The annual presentation of the Human Rights Awards was among items of business for the Eden Prairie City Council at its Tuesday, May 2, meeting.
The awards, determined by the city’s Human Rights & Diversity Commission, go to individuals and groups whose work fulfills the Eden Prairie Manifesto. This 30-year-old document encourages community standards for respecting diversity and promoting acceptance.
The award winners are people and organizations that “live their values through service to our community,” Greg Leeper, commission chair, told the city council.
The newest award winners are:
Bella Jimenez-Lorente, Individual Award. A cultural liaison with Eden Prairie Schools, she serves as a bridge between the school community and Latinx students and their families.
Jermell Taylor, Youth Award. A student-athlete, he has worked with Eden Prairie High School teammates to raise more than $14,000 to support the Minneapolis North football team with needed equipment, and led an initiative that packaged and delivered more than 20,000 meals to nonprofits in North Minneapolis.
Chain Reaction Theatre Project, Nonprofit Award. They create entertaining and thought-provoking works that focus on social justice issues, ranging from local to global in scope, in order to increase awareness and encourage audience members to take action. Executive Director Shelley Smith accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Here are several other brief items from Tuesday’s council meeting:
Introduction of EP’s newest Met Council rep
Dr. Tyronne Carter, recently appointed by Gov. Tim Walz to represent Eden Prairie and a number of Lake Minnetonka-area communities on the Metropolitan Council, introduced himself to city council members Tuesday.
“This is like a friendly hello,” said Carter, a 19-year resident of Minnetonka who now represents District 3 on the metro-area planning group.
Carter has a background in STEM education, training and development, currently as the CEO and director of marketing and curriculum design for America’s Fund Science. He’s been active in the Rotary Club of Lake Minnetonka-Excelsior and Minneapolis NAACP.
He admitted that he’s still learning about District 3 and welcomed input. “I’m still in Metro Council kindergarten,” he joked.
More money for city housing programs
The city council on Tuesday approved changes that will increase assistance to people who qualify for two housing programs administered by the city.
One is the First Time Homebuyer Program, which offers a zero-interest, deferred loan for down payment assistance to qualifying first-time homebuyers purchasing a home in Eden Prairie.
Revisions increase the maximum loan amount from $15,000 to $25,000 and increase the maximum home purchase price from 100% to 120% of the metro area’s affordable home price. Also, the program’s maximum housing debt-to-income ratio will increase from 33% to 37%.
The second is the Senior Emergency Repair Program, which provides emergency, forgivable loans to qualified applicants ages 60 and older for home mechanical repairs.
Revisions to this program increase the loan amount from $5,000 to $7,500.
New parks, recreation plan to debut soon
A new Parks and Recreation Guide Plan that provides a comprehensive overview of city amenities and the work of the Eden Prairie Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department will soon be available to the public. It was reviewed by the city council on Tuesday.
The new plan has been in the works since 2019 and has a booklet-type design but will be available online. People will be able to turn pages, similar to using a book. The online format will allow links to supporting documents and updates without requiring another printing.
In addition to containing lots of information about city parks, conservation areas, historical sites, and recreation facilities, the new plan outlines some of the trends and external forces that will drive change in Eden Prairie parks and recreation over the coming years – including community demographic trends, climate change, aging infrastructure, water scarcity, invasive plant and animal species, and more.
Parks Director Jay Lotthammer said the plan would be added to the city website fairly soon and be promoted on social media.
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