Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wayzata Churches Using Caution When Considering Reopening

Faith-based communities and places of worship can now resume hosting larger gatherings.

This comes after an announcement last week by Gov. Tim Walz.

The new guidance allows occupancy not to exceed 25 percentwith a maximum of 250 people in a single, self-contained space. In outdoorsettings, gatherings must not exceed 250 people.

This guidance, released on May 23 updates what the Governor released on May 20 in which churches were still limited to no more than 10 people.

This was immediately met with opposition by Senate Republicans.

That's the back story.

What does this mean moving forward and what does this mean for places of worship in Wayzata?

Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka
"Like many faith communities, UUCM has been closed for in-person gathering since mid-March,” said Arif Mamdani, a member of the interim ministry team at Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka. “Since that time, we have moved all of our worship and faith formation programming online, and plan to stay with this plan for the foreseeable future.”

Wayzata Community Church

“We are following guidelines provided by local, state, and federal authorities as we make plans to reopen our building to staff and church programs of less than 10 people,” said Reverend Dr. John F. Ross of Wayzata Community Church. “We will continue with online worship only for the foreseeable future.”

Redeemer Lutheran Church
 “As a Christian congregation, we are called to be good citizens of our state and country,” said Redeemer Lutheran Church Pastor Steve Ferber.  “But above everything, we are also called to obey God and His Word.  Exactly how that will work itself out in the coming days and weeks, we don’t know yet.  We are prayerfully considering our options."

St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community

Meanwhile, a message from Fr. Mike Van Sloun of St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community on May 22 stated the following:

Our Logistics Team has determined that the earliest possible date for St. Bart’s would be Sunday, June 7. Our lay leaders, our trustees as well as our Pastoral and Finance Council members, a number who are medical professionals, advise abundant caution and to proceed slowly, particularly since the number of cases has not yet begun to decline, hospital admissions are up, and the danger an extended large-group gathering poses to our parishioners.

All of the Wayzata churches are using caution during the reopening process.

“Like other faith communities, ours includes many who fall into a variety of categories who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and given that we have successfully transitioned to doing church work in physically distanced ways, see no reason to put any of our people at risk,” said Mamdani.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Wayzata's Folkestone Vigilant Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 80 percent of the COVID-19-related deaths in Minnesota are people who resided in long-term care or assisted facilities.

Folkestone Senior Living Community is doing everything possible to make sure an outbreak does not occur there.

Courtesy Presbyterian Homes and Services

“All employees wash their hands thoroughly and are screened for fever and respiratory symptoms before entering the building,” said Beth Fries, Campus Administrator at Folkestone. “They are required to wear safety goggles and source or surgical masks. If an employee answers yes to any of the screening questions or is running a fever, they are sent home immediately and instructed to contact the PHS employee health nurse to report and learn next steps.”

The vulnerability of long-term care facilities to the virus hit close to home back on April 18 when residents of Wayzata’s Meridian Manor were transported away from the facility after a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Meridian Manor, Wayzata

A total of 21 residents tested positive for the virus of the 59 people living there. Two of the residents died from COVID-19.

The company that owns Meridian Manor later announced that the facility had been permanently shut down.

Fortunately, Folkestone has avoided an extreme situation like this.

Courtesy Presbyterian Homes and Services

“We are restricting all visitors, volunteers and vendors to only essential visits, such as end-of-life or required care and services,” said Fries. “Such visits are limited to minimize potential exposure in resident living spaces in the building. We require that essential visitors be screened for fever, respiratory symptoms and possible prior exposure prior to any access to resident living spaces.”

COVID-19 presents some well-known physical implications, but it also has taken a mental toll.

Stress levels can be high for Folkestone residents, families and staff.

Fries says that transparent communication with residents and families is helping to ease the stress.

“Residents understand and are abiding by the changes in their daily lives necessary to prevent spread,” said Fries. “Our hearts go out to families who have not been able to visit their loved one for over two months and we appreciate their understanding and words of encouragement and trust. We know how important it is for residents to remain connected with their families and have provided a multitude of ways to support family communication.”

Testing is a big part of heading off an outbreak.

