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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.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Applicants for open City Council seat announced

 
The following persons have filed an application seeking appointment for the open City Council seat which was vacated by newly elected Mayor Johanna McCarthy.

  • Greg Flannigan
  • Adam Eig
  • Jeff Parkhill
  • Nate Leding
  • Lindsay Bashioum
  • Terri Fox
  • Margaret Runyon
  • Daniel Drotning
  • Jennifer Severson
  • Molly MacDonald

Interviews will be held via Zoom video conferencing from 4:00 - 6:30 pm during a Council Workshop scheduled for January 19th.

Stay tuned to Wayzata.com, your Wayzata City Council news leader.

2021 Chilly Open Cancelled

The Greater Wayzata Community Chamber of Commerce announced that the 2021 Chilly Open has been cancelled.


Below is the statement:

To our amazing Golfers and Community, 

The Chilly Open is such an incredible community event and something that has morphed into a must-do event for people here in MN and across the country!

It’s been a rollercoaster of planning and emotions these past couple of months.  We were hopeful and started preparing for a modified golf tournament, and had a recent call with the Assistant Attorney General, and heads of the Dept. of Health, Dept. of Labor and several others this past week.  In this call we were advised of the new guidelines and requirements we would have to enforce.

This beloved event presents challenges every year as a very unique event. From needing a specific uniform thickness of ice (per Hennepin County Water Patrol), enough snow to identify the course, lack of any pressure ridges that block access to Wayzata Bay and an annual permit approval from both Water Patrol and the City of Wayzata. Add to this - every year’s approval is based on how the previous year’s event was handled according to the rules and permit requirements.

Then we rely on our amazing sponsors like Porsche of Minneapolis, and many others that have returned for over 30 years! With their support we are able to create an incredible experience for the best followers and participants of any golf tournament ever!  And of course the epic chili from all our amazing restaurants.

This year we ALL have faced more challenges than we’ve ever seen with Covid-19. Pivot, pirouette, adapt, shift, whatever move you can think of, we’ve tried. As mentioned, in our call with the State of MN, our event was categorized and specific restrictions identified including numbers of people allowed, health screening, social distance, beverage consumption rules, and more.

Because of this, it’s time to rip off the band aid. Please trust, we waited for things to change and explored every possible option to continue the 36 year tradition of golfing on frozen Wayzata Bay. We feel the challenge to enforce all golfers adhering to the restrictions is too large a risk of losing the ability to have Chilly Open next year and the decades to follow.  We can’t confidently hold true to our event that bears the name of Chilly Open. We are bummed beyond belief, but we know brighter days are ahead.  We look forward to breaking attendance records in a healthy and safe 2022.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Wayzata Public Schools Offers Early Kindergarten Entrance

Children who are five years old by September 1 are eligible to begin kindergarten. 

Wayzata Public Schools offers early kindergarten entrance for children who turn five between September 2 and October 15 and reside in Wayzata Public Schools at the time of application. 

Children who demonstrate superior intellectual ability, high levels of academic achievement, and social/emotional development well-advanced for their age may be considered for early kindergarten entrance. 

Applications will be accepted through May 1. 

District staff will evaluate eligible students from mid-May through June and will make a decision by June 30. 

Visit www.wayzataschools.org/district/teaching-learning/gifted-talented to view the early kindergarten entrance criteria and complete the application.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wayzata Police: Multiple Reports Of Thefts From Vehicles

The Wayzata Police Department has taken multiple reports of thefts from vehicles during the past several days.



According to investigators, vehicles have been stolen when keys are left inside.

Most of the thefts are occurring overnight, according to the police department.

Back in November, investigators reported similar crimes.

“Very similar in nature – a little more aggressive in that if valuables are in plain view, they are more likely to break a window,” said Police Chief Mike Risvold.

The Wayzata Police Department reports that the thefts are taking place in driveways, parking ramps, 
and underground parking garages. 

It’s not just Wayzata that’s been hit.

“This is occurring in all of western Hennepin County and our police agencies are working together to investigate,” said Risvold.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Suit Up, Wayzata Athletes Begin Play Amid Legal Fight Over Masks

Wayzata High School athletes have been practicing hard since Jan. 4. That's when the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) approved teams to start practicing.

Wayzata Basketball standout Camden Heide. Photo Dan Gustafson.
 
Competition begins Thursday, Jan. 14 as athletes will be required to wear masks.

A group called Let Them Play is challenging the mask mandate.

