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Penn Central of Richfield

A grassroots, community-building outreach serving the city of Richfield

Richfield High School Spring Musical
Check out Sweeney Todd - Winner of 10 Tony Awards 


SWEENEY TODD - winner of 10 Tony Awards - is a drama that leaves audiences howling with laughter one moment and gasping in surprise the next. Get ready for an emotional rollercoaster by checking out the production of SWEENEY TODD at Richfield High School on April 10 and 11 at 7 pm and April 13 at 3 pm. All performances will be held in the Richfield High School Auditorium, 7001 Harriet Avenue So., Richfield. Tickets are $8 for the general public ($5 for students on April 10).


The rare instance of a musical thriller, SWEENEY TODD is a chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding tour-de-force that tells the infamous tale of an unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the judge who framed him and abused his young wife and stole his child. His thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers, and the resourceful prorietress of the pie shop downstairs soon has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe! The Richfield High School production of SWEENEY TODD is sponsored by Richfield-Bloomington Credit Union.


Attention Local Musicians
Perform at Richfield Farmers Market this summer! 

Richfield Farmers Market.

Local musicians! Looking a fun stage to showcase your performance? Opportunities are available to perform live at the Richfield Farmers Markets that happen on Saturdays and Wednesdays in the summer. It's a volunteer opportunity, but it's a chance to get exposure and have a fun time at a great local venue in Richfield. For more information and to sign up, click here.


Sit back and enjoy good taste

Aida Restaurant now offers delivery service 

Aida in Richfield delivers

If the temperature is too chilly to head out or you're simply feeling tired, you can still enjoy a delicious dinner. Aida, known for its tasteful menu of Mediterranean-inspired foods, started offering delivery at the beginning of the year. So now you can indulge in a gyro, kabobs, salads or any of the other culinary delights found on the menu -- all without ever leaving home. Aida is located at 2208 West 66th Street, Richfield (near Penn and 66th).For more info about Aida, please click here.


Suburban versus urban living

Does Richfield offer the best of both worlds? 


The Star Tribune recently ran an interesting article about a trend where younger people, often times young families, are increasingly choosing the central cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul rather than suburban communities. This trend has been a reversal of historical patterns. To see the article, please click here.

While very interesting, the article divided the metropolitan area into only two categories, urban (meaning the central cities) and suburban (meaning everyone else). The article made no distinction between inner ring suburbs and outer ring suburbs. That was too bad because there really is a deeper story to tell.

Which brings us to the question, where does Richfield fit in? Interestingly enough, Richfield seems to be experiencing growth that's similar to the central cities. There is a pattern of more young people and younger families choosing Richfield as their home. By certain measures, Richfield is beating Minneapolis in the youth movement. According to the U.S. Census, Richfield has the largest percentage of residents under the age of 5 among all communities that border Richfield. The percentages are Richfield 7.5%, Minneapolis, 6.9%, Bloomington 5.4% and Edina 5.4%. A quick check with Richfield school enrollments confirms this trend where the classes at younger ages are growing.

So why are young people choosing more urban living? One reason is that they like the walkability of urban areas where you don't have to drive to go to a store, dining establishment or park. That characteristic fits right in with living in Richfield. With Richfield's local stores, neighborhood parks and quiet residential streets, Richfield scores equally as well as the central cities.

But here's the best part, Richfield matches the central cities in many quality-of-life measures, yet offers benefits that the central cities can't match. As an example, the size of Richfield gives it a small town feel where it's easier to build community.  People in Richfield really can connect with one another more easily through volunteerism, school activities and civic involvement. If you want to have an impact on the community, Richfield is accessible, where Minneapolis is much more overwhelming and bureaucratic due to its size. 

Richfield offers a unique blend that combines the best of urban and suburban living. It is a feature that we should capitalize on in promoting Richfield as the best place to live, work and do business.

