According to the recent Hometown Messenger, Shakopee leaders are wondering what to do about the low scores on the community survey.
This is not a one-dimensional solve. A place to start however, is to simply drive through similar river towns. This includes the mayor, city administrator and councilors.
I have recently been through Red Wing and St. Peter. Both seem more upscale and welcoming than Shakopee. It's the details that matter. Look at the streetlight design, the road median flowers and even the city signs as you enter the towns — it's not simply a population sign.
Where we struggle for sure is along Highway 169. As you drive through, do you think, "Wow, this is nice"? I don't. It appears average to me. The bridges are boring and plain. I laughed when I saw the bridge fence along the Marshall Road bridge: green chainlink with high/low posts.
Cheap, average, boring.
Drive along Highway 212 in Eden Prairie or into Chaska. Look at the bridges and the railing detail and light posts, very classy.
Drive along Highway 100 and look at the bridges in St. Louis Park.
Drive east on Excelsior Boulevard and look at the classy redevelopment.
I think Shakopee councilors are used to cheap, average and boring. Don't blame it on the D.O.T. because somehow these other cities did it classy.
It's not just roads and bridges either. Look at the new housing along the bluff near Marystown Road and Highway 169. Boring boxes of the same colors.
Go look what housing Eden Prairie did along their bluff. Do you see the difference? It's not that complicated.
Create a vision of classiness, yet embrace our uniqueness, i.e. entertainment destination and Native American history (love the sculpture downtown as you enter from the river), build on that theme.
Talk to the tribe, they have done a stellar job developing their lands.
My family has been here since the late 1800s so we have seen all the changes. I still really like this town and believe we have some very unique assets here. We are headed in the right direction, but we need cool detail, not boring and average.