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Lariat Lanes memories
Local bowling alley closes out its long run 

John Powers Sr.
John Powers Jr and Brandi James
Bowling on Lariat Lanes' last day
Crowd of party goers at Lariat Lanes
Display case of autographed memories
Autographed bowling pin by Garth Brooks
Autographed bowling pin by Tricia Yearwood

Lariat Lanes bowling alley closed out its 57-year run as a Richfield institution on Sunday, May 10. The bowling alley had a "going-away" event on Saturday, May 9 and then opened for one final day on Sunday. The closing of Lariat Lanes marks an end to bowling alleys operating in Richfield. 


On Saturday during the good-bye party, the joint was jumpin'. People filled the bowling alley on what was a beautiful spring day. All lanes were filled with bowlers and the dining areas were filled with people eating, drinking and sharing memories.


When asked when he first purchased Lariat Lanes, owner John Powers Sr. replied 1988. Mr. Powers said he purchased the bowling alley because his son John Powers Jr. had been working there part time and thought it would be a great idea for the family to own a bowling alley. His father followed through on making the purchase and the bowling alley became a family affair. Mr. Powers' daughter Brandi James had served as manager of Lariat Lanes in recent years.


There were always great stories about celebrities who had visited Lariat Lanes. Photos above show a display case containing autographed keepsakes, including bowling pins signed by Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood.


Penn Central of Richfield is sad to see this chapter close in the neighborhood. Lariat Lanes fit our preference for locally owned, independent businesses that add characer to the avenue. We'll always hold a special place for Lariat Lanes in our collective memories.


Best burger in town

Sandy's Tavern wins Sun Current award 


Our legendary Penn Central of Richfield burger place Sandy's Tavern won the Sun Current award for having the best burger. You'll find Sandy's at 6612 Penn Avenue South, Richfield, in its landmark building that has stood on Penn Avenue since the days Richfield was still a farming community.


Congratuation to Sandy's for winning the Sun Current award!


Check out their menu, whcih carries burgers, sandwiches, appetizers and more by clicking here

Grab a microbrew

Davanni's adds craft beer selection to menu 


Order up a microbrew the next time you eat at Davanni's. Craft beers are being rolled at Davanni's locations across the Twin Cities, including the Richfield location at 6345 Penn Avenue South. Prior to this recent change, most Davanni's only served nationally distributed brands.


According to an article in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, the craft beer selection varies at each Davanni's location, allowing each restaurant to customize its offerings based on its customer base. This strategy of customizing the brew lineup at each location will allow Davanni's to switch out choices as tastes change.


A year of change

A Penn Central of Richfield review of 2014 

As each year comes and goes, it's always interesting to recall highlights and changes in the neighborhood. In 2014, we witnessed fun times, promising developments and sad news. In short, it was a year like many others. Life is a constant process of evolving stories. Here are a few of the highlights from 2014.


The Xerxes Avenue Bridge over 62 Crosstown was redecked earlier in the year. This reconstruction diverted more traffic into the Penn and 66th area, causing a wee bit more congestion but also potentially bringing more customers to our Penn Avenue businesses.


We welcomes Ambro Alvarado as the new owner of Signs by Tomorrow, 6442 Penn Avenue South, Richfield. Ambro has been an active owner who is making great connections in the community. Signs by Tomorrow can fulfill a wide variety of sign, banner and other visual message media.


One of our favorite homegrown businesses, Uncommon Sports Cards, said goodbye. Uncommon Sports Cards had been a great member of the community and an enthusiastic supporter of our Open Streets at PennFest celebration.


Located at a high profile site at 66th and Penn, our local Brueggers Bagels shop closed its doors. Area residents miss the opportunity to pick up something quick to eat and drink.


Minnesota Magicians hockey team made a guest appearannce at Davanni's in Richfield.


Open Streets at Penn Fest 2014 was a smashing success with food, music, sports, a 5K run and crafts filling the street in September. Fireside Pizza sponsored music at therir doorstep.


Posters on Board celebrated 30 years of business in Richfield this past autumn. The store is a family-owned business offering an extensive collection of poster art and framing services.


The Richfield Gateway Monument at 62nd and Penn was constructed last autumn. The monument serves as a great way to welcome visitors to Richfield.


