Year in Review 2012: Local Government

The biggest stories of the past 12 months.

To be sure, 2012 saw its share of challenges. But it also saw much of the community’s long-term vision start to become a reality. Here are some of the biggest stories to shape Hopkins over the past year. 


Cottageville Park Plans Start to Take Shape

Residents started to see changes around Cottageville Park in April 2011, when Minnehaha Creek Watershed District tore down buildings on properties south of the park. But 2012 was the year that the community started coming together to decide how the newly expanded park should be used. The discussion culminated in a plan first presented in mid December. That plan includes features, such as a green roof pavilion and remade landscape, that could push the redesign cost up to $5.8 million.

  • Puzzle-like Deal Moves Cottageville Park Plan Forward
  • What Should Go Here?: Cottageville Park
  • Hopkins Approves Contract for Cottageville Park Consultant
  • PHOTOS: Cottageville Neighbors Sketch Out Ideas for New Park
  • Cottageville Park Planning Moves Forward
  • Minnehaha Creek Honors Hopkins for Partnership Efforts
  • Consultant Proposes $5.8 Million Cottageville Park Makeover
  • Where Did Cottageville Park Get Its Name?


Eighth Avenue Plans Advance

Eighth Avenue is central to the city’s long-term plans because of the Southwest Light Rail Transit stop planned just across Excelsior Boulevard from the corridor. The city wants to create an enticing “pedestrian seductive” streetscape that could lure light rail riders the few blocks over to Mainstreet. In June, the city formally approved an agreement with Klodt Cos. to develop a mixed-use property on the Park Nicollet site. A month later, city staff proposed a remade, one-way Eighth Avenue design. The discussion continues into 2013 with an upcoming meeting on the corridor—dubbed “The ARTery”—in which residents will discuss how to use art to communicate what Hopkins is about.

  • Klodt Arrives at Deal on Lutheran Digest Site
  • Met Council Awards Hopkins $1 million for Downtown Development
  • What Should Go Here?: Eighth Avenue Corridor
  • Hopkins Approves Agreement With Klodt on Park Nicollet Site
  • What Will the Park Nicollet Project Look Like?
  • Met Council Awards Hopkins $26K for Lutheran Digest Site
  • City Engineer: One-Way 8th Avenue is Four or Five Years Away
  • How Much Would a One-Way Eighth Avenue Increase Mainstreet Traffic?
  • Southwest LRT Decision Doesn’t Alter Hopkins’ Downtown Plans
  • Hopkins Seeks Your Help Planning ‘The ARTery’


Social Services Hub Coming to the Wells Fargo Building

In September, Hennepin County's Human Services and Public Health Department detailed its plan to lease additional space in the building, located at 1011 First Street S., in order to create a one-stop-shopping center for those using the department’s services. City Council members were initially unsure about the project but came around after considering the idea further.

  • County Wants to Put Social Services Hub in Wells Fargo Building
  • Social Services Hub Would Have Negligible Impact on Hopkins Police
  • Hopkins Council Comes Around to Social Services Hub


Planners Search for Ways to Save Shady Oak Road Businesses

City leaders have been searching for a way to help Shady Oak Road businesses ever since word came down that the planned expansion would be narrower than expected. That would leave the road within a few feet of some Shady Oak businesses—just enough to remove essential parking without paying property owners enough to help them move. To compound the problem, Hopkins and Minnetonka are getting $3 million in Community Works money to improve the corridor instead of the $9 million earmarked at the earliest planning stages. By March, Minnetonka and Hopkins had a plan to use the money, but challenges still remain.

  • Hennepin County Transfers Shady Oak Road Money
  • (VIDEO) Hopkins Approves Shady Oak Plans Despite Ongoing Worries
  • Planners Put the Pieces Together to Save Shady Oak Road Businesses
  • Minnetonka and Hopkins Residents Conflicted Over Shady Oak Road


Met Council Plans Sewage Lift Station in Oakes Park

Residents around Oakes Park fought back against a plan to build a sewage lift station in the park as part of a complicated trade-off that would expand Cottageville Park—an improvement that Oakes Park residents say comes at their expense.

  • Council Selects Site For Oakes Park Lift Station
  • Oakes Park Lift Station: How’d We Get Here?
  • Neighbors Still Feel Left Out of Oakes Park Discussions
  • Critics Continue Fight As Oakes Park Lift Station Advances
  • Oakes Park Lift Station Plan Angers Neighbors


Hopkins Closes Its Dispatch Center

In March, city staff broached a plan to eliminate the city’s dispatch center and transfer dispatch responsibilities to Hennepin County—saving a few hundred thousand dollars in the process. The county initially wasn't on board with the idea. But at 6 a.m. Aug. 21, the center officially closed down.

  • Dispatch Center Closure Limits Hopkins Budget to 1 Percent Increase
  • Hopkins Police and Fire Working On Smooth Dispatch Center Transition
  • Hopkins Could Switch to County Dispatch Center This Summer
  • County Board: Dispatch Proposal Will Have to Wait for Larger Study
  • Proposal to Cut Hopkins Dispatch Center Moves to County
  • Hopkins Answers Your Questions About Possible City Dispatch Cut
  • Hopkins Considers Cutting City Dispatch Center



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Norman Teigen January 05, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Good summary, I think. You might also have included a summary of the City's budget and information about the City's financial condition. The news is good. For 2013 I think that the City Council and city staff might try to become even more involved in keeping the citizens of Hopkins informed about issues and developments. The Oakes Park lift station issue suggests that there was a deficiency in this area, that residents felt left out in the planning process. Perhaps there is a complacency at work here. There are other community issues that are at play that don't always appear in view. Quality of life issues fall in this category, I think. These issues include education, mental health, youth activities, and elder living.


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