Here's a look at this week's Wayzata High School varsity sports schedule:

Wayzata High School Varsity Sports Schedule (home games in bold)

Thursday Jan. 14

5 p.m. - Wrestling Triangular Wayzata High School

7 p.m. - Girls Hockey vs Buffalo

Friday Jan. 15

All Day - Wrestling Triangular at Shakopee High School

4 p.m. – Boys Swimming & Diving Meet at Hopkins

7 p.m. – Boys Basketball at Saint Michael-Albertville

7 p.m. – Girls Basketball vs. Saint Michael-Albertville

7:30 p.m.  - Boys Hockey at Blake

Saturday Jan. 16

Dance Team Meet (Home)

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Council Determines Open Seat Appointment Process

On Tuesday Jan. 5, Johanna McCarthy was sworn in as the new Wayzata mayor, Cathy Iverson and Alex Plechash were sworn in as city councilmembers.

On that night, the city council determined the process for filing in the city council seat vacated by McCarthy.

The council decided with an “expedited process”.

This plan includes the city advertising and encouraging qualified citizens to apply for the open council seat.

Applications are due on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 4:30 p.m.

The council will then interview those people who applied on Thursday, Jan. 19 at a city council workshop.

Following the workshop, the council will appoint the new councilmember at the regular city council meeting.

If you are interested in applying for the open Wayzata city council seat use a link to find out more:

https://www.wayzata.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=654



Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Gov. Walz Relaxes Restaurant Restrictions

Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that restrictions on bars and restaurants will be relaxed effective Monday, Jan. 11.

Gov. Tim Walz announces loosened restrictions Jan. 6, 2020

This means that these establishments can operate at 50% indoor with a maximum of 150 people.

Six people will be allowed per table with tables set six feet apart.

Reservations will be required for indoor dining.

Meanwhile, bar seating will be allowed allowing two people to sit next to each other as long as there is six feet between them and the next person.

Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., the indoor serving of food will be prohibited.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

State Officials Urge Caution As Vehicle Breaks Through Wayzata Bay Ice

A vehicle went through the ice on Lake Minnetonka’s Wayzata Bay as authorities are urge caution on Minnesota lakes.


Deputies with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office were stationed near the Wayzata Sailing building Tuesday Jan. 5.

Investigators said the driver and passenger made it out of the vehicle safely.

Courtesy: Nancy Hardy Murphy

Authorities indicate the ice was two to four inches thick where the vehicle broke through about 300 yards from the shore.

Mara McElroy posted the following account of what happened on social media.

“This morning I decided to take my car out on the lake to show my friend from out of town a view from the lake of Wayzata Bay. About 10 minutes after I got on, we came up on a soft strip of ice and broke through. It took a matter of 10 minutes for the whole thing to completely submerge and then it went away for good.”



The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued the following statement:

“Ice conditions vary widely on lakes across Minnesota, and on individual lakes themselves. The DNR is aware of multiple reports from across the state of vehicles falling through thin ice in recent days. It’s imperative anyone heading onto the ice check its thickness for themselves, and do so frequently because conditions can change quickly.”

“For more information on ice safety, including recommended thicknesses for various activities, see the DNR ice safety page.”





Monday, January 04, 2021

New Year, New Mayor

Wayzata Mayor Johanna McCarthy is just days into her new role leading the city of Wayzata. 


She was first elected to the Wayzata City Council in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. 

McCarthy officially filed an affidavit of candidacy in late July for the mayor’s seat. 

This came less than a week after Mayor Ken Willcox announced he will not seek re-election. 

McCarthy ran unopposed in November. 

"There is no greater honor or privilege than to serve one’s community," said McCarthy. "I am humbled to have been elected twice as a council member and this past election as Mayor of our beautiful city and look forward to serving in this new capacity." 

McCarthy immigrated to the United States with her parents from France at the age of three. She became a naturalized citizen at the age of 18.

She grew up speaking French and is a dual citizen of both the U.S. and France.

McCarthy is currently an Auxiliary member of the Wayzata American Legion.

She has two children, Ronan, 19, and Quinn, 17. She has a pit bull named Ruger.

McCarthy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict and is currently a Senior Business Transformation Specialist at Cargill.

McCarthy was the first woman elected mayor of Wayzata in the same year (2020) as the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. 

"I don’t consider myself a trailblazer, however, as the city’s first female firefighter and now Mayor it has certainly given me moments to pause and reflect on my service to the city I have called home for over 20 years," said McCarthy. “This opportunity would have also not been possible without the support of my friends, family and colleagues: men and women who have guided and supported me throughout my life." 

McCarthy takes over for Ken Willcox who had served as mayor for a dozen years. "I am fortunate to have served alongside Mayor Willcox for six years," said McCarthy. "During that time I have learned more than I can possibly list." 

McCarthy takes over in the height of a pandemic. Sure, vaccines are being distributed, but our community is not out of the woods by any means. The economic damage to local businesses has been deep. 

"At the onset of the pandemic the council worked with city staff to ensure that city resources would be available and for staff to help eliminate potential roadblocks to businesses given the ever-evolving challenges of the pandemic," said McCarthy. "As Mayor, I will continue to work with city staff and the council to find opportunities to continue to support local businesses in new and creative ways." 