What do you think? Offer a comment on our Penn Central of Richfield Facebook page


Penn Central Year In Review

2013 marked a year of great activity in the neighborhood 

From new business openings and a bridge renovation to property improvements and a bigger Open Streets at Penn Fest, the 2013 saw a lot of activity on the avenue. Here is a brief review of a few highlights.


The second annual Open Streets at Penn Fest (and 6th annual Penn Fest in general) was held in September. Despite slightly cooler weather, it was a sky-high success, with a return of BMX Bike demos, music in the street, a car classic car show, 5K run to benefit the schools, and more. New this year waa a flea market with numerous vendors selling their wares.


Open Streets at Penn Fest also saw an expanded range of foods served on the avenue.


Celebity appearances such as this one with former Vikings player Jake Reed at Uncommon Sports Cards added to the fun.


New businesses opened in the area, such as Penn Nails at 6329 Penn Avenue So and Twin Cities AutoSpot at 6540 Oliver. More new businesses opened in 2013 that we will be introducing in the coming weeks.


The Penn Avenue Bridge connecting Richfield and Minneapolis was closed for several months as it underwent deck reconstruction. The new bridge features wider sidewalks and turn lanes to enhance both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.


Banners marking the identity of the Penn Central neighborhood were installed in September.


Arc's Value Village completed it's renovation with a significant upgrade of its exterior. The work is now finished. Here is a photo of the upgrade in progress.


The Richfield firestation at Penn and 64th received an extensive remodeling both inside and out. The new exterior features a contemporary look that complements the neighborhood.

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A really cool thing to do!
Mercedes Lenort from Posters on Board takes the plunge 

Richfield woman takes Polar Plunge

Wearing pajamas and with a teddy bear in hand, Mercedes Lenort from Posters on Board in Richfield experienced a harsh, cold reality on Saturday, March 1st. But it wasn't a bad thing. In fact, it was a really cool thing (cool in more ways than one).Mercedes participated in the Polar Plunge at Lake Calhoun, helping raise funds for Special Olympics

As you may recall, the day of Mecedes' plunge was not a typical March day. It was a brutally cold day with more of those polar vortex winds that we've experienced this winter. When asked what it is like to jump into icy cold lake water, Mercedes replies: "ABSOLUTE SHOCK!" She says a person can't wait to get out. "It's like a giant ice cube going down your back." 

The March 2014 jump at Lake Calhoun was her third year of participating in the event, although this year was the coldest ever. Nevertheless, she plans to do it again next year. Mercedes says it's a really great cause and a lot of fun. This year she raised over $1,000 for Special Olympics.

So what encouraged Mecedes to do it the first time? As a volunteer with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, she went to watch the event with her little sister in 2011. The event was filled with such excitement and energy that she decided to give it a try in 2012. She's been jumping ever since. 

According to Mercedes, part of the fun is all the people who dress up in costume. Mercedes and her friend shopped at Arc's Value Village in Richfield to pick out their attire for the day. The winning outfit was pink pajamas.

Mercedes say doing the Polar Plunge is simply part of her passion for getting involved in volunteer projects and fundraisers that benefit others. It's just a part of what motivates her. 

Penn Central of Richfield would like to thank Mercedes for being a great representative of our community. 


Future of 66th Street

Public turns out in good numbers at public open house

66th Street Open House
Future of 66th Street in Richfield


The public turned out in strong numbers to view concepts for future 66th Street and Portland Avenue redesigns at a public open house held on Wednesday, January 22 at the Richfield Municipal Center. Attendees had a chance to view alternative designs, offer feedback and talk with city and county officials as well as consultants.

Planning is still in the preliminary stages, but work will most likely begin on Portland in 2015 and on 66th Street in 2016. The reconstruction of 66th Street will be a two-year project, with stretches that run through Richfield worked on in stages. Whether the work will begin on the east side or west wide is still to be determined.

The redesign of 66th Street will have a significant impact on Richfield, and continued public input is desired. While the year 2016 seems somewhat far away, the people with the greatest impact will be those who get involved now and participate in early public forums. 

