Local Richfield News
Review of October Third Thursday Meeting
Community and business leaders met on Thursday, October 17 to discuss local issues at the Penn Central of Richfield
Third Thursday meeting.
Christine Costello, Community Development Coordinator from the City of Richfield, reported on new business in the community, including:
- Lakewinds Food Coop - footings are being poured for the
new building sited at the Lyndale Gardens property
- O'Reilly Auto Parts plans for store at former King Oscars site
Bell - new building near Menards is up and work on interior now underway
- Firehouse Subs, Von Hanson's Meats and Salon
Becky Strom from Posters on Board
mentioned they are working with local arts to develop concepts for a wall mural on their building
Munoz, store manager of the Richfield Arc's Value Village
, gave a progress report on the renovation of the store facade. She said the update will take the building out of the 1980s
and into 2013. Work should be done in a couple weeks.
Erika from the new E-Cigarette Lounge, 6419
Penn Avenue So., Richfield, reported on the business and its product line. She said e-cigarettes use a rechargable battery
that plugs into a USB port. The device uses an e-liquid that turns to vapor. Liquids are available with various levels of
nicotene. She mentioned some people use e-cigarettes to give up tobacco cigarettes.
Schaefbauer, Richfield Chamber of Commerce President, suggested that Richfield investigate grants offered by the Mainstreets
Revitalization Program. Grants may be used for numerous aesthetic enhancements She also encouraged attendance at the next
Richfield Chamber luncheon on Wednesday, October 23 from 11:30 to 1 pm. There will be a panel discussion of the new Affordable
Healthcare Act. For more information, click here
David Gepner reported that Richfield was named a Bike Friendly City by the League of American
Bicyclists. Richfield is now the first and only Twin Cities metro city to receive that distinction.
will be no Third Thursday meeting in November. Plans are for the next meeting to happen in December.
Neighborhood meeting goes on
About a dozen brave souls ignore wintery
weather to discuss community issues
|Richfield Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch was a guest at recent meeting
Thursday, April 18 was a frightful night weather wise, with a snowstorm more reminiscent of January than April. But
that didn't stop a determined group of neighborhood enthusiasts from showing up at Hope's Siver Spoon Restaurant to discuss
what's happening in the Penn and 66th area.
Ruth Tripp from Bloomington Health reported the results of a survey taken
to get feedback about last year's Open Streets at Penn Fest event. Overall, attendees, businesses and participants
were enthusiastically favorable to the event, and they indicated a desire for the event to return. (Their wish will be granted
with a scheduled return of Open Streets at Penn Fest on Sunday, September 15.) The complete summary of the surveys will soon
be published on this site.
Wayne, Kewitsch, the Fire Chief of the Richfield Fire Department, discussed plans for the renovation of the firestation at Penn and 64th. Chief Kewitsch said the department will re-examine
costs and bids associated with the renovation. Some costs have come in higher than first anticipated, and the department wants
to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money. Most of the renovation will be to modernize the interior, but the exterior
will be given a facelift, too. There are also plans for extensive landscaping, especially on the southside and Oliver Avenue
side of the firestation.
Tentatively in July, work will begin to rebuild the deck of the Penn Avenue bridge over 62
Crosstown. The bridge will be closed during this reconstruction, perhaps as late as October. Improvements will include
a newly surfaced deck and wider sidewalks.
Plans for Open Street at Penn Fest 2013 were discusses. The popularity
of Open Street events was noted. Two other Open Streets events will be held in the Twin Cities on the same date as the
Richfield event. To help people get up and down the avenue, and to ideally introduce people to the fun of biking, Penn Cycle
will offer some loaner bikes on the day of the event at select stations.
The next Penn Central Third Thursday meeting
will be held on May 16 at 7:30 am at Hope's Silver Spoon Restaurant.
Penn Avenue bridge closing to impact area
Guests at recent Third Thursday meeting reveal plans for reconstruction
Residents and business owners gathered at Hope's Silver Spoon Restaurant on Thursday, May 16 to discuss area happenings
in the Penn Central of Richfield community.
Ron Rauchle, MnDOT West Area Engineer, and Stephanie Malmberg, Minneapolis
Project Engineer, joined the meeting as guests to share details about bridge and road construction projects.
detailed plans for the bridge deck project that will close the Penn Avenue bridge over Crosstown 62 Highway this summer. The
bridge will close starting on July 22, and remain closed up to October 22. If the project proceeds at a quicker pace, the
bridge will re-open sooner. Crosstown Highway itself will be closed two weekends for deck demolition. The specific
weekend are yet to be determined. The ramps on the northside of the bridge will be closed for the duration of the project,
while the ramps on the southside will be closed for a maximum of seven days. Specific days are yet to be determined.
bridge, which is fifty years old, will be modernized. Two feet will be added to the bridge width. Driving lanes will be narrowed
from twelve feet to eleven feet. The pedestrian walkways will be widened to make crossing the bridge by foot a more
The Penn Avenue bridge will be re-decked this year, and the Xerxes bridge will be re-decked in
2014. According to Mr Rauchle, the Penn Avenue project is a more traditional re-decking, but the Xerxes project will involve
pre-cast panels that allow for quicker completion.
