s open house on April 26 had a big turnout to see the proposed improvements and projects. Click here to see the plans, updates and list of neighborhood meetings with contact information. The Parks Master Plan continues development with community input.

Becker Park Becker phase 1

Road construction projects to be aware of:

  • Monday, May 7: Westbound Bass Lake Road reduced to one lane as the Bass Lake Road streetscape project begins. More info: www.crystalmn.gov/basslakestreetscape.php.
  • Tuesday, May 8: 51st Place between Douglas Dr. and W. Broadway Ave. closed in both directions for one day while wrap up work is completed for the Quiet Zone Project.
  • Monday, May 14: 36th Avenue will be closed in both directions just east of Winnetka Avenue. The road will be closed through Wednesday, May 16th. Please use 42nd Avenue or Medicine Lake Road as alternate routes.

Upcoming Events:

Jail and Bail fundraiser, Wed. May 16, 11:-00am – 1:00pm, at the Neighborhood Outreach Office, Crystal Shopping Center. Volunteer to be “arrested and bailed out” to help fund Crystal public safety projects. To participate, email Crime Prevention Board president Brooke Raeker. > Details

Crystal Fund Plant Sale, Sat. May 19, 9:00am-2:00pm at Crystal Community Center. Proceeds will fund Arbor Day trees, annuals for the Bee Friendly planting, and a zip line for Becker Park’s new destination playground. Find out more here.

Step To It

Step To It Challenge is underway in May! Crystal won last year and we want to again this year. It’s easy to participate: go to StepToIt.org and register (free), then enter your daily total steps. Naomi Davidson’s huge group, “The Dynamos” has neighbors walking all around Crystal, and I am hosting a morning walk every Saturday in May at Valley Place Park, rain or shine, 8-9 a.m. Hennepin County and Crystal Recreation provided me with goodies to give away, including a pair of Twins baseball tickets! Get details on my Facebook page.

Halfway Happy Hour with Light of Crystal at Milton’s – Tues. May 15, 5:00-7:00 pm. New to Crystal or want to hang with neighbors? LoC is an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building.  All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

Memorial Day Ceremony, May 28, 10:00am – Chester Bird American Legion. The event features speakers and music, presented by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Quad Communities who support military members and their families. > Details

For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.


March 2018 Update

March is off to a busy start with a lot of news and activities! Here are some highlights:

Are you starting up a new business in Crystal or already “opened up” shop? Open To Business can give you free one-on-one assistance from writing up a business plan to financial and technical advice. Walk-in office hours are 2-4pm at Crystal City Hall on select days (March 26, May 21, July 23, Sept, 24 & Nov. 26) with Rob Smolund – or contact him to set up an appointment.  Visit their website for details and take advantage of this free service to help you succeed!

Speaking of new businesses, welcome to Access Veterinary Care, who opened in early February! Located on 42nd and Douglas Drive (across the street from Almsted’s Fresh Market), Access offers affordable walk-in dog and cat care during non-traditional work hours. Read more about them from the Sun Post and visit their website for details.


Crystal made news after a recent city council work session to discuss sidewalk snow clearing by the city and how to make policy consistent with our city ordinances. KSTP reported on this and the council will take public input this year as we pursue the discussion and possible changes to the ordinance.

Last month, I participated in a ride-along in a city snowplow and was impressed with our 13-year old truck still in action. Thanks to Matt Blomquist of public works for giving me a ride and for an excellent job tackling some obstacle challenges that night!


Empty Bowls – Tuesday March 6, 4-7:00 pm at Robbinsdale Cooper High School. I’ll be serving as a greeter again this year and proud to help this fantastic event benefiting PRISM and NEAR food shelves. Students, residents and local artists create bowls available to purchase with a donation, and all are invited to enjoy a simple meal of soup and bread (donated by local businesses). If you can’t attend but want to support, visit their website and click “donate.”

Halfway Happy Hour with Light of Crystal at Buffalo Wild Wings – March 15, 5-7:00 pm. New to Crystal or want to hang with neighbors? LoC is an active and diverse group that promotes city pride and community building.  All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

Bowling for Rocco – Sunday, March 18, 11:00am. Help raise funds to train and care for our police K9. Bowling from 11-1 at New Hope Bowl, followed by lunch and raffle at the VFW Post 494 on Bass Lake Rd. All for just $20 per person – get details here.

The Crystal Ball – Saturday, March 24, 5-11:00 pm. Celebrate neighbors with dinner and live music again this year with the R Factor band! Neighbors nominated outstanding residents for awards, and 4 winners will be honored that night. Bring a non-perishable food item or cash donations for NEAR Food Shelf. You can come for the dinner/music or the music – and creative dress-up makes this even more fun! Get tickets and more info heredinner ticket deadline is March 18, and music-only tickets can be ordered online or at the door.

Crystal Bulky Waste Curbside Cleanup – April 2-12. This is offered every two years and a great way to reclaim your home/yard space! Crystal residents can get rid of everything from couches to old carpet. You will be notified by mail or click here to get pick up dates in your neighborhood. For more information and a list of what can be collected, visit www.hrg-recycling.com.

The latest city newsletter was delivered by mail. Click here to see Spring/Summer recreation offerings.

For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.

Happy Spring!

January 2018 Update

Happy New Year! Here is a quick roundup of highlights this month:

We had our first snow emergency on Jan. 15, and a big shout out of thanks to public works staff and plow crews for a fast clearing of roads and trails!  I had a chance to thank Jeff as he cleared trails at Valley Place Park.

Snow plow

With the cold also comes broken water mains. We’ve had two so far this year and water is shut off to repair the lines (average is 5 hours). This can affect several homes near the broken main. Click here for contact info if you notice a water main break or sewer back up.

Free Safety Check for Seniors: Get a no-cost home assessment if you’re age 60+ and living in suburban Hennepin County. This check is provided by HOME (Household & Outside Maintenance for Elderly). Call 952-746-4046, email home@seniorcommunity.org or visit their website.

Do you have a neighbor who goes above and beyond – shovels driveways, fixes things, helps with kids? Here’s your chance to reward them: nominate them for our annual Neighbors Recognizing Neighbors award! Winners will receive a gift basket and be recognized at the Crystal Ball on March 24. Click here to nominate them by Feb. 14.

Our Crystal Cub Foods is getting a makeover! The store will be open during remodeling and expected to be finished in May. CCX Media has an update:

Upcoming Events

Quad Community Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is hosting its annual bowling fundraiser on Sunday, Jan. 28 at the New Hope Bowl to help veterans and families in Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale. Click here for details

Tickets are on sale now for the 2nd Annual Crystal Ball – Sat., March 24 – a fun night for adults to enjoy live music, dinner and celebrate our community. The R Factor Band is back this year – the best in the Twin Cities! We’ll also be accepting cash and pantry donations for NEAR Food Shelf. Click here for details and to order tickets – purchase for dinner and the music, or just the music.

Suffering from cabin fever? Check out Crystal Recreation’s fun activities for kids and adults! Get more info and register here.

Robbinsdale Area Schools Community Education has more activities! Get details at their website.

For council meeting updates, visit my recap page — and City of Crystal’s website to view meetings and council packets.