Minnetonka Beach is rolling out its “Be a Villager” initiative to encourage residents to become more involved with the city.

Long-time resident Joe Tilli presented the identity and community engagement project during the city’s Oct. 13 city council meeting. Tilli, using his years of experience in marketing and communications, is working with other committee members to increase community engagement.

The initiative began last fall and was originally focused on encouraging volunteerism for the park commission. The idea evolved as the park commission saw it could be applied to more areas throughout the city. The current initiative now has a broader theme of engaging the community.

“Personally, I find this very impressive and inspiring. I think it’s very positive. I love the phrase, ‘engaging the community,’” Mayor Jaci Lindstrom said.

“Be a Villager” is rolling out its first event on Nov. 7 by joining Junit Civic for a fall clean-up day at Half Moon park, Ray Peters Park and Swim Beach. As an incentive, baseball caps and hooded sweatshirts with the newly designed “Be a Villager” logo will be handed out to those willing to lend a hand.

According to Tilli, the new graphic element was “created to capture both the natural beauty of the village greens and generous stretches of waterfront and lakeside drives.” The graphic is one way Minnetonka Beach’s “village-ness” is being celebrated.

“It’s not enough to say we’re protecting and maintaining a village atmosphere, we have to prove it. To demonstrate it in words, in deed and in a way that enhances and preserves what makes us unique and why people of all ages and all walks in life want to live here,” he said.

The initiative includes two premises - “I am a Villager,” which “builds on the premise of extenuating and celebrating Minnetonka Beach’s village-ness” and a sense of resident identity to “promote prideful membership” in the community. The “Be a Villager” premise is “a call-to-action to participate in and contribute to [the] community.”

Tilli listed ways residents can “Be a Villager” over time. His suggestions included volunteering, serving on a commission, seeking elective office, attending and supporting community activities and to adopt a park, an initiative that will roll out in spring of 2021. Tilli expects more opportunities to develop as the initiative develops.

Council members expressed their support for the initiative. “It rallies around the idea that we’re all villagers,” council member Steve Howarth said.

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