Stephanie Malmberg discussed the Penn Avenue Road reconstruction
that is currently in progress in south Minneapolis. The span of the project goes from the 62 Crosstown bridge to 54th
Street. Reconstruction started in the middle to lessen the impact on businesses at 60th Street and 54th Street. The project
will reach the business districts by about June 15th.
Richfield's Traffic Engineer Jeff Pearson also attended the meeting.
He reported that current plans call for reconstruction of 66th Street from Xerxes to Cedar starting in 2016. The project could
presumably last 3 years.
Visit this website for updates on future developments related to area roadway projects.
The next step in building a strong, vibrant Penn Central
of Richfield Community
After the great success of last weekend's Open Streets at Penn Fest event, it's time to start taking the next steps
in charting the future of the neighborhood. The monthly Third Thursday meeting was a chance to keep the momentum going with
a lively discussion about Penn Fest and the neighborhood. Third Thursday is a regular meeting where residents, city officials
and business owners gather to discuss the Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood. The most recent meeting was held this past
Thursday, September 20 at Hope's Silver Spoon Restaurant.
of the last meeting include:
- A strong consensus that Open Streets at Penn Fest was a huge success
strong desire for Open Streets at Penn Fest to return in 2013 on at least the same scale with the street closed, music, activities
- The need to seek and confirm major sponsorship for the 2013 Open Streets at Penn Fest should begin immediately
was a belief that there should be food vans at a future Penn Fest. They should be parked at the southern end of the festival
to draw the crowd and not to compete with established Penn Central restaurants at the northern end of Penn Avenue
was a suggestion to set up a business block captain system to inquire and encourage future participation
- The Penn
Fest booklet could group coupons together
- On non-Penn Fest topics, there was a discussion of the workings between
the City and small business people regarding application of codes. It was believed the city does a good job, but there needs
to be an understanding that business people may find codes complicated and confusing. Therefore, an effort to explain codes
in a common language may be necessary to accommodate people dealing with these issues for the first time.
get involved in future Third Thursday meetings, mark your calendar for October 18 for 6:15 pm at Davanni's on 64th and Penn.
Third Thursday meetings alternate between morning and evening meetings to accommodate different schedules. The November meeting
will be a morning meeting, December evening, January morning, and so on. Third Thursday meetings are your chance to have a
voice in future Penn Fests and the community.
Events, Renewal and Positive Energy Are Future of Penn
Central of Richfield
Exciting Developments Announced at
April 19th Third Thursday Meeting
The monthy Third Thursday Meeting held on April 19th was filled with announcements about exciting positive changes
headed for the Penn Central of Richfield area.
Highlights of the meeting include:
estate professional Bill Wolfson described upgrades planned for the Arc's Value Village property. Improvements to both the exterior and interior of the building will be made through a private/public
partnership between Wolfson's company, which owns the Value Village property, and the City of Richfield. Exterior improvements include an upgraded of the parking lot and sidewalk.
- Gordon Hanson updated the group
on the Avenue of Opportunities Open House. The event will help market vacant storefronts and offices
along Penn Avenue in Richfield. Prospectiive business owners are encouraged to tour the spaces available for lease on May
19, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The First National Bank of the Lakes, 6613 Penn Avenue South, Richfield, will serve as the information center where entrepreneurs will come to get started.
Hanson reported that there has been an enthusiastic response from property owners about participating in the event.
- David Gepner reported that Uncommon Sports Cards plans to move across the street to a space formerly occupied by a consignment shop.
- John Stark from the City of Richfield
reported that interior and exterior improvements to the firestation will be made. The fire department needs to remodel
to accommodate female firefighers. Exterior enhancements will be made as part of the same renovation.
- Tom Rublein
updated the group about Penn Fest, which has been awarded a grant as part of the Open Streets campaign. This means Penn
Fest 2012 will be bigger and better, with a stretch of Penn Avenue closed for the event. The closed street will be filled
with activities such as live music, street hockey, a bike rodeo, sidewalk chalk art, yoga and more. These items
are for descriptive purposes only. Actual activities have not been finalized yet. It is believed that Penn Fest
was awarded a $10,000 grant. Area businesses are ancouraged to actively participate to gain visibility to potential
- Flynn Rico-Johnson of do.town plans to organize a petition and letter writing campaign to support more pedestrian access in the Penn Central area.
Penn/Crosstown bridge deck will be reconstructed in 2013, which may offer an opportunity to create a "Welcome to Penn
- Minneapolis will be renovating a Penn Avenue north of Richfield in 2013, and possibly be adding
some bike lanes north of 60th Street.
- Mother Duck will be expanding by reopening their old location. They will
use this space for infants and toddlers.
- The wall in front of CVS will be stained soon
- Flowerama and Aida will be working on a joint coupon promotion - a great example of two area businesses working together.
resident Kevin Klos has been working on a new Penn Central of Richfield logo, which will be unveiled soon.
