At its Monday, Sept. 8, meeting, the Maple Grove City Council recognized long-time head of the Maple Grove Community Organization. Deb Syhre has been the organization’s president for the last 18 years, which includes running Maple Grove Days.

The council also approved five main city goals for 2020-22, and the council considered an amendment to the concept plan for the Cook Lake development.


The council also acknowledged the resignation of Deb Syhre for her years of community service with the Maple Grove Community Organization.

Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Stifter said after 20 years with MGCO and as president of MGCO for the last 18 years, Syhre made the decision to step away in July. “She has given countless hours to this community and will be remembered for her leadership, compassion and generosity,” he said. “She has been the face of MGCO for many years and has provided this community with numerous hours of enjoyment and family even opportunities. We thank her for her tremendous commitment to making Maple Grove the special community that many residents value.”

Syhre joined MGCO in 2000, serving in various roles. She and MGCO grew the programs and events over the years. Stifter said Maple Grove Days has grown a lot over the past 16 years under Syhre’s leadership. The number of vendors at Maple Grove Days in 2003 was 42, with 75 vendors in 2019. The business expo has increase with 63 participants in 2003 to 120 participants in 2019.

Mayor Mark Steffenson said: “Deb has been the head of MGCO, in my viewpoint, forever. It just seems that way. Everything has grown, everything has prospered under her leadership. And, we as a city, owe a great debt of gratitude for her work and diligence and her efforts.”

Councilor Karen Jaeger said it was pleasure to know Syhre and said she would be a hard act to follow.

Councilor Phil Leith said was amazing to see how much Maple Grove Days has grown over the years and appreciated all of Syhre’s efforts.

“Deb thank you for your leadership over these past years and the positive impact that you and the Maple Grove Community Organization have had on our community,” Councilor Judy Hanson said.

Councilor Kristy Barnett added, “I will vote for you for the grand marshal of the Maple Grove Days Parade.”

Syhre thanked everyone for their kind words. “It’s been a great, great 20 years,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure to see Maple Grove Days grow the way it has.”


In other matters, City Administrator Heidi Nelson said in February the council met in a joint meeting with city staff to establish goals and priorities for the city over the next few years. Due to COVID-19, the creation of the goals list was put on hold.

“We have reviewed the discussion from that day and those items that were identified and brought forward to you a revised goals document,” Nelson said.

The first goal would be to study the market for additional multi-family units, including senior affordable housing and workforce housing. The city is also considering a moratorium on apartments and other multi-family units.

Secondly, address parks and recreation staffing needs. This includes reviewing workloads and current positions and tasks.

Third, to complete a master plan and financing plan for the community center. This planning is currently on hold due to COVID-19.

Fourth, mitigate traffic and congestion concerns.

Finally, ensure staffing competitiveness. This means to make the city an employer of choice.

The council then approved the five main goals for 2020-22 for the city.


Also during the meeting, the council approved the Cook Lake Maple Grove residential concept plan amendment. The project would be located north of 73rd Avenue and west of Walnut Grove Lane.

City Planner Manager Peter Vickerman said previously the project was approved for 42 single-family homes. The amendment would change that to 58 lots as a rental community.

Another addition to the proposal is an amenity lot and a proposed public park trail loop.

Cook Lake is classified as a natural environment lake, which has the highest level of environmental protection in the shoreland ordinance. No homes will have direct access to the lake except for an existing home that is proposed to remain.

“The lots [will be] pulled away from Cook Lake significantly, and creating a large amount of common open space,” Vickerman said.


In other action, the council:

ACCEPTED the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association’s Award of Excellence for the planning and development of Fernbrook Fields Athletic Complex.

APPROVED the on sale wine and 3.2% malt liquor license for The Great Greek, 7860 Main Street, subject to compliance with city code. The Mediterranean fast-casual grill plans to open mid- to late-October.

APPROVED Andy Mielke to the Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Board with a term to expire Dec. 31, 2022.

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