Penn Central of Richfield will keep you updated about opportunities to participate and give you an outlet for voicing your opinion. Feel free to leave your ideas and comments on our Penn Central of Richfield Facebook page

Other resources to check out include:

A City of Richfield Facebook page dedicated to street and public works projects

A citizen's Facebook page called 66th Street for All.

Check out all of these resources for information and perspectives.


All in the name of fun!

Car-X Manager Rich Jellison's new look for a promotional flyer


This photo of Richfield Car-X manager Rich Jellison caught our eye. It appeared in a recent promotional flyer, and it served the purpose of making you stop and take a look. Car-X is located at 6645 Penn Avenue South in Richfield and offers a wide range of auto care services. Check out their website by clicking here.


Congratulations to Steve and Becky!

Posters on Board reaches a first year anniversary! 



Congratulations to Steve and Becky Strom, who are celebrating their first anniversary as owners of Posters on Board, 6237 Penn Avenue South, Richfield. Steve and Becky exemplify the model of great local business people who work to make the community stronger. Posters on Board has been an active member of the community and an important part of our Open Streets at Penn Fest event. 

Posters on Board, which offers a collection of artwork and custom framing, has sponsored many activities to interact with the community. Currently, the store is  running a Winter Holiday Photo Contest. The photo may be of anything that happened between Thanksgiving and New Years. The winner's photo will be mounted and receive recognition from Posters on Board. Hurry, deadline for entering your photo is January 13. For more information about the contest, click here.


Renovated firestation displays Penn Central name

New look on firestation adds color and contemporary appeal 

Richfield Fire Department
Penn Avenue Richfield Fire Station

The Penn Avenue Richfield firestation is looking great with its new exterior. Thanks to the City of Richfield and the Richfield fire department for investing in this upgrade, which adds to the visual appeal of the neighborhood. The red exterior adds a nice color that invigorates the avenue, and the overall exterior appearance looks fresh and contemporary. 

We also appreciate that the neighborhood's Penn Central name appears on the building. This is another step in helping us build our community identity. We would like to thank Richfield Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch in working with us to make that possible. Thanks to all!


Davanni's supports community groups

Richfield Ambassadors Fundraiser at Davanni's 


Richfield Ambassadors Penn Fest 2013.jpg
Richfield Ambassadors at Penn Fest

Penn Central of Richfield would like to thank at Davanni's, 6345 Penn Avenue South, Richfield, for being a great community member that hosts fundraisers for local groups, ranging from youth athletics and school groups to local non-profit agencies. Recently, the Richfield Ambassadors were recipients of funds from a Davanni's fundraiser.

Speaking of the Richfield Ambassadors, they are truly great representatives of our hometown at many events both within and outside of Richfield. As the photo above shows, the Richfield Ambassaors were an incredible help at our most recent Penn Fest in September, serving root beer floats at the tent in front of Lunds at Penn and 62.  The ambassasors are exceptional role models who deserve our support.

If your community group is holding a fundrasiers anywhere in Richfield, let us know and we'll help publicize it.


Density concerns neighbors

Richfield City Council votes down housing redevelopment plan 

7215 Logan Richfield

At its November 26 meeting, the Richfield City Council voted down a waiver to subdivide a 150 foot lot into three 50 foot lots for a proposed housing development. The property in question is an oversized lot at 7215 Logan Avenue South in Richfield, which currently is the site of one home surrounded by vacant land. The developer, Endres Custom Homes, wanted to raze the present house and replace it with three new homes.
Neighbors, many of whom spoke at the Council meeting, were concerned about the density of the proposal. They believed that 50 foot lots were out of character with the neighborhood, which typically has 75 foot lots.
After listening to residents and the developer, the Council further discussed the issue. Most comments indicated that the subdivision proposal lacked Council support. Council Member Pat Elloitt, who represents the area where the homes would have been built, said: "I'm not voting for three 50 foot lots." Council Member Edwina Garcia added: she thought the proposal would "violate the character of that neighborhood." The Council then unanimously voted down the subdivision proposal. Comments were made that there would be no problem with two homes built on 75 foot lots on the sites. 
To view the video where this issue was discussed, click here


Prize drawings, pizza specials, spin and win deals!
Join in the celebration of Davanni's 35th anniversary in Richfield

Davanni's Slice Mascot at Penn Fest

Join in the fun as DAVANNI'S celebrates its 35th anniversary in Richfield this weekend, April 11, 12 and 13. You'll find festiviies and specials all weekend long!