She sees her duties stretching beyond the Wayzata city limits. 

 "Additionally, in my new role as Mayor I will work with appropriate stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to address and mitigate the issues our businesses have faced due to the multiple shutdowns and the effects of the pandemic." 

Currently, only outdoor dining is allowed at bars and restaurants. Indoor seating is off limits until at least Jan. 10. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz set the limits in a mid-December executive order. 

McCarthy’s short and long-term goals are intertwined. She seeks to establish financial stability for both the city’s businesses and households. 

"Additionally, I want to ensure we have all available resources to help support city staff during this difficult time; ensuring they are safe and healthy - both mentally and physically."

Monday, December 28, 2020

Thank You Mayor Willcox

This summer, Wayzata Mayor Ken Willcox announced that after 12 years as Mayor he was not running for re-election.


During the last 20 years, he has served the City of Wayzata through a variety of roles, with the last 12 years as Mayor. 

Willcox has committed over 50 years of his life to public service and nearly three decades specifically to local governments. 

Willcox was born in New York City, but has lived in the Twin Cities since he was five or six. He grew up in Southwest Minneapolis.

He later got a degree in economics from Williams College and later went to the University of Minnesota to gain his MBA.

Willcox served in the Navy and was stationed on a ship off the coastal waters in Vietnam. After his tour, he remained in the Navy reserves for another 24 years and retired as a Captain.

Willcox then got involved in the trucking business – big and small. He spent time as the head of strategic planning for Tonka Toys and remembers attending toy fairs all over the world.

Later, he and a friend got a patent and went into business together.

"We got in a business that made air ride upper couplers for semis."

He and his business partner became aware of another company that was for sale in southern Minnesota making truck bodies.

“That's kind of what we did. We manufactured air suspensions and truck bodies and did that for the next 25 plus years."

While living in Minnetonka, he became interested in city government.

“There was going to be a bridge built over the railroad tracks near our house and I didn't know how that decision got made. I started tuning in to what the Minnetonka City Council was talking about."

He wanted to become involved and served on Minnetonka’s Planning Commission.

“After you're in city government it is fascinating."

Willcox and wife Winnie moved to Wayzata, and in 2000, he got on the Planning Commission.

He served one term and was then elected to city council for one term and then ran for mayor when Andrew Humphrey stepped down as mayor.

"There were a lot of difficult, big projects and challenges that we had. First, was trying to get Wayzata to pull out of the recession 2008-2010. We were in tough shape.”

The next big issue was what to do with the Bay Center. It sat on a swamp and would require thousands of pilings to build anything there.

Two developers were approved, but after further cost analysis, could not afford to build.

"By the time Presbyterian Homes came around, we knew we had to be very flexible with our ordinances. And that's why it looks the way it does."

When Presbyterian Homes was set to build, a decision had to be made about the old city’s municipal liquor store, bar and restaurant which was located in the path of the development.

"Staying in the liquor business was a big project. It was controversial whether we build a new Muni. We did that and that's been a success."

Willcox was mayor when the Bushaway Road construction took place.

"We battled the County for five years to preserve the charm. We finally got that to a point where we were satisfied.”

And of course, there is there’s Lake Street, specifically Broadway Avenue and west.

"I was door knocking for my first run for City Council, back in 2004, and a guy said why do you have a parking lot in a key part of town (adjacent to Cov). He said you can't even see the lake. I said that's a good question. That started the whole process."

After a decade of planning, construction began this summer, and a plaza has replaced the parking lot.

But development in Wayzata is not welcome with open arms and Willcox acknowledges that.

"Almost every time you see a developer’s drawings or renderings, the actual building comes out looking much bigger than what it appeared on paper. Almost everything we approved over the years came out bigger than I thought it would be. I would have preferred we didn't have to build a five-story building in the Promenade area. In retrospect, I don't think we had any choice. Of course, we passed an ordinance right after it was approved that basically prevented anyone else from ever doing that anywhere else in town."

What does the outgoing mayor wish for the incoming mayor, Johanna McCarthy?

"I was blessed with a lot of talent around me. We've got that talent here in town. I would hope for Johanna that the community come forward to help her."

When 2021 rolls around, Willcox and his wife plan on traveling a lot. But, the pandemic has put those plans on ice.

"We planned on traveling our brains out, but that's not happening. We have reservations in Hawaii that aren't going to happen."

As Willcox looks ahead, he hopes the city hangs on to what makes it so special.

"The future of Wayzata, what I hope for, is to fight the development pressures and try to preserve the small-town scale and charm of the place. It's one of the only organic, natural downtowns in all the suburbs. We are so lucky to have that. We can't let it become Miami beach."