Folkestone tests residents and staff members individually if they develop COVID-type symptoms or if they have been in contact with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive.

“The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is scheduling broader testing to protect assisted living and care center residents and workers,” said Fries. “We are awaiting the full roll out and timeline details and stand ready to welcome and participate fully with a state rapid testing team in the near future.”

 So, what happens if a test confirms that a resident is positive for COVID-19?

“We coordinate care with the resident’s primary health care provider to determine the best course of treatment and recovery,” said Fries. “One option is to transfer the resident to Interlude, the PHS COVID recovery center in Fridley. When a test confirms that an employee is positive for COVID, the employee is immediately placed on leave and self-quarantines at their home until cleared to return to work.”

According to data compiled by The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP.ORG), the share of deaths occurring in nursing homes in Minnesota is higher than any other state.

“We are all concerned about the concentration of deaths occurring in long-term care centers,” said Fries. “We are very glad that the state is addressing the unique risks and needed support and giving it the attention that older adults, their families and our staff caregivers deserve. The Governor’s plan is still in the process of being fully implemented since its announcement. We anticipate that we will see beneficial results as this plan is rolled out.”

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wayzata History: American Legion Post 118

 The Wayzata American Legion Post 118 is named after Ernest Aselton.

Wayzata American Legion Post 118, Wayzata
The Wayzata local joined the U.S. Marine Corps in August of 1918 and was killed in action in France during World War I.

Ernest Aselton, Photo Courtesy Wayzata American Legion

The Wayzata Legion was granted its charter on September 3, 1919. Arthur H. Quay was the first Commander.

The Post originally held meetings above the city hall on the corner of Manitoba and Lake Street.

The group began meeting at Hart’s Café in the 1940s. In 1948, the Post got its own building which still stands today.

World War I vets had purchased a piece of land where Wayzata West Middle School is located.

That land was traded for land along Wayzata Boulevard where the Legion stands today.

Wayzata American Legion Post 118, Wayzata

The construction of the building was a team effort with Legion members spending evenings, days off and weekends to build the club.

There were many young World War II veterans who were willing to volunteer their time to make it happen.

But it wasn’t just Legion members who got involved.

The community came out in full force to help the cause.

Local businesses donated building material, hardware, plumbing, a furnace and food for the men working on the weekend.

The original building was 30 feet wide and 75 feet wide and consisted of a small bar, kitchen and meeting room. The construction of the new Legion building was a passing of the torch of sorts.

While the World War I veterans created the Post, World War II vets made their mark by creating a community hub from the ground up.

Wayzata American Legion Post 118, Wayzata

In 1963, an addition was made to giving the Legion its current size. In 1990, the Club was remodeled in 1990 adding a kitchen in the back of the building.

Of course, the Legion isn’t just a place for Post members to hold meetings - it has been a constant community gathering place through the years.

It has hosted countless wedding receptions, wedding anniversaries and class reunions. It’s a place where old friends can catch up with one another.

Fundraising is a big function of the Legion.

These campaigns allow the Post to make donations to local charities – toy drives, schools and hospitals all benefit from the Legion’s year-round fundraising efforts.

The next time you’re driving down Wayzata Boulevard and pass the little building with the big American flag, the stone façade and the blue sign, know that it was built on weekends, evenings and days off by people who wanted Wayzata to have a place to meet.

It was organized by members of the Legion but truly constructed by the entire community – footing by footing, block by block, frame by frame.

That building represents pride in the community. It helped form the foundation of what Wayzata is today.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Portion Of Lake Street To Open ‘Over Next Few Weeks’

If you venture downtown Wayzata, you can't help but notice the construction underway on Lake Street.

This is a part of the Panoway on Wayzata Bay (Lake Effect) Project Phase 1.

Right now, part of it looks like a sandbox (as you can see on the web cam), but soon it will transform into something different.

A Plaza Park will replace a surface parking lot at Lake Street and Broadway Avenue.

The Panoway Project is currently in Phase 4B.

Courtesy City of Wayzata

The big question now - when will the project be complete and when will Lake Street open again?

