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Meeting Recap: Tenants' Council in November

Tue, 2014-12-30 13:05
RossJoy Corcoran News

Despite the arrival of snow and winter cold, 5 households attended the neighborhood’s Tenants’ Council on Wednesday, November 12.

Residents discussed continued confusion with their landlord over direct utility billing on gas and water. Thermostats in the apartments do not function, several with exposed wiring. Draftiness is a top concern as most units have single pane windows despite Minneapolis Housing Maintenance Code requiring storm windows or double pane glass.

The bills have also led to a crisis of affordability for family budgets. One in three households have moved out after struggling to come up with $90-$130 in new utility costs and continually getting hit by $50 late fees.

Legal advocates including HOME Line and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid have advised that the system of billing know as Ratio Utility Billing Systems, or RUBS, is counterproductive to resource conservation as structural inefficiencies that only the landlord can fix are the main cause for high costs. Residents are requesting a meeting with their landlord to discuss conducting an energy audit of their buildings, a similar process that several other Corcoran households have done through the Home Energy Squad program.

Concurrently, a community planning effort known as Partners in Energy has been started by Excel Energy for the Midtown Corridor. Energy efficiency in multifamily housing has been discussed as a priority, and the utility companies are developing new incentives and programs to address this need.

A University of Minnesota staff member Kristen Murray with the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) also joined the Tenants’ Council meeting. Kristen shared a draft visual flier that is being developed in partnership with CNO and Lyndale Neighborhood Association to better explain how many people can live in an apartment.

City ordinances and zoning code as well as rights under federal Fair Housing law on top of lease agreements all make the question hard to answer. Residents shared constructive feedback on the project while retelling their own experiences with discrimination based on the size of their family.

City Council Member Alondra Cano has expressed support of this effort to better explaining City ordinances, as well as potential policy changes to how the City defines a family and other housing standards.

CNO will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our residents on housing issues. Everyone has a right to decent housing that is safe, healthy and obtainable for working families. Community organizing and landlord partnership can make that happen.

Contribute, advertise, or learn more about Corcoran News.
Click here for current edition.

Despite the arrival of snow and winter cold, 5 households attended the neighborhood’s Tenants’ Council on Wednesday, November 12.

Residents discussed continued confusion with their landlord over direct utility billing on gas and water. Thermostats in the apartments do not function, several with exposed wiring. Draftiness is a top concern as most units have single pane windows despite Minneapolis Housing Maintenance Code requiring storm windows or double pane glass.

The bills have also led to a crisis of affordability for family budgets. One in three households have moved out after struggling to come up with $90-$130 in new utility costs and continually getting hit by $50 late fees.

Legal advocates including HOME Line and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid have advised that the system of billing know as Ratio Utility Billing Systems, or RUBS, is counterproductive to resource conservation as structural inefficiencies that only the landlord can fix are the main cause for high costs. Residents are requesting a meeting with their landlord to discuss conducting an energy audit of their buildings, a similar process that several other Corcoran households have done through the Home Energy Squad program.

Concurrently, a community planning effort known as Partners in Energy has been started by Excel Energy for the Midtown Corridor. Energy efficiency in multifamily housing has been discussed as a priority, and the utility companies are developing new incentives and programs to address this need.

A University of Minnesota staff member Kristen Murray with the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) also joined the Tenants’ Council meeting. Kristen shared a draft visual flier that is being developed in partnership with CNO and Lyndale Neighborhood Association to better explain how many people can live in an apartment.

City ordinances and zoning code as well as rights under federal Fair Housing law on top of lease agreements all make the question hard to answer. Residents shared constructive feedback on the project while retelling their own experiences with discrimination based on the size of their family.

City Council Member Alondra Cano has expressed support of this effort to better explaining City ordinances, as well as potential policy changes to how the City defines a family and other housing standards.

CNO will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our residents on housing issues. Everyone has a right to decent housing that is safe, healthy and obtainable for working families. Community organizing and landlord partnership can make that happen.

Contribute, advertise, or learn more about Corcoran News.
Click here for current edition.

© 2014 Corcoran News

    Help CNO reach its 2014 fundraising goal! And thank you!

