Today's meeting was an in-person meeting -- and a field trip at that!  We met at Shoreview City Hall and heard from City Manager Terry Schwerm and Director of Parks and Recreation Steve Benoit.  They provided an update on the multiple phases of improvements being made to the Commons area of the City Hall campus.  Terry explained that the Commons project has been in discussion since the 1990's.  But other projects took precedence until, finally, in 2016, a firm was hired to draw up a Master Plan.  Then, in 2019, when the recent indoor expansion was completed, the exterior work began.  A pond and landscaping were created and the previous wooden skate park was replaced with a new and improved "plaza style" concrete park.  The pond has been a hit with skaters in the winter and the skateboard park has gotten an incredible level of use, including from young families.  Most recently, a "Friendship Garden" was created with a sculpture of children playing, benches, a pergola, and a pathway made of bricks with sponsor names engraved.  The Shoreview Community Foundation has helped fund this garden area.  Next up is a $1.7 million destination playground that is currently under construction.  Work on the playground is expected to be completed before winter.  The City of Shoreview continues to impress with the level of vision, leadership, and sound financial management consistently on display.