Penn Central of Richfield welcomed a new store to the neighborhood - Something for Everyone. This gift shop has an amazing collection of unique items.


Support Youth Athletics
Richfield Girls Softball to host car wash at Dan's Auto Care 


You know your car needs a wash, and this Saturday, May 23 from 10 am to 4 pm is the perfect time to get it done. That's because you can be driving around town in a shiny car and know that you've helped the Richfield Girls Softball program.


It all happens at Dan's Penn Auto Care, 6724 Penn Avenue South, Richfield, in the heart of the Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood.


Potential soccer tournament for Penn Fest
New soccer field and track under construction 

Soccer field and walking track
Major construction
Walking track recently installed

The once empty field at Penn and 75th has seen a lot of activity recently. First the grass was torn up. Then huge dirt piles appeared. Now things are taking shape wiith the ground being leveled and a new walking track being installed.


It's all part of the new soccer field and walking track being instralled at Intermediate School District 287.


Penn Central of Richfield volunteer David Gepner has approached the school district with the idea of organizing a soccer tournament during Penn Fest this fall to officially open the field. Michael Cowles, director of facilities with Intermediate District 287, has said he had heard overwhelmingly positive response to the idea.


Details have yet to be worked out, but stay tuned for more news about this possible Penn Fest attraction.


The transformation has begun
Fireside Pizza undergoes extensive remodeling project

Fireside Pizza Remodel

The total remodel of Fireside Pizza has begun. When it reopens in June, this local Richfield landmark will have a complete new look and feel -- inside and out. 


According to an article that appeared in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Fireside Pizza will have a Roaring '20s theme when it reopens. The restaurant will also have a new outdoor patio, an expanded menu and a full bar selection.


Penn Central of Richfield would like to thank owner Rich Thompson for reinvesting in his restaurant and the local community. We appreciate renewal in our neighborhood. 


Watch this website for further developments. We'll share news of the reopening of the restaurant as it nears.




New store on the avenue

"Something for Everyone" offers exactly that! 

Bill Wasserman (pictured) runs the store with his wife Patricia Bown
Located at 6644 Penn Avenue South in Richfield
Selection includes dolls and stuffed animals
Collectible plates and decorations
Sports memorabilia and more!

Something for Everyone, a new store at 6644 Penn Avenue South, Richfield, offers a sense of adventure when you walk through the door. Step inside and you're suddenly surrounded by an intriguing collection of decorations, memorabilia, toys, models and more. The vast array of items is what makes the store magical. Visiting Something for Everyone is not just a shopping trip. It's a journey of discovery.


The store is run by Patricia Bown and her husband, Bill Wasserman. We stopped in for a visit on Saturday, November 15 and met Bill. Just as the name suggests, the store has "Something for Everyone." Bill mentioned that the store offers items for all ages from kids to adults. You'll find model cars, collectible dolls, decorative plates and figurines, stuffed animals, sports memorabilia and decorations -- and that's just scratching the surface. As the holiday season approaches, Something for Everyone will be a great destination for discovering imaginative and unique gifts. 


Something for Everyone is open Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday hours will start in December for the holiday shopping season.


Stop by to explore this new store in Penn Central of Richfield, and to say "hello" to our new neighbors, Patricia and Bill.


Local non-profits working in our neighborhood

Organizations working close to home!

During the recent Give to the Max Day, we mentoned a few non-profit missions close to home where you might consider making a donation. Give to the Max Day is now done, but the opportunity to give lives on. The links below will take you directly to online donation pages for the organizations below. Donating to these causes will help strengthen our community.


Richfield Foundation - This local foundation is an all-volunteer run organization that grants money to causes that work for successful kids, secure families, and a strong community. To read more, click here


Wood Lake Nature Center - Our local Richfield Nature Center has a donation page asking for funds so that children from low income families can attend summer camps. To read more, click here


Richfield Band Shell - Supporters seeking to build an outdoor performing arts band shell are seeking funds to enhance the planned community asset. To read more, click here


Fraser -  Located in the heart of the Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood, Fraser is making a world of difference for youth and adults with special needs. To read more, click here.


Assistance League - Another resident of the Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood, the Assistance League operates a thrift store to raise funds to feed and cloth children from low income families. To read more, click here.