"Full completion is later this summer," said Wayzata City Manager Jeff Dahl. "We are hopeful, however, to open up the 600 block sidewalk and street to pedestrian and vehicular traffic over the next few weeks."

The city allocated roughly $9 million toward the first phase of the project.

RELATED CONTENT: Construction Work Begins On Wayzata’s Lake Street

It recently used $25,000 of a contingency fund to speed up the project and pay overtime for construction  workers.

"This will be primarily used to work longer days during the work week as well as on Saturdays," said Dahl. "We hope that we will gain a week’s worth of work so we can get out of the way even quicker, so our business can get back up and running."

“We are grateful for the patience and support of the local community and the City as we continue to build momentum on the Panoway Project," said Jessie Houlihan, President of Stahl Construction.

RELATED CONTENT: City of Wayzata Introduces Lake Effect Construction Manager Stahl Construction

On Monday, retail businesses in Wayzata were allowed to open with restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz released plans to reopen restaurants.

RELATED CONTENT: Gov. Unveils Plan To Reopen Restaurants, Republicans Push Back

He stated that restaurants can open for outdoor sit-down dining beginning on June 1.

There must be six feet between customers. Staff must wear masks. Max capacity is 50 people. Restaurant reservations are required.

"As people venture out and doors open, we hope everyone safely ventures out to support their local businesses," said Houlihan. "When you do so, please stay mindful of pedestrian and directional signage indicating the available routes.”

Panoway on Wayzata Bay (Lake Effect) Background

In February of 2011, the city council appointed a Lakefront Task Force to research and provide a recommendation for the future of the City’s lakefront.

The city council adopted the Report of the Wayzata Lakefront Taskforce in January of 2012.

In March of 2014, the city council adopted the Wayzata Lakefront Final Framework Report.

Wayzata selected Civitas as the design team for the Lake Effect Signature Park schematic design in September of 2015.

On December 15, 2016, the city council approved an agreement with the Lake Effect Conservancy as a part of Resolution 29-2016 which defined the scope of the Lake Effect Project and its next steps.

That agreement states that the Conservancy will actively raise Private and Philanthropic Funding.


RELATED CONTENT: $10M For Wayzata Lake Effect Not In Failed Senate Bonding Bill

RELATED CONTENT: Despite COVID-19 Expenses, State Bonding Bill Moving Forward, Wayzata's $10M Ask Still On Table

RELATED CONTENT: Construction Work Begins On Wayzata’s Lake Street

RELATED CONTENT: City of Wayzata Introduces Lake Effect Construction Manager Stahl Construction

RELATED CONTENT: Business Feedback On Lake Street Development Discussed

RELATED CONTENT: Gov. Walz Recommends $10M for Wayzata Lake Effect

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Gov. Unveils Plan To Reopen Restaurants, Republicans Push Back

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz unveiled the plan to reopen bars and restaurants throughout Minnesota.

Walz ordered the establishments to more than two months ago.

Walz announced Wednesday that restaurants can open for outdoor sit-down dining beginning on June 1.

There must be six feet between customers. Staff must wear masks. Max capacity is 50 people. Restaurant reservations are required.

"We had to furlough over 80 people at Bellecour and currently run a take out operation with the 10 managers on staff," said Gavin Kaysen owner of Bellecour.   "We will need assistance from our Mayor and the city council in Wayzata, finding ways to allow guests to eat outside more, providing us with those areas of dining, without having to pay a normal permit or fee that we would have to in normal days." 

Meanwhile, hair salons can open on June 1 at limited capacity.

Staff and customers must wear masks in these businesses. They can operate on a 25 percent capacity. There must be six feet between customers.

Some Republicans disagree with parts of the plan.

With the Governor's plan out there, Kaysen says it's time to coordinate Bellecour's reopening.

 "It will not be a light switch that we can turn back on quickly, we will need to take time to be thoughtful on how to open, the safety of our teams and our guests is in unison with our reputation, it is our everything."

Kaysen says he appreciates the support of Wayzata during this time.

"We really feel that we are a part of this community - so we are grateful for that, we look forward to opening our doors soon and welcoming you all back," said Kaysen. 