DAVANNI'S originally opened in the Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood in March 1979 in the same shopping center with Country Club Market and Kins Mor Drug. That particular location was razed to make way for the CVS Drug store. In November 2011, DAVANNI'S moved a few blocks north to its present location at 64th and Penn, right next to the firestation. DAVANNI'S proved itself to be a great neighbor by renovating a building that had been vacant for awhile, giving a boost to the vitality of the community. In earlier days, this same building had housed numerous restaurants, from a Mr. Steak to Vietnamese cuisine eateries.

That's a fun look back at history, but here's what's in store for you with the anniversary celebration!

Enter a prize drawing for a chance to win:

  • Grand Prize: Win a pizza a month for a year
  • Runner Up Prize: Win a party in the party room
  • 3rd Place Prize: Win a $10 DAVANNI'S gift card 

Pizza Special

  • Large 1-item pizza, 2-piece garlic cheese bread, 2 mwedium pops for $19.79. (offer good Friday, Saturday and Sunday only) 

Play the DAVANNI'S Prize wheel and win!

Spot the Slice

Take a pic with the DAVANNI'S slice mascot and send it to DavannisPics@gmail.com and you'll receive a coupon for a FREE Solo 1-item pizza. Plus, you might see yourself on Davanni's social sites.

Free Cookies and more!

Be sure to stop by DAVANNI'S at 6345 Penn Avenue South in Richfield for all the fun and festivities!




Mill and Overlay Project this Summer

Penn Avenue to be resurfaced and restriped with new lane configuration 


Richfield Public Works held an open house on February 19 to show plans for the mill and overlay project that is scheduled to happen on Penn Avenue between 67th and 75th Streets this summer,The overlay will help smooth out the roadway for a more pleasant ride. Plans at this point also call for restriping Penn Avenue along this stretch from a 4 to 3 lane roadway, with a turn lane in the center. 

According to open house organizers, the work will begin this summer, but there is no set date yet for the start of the project. That will be determined by the schedule of the contractors. Watch this website for updates about the project.


Introducing a New Penn Central Business

Twin Cities AutoSpot can customize your ride 

TC AutoSpot in Richfield
Eric Froemming of Twin Cities AutoSpot

Normally when we talk about new businesses in the Penn Central neighborhood, it's a business on Penn Avenue. But tucked away on the Oliver Avenue side is a new business called Twin Cities AutoSpot. The business is located at 6540 Penn Avenue South (just north of 66th street) and is owned by Eric Froemming. Twin Cities AutoSpot is an automotive customization shop that can perform a range of services to make your ride more enjoyable, including audio and electronic upgrades, window tinting, mechanical repairs, automotive detailing and interior renewal.

Recently while talking with Eric, he mentioned that installation of remote starters has been a big seller, especaily with the the extremely cold winter this year. A remote starter allows people to get into a nicely warmed car in these frigid winter days, rather than a chilly car with stiff, cold seats. Many people were buying remote starters as Christmas gifts. In his shop, Eric has a signboard mentioning you can get $20 off the price of a remote starter installation when you LIKE the Twin Cities AutoSpot Facebook page

Although new in the area, Eric has been an enthusiastic member of the Penn Central business community. He actively participated in our Open Streets at Penn Fest event, hosting a Vikings party in his shop. Penn Central of Richfield is pleased to have Eric and Twin Cities AutoSpot as members of the community.

If you'd like to chat with Eric about any of his services (especially that remote starter installation) call him at  612-207-4588 or check out his website by clicking here.


