Filing for the Wayzata mayor and two council seats ends Tuesday, August 11.
So far, Wayzata city council member Johanna McCarthy is the lone candidate for mayor. Current mayor, Ken Willcox, announced in July that he would not seek a fourth term.
Meanwhile, Wayzata Planning Commissioners Cathy Iverson and Jeffrey Parkhill announced they are running for city council. Current city council members Dan Koch and Alex Plechash are up for re-election.
The mayoral and city council seats are four-year terms.
Read more about the candidates Wayzata residents will chose in the 2020 election here:
At the beginning of July, a bathroom facility began to take shape on what was previously the CōV Restaurant parking lot along Lake Street in downtown Wayzata.
It is a portion of a $9 million construction project.
A month later, it has become the town talker.
Wayzata.com photo – July 29, 2020
“I know there’s a lot of talk in the community about that,” said Dahl during the Aug. 4 city council meeting referring to the construction of the plaza bathroom.
Wayzata.com photo – July 16, 2020
“I have received a few comments recently about the design of the project, particularly relating to the restroom which is currently under construction,” stated Dahl.
“Public restrooms were demanded by the business community and property owners as a part of our lengthy engagement process,” added Dahl. “Restrooms are usually ‘necessary evil’ when it comes to public space design. While they are needed there is never an ideal location for them.”
Plaza bathroom discussion during the Wayzata City Council Meeting 8/4/20
“One of the conversation pieces around the location of the restroom was also with regard to the relocation of the trail head and bike parking in the public ramp and close proximity to all those things,” said city council member Johanna McCarthy during the Aug. 4 city council meeting. “So, as I remember the conversation, that was certainly also a discussion point in terms of where we would locate the restroom facilities.”
To get a better idea of the community concerns, Wayzata.com asked Facebook followers what they thought of the bathroom’s location.
The comments were mostly negative. A small sampling includes:
“Absolutely terrible. No one wants to look at a latrine when you are enjoying $15 cocktails and a $250 dinner. Admit it is in the wrong location and move it while you still can.”
“It looks ridiculous. Sit on the patio of COV, McCormicks & Gianni’s and enjoy a view of the toilet.”
“Horrendous, the planners and the city should be embarrassed they approved this into their plans. The goal of the Lake Effect Program was to beautify the landscape of our incredible city.”
“I would move it.”
“I feel bad for the businesses that now have a view of the bathrooms instead of the beautiful lake.”
During the planning stages, the city looked at three options for the restroom:
1.) West end of plaza
2.) Within the central plaza
3.) Just west of Cov Restaurant (current location)
Dahl admits that while it currently looks like a cinder block, the final product will be different.
Photo courtesy City of Wayzata
Photo courtesy City of Wayzata
“The structure will be skinned in a semi-reflective material with a series of white ‘fins’ wrapping the structure to provide further articulation and tying it into the design of the shade structure in the central plaza. The reflective material will reflect the trees, lake sky and adjacent activities, further softening it appearance and further help it blend into its surroundings,” said Dahl.
“Additionally, because it is the only vertical structure currently installed it stands out,” said Dahl.
“The creation of the Energy and Environment Committee really came out as a key initiative of the City’s 2040 Visioning process,” said Wayzata City Manager Jeff Dahl. “That engagement process included the involvement of several hundred community members.”
Wayzata has partnered with Xcel Energy and the Center for Energy and Environment in the Partners in Energy Program.
The program provides communities free services to develop an energy plan in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Wayzata is among more than 20 communities that are taking part in the program. Nearby communities of Minnetonka and Shorewood are also a part of the program.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the committee talked about the importance of obtaining grants as a way to fund the mission:
The purpose of the Energy and Environment Committee is to conduct research and provide recommendations to the City Council concerning energy and environmental issues and initiatives confronting the City based on research and collaboration with City staff. Under direction from the City Council, the Committee shall work to protect and preserve the ecological resources of the community so that they are in balance with the economic, recreational, and historic resources of our land and Lake Minnetonka for generations to come.
“There really is no capital budget for the group, so they are initially focused on engaging the community and information gathering in order to both conserve energy and sustain our natural resources,” said Dahl. “While this initiative will have positive net financial impacts to the community, it will lean heavily on grants to help with any major projects that need resources.”
A big part of the committee’s role is to act as a research arm of the City Council.
The committee is expected to make recommendations to the City Council that can inform environmental priorities into city departments and operations.
One idea is examining the fleet of vehicles the city currently has and exploring purchasing practices to best conserve energy and save money.
Improving water quality and conservation is also a priority for the group.
“It (The Energy & Environment Committee) will help build community and meet our overall vision, which is: Wayzata is a charming, socially connected, and walkable lakeside community,” said Dahl. “A multi-generational community at the forefront of sustainability, with a healthy environment, enticing parks and public spaces. It is a proud steward of its premier natural asset; Lake Minnetonka.”
Monday’s Iowa Caucuses have squarely fixed the nation’s political focus on our border state to the south. Wayzata native, Amy Klobuchar, and several other Democratic presidential candidates are hoping to win over the Hawkeye State.
A month from now, Minnesota will participate in Super Tuesday. Minnesotans and people living in 13 other states will take part in their own presidential primaries.
Wayzata City Council: Alex Plechash, Johanna McCarthy, Ken Willcox, Dan Koch, Jeff Buchanan
At a local level, let’s fast forward to November – three members of the Wayzata city council will be up for re-election: Mayor Ken Willcox, council member Dan Koch and council member Alex Plechash.
Willcox was elected mayor in 2008 after serving on the city council and the city planning commission. He ran unopposed in 2008, 2012 and 2016. He told Wayzata.com that he is “undecided” as to whether he will run again for mayor in 2020.
Council members Koch and Plechash are currently in their first four-year term. Both ran unopposed in 2016.
Pleschash told Wayzata.com that he intends to run for re-election this year. And so did Koch.
“I really enjoy being on the council and enjoy serving with my fellow colleagues on the council,” stated Koch in an email to Wayzata.com. “I would like to continue serving and currently plan to run for re-election, barring any unforeseen circumstances that would make me change my mind leading up to the filing deadline.”
Considering Mayor Willcox said he is undecided about running for mayor again, Wayzata.com asked the other two council members, Johanna McCarthy and Jeff Buchanan if they would consider running for mayor should Willcox not seek another term.
“I am unsure at this time,” stated Buchanan in an email to Wayzata.com.
“I haven’t thought about it,” stated McCarthy. “I’d want to confer with my colleagues on the council and others, especially Mayor Willcox, before making that decision. It is a big responsibility that I don’t take lightly and would want to ensure that whoever is in that role, that person is the best one to represent all constituents in Wayzata.”
That’s where things stand here in February.
Wayzata.com will continue to track the city council race as we march toward the November 3rd election.
There are a couple of dates to circle on your calendar before then.
Filing for the mayor and the two council member seats begin on July 28. That window closes on August 11.
Below is a list of city council election results since 2000.
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State/City of Wayzata