Brian Hunke was appointed to the Hopkins City Council at the Nov. 20 meeting. He was one of 19 residents to apply and interview for the position. The seat was vacated in October by Katy Campbell, who moved to Plymouth.
Hunke will serve until November 2019. Then, a special election will be held to fill the remainder of the term, which expires in 2021.
The Hopkins City Council consists of four council members and one mayor. Council members serve four-year terms and the mayor serves a two-year term.
How long have you lived in Hopkins? With who?
My wife and I have lived in Hopkins for over 12 years. The first two years of our marriage, we rented an apartment in south Hopkins. During this time, we both fell in love with the community and decided to purchase our current home! We have two energetic boys: a second-grader attending Alice Smith Elementary and a 4-year-old participating in the Stepping Stones preschool program.
How are you involved in the Hopkins community?
It all began with my participation in the citizens academy in 2011. Since then, I have had various opportunities to become involved with the city. The most recent involvement was on the planning and zoning commission from 2014 to 2018 and on the 2040 comprehensive plan update advisory committee. In addition, I am currently the vice president of the Avenues Neighborhood Association and am a board member of the Hopkins Area Little League. In the spring and summer, you will likely find me at Maetzold Field!
What made you want to run for city council?
Since my recent term on the planning and zoning commission ended last June, I have missed being involved with the city. I am passionate about Hopkins and excited to work along the mayor, council members and city staff in making this a great place to live, work and play. With encouragement from family and friends, I applied to replace the former Councilmember Katy Campbell.
What do you think the impending Southwest Light Rail will do for the city?
The city of Hopkins is in a great position for the long-awaited Southwest LRT. We have opportunities to strengthen our city into a vibrant, walkable community with multi-modal connections to service people of all ages and abilities. The biggest challenge the city will face includes keeping housing and commercial spaces affordable. There is a lot of naturally-occurring affordable housing in Hopkins that we as a council will need to find ways to preserve.
How can the city continue to help revitalize Mainstreet?
I believe there are two important ways to continue the revitalization of our Mainstreet. First off, the city should continue the façade improvement grant program that helps building owners create a lasting impact on their storefront businesses. These improvements will enhance the pedestrian experience by increasing both the transparency and aesthetics of their building. Secondly, I would encourage the city and its residents to continue supporting all our existing businesses on Mainstreet. We can make a huge difference by choosing to shop small.
What is an area you’d like to focus on to better the city during your term?
The areas I would like to focus on will be the three LRT station areas in Hopkins, especially both the Blake Road station and Shady Oak station. These areas will be seeing the most significant change in the next five years. I want to strengthen our small-town feel, while incorporating the unique opportunities that will arise with the transit-oriented development that will be taking place around each of the stations.