Arden Hills city planner moving on

Meagan Beekman will be leaving her position as Arden Hills City Planner on May 10.

Beekman joined the city of Arden Hills as a Planner in 2007. Some of the projects she has worked on over the past five years with the city include -- making improvements to aspects of the city’s zoning code to make them easier to understand and enforce; handling variances and land use permits; site plan review; and working on short-and long-term master planning projects, including the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP).

She said some personal highlights for her while working for the city were master planning for the TCAAP site, working on the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan Update, developing Arden Hills’ first tree preservation ordinance and planning the $51 million Presbyterian home development on Lake Johanna.

Beekman has accepted a position for the city of Hopkins as a Community Development Coordinator. While Beekman said she is looking forward to her new role, she said she has some mixed emotions about the move.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Arden Hills,” she said. “I’ve gotten to do a lot of everything here. It’s been a real career builder and the people here have been great. I have had some really good mentors. I’m sad to leave, but am also looking forward to what’s next.”

She said that in Hopkins she would continue work master planning for various projects in the city.

One big project she will be working on is the southwest light rail line, which will run through the city and connect with downtown Minneapolis. Hopkins has plans for three different stations along the route.

“I’ve wanted to work on a transit project in a denser area for some time,” she said.

She said Hopkins is proactively working on how the station areas will look and is building a stronger connection from downtown to the closest station.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Beekman said she would also be working on plans to improve parks in the city.

Hopkins Director of Economic Development and Planning Kersten Elverum said the city has an aggressive parks plan. She said Beekman, in addition to the southwest transit project, would be working to get grants for parks projects and would be working with the Minnesota Watershed District as well.

“She has great experience and we’re happy to have her on board,” Elverum said.

Now the city of Arden Hills must search for a replacement for Beekman, who was well liked by her colleagues.

“I can’t overemphasize that we will miss her. It’s the city of Arden Hills loss and Hopkins’ gain,” Arden Hills Community Development Director Jill Hutmacher said. “But I’m happy for her. It’s a great opportunity.”

Hutmacher said the city has advertised for the city planner position with a closing date for applications on May 16. She said they hope to make a selection by the end of May.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824
 

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