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!

n2u-2018

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.

playground

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.

joann-leser

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.

ACCESS

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!

Events:

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.

November 2017 Update

There’s no snow on the ground, but there’s a flurry of activities around Crystal! I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. Here is a quick roundup of items this month and into December:

radus-1 radus-2
Thanks to Robbinsdale School District’s Adult Academic Program and Crystal city staff for organizing a tour at Radius Track on Nov. 16! President Bob Krebsbach spoke with students and gave us a tour of his unique company (designing and manufacturing curved structure framing – their work includes the Twins & Vikings stadiums).

City staff is working with the planning commission and city council to create a 2040 Comprehensive Plan in 2018. This plan is updated every 10 years with a long-range vision for our community’s future, including land use decisions. You can give input and find out more here.

Pizza Ranch

Crystal is getting a new restaurant: Pizza Ranch will be moving in to the Old Country Buffet spot at the Crystal Gallery Mall! We met owners Randall and Sheryl Hubin at the Nov. 21 council meeting and they plan to open by summer of 2018, including a drive-through pickup window on Sherburne Ave.

LoC lights

Thanks to Light of Crystal’s Shawn Smith and volunteers who put up another great light display at the Crystal Community Center on November 20. Shawn posted on Facebook, “As we installed the annual Light of Crystal holiday lighting display tonight, little kids continually walked up to the new snowman. A few asked their parents to take their picture with him. Some of the seniors started humming carols and complimenting the display as they left their card games.”

CCX media highlighted Ward 1’s Neill Elementary and interviewed former MN Viking Randall McDaniel, a paraprofessional. Neill has a very diverse student population, and principal Jodi Markworth says the school embraces and uses it as a teaching tool.

Upcoming Events:

Winterfest is Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Crystal Community Center from 10:00am-Noon. Free admission and fun for kids and adults: visit Santa, crafts, games, DJ with KidsDance, petting zoo and horse-drawn wagon rides!

Crystal’s Truth in Taxation hearing will be Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Crystal City Hall (same night as our council meeting). Read a summary of the 2018 budget and levy proposal in the latest Crystal Connection newsletter on page 3.

Is there a home or business in your neighborhood that’s really lit up? Nominate them for the Crystal Sparkles Holiday Lighting Contest! First and/or second place winners will get cash prizes. Get a nomination form here and be sure to submit it by Friday, Dec. 8.

Crystal Recreation’s new winter catalog is out – with fun activities for kids and adults. View it here.

Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train is stopping by on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 3:35 pm at New Hope Arena, 4949 Louisiana Ave. N. Free music and refreshments – and you can donate a non-perishable heart-healthy food item for the local food shelf.

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 Fri., Dec. 15 at Broadway Pizza, beginning at 5:00pm. All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

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

October Update: Street Cleanup, New Signs, Building Community

Leaves are falling and many neighbors are helping to compost or pick them up. Fall street sweeping is underway in Crystal, and Public Works staff asks to avoid parking on the street during the day when possible and keep trash, recycling and yard waste containers out of the street or gutter on collection day. More on street cleaning:

The old neighborhood signs are being replaced with new signage that is much easier to read. They also highlight our new city flag design — the star’s 14 points represent our 14 neighborhoods.  The signs are paid for from the Economic Development Authority (EDA) fund. City Council is currently discussing updating our city look to help people know where they’re at in Crystal. Blue street signs were recently placed above some street signs to help locate city parks.

Neighborhood signs

This year’s West Metro Fire Open House was another success on Oct. 14 at Station No. 3 in New Hope. Visitors enjoyed demonstrations, fire-related activities, safety and equipment displays from North Memorial, the K-9 Unit and more. Find out more about our fire department here: http://www.wmfrd.org/

wmf-open-house-blog
(photo by Council Member Jeff Kolb)

On October 14, I joined representatives and staff from area cities for a Blue Line light rail development tour. We visited St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Eden Prairie and Bloomington. Each station is adding customized projects that fit the area for usage, for example Bloomington’s stop near Health Partners had a park area and green space. Others had parking, retail, and housing projects planned. Thanks to Hennepin County and Metro Transit for a very informative tour, along with ideas for Crystal’s proposed station at Bass Lake Road and Cty. Rd 81.

