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Wayzata Mayor Outlines a 2013 of 'Change and Excitement'

Wayzata Mayor Ken Willcox talks long-range plans, lakefront enhancement, economic development and more in his preview for the year ahead.

Dear Patch,

The year ahead for the City of Wayzata will be another one of change and excitement. It will see yet more construction, planning, community involvement and expanded activity. Some projects will be new and energizing; others will be infrastructure requirements that are necessary, but disruptive.

Last year the city established a five-year strategic plan. That document, available on the city website, states our priorities for the years ahead.

One of the more important objectives has been to enhance the appeal of the city through our lakes and parks. A major step in addressing this has been the Lake Effect endeavor to determine the future of the Wayzata lakefront along Lake Street. The St. Paul Riverfront Corporation, which is leading the effort, has finished its assessment of what values the citizens have for the lake. In 2013, it will embark on the creative process of translating those values into tangible possibilities. That focus will continue with heavy citizen involvement through the year. This initiative has enormous implications for Wayzata’s future.

In another move in this category, we have established a Parks and Trails Board to oversee our parkland amenities. They have begun their work this month.

Economic development is another point of strategic emphasis. The Presbyterian Homes’ Folkestone development of the former Bay Center continues on schedule. It will result in 130,000 square feet of retail space, over 400 senior and conventional housing units, 30,000 square feet of office and an 80 to 100 room limited service hotel. The first building should be ready for occupancy towards the end of 2013 with the second close behind.

We will also address parking issues and the need for more and better signage to direct visitors to the lake and our commercial hub. The health of our commercial center is critical since, among other things, it represents one-third of our tax base. It plays an important role in keeping our home ownership more affordable.

Construction will continue on the Metropolitan Council sewer line now in process along Lake Street. The line will continue past the Village Shops to Bushaway and on south. Bushaway itself will start its huge reconstruction next year. 

Another road to see rework is Wayzata Boulevard (again). Unfortunately the contractor will have to repave it this summer. His work last year resulted in an unsatisfactory uneven surface.

Meanwhile we will be working with the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce and its new president to enhance the events and attractions that bring visitors to the city. Some of our festivals will be even better than last year’s phenomenal lineup.

With an objective to improve our efficiencies and reduce costs, we have established a working group of representatives from both the Wayzata and Long Lake City Councils. This year they will be examining areas where we could pool resources to deliver services more effectively and less expensively.

I encourage all citizens to remain engaged in the City and its decisions. Wayzata is a fabulous city. It has been blessed by both a unique geographic beauty as well as by extraordinarily energized, talented and generous citizens.

Ken Willcox
Mayor
City of Wayzata

 

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