The City of Hopkins is known for annual state of the city addresses that are more about flash and fun than facts and figures, and this year didn’t disappoint.

A packed Hopkins Center for the Arts welcomed residents with appetites Jan. 25, as the night kicked off with the annual Taste of Hopkins. Twenty Hopkins establishments gave away free samples of tater tot hotdish, pulled pork sandwiches, chips and guacamole, mini raspberry sundaes and many more dishes.

A drumline, which featured musicians who play during Vikings games, surprised and ushered guests into the center’s theater, where the address commenced.

But not without a game show. This year, the city council, city manager and police chief parodied a trivia show with questions pertinent to Hopkins history and projects. If the audience didn’t know already, it learned that Mainstreet used to be called Excelsior Avenue, Hopkins Activity Center once housed Hopkins South Junior High and the first Raspberry Festival began in 1935 as a way to boost business during the Great Depression.

Mayor Molly Cummings took the stage to get down to business.

“2017 was a really big year in Hopkins. I think that 2018 is going to be just as busy,” said Cummings.

She noted upcoming highlights:

The ARTery on Eighth Avenue—now a one-way street with a bike lane that connects the Cedar Lake Regional Trail and the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail—will unveil four public art installations this summer. A ribbon-cutting event is tentatively set for Saturday, June 2.

Construction on Burnes Park will be complete in spring or early summer. It will feature a splash pad—a water play area for children—which elicited clapping from attendees.

Many improvements will be made to and along Blake Road, such as road reconstruction and updating the decades-old system underneath the street.

“In the next 10 years, the city will have reconstructed every residential road in the city,” said Cummings.

Bike paths will run on either side of Blake Road from Excelsior Boulevard to Highway 7.

“It’s going to be much more pedestrian- and user-friendly,” said Cummings.

The 17-acre Cold Storage site at 325 Blake Rd., which is owned by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, will be demolished to restore the old and make way for the new.

“You’re going to be seeing action on that fairly soon,” said Cummings. She noted that the building that will come down contains asbestos.

The watershed district will use four to five acres of the site to remediate a polluted section of the creek. Proposals from developers are currently being sought for the rest of the site.

“The watershed board is working with city staff to make sure that the developer that is selected for whatever goes in there goes along with the mission and vision of the City of Hopkins,” said Cummings.

The Hopkins Pavilion will undergo renovations to modernize the 27-year-old building this spring. Construction is expected to wrap up in the fall. The updates include a new warming house and a remodeled lobby and concessions.

“We’re still moving forward,” said Cummings of the three Southwest Light Rail Green Line stations anticipated to come to Hopkins on the Pawn America site on Blake Road, downtown in front of Hopkins Honda and on Shady Oak Road.

Initial construction bids were rejected; new bids are due in May. Ridership has been delayed many times; as of now, passenger operations are projected to begin in 2023.

Cummings also noted upcoming events: Empty Bowls on March 13, World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 and Hopkins Citizens Academy beginning April 4.

The interactive academy offers an in-depth look at how the city works, including a mock city council meeting, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on four Thursday evenings. Registration is required on hopkinsmn.com.

To wrap up, Cummings identified both the longest Hopkins resident (83 years) and the newest Hopkins resident (27 days), and awarded them with a football signed by city council members.

As Cummings stepped offstage, she exclaimed, “I’ve got to meet him!” and rushed to meet her newest constituent.

Contact Sabina Badola at sabina.badola@ecm-inc.com.

Copyright © 2018 at Sun Newspapers. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.

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

Load comments