Sunday, Sept. 20 from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Register now for Open Streets at Penn Fest 2015 


Open Streets at Penn Fest is returning on Sunday, September 20 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. On that day, Penn Avenue between 62nd and 76th Streets will close to cars and open to music, dance, sports, games, crafts and other creative and active pursuits. Community participation from civic, athletic, artistic, creative and business organizations is welcome. It's a time for everyone who wants to build community in Richfield to come together for a day of celebration.


Register now to participate in Open Streets at Penn Fest. The sooner you register, the sooner we will start promoting your involvement on our Penn Central of Richfield website, Facebook page and Twitter profile. 


Registrations are now being accepted for the following categories: 

Community/Non-Profit Groups

Open Streets at Penn Fest welcomes groups that serve the community in the spirit of a non-profit organization. These groups could be either 501(c)3 organizations or more informally organized groups. The mission of these groups should be to serve the public good without a profit or money-making motive. Examples of such groups include youth athletics, civic organizations, arts organizations, schools and others. There is no charge to these organizations to reserve a space at Open Streets at Penn Fest, but we do request that some activity designed to engage the public is planned for the event.


Click here for community group form

Crafters/Flea Market Vendors

Small vendors who sell crafts, artwork, flea market goods or other merchandise are welcome at Open Streets at Penn Fest. This classification is for small entrepreneurs who do not operate out of a physical storefront or office. To register for this category, please complete the event registration form and the ST19 form if you plan to sell goods at the event. The registration fee is $25.

Click here for Crafter/Flea Market Form

Click here for ST19 form

Business Registration 

Open Streets at Penn Fest is a great opportunity to find new customers. Approximately 7,000 visitors have attended each of the previous three Open Streets at Penn Fest events. Businesses that do not have a physical location in the Penn and 66th area may reserve a space at the event for a fee of $150.  This classification is for established businesses that operate out of a storefront or office away from the Penn and 66th area. To register, please complete the event form and the ST19 form if you plan to sell merchandise at the event.


Note: There is no fee for resident Penn and 66th area businesses, but we do encourage registration with a description of planned activities for promotional purposes. 

Click here for business form

Click here for ST19 form

Food Vendors

Thousands of hungry people will be walking the street at Open Streets at Penn Fest, so it's the perfect place for food vendors. This form is for businesses that will be selling and/or serving edible food products. This classification is appropriate for food trucks or food stands. Please complete both the event registration form and the ST19 form. The registration fee is $150. 

Click here for food vendor form

Click here for ST19 form

A Proud Community Booster

Organic Lawns by Lunseth supports Wood Lake Nature Center benefit


Organic Lawns by Lunseth, a lawn services company that calls the Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood home, has stepped forward as a sponsor of the Wood Lake Nature Center benefit dinner being held on Friday, April 24. Support by local businesses helps keep our community strong.


Lunseth Lawn Care provides a variety of lawn and landscaping services for both commercial and residential accounts. The residential division offers 100% organic fertilizing and integrated pest management services, both of which have a more positive impact on the environment. This fact is one reason Organic Lawns by Lunseth is a good sponsorship partner for Wood Lake Nature Center.


If you're considering a lawn care service, you can receive outstanding service and keep your business local by contacting Organic Lawns by Lunseth by clicking here.  


Thanks to a Community Partner

Penn Cycle donates bike for Wood Lake Nature Center benefit dinner 

Herb Perry with Pat Sorenson
Darlene Perry receiving bike from Penn Cycle's Sarah

Penn Cycle is in the "Good Deeds for the Community Spotlight" today. Our local Penn Central of Richfield bike dealer donated a bike to help raise funds to benefit Wood Lake Nature Center. The bike is part of a drawing with all ticket sales going to help Wood Lake. Tickets are available for $1 apiece at Wood Lake, 6710 Lakeshore Drive, Richfield. The drawing for the bike will be held at the Wood Lake Nature Center benefit dinner on Friday, April 24. (Need not be present at the dinner to win the bike.) For more information about the dinner or to reserve tickets, visit www.woodlakenaturecenter.org or call Wood Lake at 612-861-9365. 


