Boundaries: North: Ridgemont Avenue; East: St. Louis Park, Hopkins, and Edina; South: 62 Crosstown; West: Woodland, Deephaven, Shorewood; area: 8 square miles
The city of Minnetonka barely touches Lake Minnetonka at Gray's Bay, so it isn't the lake that has fueled the city's growth-it's jobs.
Work has always brought people here. Historically, farmers didn't use the two wetlands or high, hilly ground surrounding the lake. They wanted flat land. So they located their farms and villages back from the water in what is now Minnetonka. They did use Minnehaha Creek to power the sawmill they built-in 1852 in the historic area known today as
Minnetonka Mills. The lovely original Victorians are no longer here, but you will find homes dating from the 1960s and '70s ... and '80s ... and '90s. The building boom seems to have no end and continues in areas previously believed to be unbuildable.
By and large, Minnetonka's neighborhoods have been constructed on wooded lots with rolling terrain, and an effort has been made to preserve the city's natural assets. Many areas are built around wetlands, and land ownership here involves following wetlands policies, which may affect how you use your yard.
Rising taxes and rapidly increasing market values, particularly for new homes, are chasing some long-time residents out, gilding Minnetonka's reputation as a move-up market capable of challenging Edina. In 1990, the average value of a newly constructed home was S 159,000; by 1999, even a townhome was challenging to find in that price range. For Minnetonka's most affordable housing, check the neighborhoods built circa 1 970: Scenic Heights Holiday Road, many neighborhoods south of Minnetonka Boulevard or off Excelsior Boulevard. Minnetonka is also a city where you can find less expensive homes scattered among the new stucco starter castles. For those looking for reasonably-priced rentals or condominium apartments, look around Ridgedale Shopping Center, Cedar Lake Road in the north, or highways 101 and 7 in the city's southern portion. For temporary housing, try The Cliffs, near Ridgedale, 952-545-2500.
Settle anywhere in Minnetonka, and you won't be far from a playground or park. Among the city's many sport and recreation amenities are Shady Oak Lake's swimming beach, which boasts a zero-depth water play area and canoe and paddle-boat rentals; Minnetonka Ice Arena, which offers public skating, lessons, and competitive adult hockey leagues; and two city-owned sports and fitness clubs for residents. Though there are many parks, Purgatory Park off Excelsior Boulevard is perfect for dog walking.
Minnetonka is served by three school districts. Minnetonka School District #276, which does most of the city, emphasizes academics, athletics and is believed by many to be particularly good for highachievers. Children in the northernmost sections attend Wayzata District #284 (see Wayzata section of this chapter), and neighborhoods east of 1- 494 (more or less) are in the Hopkins #270 school district. Hopkins is the district believed by many to be the best in the state for its music program, and it is highly regarded for its warm interaction with students and parents alike. If you are moving here with children already in school, Hopkins and Wayzata have excellent reputations for integrating new students, especially teenagers, into the school community. If you fall in love with a house not in your preferred school district, you do have an alternative besides private school; it's called "popping" (Parent Option Plan) to a district outside of where you live. Both school districts have to agree to the plan, but many people have done it and have been happy with the results. Call the State Department of Children, Families, and Leaming for more information, 651-582-8701.
Major international employers such as Cargill, Carlson Companies, Fingerhut and General Mills, and the massive Ridgedale shopping area, as well as numerous smaller businesses provide white-collar jobs. Minnetonka's labor force grew by nearly 30% in the 1990s. The Metropolitan Council predicts that the job growth will continue, forecasting that Minnetonka will be among the top three cities in the state concerning job creation, well into the 21st Century.
Web Site: www.ci.minnetonka.mn.us
Area Code: 952
Zip Codes: 55305, 55343, 55345
Post Office: 14702 Excelsior Boulevard, 800-275-8777
City Hall: 14600 Minnetonka Boulevard, 952-939-8200
Police non-emergency (daytime): 952-939-8500
Fire non-emergency (daytime): 952-939-8595
Hospital: Methodist, 6500 Excelsior Boulevard, St. Louis Park, 952-993-5000, www.healthsystemminnesota.com
Library: 12601 Ridgedale Drive, 952-847-8800; 17524 Excelsior Boulevard, 952-949-4690; www.hennepin.lib.mn.us
Schools: Hopkins School District #270, 952-988-4000; Minnetonka School District #276, 952-470-3400; Wayzata School District #284, 952-745-5000
Community Publications: Minnetonka, lakeshore Weekly News, 612-375-9222, www.weeklynews.com; West Minnetonka/Deephaven Sun Sailor, 952-829-0797, www.mnsun.com
Bus Transportation: bus service is built around commuter service and routes that connect at Ridgedale Shopping Center or the Plymouth Road Transit Center. For routes and schedules, call the MCTO, 612-349-7000 or access www.metrotransit.org.
Minneapolis Route 12: Downtown Minneapolis, Excelsior Boulevard, St. Louis Park, Methodist Hospital, Hopkins, Opus II, Minnetonka, Glen Lake Area; Minneapolis Route 63: Downtown Minneapolis, Louisiana Avenue Transit Center, Minnetonka, Cedar lake Road, County Road 73, Ridgedale Center; Minneapolis Express Route 64: Downtown Minneapolis, Excelsior Boulevard, St. Louis Park, Methodist Hospital, Hopkins; Minneapolis Express Route 67: Downtown Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka Boulevard, Knollwood Mall Area, Minnetonka; Minneapolis Express Route 70: Downtown Minneapolis, Louisiana Avenue Transit Center, Highway 7, Hopkins, Shorewood, Tonka Bay; Express Route 71: Downtown Minneapolis, Plymouth Road Transit Center, Minnetonka, Deephaven, Excelsior
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