The City of Edina’s Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) awarded the 44th & France Small Area Plan with the 2019 Heritage Award. The Edina Heritage Award is given to individuals, families, companies or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and use of Edina’s heritage resources.
“In celebration of Preservation Month, we’re pleased to recognize 44th & France Small Area Plan with a Heritage Award,” said Assistant City Planner and Heritage Preservation Commission Staff Liaison Emily Bodeker. “The HPC really liked the community process and the efforts made by the working group to preserve the neighborhood village-like character of that 44th & France area. They appreciated the effort that the working group members and community volunteers had in making sure that was an element of the plan.”
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.
Three properties in the area were 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.
“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,” said Bennett. “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.”
The Heritage Award will be presented to the co-chairs of the 44th & France Small Area Planning Team, Sheila Berube and James Bennett, at the May 21 City Council meeting. For more information about the Heritage Award, contact Bodeker at 952-826-0462 or ebodeker@EdinaMN.gov.