SouthWest Transit has been in operation for around 35 years. During that time it has transported millions of riders from this service, which supports the communities of Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska.

It’s a service that has supported its communities as they’ve grown and experienced not just physical population growth, but also a lot of economic development, the addition of business and industry and the jobs that come with that new business.

Transit is so critical to the development of healthy communities. For anyone that has used SouthWest Transit, you’d agree you travel in quality, safe, technology equipped buses that are driven by friendly and skilled drivers, with a commitment to make the ride and the overall experience the most customer-friendly service possible.

One of the challenges this service faces today, and has always had to battle for, is its fair share of the funding for transit allocated by the Metropolitan Council.

In 1984 the three communities of Chaska, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie opted out of the Metro Transit system because for what they were paying property taxes into the region for transit support, they were receiving one bus a day … one!

The cities were not provided more resources to support other plans and needs and today it seems we continue to face similar funding challenges. This is disturbing as we face future growth and customer needs.

We shouldn’t have to relive the experiences of the mid 1980s, but the fact of the matter is we are. Our system, since we opted out, is successful, healthy and well-managed, and with adequate funding it will continue to have a bright future.

We need to care about its continued success. Expect your local state elected officials to own the best interests of this transit system.

This is a serious concern and unless suburban transit providers, like SouthWest Transit, start receiving its fair share of the funding by the Metropolitan Council, they will be facing system cuts and diminished services, while Metro Transit and the core cities receive the principal share of the funding.


I want to acknowledge the Shining the Light on Homelessness Sleep Out scheduled for Nov. 16 at Chaska’s Firemen’s Park.

This sleep out will benefit the southwest metro His House Foundation Homeless Prevention Fund.

This is the first year for this event and represents a commitment by people to shine a light on this growing community issue.

Hopefully you might provide your encouragement and support to these dedicated folks that will brave the cold and hopefully help educate and create more awareness of the significant issue this has become. As we may be warm in our homes that is not true for others often through no fault of their own.


Chaska should be recognized for its leadership in the provision of recreation experiences to its disabled and adaptive recreation communities.

As the southwest area of Chaska develops, it will hopefully include a new elementary school, plus a large park and open space area.

Within that park area will be a new Miracle League field, which will be used by our disabled community. This field will be designed specifically to meet the special needs of our disabled population.

No longer will these residents need to travel outside our town to find a field they can call their own. It will provide the surface and design that meets their needs including adaptive playground equipment.

In addition, Learning Links, a nonprofit organization, is working to redesign the Par 30 golf course in Chaska to allow it to be used by those just learning the game, or not able to afford to play the game, and for disabled and handicapped persons.

The redesign of the course and its policies will be sensitive to these users. So these groups now would have an opportunity to enjoy this game at this course.

Significant fundraising is now underway to support this project. Again, this positions our community as leaders in providing equal opportunities to the entire makeup of our community including those that often live in the shadows of life. It’s what the Best Small Town in Minnesota does!


It has been shown that living in community is important to most of us. The question then is “How can I help support my community and make it better and stronger?” It’s a question I asked myself, as I understood the value and importance of building and living in a community.

For me, this is where the Community Foundation for Carver County comes into play. CFCC was organized in 2004 with a vision to make Carver county a great place to live, learn, work and play. Today CFCC has over $1 million in assets, and is dedicated to serving as a catalyst for community investments that contribute to the health and vitality of those living and working in Carver County.

CFCC today offers a wide variety of services to donors, professional advisors and nonprofits in the Carver County area. CFCC serves the entire county, including the communities of Carver, Chanhassen, Chaska, Cologne, Hamburg, Mayer, New Germany, Norwood Young America, Watertown, Waconia and Victoria.

The CFCC has now partnered with Community Giving to empower and support its growth. The Community Giving team collectively has over 150 years of experience growing and is managing community foundations across the state of Minnesota.

The CFCC provides the opportunity to build community across Carver County. If you want to contribute to making your community a better place then please consider how CFCC might help you address your community interests and meet your community needs.

In the past couple months I had the privilege to participate in two events that demonstrate how CFCC is fulfilling its mission.

  • The Carver County Veterans Memorial and Registry Dedication is an outstanding project that recognizes Carver County Veterans and helps us remember those who have served. CFCC managed the receipt of donations and payment of expenses for the project.
  • The Cologne Community Fund hosted a community gathering to share how the CFCC has helped the Cologne Community Fund its efforts to improve the water quality of Benton Lake and maintain the Benton Lake Garden in Cologne.

Today Hamburg and Norwood Young America also have community funds in place. There’s no reason we couldn’t have every Carver County community establish a fund that people can support and contribute to, and do good things for their community.

The Cologne gathering was a successful event, and one of many efforts that will occur to help build the understanding and the possibilities that can be available to Carver County citizens, and others, who want to give back.

The goal of CFCC is to have a vibrant and local foundation engaging donors, connecting resources and building community across Carver County. Please join us and together we’ll build community. To learn more about CFCC

Bob Roepke, a former Chaska mayor, serves on the SouthWest Transit Commission and Community Foundation for Carver County Board.


Staff Reporter

Alex Chhith is a staff reporter at the Chaska Herald. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dogs (Cody and Sam), catching up on the Game of Thrones and finding new restaurants. Follow her on Twitter @AlexChhith.


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