Friends of Wood Lake Nature Center board members Herb and Darlene Perry worked with Pat Sorenson, owner of Penn Cycle, for the donation of the bicycle. Thanks to all involved for being great community members.


Funding source secured

New pedestrian-level lights planned for Penn Avenue 


Click here to download Penn Avenue lighting plan

A special neighborhood meeting was held on Tuesday, February 10 to reveal plans for the installation of pedestrian-level lighting along the commercial district of Penn Avenue in Richfield. Karen Barton of the City of Richfield Community Development Department presented the plans along with Craig Churchward of Avenue Design Partners, a consulting firm with expertise in landscape architecture and transportation design. Plans are moving forward to install new lighting that offers a more aesthetically pleasing appearance with a shepard's hook design.


Ms. Barton reports that the City has applied for Federal funds to move ahead with this project. Funds in the amounts of $60,000 for purchasing lights and benches and $60,000 for installation will allow this project to proceed this spring or summer. This project will serve as a visible sign that improvements and investments to the streetscape of Penn Avenue are taking place. For a number of years, our Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood association has advocated the installation of lighting that offers a more ornamental appearance. The addition of benches makes the area more pedestrian friendly, another positive enhancement toward the revitalization of the neighborhood. 


In looking to the future of Penn Avenue, Mr. Churchward mentioned creating a "vacation experience" design. He asked those attending the meeting to recall an interesting place they have visited while on vacation. The idea would be to capture some of those elements and design them into the local neighborhood. In designing a fun and vibrant environment, you create a place that becomes a destination that draws people. 


The lighting and benches are just the beginning of improvements that will happen along Penn Avenue in coming years.  Plans are for Penn Avenue, which is a county road, to be redeveloped by Hennepin County at some future date. When that happens, it will allow for a redesign of the road itself as well as sidewalks and bike paths. The exact timing for a rebuild of Penn Avenue by the County is undetermined, but attendees at the meeting expressed a wish for the County to make Penn Avenue a higher priority.





Plans are to install lighting with this Shepard's Hook design, along Penn Avenue.


Light poles would include mounting hardware for banners.


While the poles wouldn't initially have flower baskets, they could be equipped to be "irrigation ready" to allow for flowers at a future date. This irrigation system would allow for daily watering during hot summer days.



Photos and the PDF accompanying this article have been provided by Avenue Design Partners.


66th Street decision reconsidered

Council Member Pat Elliott asks to rescind 66th Street Concept 4B 

Pat Elliott
Michael Howard

First Ward City Council Member Pat Elliott asked for an amended City Council agenda on Tuesday, January 13 for the consideration to rescind Concept 4B for the reconstruction of 66th Street between 35W and Penn Avenue. Concept 4B is the plan approved at the December 9, 2014 City Council meeting that will result in the buyout and removal of 18 homes on the south side of the street.


Since that December 9th meeting, the City Council has a new member with Michael Howard replacing Sue Sandahl. So the balance of the decision rested on the new City Council Member. Howard voted in favor of amending the agenda to allow the discussion, but voted to affirm Concept 4B. So the decision from the December 9th meeting stands.


Debate over the issue was intense. Council Member Garcia called the move "disrespectful" and Council Member Fitzhenry said it set a bad precedent and criticized the sudden nature of the action, without advance notice to the public. Elliott said he meant no disrespect and called into question criticisms of his motives. Elliott said responses at open houses ran 2 to 1 against taking of homes for Concept 4B.


The end result, of course, was no change to the 66th Street reconstruction plans.


Parking lot provision

City Council Amends Penn Avenue Overlay District


At its December 9th meeting, the Richfield City Council amended the Penn Avenue Overlay District with a provision allowing municipal parking lots. The amendment passed with a 5-0 vote.


This amendment, while not impacting the neighborhood in the near term, addresses an important issue in the neighborhood. Currently the Penn Central of Richfield commercial district is characterized by having many small parking lots dedicated to specific businesses. Some businesses have no parking at all. This situation limits the neighborhood as a pedestrian friendly area where a person could park once and walk to several stores. A municipal lot could help correct this issue. 


It should be noted that there are currently no plans to add a municipal parking lot. But the amendment open the possibility and encourages discussion of adding such a lot in the future.