    Tue, 2014-12-30 12:50
    Corcoran News

    THANK YOU to the 44 Corcoran residents who raised over $2,049 to support CNO's work during the November Give to the Max event.

    Help us push this number to $4,000 from Corcoran residents by the end of 2014.

    Your gift is important and timely because The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota will match all contributions made until the end of 2014, up to $4,000.

    Set up a secure monthly contribution at www.corcoranneighborhood.org or mail a contribution to CNO at 3451 Cedar Ave S. Does your employer match your contributions to non-profits? Employer matches are a big boost to our work.

    Contribute, advertise, or learn more about Corcoran News.
    Click here for current edition.

    THANK YOU to the 44 Corcoran residents who raised over $2,049 to support CNO's work during the November Give to the Max event.

    Help us push this number to $4,000 from Corcoran residents by the end of 2014.

    Your gift is important and timely because The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota will match all contributions made until the end of 2014, up to $4,000.

    Set up a secure monthly contribution at www.corcoranneighborhood.org or mail a contribution to CNO at 3451 Cedar Ave S. Does your employer match your contributions to non-profits? Employer matches are a big boost to our work.

    Contribute, advertise, or learn more about Corcoran News.
    Click here for current edition.

    © 2014 Corcoran News

    A corner store classic

    Sun, 2014-12-28 11:53
    Aaron Isaacs

    There are certain urban designs that cannot be improved upon. One of them is the neighborhood store with its doorway opening onto the corner. I recently discovered that one of the best examples was repeated a dozen times throughout the Minneapolis neighborhoods that developed in the 1920s. All feature the same decorative brickwork, including a white arch over the entry, which faces the corner at a 45 degree angle.

    This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Streets.MN. Check out the links below for other recent Streets.MN stories:

    Having stumbled onto this obscurity, I had to find them all, so here they are. In fact there are subtle differences and I even found one with two stories. As the photos show, they can be adapted to any use and have attracted some notable tenants, such as Patisserie 46 at 46th and Grand, Turtle Bread at 48th and Chicago, and Victory 44 Café at 44th and Penn Ave. N. They can also be abused. Why anyone would paint over the brickwork is beyond me, but there you go. It’s fun to see such a utilitarian structure gussied up with some decorative masonry.

    My search was confined to Minneapolis and revealed these locations.

    36th & Bryant Ave. S.
    46th and Grand
    48th St. and 4th Ave. S.
    48th and Chicago
    35th St. and 23rd Ave. S.
    38th St. and 23rd Ave. S.
    45th St. and 34th Ave. S.
    46th St. and 34th Ave. S.
    50th St. and 28th Ave. S
    34th Street and 42nd Ave. S.
    44th and Penn Ave. N.
    Penn Ave. N. and Cedar Lake Road (2-story)

    If readers know of examples elsewhere, please chime in.

    35th Street and 23rd Avenue S.

    One block is bookended by two of these storefronts. This is 34th Avenue S. at 45th Street.

    The other end of the block, at 46th Street. Why did they paint over the bricks?

    Inside Turtle Bread at 48th and Chicago. This is how you hold the corner.

    Dreamhaven Books at 38th Street and 23rd Avenue S.

    46th and Grand, viewed through a rain-streaked bus window.

    36th and Bryant Ave. S. Clearly I picked the wrong day to do this by bus. The corner space is actually a neighborhood grocery store, with the rest of the building a coffee shop and hardware store.

    The ice cream store on 28th Avenue S. at 50th Street, just east of Lake Nokomis, has a variation of the brick pattern.

    Streets.MN

    A few questions the planning commission should ask about TOD at Hiawatha and Lake

    Fri, 2014-12-19 22:27
    Sam Newberg

    In early December, Hennepin County and L&H Station (“the development team”) submitted plans for the development of L&H Station at 2225 East Lake Street, at the southwest quadrant of Lake Street and Hiawatha, a six-acre site immediately adjacent to the Lake Street station of the Blue Line. Below is the ground level plan submitted. In the context of the years of planning that led up to this submittal, and posts of my own, the following are a few questions I think the Planning Commission should ask.