Light rail tour

Crystal is home to many different houses of faith, and I was honored to be invited to Refuge International Ministries’ service October 15 by visiting Bishop Wesley Smith (pictured with me below), who I met in 2013. Refuge International’s Senior Pastor Zephaniah Kaffey serves on the Multicultural Advisory Committee with Crystal PD. MAC meets monthly with police personnel to discuss topics important to their communities, build mutual trust, and open up communication. For more information of Refuge International Ministries (6412 45th Ave. N), call 763-232-3063.

Bishop Smith at Refuge Int'l Ministries

Upcoming Events:

It’s getting colder and daylight is getting shorter, so head over to Crystal Recreation and sign up for fun activities throughout fall and winter! Visit their Facebook page for the latest updates. See all fall recreation offerings in the brochure — view it online.

There are openings on city commissions, including Planning, Community Outreach Task Force, and Environmental Quality. These volunteer positions require just a few hours a month, and it’s a chance for you to have a voice in advising the city. Application deadlines are due Oct. 30 and interviews begin in November. See all open positions here.

New to Crystal or want to get to know your 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 Wed., Nov. 15 at the Crystal VFW on Bass Lake Rd, beginning at 5:00pm. All are welcome – find out more about LoC here.

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

Enjoy a happy and safe Halloween!

September – Ideal for Outdoor & Indoor Activities!

For many like me, fall is the favorite season in Minnesota – enjoying the colors, cooler temps and activities in and around Crystal.

This month, we saw park design ideas for future improvements. Exciting news for MAC Nature Center (60th & Regent Ave): Three Rivers Park District is partnering with Crystal to improve the trails and make the area more usable. An open house was held on September 13 in Brooklyn Center, and here’s a link to see the plans. Work is expected to be done over the winter.

MAC

A shout out to Forest neighborhood resident Jan Jorgens, helping keep Memory Lane Pond beautiful. She and other neighbors gathered September 16 to clean up trash. Jan wrote on NextDoor.com, “The group called Friends Fond of the Pond officially meets twice a year to look for litter. You are welcome to join them next spring. Watch for announcements!”

memory-lane-pickup-2017
(Photo from Jan Jorgens via NextDoor.com)

Residents gathered at Welcome Park for the Park/Rec Commission neighborhood meeting to discuss future plans for that area, including ballpark improvements, a new shelter/restroom building and other features. Welcome Park will be the site for the Crystal Frolics in 2019 when Becker Park is closed for a big storm water project. See current plan concepts here.

Speaking of commissions, there are several openings on city commissions, including Planning, Community Outreach Task Force, and Environmental Quality. These volunteer positions require just a few hours a month, and it’s a chance for you to have a voice in advising the city. Application deadlines are due Oct. 30 and interviews begin in November. See all open positions here.

board-vacancies

Fall is also a colorful time as Council meets to plan the 2018 budget! On September 14, we discussed and voted on utility fees. City staff reviewed the fee schedule over the last few years, getting rid of some while restructuring other fees to simplify it. Water, sewer and storm drainage will see increases to help cover the costs of maintaining and repairs. For example, the residential sewer fee per quarter will go from $55.15 to $61.22 beginning in January. There will be no increases to your recycling and street light fees next year.

Events & Updates:

  • The Diaper Drive ends Sept. 30 — drop off diapers, wipes or donations to the Community Center, benefiting Helping Us Grow.
  • The Fall Coat Drive is on now until Sept. 29. Donate new or gently used coats at the Community Center. Hosted by American Mortgage & Equity Consultants, ReMax Results & State Farm Insurance.
  •  The 3rd Annual Run for Rocco fundraiser is on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Bassett Creek Park; 8:30a.m. Kids Race; 9 a.m. Run/ Walk. Register now
  • Kids Garage Sale is also on September 30: 8:20 am until noon at the Crystal Community Center
  • The next Council Meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7:00pm at City Hall. A work session will be held at 6:30 and after the council meeting in Conference Room A.
  • See all recreation offerings in the Fall Recreation brochureview it online.

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