McDonald's to construct playplace

By Todd Moen, Editor

In the coming months, parents won’t have to go far if they want their children to burn some extra energy after visiting the McDonald’s in Waconia.

In fact, they won’t have to even leave the building.

According to site improvement plans approved by the Waconia City Council during the council meeting on June 25, McDonald’s will be adding an indoor playground to its location in the coming months. The approximately 1,230-square foot playplace area will be located in the space that was once occupied by a convenience store.

The plans include several other components, including the removal of a foundation for a car wash on the west side of the property. A second drive thru order window will be added about 12 feet to the west of the current order window to improve efficiency.

The exterior of the building will receive a makeover. McDonald’s is in the process of giving its older stores an updated architectural appearance. A fence, nine parking spaces and a slightly wider traffic lane around the building are also planned.

According to a McDonald’s representative who attended the meeting, the project should take about eight weeks and should begin by the end of July or early August.

The current restaurant facility was built in 2000-01. In the years since the convenience store closed, gas pumps and an overhead canopy on the east side have been removed.

Also during the meeting, Assistant City Administrator Shane Fineran touched on the results of a citizen satisfaction survey that was offered earlier this year.

In brief, approximately 86 percent of respondents rated the overall appearance of the city as "good" or "excellent." Comments included a desire to see a more attractive presence on Highway 5 (especially 5 and 284) and that the downtown has attractive features but there is a concern about vacancies. Respondents also want to see more sidewalk, boulevard and street maintenance.

About 79 percent of respondents rated the overall quality of services provided by the city to be "good" or "excellent." Respondents asked to see a more welcoming environment and support for businesses, especially restaurants. In general, respondents were supportive of city staff but noted some areas of concern, such as communication.

In terms of safety, just over 72 percent of respondents said they felt "very safe" in the community and about 26 percent reported feeling "somewhat safe." Major concerns included garage burglaries and traffic speed in residential areas. About 88 percent rated the quality of fire service as "good" or "excellent."

Other aspects of the survey focused on city streets, snow plowing, the water supply, sanitary sewer, and recreational opportunities. Fineran noted that his favorite comment of the survey referred to the sanitary sewer system. One resident reported his or her satisfaction in the system by stating, "I flush, it disappears."

Officials were pleased with the information gathered by the survey but would love to have had more respondents, as the survey attracted 58 respondents. The survey report is available on the city website. The city plans to hold a similar survey in the future.

The survey was created through the Performance Measurement Program developed by the legislature and the Office of the State Auditor.

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