18 homes to be acquired
Richfield City Council votes to adopt 66th Street reconstruction plan 4B

66th Street today

Many city council meetings are frankly rather sleepy affairs. Often times, they are meetings filled with bureaucratic details and mundane policy decisions. But the Richfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 9 was very much the opposite. On this night, the Richfield Council had a very significant issue to decide, one that would impact the community for decades to come.
At hand was the decision to adopt a 66th Street reconstruction plan that would expand the street to include better sidewalks, cycle tracks, boulevards, and improved lanes for motorized vehicles; or limit the reconstruction to a smaller footprint that would restrict many of those enhancements. What made the vote tough is that 18 homes on the south side of the street would have to be taken to proceed with the more elaborate plan, often referred to as Plan 4B. The Council voted 3 to 2 to adopt Plan 4B, with Council Members Sandahl, Garcia and Fitzhenry voting yes, and Council Member Elliott and Mayor Goettel voting no.
Richfield Transportation Engineer Jeff Pearson opened the discussion with a review of the process that had transpired. Pearson mentioned that the options of a three lane roadway and a low impact design were seriously considered, but ultimately abandoned in favor of Plan 4B, which most recently had earned the unanimous support of the Richfield Transportation Commission.
Thirteen residents addressed the City Council in an open comments session, almost evenly divided between favoring and opposing Plan 4B. Sean O'Leary, chair of the Richfield Bike Advocates, spoke first, strongly urging approval of Plan 4B.  Ted Weidenbach, a member of the Transportation Commission, said the Council was making a "75 year decision" with a long term impact on the community. He characterized the stretch of 66th Street from 35W to Penn as "not safe for anyone." Jerri Haaven was the first speaker who opposed Plan 4B and the taking of homes for 66th Street reconstruction. She worried about "those who are left behind after the dust settles" from this project. Hayden Brockman spoke for a neighbor whose home will be acquired. Brockman, whose home won't be acquired, currently lives in a house that's the second one away from the street, but she worries how being the first house will affect her future equity. The open session seesawed back and forth between pro and con speakers with regard to plan 4B.
Then it was the City Council's turn to speak. Here is a summary of their comments in the order they spoke:
Mayor Debbie Goettel expressed a wish for revisiting the 3 lane option. She said we should proceed with painting the street in a three-lane fashion and see what happens. According to the Mayor: "We need a road diet." She also voiced concern about losing 18 homes. 
Council Member Pat Elliott, whose ward includes the homes in question, believes Plan 4B is not going to decrease traffic, but rather increase it. He was also concerned about what he described as the sudden notion to take the homes, saying the idea only became apparent about 6 months ago. Elliott feels Richfield is paying a price for incompetent decisions by MN DOT regarding Crosstown reconstruction. He firmly says Plan 4B is not going to work and he has no belief that it is going to increase safety.
Council Member Sue Sandahl said we are making a 50 to 75 year decision. With only two routes spanning Richfield from east to west, she believes Plan 4B is necessary. She cited how staff had said the three lane option won't work. She also believes the medians, boulevards and trees planned for the new roadway will have a traffic calming effect.
Council Member Edwina Garcia described how Richfield has changed over the years, going from a farming community to a bedroom community to what it is today. She suggested this decision is just one more change as the City moves into the future. She described the acquisitiion process that homeowners will experience, believing it is a very fair process. She said: "I don't want to make a short decision for only 25 years. We have to make tough decisions if we're going to sit up here."
After the first four members spoke, it was apparent that they split two to two in their opinions. It all hung in the balance with Council Member Tom Fitzhenry.
Council Member Tom Fitzhenry said: "If we don't take the 18 homes, we impact a lot more homes." He expressed concern about the prospect of taking twelve feet of the front lawn of the homes on the north side of the street, which would happen with the low impact plan. He mentioned his days as a police officer in Richfield, saying he recalled many accidents on what is a dangerous road. He said: "I can find no other way than to agree with 4B."
Once Fitzhenry spoke, it was apparent that Plan 4B would pass. The vote was merely a formality of what was to come.
After the vote, the crowd that had gathered filed out quietly.


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Banners marking the identity of the Penn Central neighborhood were installed in September.

Penn Central of Richfield - Your Neighborhood Mainstreet
Building Community in Richfield, Minnesota