Each year, the City of Hopkins recognizes property owners who have made exterior improvements to their homes or businesses that contribute toward a positive image of the city.

“The award recognizes significant improvements to residences or businesses, including landscaping, accessibility, lighting, signs,” said Kersten Elverum, the city’s director of economic development and planning, at the Nov. 20 council meeting and awards ceremony. “The award also honors continued superior maintenance of property that exemplifies pride and ownership.”

Members of the public submit nominations, which are then reviewed by a committee of business representatives, residents and city staff members.

This year, four properties were honored with a community image award.

The first category covers commercial, industrial and office buildings. Nacho’s Mexican Grill was one of two businesses honored.

“This business was nominated for transforming the previously empty storefront on Mainstreet with a bright, colorful, inviting atmosphere,” Elverum said.

Second up was Hance Hardware. The new mural painted on the side of the building not only adds beauty but also provides a backdrop for photo opportunities for social media outlets, according to judges’ comments.

“Hance Hardware has worked with Jimmy and Connie Longoria and invited the community to come help paint a mural on their building. The community helped paint a base, then Jimmy finished it off with a fabulous mural depicting all things Hopkins. It’s a wonderful addition to the history of the city and a beautiful way to upgrade a brown cement wall,” Elverum said.

The second category, multifamily residential, honored 151 on 8 Apartments & Townhomes, formerly Hopkins Plaza, on Eighth Avenue South. Street reconstruction and the addition of the Moline luxury apartments across the street sparked the transformation.

“151 on 8 was nominated for the significant upgrades made to the property, which included new [metal] patio railings [in lieu of vinyl siding], paint and landscaping. The judges felt that all the updates made to the exterior, along with the name change, really made 151 on 8 at home on the Artery,” Elverum said.

The third and final category, single-family residential, honored Dick and Ann VanSickle for redoing the exterior of their home on the 100 block of 11th Avenue North.

“Dick and Ann repainted their home, adding new windows and extensive landscaping on their corner double lot, adding a lovely patio, numerous fruit trees, beautiful pots of colorful annuals and many other touches that make this a lovely corner to drive by,” Elverum said.

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I am a reporter for the Sun Sailor, covering Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Deephaven, Greenwood, Woodland and the Hopkins School District.

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