Overflow Crowd Attends March 15th Third Thursday Meeting
Penn Central of Richfield Third Thursday Meetings reached a milestone on March 15th. It was the 5th anniversary
of these grassroots meetings to bring neighbors, business people and city officials together to discuss the future of the
area. And the 5th anniversary meeting packed in an overflow crowd.
A number of business people introduced themselves.
Rich Huemmer of Uncommon Sports Cards described his business of selling sport cards, sports figurines and autographed memorabilia. Jim Andserson, manager of the
new CVS store, said he has 32 years of experience in retail pharmacy operations. He added that he likes to bring old family
values of treating customers right to his store. Bill Roase of Ralph's Shoe Service thanked the community for its warm welcome. He likes his new location better than Southdale. Business has been
good, and people were even bringing in shoes before the store opened. Don and Lori Swatala were on hand, reporting
that their dog day care business is moving ahead. Amy Mohamed of Aida expressed thanks for the warm welcome to the community upon the opening of their new restaurant.
Mike Eastling, Public
Works Director for the City of Richfield, talked about the issue of crosswalks. The Penn Central of Richfield group has set enhanced pedestrian comfort and safety
as a top goal. Mr. Eastling said the city is looking at the issue of crosswalks throughout the corridor. According to
Eastling, the issue is complicated because painted crosswalks can have the effect of creating a sense of safety for walkers
while not increasing awareness for drivers. To improve safety, education and enforcement of laws is also required. Eastling
promised more study on this issue will be done.
Eastling also talked about the plans for a bigger Penn Fest celebration
this year. An application for a grant has been submitted to partner Penn Fest with an Open Streets event, an activity
where a portion of the street would be closed to vehicular traffic and people would enjoy various recreational activities
on the street. Jim Anderson spoke glowingly about his experience with events where people are encouraged to walk the avenue.
He said it is a benefit to businesses.
Gordon Hanson talked about the progress of hosting a business open house event
where empty storefronts and office spaces would be open for touring by prospective tenants. Plans are moving forward
with a good reception from property owners and business experts. The event will be held on May 19th, with First National Bank of the Lakes hosting as the central meeting location. More details soon.
Tom Rublein is introducing a new activity called
P.A.W.S. (Penn Avenue Walkers Society). These regularly scheduled walks will encourage people to get out and walk along
the Penn Avenue corridor. More details to come.
Karen Barton of the City of Richfield summarized various development
projects throughout Richfield.
Review of February 16 Third Thursday Meeting
Residents and business professionals met at Davanni's at 6345 Penn Avenue to get the latest news about happenings in the Penn Central of Richfield area. State Senator
Ken Kelash, District 63, and members of the media were also in attendance, including Richfield Patch, the Richfield Sun Current and 55423.info.
Highlights of the meeting include:
- The landscaping project on the city's firestation,
watertower and liquor store properties appears ready to move ahead.
- The Penn Avenue bridge over 62 Crosstown will
be resurfaced next year, creating an opportunity to develop a gateway presence into Richfield.
- Woof Central,
a proposed dog daycare in the former Dave's Furniture World location, received a site plan approval from the City Council.
a new restaurant in the former Taco Bell location, has nearly completed its interior renovations of the building.
update on the proposed business open house in the Penn Central neighborhood was presented.
A representative of
the do.town campaign spoke about the healthy-living program being implemented in Richfield. Instead of focusing on changing behavior, do.town
works to make healthy living an easy choice. It promotes actvities such as walking to school, taking a walk at lunch
breaks and making infrastructure renovations that enhance active lifestyles. The program attempts to reach people
who live relatively inactive lifestyles.
State Senator Ken Kelash, who represents Richfield as well as a portion of
southwest Minneapolis and northern Bloomington, updated the group on the state legislative session. He spoke about initiatives
for job growth, retraining and economic development.
The next Third Thursday meeting will be held at Hope's Silver Spoon
Restaurant at 6700 Penn Avenue South on March 15th at 7:30 am. It's a great chance get involved in the community at
a grassroots level.
the January 19 Third Thursday Meeting
The January 19th Third Thursday Meeting was extraordinarily well attended with a mix of business people, residents,
city officials and media.
Highlights of the meeting included:
welcome to Bill, Kay and Ron Roase from Ralph's Shoe Service, which is moving to Penn Central of Richfield from Southdale.
Ron told how he ran the business years ago in the 50th and Xerxes area. Bill said he is aiming for a March 1st opening.
Introduction of Lori Swatala who plans to open a dog daycare and boarding service.
- Rod Johnson from the Richfield
First National Bank of the Lakes briefing the group on his outlook for the economy in 2012
- An introduction of Amy
and Ahmed Mohamed who plan to open a restaurant in the former Taco Bell location
- An update from Karen Barton from
the City of Richfield talking about the landscape improvement grant available to property owners in the Penn Central area.
She also reviewed pending city developments.
- A discussion about the need for a crosswalk at 63rd and Penn.
brief talk from Mark Plenke, the founder and editor of www.55423.info, a digital community news service.
- A review of why the once-proposed transit hub for Penn Central that moved to Southdale