    This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Streets.MN. Check out the links below for other recent Streets.MN stories:

    Can meaningful improvements be made to activate the 22nd Avenue frontage? (see below for 22nd Avenue elevation) Perhaps the real question is why are 90 enclosed surface parking stalls even needed, given there are 350 underground? The CPED staff report cites the 22nd Avenue frontage as problematic, as it is too inactive and the main problem is the garage door that faces the neighboring YWCA. The development team’s answer to the neighborhood’s urban principle that parking be underground or otherwise hidden from view was to simply enclose the planned surface parking and skin it with the bike storage area. They added that the bike storage could maybe become a bike shop, which would be nice, but where is the letter of intent from that business? The development team also extended the windows farther south from the corner at Lake Street with the notion that the corner retail space be occupied by a restaurant with an active patio. That’s all well and good but what if a restaurant never materializes?


    The southern third of the 22nd Avenue frontage is the planned apartment building whose lobby will face 22nd. The problem there is the plan shows a wall separating the sidewalk from the building (see below), which reduces a building’s ability to activate the public realm. So, whereas the development team argues that as much as two-thirds of the 22nd Avenue frontage could be active, in reality if no restaurant or bike shop moves in the active frontage will be closer to zero. Either way, the big garage door remains

    Speaking of the hope for retail tenants, has the planned retail space, its design, ingress and egress and relationship to parking been vetted by retail developers and brokers?

    Is the county really willing to spend such a large proportion of it’s the project budget on parking? Putting nearly 350 stalls underground at a ballpark figure of $25,000 per stall is $8.75 million, or 17% of the $52.5 million budget. Even if all those stalls were needed, putting those stalls in a parking ramp at $15,000 each could save $3.5 million that could go to fund the farmers market plaza or other public amenities. On a related note, is all this parking needed, as the CPED staff report asks?

    What is the plan for the market plaza and will a future owner materialize without additional public expenditure? Among the many things the Corcoran neighborhood wants is a permanent home for the farmers market and street-facing retail. While it is true that a location is being set aside in the plan for the farmers market, actual improvements to that location aren’t yet guaranteed. Aside from having to operate from a new location consisting of asphalt, the only guarantee is that they will have to move at least twice before this is resolved. Moreover, there certainly isn’t money identified as of yet to improve the plaza, much less provide management and programming for the plaza the other six days of the week when the farmers market isn’t operating. The development team themselves acknowledge this as an issue, and their hope is that a well-funded entity comes along to purchase the plaza from the county.

    Is it really best for the neighborhood and farmers market to have the market plaza so isolated from the rest of the site? As perverse as this sounds, the current situation of the farmers market, open and visible from the YWCA, Lake Street and the Blue Line, albeit on an asphalt lot, is better than some future scenarios.

    Is the Corcoran neighborhood really happy with the current plan? Although CNO has supported past iterations of the plan for Lake and Hiawatha, to my knowledge they have not officially voted to endorse this particular design. There is a difference between settling and striving for something better.

    Just to be clear, the private green roof (shown below) located above the enclosed surface parking lot will be built as part of phase 1, but there is not yet a plan nor funding to build the public plaza that will be the home of the farmers market?

    Is there a better way? While the Planning Commission’s job is to react to the submitted plan, even a little research in to past iterations of this project show prior plans had a much better public realm that was more porous and pedestrian-friendly (see 2010 plan below). So many of the issues that arise in the staff report stem from the fundamental layout of the site plan, which is primarily driven by the county’s pressing need to get their service center completed as soon as possible and the insistence that guests can arrive by car and directly enter the building without needing to set foot outside. What this does is puts indoor parking at the center of the site (with private green space above), which creates a ripple effect throughout the site, diminishing pedestrian connections, creating auto-dominated frontages and ultimately isolating what should be the centerpiece of the site, the market plaza.

