Destination City?

July 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

By Andrew Richter

I swear, all Golden Valley does is sit around and dream up new ways to spend our money;

As Golden Valley City Council continues to brainstorm ways in which the city could become more of a destination, it relies on the help of some passionate residents. Following voiced interest from several residents, City Council discussed its options and approved the forming of a group known as Destination Golden Valley. The group consists of nine residents: Mark Boemer, Stephen Dent, Cara Letofsky, Karla Rose, Kathryn Barksdale Simpson, Sara Barrow, Joe Kaplan, Miquel Purvis•McMoore and Mike Schleif.

Its goal was to think up ways to make Golden Valley more attractive to businesses, residents and visitors alike. “Our interest was to improve our city’s image and make Golden Valley more ‘cool,’” the group stated in a report submitted to the council.

More cool? How about you start with a new mayor…

Kaplan, a new resident of Golden Valley, has spent his entire life living in Minneapolis until now.

Poor guy, no wonder Golden Valley looks so great.

“I love Golden Valley so much,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Gee….take a cold shower…..

The group formed in January and has met four times thus far. On June 10, group representatives reported to City Council on developments to date. According to the report, the group spent time determining its role and purpose in the city. “It was determined that we would like to provide input into the city council about opportunities that may help Golden Valley distinguish itself as a community,” the report states. From that mission, the group categorized its priorities into two categories: business and community. Within those categories came subcategories. The following lists include a few of the subcategories chosen by the group.



•Online, social media


•Parks and recreation

Don’t we have these things already?



•City infrastructure

•Parks and recreation

•Community outreach

•Online, social media

After deciphering categories, group members voted on top priorities that would fall under each category. Those priorities are as follows:


•Connect all businesses (small, medium, large) together via a “Golden Valley Business Link”

•Build clusters of small, independent and unique businesses in the same geographic area

•Encourage more independent bars and restaurants in Golden Valley

•Put pars and restaurants near or in city parks

•Encourage a co•op or Whole Foods to Golden Valley

A Whole Food would be interesting, but is it really the goal of the city for push certain types of businesses? Why not just create a good business climate and let the market dictate who comes and goes.


•Indoor or outdoor swimming pool and hockey rinks

•Make Golden Valley Days a week•long event to include fireworks, Medallion hunt, duck races, kids Olympics and other events

•Architectural tours of Golden Valley’s mid•century homes

“Speaking personally for me, it was about encouraging growth within the community and bringing people to the community,” Boemer said. “… Making Golden Valley stand out, encouraging development, encouraging open space when we can. To me, that means an internal focus.”

Architectural tours? Pools and hockey rinks? looks like a slew of unnecessary spending.

The City Council discussed the purpose of the group and its work thus far to decide what the next steps should be. Many council members were optimistic about the ideas.

“To me, it was like we were sitting in the dark and you came and turned a light switch on,” said Councilmember Andy Snope. “You guys are on the right track. I’m 100 percent for it. This is what I’ve been thinking.”

Nothing like a liberal like Snope to swoop in and take the credit….

Councilmember Larry Fonnest agreed this was a step in the right direction.

No surprise there either.

Despite positive vibes, some council members had concerns regarding the cost of certain ideas.

“The only one thing I have to put in is we do have to think about the financial,” said Councilmember Joanie Clausen. “Sometimes we have big dreams but we have to pay for these things. I think it would be good to have a task force.”

Oh my God! A task force? Seriously?? What are we paying city staff $100,000 plus to do?

Councilmember Steve Schmidgall also voiced concern. “I would certainly never say no to anyone wanting to involve themselves in hyping up Golden Valley,” Schmidgall said. Schmidgall points out the city currently has 147 people involved in commissions and committees. He is concerned about the time and resources it takes to maintain a large number of groups. “I just want to keep an eye on the scope we’re generating,” he said. “Certainly, this sounds like a great thing.”

The group’s findings was the first of many steps to bettering the city, according to Mayor Shep Harris. “The real goal of (Destination Golden Valley) is to look at what can we do that we aren’t doing right now that will enhance the quality of life and make (Golden Valley) more attractive,” Harris said.

So says Boy Wonder.

Following the June 10 meeting, council advised city staff to form a draft as to what the future task force would look like, how it would operate and what it would do. Staff will present the draft to the council at an upcoming meeting. Applications for interested residents will be accepted and the council will appoint a number of residents to the new task force in a few months.

One option would include Golden Valley partnering with Discover St. Louis Park, a similar group motivated to better its city. The two entities could create a visitors bureau for the west metro. It is uncertain if the partnership will occur at this time. More information needs to be discussed before decisions are made.

“I do think this is a priority for our city,” Harris said. “We’ve got a lot to brag about. We’ve got a lot of strengths. I don’t think we’re bragging about it yet. We’ve got some strengths, we have to capitalize on them. We have some weaknesses that we have to develop and market.”

You know, I want to commend citizens for getting involved here, but if you truly want a great city, you shouldn’t be looking to government to give it to you. Go out there and make Golden Valley great! Buy local, utilize the parks that you already have, eat at the restaurants you have now. Don’t wait for the city to “give you” something.

Notice they didn’t mention light rail making Golden Valley great……..



Entry filed under: City Government, Community, Environment, Golden Valley, Hennepin, Met Council.

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