Neighborhood meeting

Rep. Keith Ellison pledges to work with Richfield community 

Keith Ellison Richfield
Rep. Keith Ellison at Penn Central of Richfield Meeting

Representative Keith Ellison met with guests of the Penn Central of Richfield Third Thursday meeting on December 19th at Hope's Siver Spoon Restaurant. Rep. Ellison, whose district includes Richfield, said he wants this meeting to be the first of an ongoing conversation to help boost the vitality of the community and Penn Central business district.

Starting with a comment about the Twin Cities region as a whole, Rep. Ellison said the Minneapolis/St. Paul area has been identified as one of the strongest post recession economies in the country. Economic vitality is bouncing back here with more vigor than in many parts of the country.

With many small independent businesses, the Penn Central of Richfield area could look to federal and state government programs for tools that spur business growth, according to Ellison. The economic tools range from loan money for financing operations to technical assistance in areas such as selling abroad. He said it is very realistic for small businesses to engage in foreign trade, and cited a recent trade mission to Saudi Arabia where small Minnesota businesses benefitted. Small businesses can also look to agencies such as the Small Business Administration and the Minnesota Investment Fund for assistance.

Penn Central Committee Member Tom Rublein described a situation where Richfield is landlocked on all sides by larger neighbors and there is little open land for development. Yet Richfield has some unique advantages that it needs to capitalize on. According to Rublein, close proximity to the airport is one advantage. Richfield could promote its close proximity to the airport as a prime space for offices that have frequent visitors coming from the airport. 

Gordon Hanson, another community volunteer, said an age-old dilemma in redeveloping the neighborhood is balancing the desire to retain small independent businesses with the economic reality that new development often comes with higher rent and lease rates. "We'd like to reinvigorate the district, but we'd also like to keep the small independents that add character to the neighborhood and support community programs such as youth baseball leagues," mentioned Hanson. Rep. Ellison said that is a difficult problem and described a similar situation in northeast Minneapolis.

Richfield Chamber of Commerce President Angie Schaefbauer mentioned that her organization is actively working to promote the image of Richfield and its business assets. One recent initiative is working with the tourism board to promote Richfield hotels to large businesses that bring in people for workshops and conferences. She cited examples where certain businesses used hotels outside of Richfield because they seemed unaware of the hotels available within Richfield.

Rep. Ellison called this meeting a good start and promised to continue working with local Richfield interests. He mentioned the idea of organizing a small business roundtable to brainstorm ideas for supporting and growing business. He would like to encourage organizations such as the Small Business Administration and Greater MSP to participate to offer their expertise. 

Guests at the meeting thanked Rep. Ellison for his willingness to meet and for his offer of future involvement in the community.


Local pizzia places active in the community

Eat local by dining at Fireside and Davanni's  

Kids eat FREE at Fireside

Fireside Pizza Sign

Tuesday is Kids Eat FREE Day at Fireside Pizza, 6736 Penn Avenue So., Richfield. Here's your chance to enjoy some delicious food and save on the family budget. This is an ongoing promotion on Tuesdays at Fireside.

Fundraiser for Obsa Ali at Davanni's


A fundraiser was recently held at Davanni's for Richfield High School cross country runner Obsa Ali. Obsa, who has been getting a lot of attention lately for his incredible athletic skills, is going to be running in the Nike Nationals on Saturday, December 7th in Portland, Oregon. Funds raised at Davanni's will help pay for the trip to Oregon. If you'd like to learn more about Obsa's story, check out this video recently broadcast on WCCO television.


Building our community identity

Seeing the Penn Central name in more locations 

Richfield Penn Central

The effort to brand our Penn and 66th neighborhood and build identity is moving forward. Recently, three of the bus benches in the area were updated to include our community logo. This latest accomplishment in community building was negotiated by Penn Central advocate David Gepner. It's one more step to becoming a stronger, more cohesive community.


Penn Central of Richfield - Your Neighborhood Mainstreet
Building Community in Richfield, Minnesota