Here's a link to more information about the June 1 developments:

RELATED CONTENT: Wayzata Restaurants Anticipate Reopening

Monday, May 18, 2020

Lake Street Construction Drone Video 4/18/2020

Here's a bird's eye view of Wayzata's Lake Street on April 18, 2020.

Get a bird's eye view of the reconstruction of Lake Street in Wayzata with the 4th installment from You can also check out our new HD Web Cams overlooking Lake Street and Wayzata Bay on 24/7/365. #Wayzata #WayzataTogether


Lake Street Drone Videos Series:

May 2, 2020

Wayzata Restaurants Anticipate Reopening

As other Wayzata businesses open their doors to customers, bars and restaurants are still in a holding pattern.

"As we look forward, I have directed my cabinet to continue the extensive discussions they are already having with health experts and thousands of businesses on future openings," said Gov. Tim Walz in a recent news conference.

"I’m directing them to assemble similar guidance on how to safely re-open bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1. This will coincide with a significant increase in testing, tracing, and isolating the virus in the state," he said.

6Smith, Wayzata

That's two more weeks of waiting. Two more weeks of lost revenue.

"The shelter in place order was devastating to the restaurant industry and to our family restaurant, 6Smith.  Our sales went immediately to zero," said Randy Stanley of 6Smith.

Gianni's, Wayzata

"The impact has been devastating, for our staff, guests and the community at large," said Terri Huml of Gianni's Restaurant.

And behind each bar and restaurant is a legion of workers - many are furloughed - waiting to get back work.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for April 2020 dropped more than 16% - which is roughly $80 billion.

"We send out a weekly email to check in on everyone and make sure our staff knows that if they need anything at all, to let us know," said Huml. "The first four weeks, we made sure everyone had food and were able to help out with any financial assistance. The servers have a zoom call once a week too."

"We, in particular, have been very fortunate and have been able to retain our managers at full salary, pay employee benefits and provide a daily family meal to our employees who have been furloughed," said Stanley.

Take out business for local restaurants have kept some revenue coming in.

American Legion Post 118, Wayzata  
Friday night, the Wayzata American Legion offered chicken dinner for pick up and delivery.

The Legion sold out of 180 dinners in about an hour.

"We immediately switched our business plan to Curbside to go, which has helped subsidize our commitments to the employees and managers," said Stanley. "Curbside keeps us customer facing with our guests and community, problem solving and engaged.  We are thankful for the to go sales we have been able to build."

Carry out services help, but sustain these businesses long term.

"It (carry out) is not a sustainable business model," said Stanley.  "Basically about 10% of the volume we might normally do this time of year."

"Remember, not only are we dealing with COVID but the entirety of Lake Street is closed for construction. Curbside pick up is very difficult," said Huml.

Customers walking into restaurants for sit-down meals will be a welcome sight in the future. But it will come new protocols. The CDC recently issued new guidance. The memo focuses on staff training, sanitizing plan and social distancing efforts.

"We have defined out safety protocol for staff and reworking our business plan," said Huml.

"We will follow the government guidelines provided for occupancy, safety and sanitation, etc.," said Stanley. "We have plans, processes and procedures in place that will allow us to protect our employees and guests from contracting the virus."

COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our lives including out ability to enjoy our favorite restaurants. No longer will we take for granted making a reservation and planning a night out.

"This will be a new “normal’ for some period of time. I pray for all of my Wayzata restaurant family that we all reopen as robust and healthy as ever," said Huml.

"The outpouring of community support for all of the restaurants in Wayzata has been unbelievable," said Stanley.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

$10M For Wayzata Lake Effect Not In Failed Senate Bonding Bill

On Sunday, the Minnesota Senate failed to pass a $998 million bonding bill -  SF 3463.

There were 38 senators who voted in favor of the bill and 29 that voted against it.

It failed to get the three-fifths super majority needed to pass.

The bill did not contain $10 million asked by the City of Wayzata for the Lake Effect (Panoway) Project.

Sen. David Osmek represents Wayzata and spoke Sunday while SF 3463 was being discussed.

After another senator questioned why projects for his area were not in the bill, Osmek addressed the Senate.

