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Excelsior City Council discuss possible safety solutions after man drowns at popular beach

Changes could include adding lifeguards, more signage and life vests.

EXCELSIOR, Minn. — Another step was taken Tuesday night towards keeping people safe at a popular Lake Minnetonka beach following a recent drowning.

Excelsior Mayor Todd Carlson started the meeting by acknowledging the drowning that happened on Thursday and committed to addressing safety concerns from people who tried to rescue the victim.  

"That’s my commitment to try and lead through this and set the best example going forward, and set an example for other communities to follow," said Mayor Carlson. "Unfortunately, it took the loss of Ben Garcia’s life to have this conversation."

Garcia was 26 years old and his family tells KARE 11 he walked out too far into the water and wasn't wearing a life jacket. 

Gwin Pratt and his daughter said they could have saved Garcia had there been proper life-saving equipment at Commons Beach.

At the council meeting, the Public Works Department says it hung up two ring buoys two days before Garcia drowned, but there's concern people are stealing them. 

The council was unsure how to solve that in the short term, but seemed to agree on adding new signage and life guards, which were discontinued last year. The council said that happened because fewer people were using the beach. 

The Mayor also suggested closing the point and dredging the sandbar that juts out.

A more long-term solution centered around offering swimming lessons at the beach to the community and using future life guards as swim instructors

While there wasn't any action taken Tuesday night, the council says there will be.

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