The City of Edina’s Heritage Preservation Commission awarded the 44th & France Small Area Plan and its volunteers the 2019 Heritage Award. The HPC really liked the community process and the efforts made by the working group to preserve the village like character of the 44th & France area. Nominator Jane Lonnquist noted the significant amount of volunteer effort and community engagement that went into creating the plan. Those efforts led to a plan that made preservation a top priority. The plan was spearheaded by the 44th & France Small Area Planning Team Working Group: Katie Ayotte, Jimmy Bennett, Sheila Berube, Harvey Ronald Berg, Lisa Fagan, Eric Olson, Mike Platteter and Rebecca Sorensen. Mark Ehling, Sara Lathrop, Mark Schmidt and Julie Schmidt serve as community input volunteers. “A lot of work went into this. It’s a community-led process and having everyone involved helps to make sure we’re working toward one common goal,” Bennett said. “I’m proud of all the people in the community who were on the small area working group and the neighborhood at large that really care about that area. I’m proud to see the passion we have in our community and how many people really care about a place. I think it made people really focus on the process and make sure it was done right.”
Three properties in the 44th & France small area plan area are determined to be eligible for Heritage Landmark designation and were identified for protection because they prominently contribute to the historic character and authenticity of the Edina side of France Avenue in that area. The properties are 4388 France Ave. S. (formerly Odd Fellows Hall), constructed 1908; 4400-4412 France Ave. S., (formerly Griffen Drug Store) constructed 1920; and 3910 Sunnyside Road, (Convention Grill), constructed 1934.