Osmek stated that two of his district's projects - one for Wayzata (Lake Effect) and one for Orono - were also not in the bill.

He stated that, with budget constraints, not every project in every district could make the cut.

On Saturday, HF 2529 was voted down on the House floor, 75-58, and did not get the required super majority (three-fifths) vote to move it to the Senate.

This bill also did not have the Wayzata Lake Effect (Panoway) Project ask.

There is a strong possibility of a special session later this year where both chambers of the legislature will likely take up more COVID-19 legislation and could bring back bonding bill discussions.

“Normally they would do bonding every two years so under normal circumstances the city would have to wait two years, but these are not normal times,” said Noah Rouen, President of the Rouen Group. “There is a chance the new legislature will want to use a bonding bill as an economic stimulus if the economy stalls. That is a long shot though. The bottom line is it 4th and long and we need a Minneapolis Miracle play to see Wayzata get the money this year.”

Courtesy Lake Effect Conservancy/City of Wayzata
Back in October, Wayzata city officials hosted the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee to educate them on the importance of a boardwalk and ecological restoration along the shoreline of Lake Minnetonka as a part of Phase II.

In January, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recommended a $10 million for a grant to the City of Wayzata.

The money is a part of a $300 million proposed investment in water quality and infrastructure projects which is part of the 2020 bonding bill.

Panoway (Lake Effect) Project Phase II includes the restoration of the Section Foreman House, building a boardwalk along the lakefront, and restoring the Lake Minnetonka shoreline.

Panoway (Lake Effect) Project Phase I is already underway – reconstructing Lake Street from Barry Avenue to Broadway Avenue, creating a multi-use park, and extending the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Minnesota Stay At Home Order Expires Monday

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that he is lifting the Stay at Home order.

The current Stay at Home order in Minnesota will expire Monday.

At that time, people can gather with friends and family in groups of 10 or less with safe social distancing practices in place.

Walz also announced that beginning Monday, non-critical businesses, like retail stores and main street businesses, can reopen if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent capacity.

The Governor also announced that he is putting together guidance on how to safely reopen bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

House Committee Approves Bonding Bill Proposal Without $10M For Wayzata Panoway Project

On Tuesday, the Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee approved a proposed bonding bill
HF 2529 by a vote of 17-10.

This bill now moves to the House floor for a vote without a component asked by the City of Wayzata.

"The Wayzata Lake Effect project is not included in the bonding bill as proposed by the House DFL majority," said Rep. Jerry Hertaus. Hertaus represents Wayzata in St. Paul and authored an initial bill for the Wayzata project.

Courtesy Lake Effect Conservancy/City of Wayzata
Before any bonding proposal moves out of either chamber, it needs a super majority (two-thirds) vote.

Republicans are in the minority in the House. Even if all 75 House DFLers (of the total 134-member House) voted for the bill, at least 15 Republicans would have to vote yes to get the 90-vote super majority.

"If House Republicans agree to a bonding bill, it will require having projects included in it that Republicans insist upon," said Hertaus. Hertaus is a Republican.

"Wayzata has to hope the project is included in the Senate version, which hasn't been released yet," said Noah Rouen, President of the Rouen Group. "Then we would have to hope the senate and house agree to include it." 

"These are unique times in St. Paul and the political process is a bit of a roller coaster," said Wayzata City Manager Jeff Dahl. "If a bonding bill is passed, we remain hopeful that our project will be funded given its emphasis on safety enhancements, increased lake access, and shoreland restoration."

Back in October, Wayzata city officials hosted the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee to educate them on the importance of a boardwalk and ecological restoration along the shoreline of Lake Minnetonka as a part of Phase II.

In January, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recommended a $10 million for a grant to the City of Wayzata.

The money is a part of a $300 million proposed investment in water quality and infrastructure projects which is part of the 2020 bonding bill.

Panoway (Lake Effect) Project Phase II includes the restoration of the Section Foreman House, building a boardwalk along the lakefront, and restoring the Lake Minnetonka shoreline.

Panoway (Lake Effect) Project Phase I is already underway – reconstructing Lake Street from Barry Avenue to Broadway Avenue, creating a multi-use park, and extending the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.