610 Development Area
Development had stagnated in part of the 610 corridor due to the city holding to a then-13 year, outdated plan. Quality developments were being rejected out of hand due to allegiance to this failed plan and something had to change. I led the council in calling for and participating personally in the Signature Development Task Force. This group of citizen representatives studied the area, trends and economic realities and issued a report calling for changes. Our council followed through on those recommendations with changes in our Comprehensive Plan and development plans for the area. The market responded and you can see the results of those changes today.
Fellow West District Council member Bob Mata and I have worked very hard to bring our city budget under control. In the previous few years before I took office our budget had increased over $8 million. The growth was out of control. Since taking office I have not voted for a city budget that increases spending year over year, but still working with city staff to dramatically reduce the rate of growth. I still believe we spend too much and will continue to look for ways to reign in our budget.
End of the Point of Sale Program
When I took office one of the hardest things facing our residents was the difficulty our city had imposed on them when selling their homes. We were requiring a city inspection before one could sell a home often resulting in costly, sometimes impossible, repairs before a home could be sold. This was stagnating our housing market and had real estate agents guiding their clients away from Brooklyn Park. One of the first things I did was team up with my fellow West District council member Bob Mata to get this program rescinded. Now home values are increasing, homes are selling, and the undue, unnecessary burden our residents were facing is gone.
Edinburgh USA Revitalization
The crown jewel of our community, Edinburgh USA, was in trouble. The golf industry as a whole has been in decline, golf courses have been closing and our course was tired. As the owner of this once-great, once-LPGA tour golf course we had a responsibility to face facts head on and make some tough decisions. After hiring a consultant who gave us a tough report with a lot of issues we faced, I worked to make sure we looked hard at all the options available to us and to not just rubber stamp the easy decisions. This resulted in our council investing in our course, in making some quality business decisions and turning it around. I serve on a committee with our golf pro, course managers and partners who have guided it to it’s first profitable season in several years.
No one on our city council investigates details of issues facing our residents more than I do. More than just attending meetings or reading packets, I think it’s important to see things close up. For one potential development we spent our Memorial Day weekend driving to two developments in West Des Moines and Omaha to see them close up. Being a visual person I can best make decisions by seeing things, by walking the grounds, by listening to those involved and looking people in the eye. You pay me to do the best job I can for you and our residents and that’s what I’ve strived to do every day.
I’ve had the pleasure of being part of two new charter schools that have opened in Brooklyn Park. The first one is the Athlos Leadership Academy (Noble Parkway & 101st Ave), the second was Noble Academy (Jefferson Highway & Decatur Drive).
Five Star Businesses
We have done a great job as a city these past few years recruiting quality businesses. The one I am most proud of will open this summer, the new Hy-Vee grocery store. The morning the news came out that Hy-Vee was coming into our market I was in contact with their real estate department letting them know of good location opportunities in our city. For the next 16 months, working with their developer and their real estate people we found a way to bring them and the 650+ new jobs to Brooklyn Park. For me this is a wonderful opportunity for the youth of our community given the number of part time jobs they’ll bring.
Other new organizations that came to our community includes Prairie Care hospital as well as the coming Stone Mountain Pet Lodge. I worked with both, especially Stone Mountain, to bring them to our community.
Signature Event Area Task Force
You’ve probably read a little or seen a story about the Signature Event Area Task Force so let me give you some of the vision. Our community lacks areas where we can hold large events, both for larger culture events but also larger community-wide events. Today there is no place in our city where one could hold a large family, church or cultural picnic of over 150 people. Tater Daze currently has no permanent home and never has. We hold our Farmers Market in a parking lot.
What if there were a place where we could do all of this, where a cultural group could hold a 1000 person event, a cricket tournament, or where a church could hold a 500 person picnic? That’s the charge of the SEA Task Force that’s been meeting, under my leadership, since last summer. We have met a number of times, have held meetings with a number of stakeholders, and an all day session with a consultant who gave us our first “napkin drawing” picture. We are currently revising that and expect to being 3D drawings to the community later this spring.
We need a vision for our last remaining undeveloped area and this task force, a five-star group of residents who love our community, are providing it. It’s exciting to watch as we move down the road and can’t wait to bring this vision to everyone.
Representing the people of Brooklyn Park is such an honor, and a responsibility I take very seriously. While we’ve accomplished a lot during the past four years, there is much more do to. Our community is growing, changing, and improving. Jobs continue to locate here, crime is down and our image has indeed improved. I’m asking for your confidence and your vote as we continue to work for a better Brooklyn Park for every one of our residents.