    We can do better. A group of concerned urban professionals including Bob Close, Pete Keely, Michael Lander and I came up with an alternative ground level plan (see below) that accommodates the county’s needs but also accomplishes the following:

    • A vastly improved public realm with additional pedestrian passages throughout the site, and a better relationship between the train station and both public and private spaces
    • Brings the private green roof down to the ground level as a public amenity
    • Provides a finished, permanent location for the farmers market to operate but that can also be used for a variety of everyday uses as well as programming space for the YWCA – all part of phase 1
    • Improves ground levels of buildings as they relate to the public realm (addressing, among other things, problematic 22nd Avenue frontage)
    • Provides a cost savings on parking and allows for a reduction in parking in a future phase if deemed unnecessary
    • Much more attractive and marketable retail space
    • An overall public realm shared by all and more socially equitable

    It wasn’t so much that we wanted “our plan” to be used (we don’t even want credit for it), but rather that it serve as an example for how great this TOD could be. We believe that if you put 10 developers and urban designers in a room for a day (like a ULI Advisory Panel, for example), you could come up with a plan that meets the requirements of Hennepin County but also better results for everyone, particularly the public realm. A win-win.

    Alas, Hennepin County is, after all, the key to this project, with a $52 million investment that frees up the site to be developed over time. Purely from the perspective of delivery of services for Hennepin County, this project meets their needs, and with the added benefit that clients can arrive by transit if need be. It is really exciting that Hennepin County is bringing an anchor tenant to the site, but the fundamental problem is they have designed a suburban-style facility that allows visitors to never set foot in public, urban space. That is fine in Brooklyn Center, for example, but not in the city, much less next to a train station. We should hold Hennepin County to a higher standard when it comes to TOD.

    The old expression about not letting the pursuit of perfection get in the way of good results would apply here if the results were good, but the problem is they are so…disappointing, and as I already noted are a step in the wrong direction from earlier plans. We cannot accept mediocrity in the name of urgency. And the idea that this is the only way to accommodate Hennepin County’s needs is simply untrue. There can be a win-win, and for now it’s in the hands of the Planning Commission. We’ll see if their back and forth with the development team results in meaningful improvements to the plan, because we can do better, but time is running out.

    This was crossposted at Joe Urban.

    Streets.MN

    Summit Hill business profile: Foxglove Market & Studio

    Fri, 2014-12-19 15:01
    SummitHillAssoc... Summit Hill Association

    When you walk into this local business, the impression is like being in a small European mercantile shop. Visibly welcoming, warm, cozy and eclectic. You want to grab a cup of tea, sit down and check out all that the shop has to offer.

    Looking to do some entertaining for family or friends, but needs some design ideas and items that can help make that night a hit? Or maybe a dried or fresh flower arrangement, paper goods or a class in floral design?

    These things and more can be found at Foxglove Market and Studio located at 792 Grand Avenue whose proprietor, Christine Hoffman has provided these resources to customers since she moved into this open space last year. Her shop emphasizes sustainability, utility, community and comfort. In the growing season, Christine has five local flower farmers providing fresh cut flowers that are grown under sustainable, chemical-free conditions.

    Christine has lived in St. Paul “off and on” for the last 20 years or so. She studied classics and art history at Macalester College with an emphasis on Latin…a language she came to love - really! Christine didn’t expect she would become a retail merchant, but “I’ve always been somewhat of an entrepreneur and I like being self-employed”.

    She started out doing freelance design work in “retail merchandizing” for store displays and windows; hired her talents out as a home interior designer; … and even worked several years as a behind-the-scenes designer for an HGTV show for three seasons.

    After moving on to being a full-time event designer, Christine felt she was at a crossroads in her career. Then, she got a call from her friend, the owner of Golden Fig telling her about the open space available next door. Her first reaction to her friend encouraging her to set up retail on Grand Avenue was - “Are you crazy?” Long hours, costs and such.

    But…by the end of the day, she agreed that it was a very good idea. The concept of a retail store that could utilize all the many skills she had honed over the prior 15 years…except maybe Latin. Christine loves entertaining and wants to encourage others to do so. “That feeling of gathering.” She sees how customers like to come in and dig through her paper goods and other design elements to see what they can do with these at home.

    Christine doesn’t think the concept of Foxglove would probably have worked as well 10 years ago – “the mix of new and old, an organic feeling…” but it works now and she feels the support from all the neighborhood customers who come in.

    Store hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and you can get further information at www.foxglovemarket.com

    When you walk into this local business, the impression is like being in a small European mercantile shop. Visibly welcoming, warm, cozy and eclectic. You want to grab a cup of tea, sit down and check out all that the shop has to offer.

    Looking to do some entertaining for family or friends, but needs some design ideas and items that can help make that night a hit? Or maybe a dried or fresh flower arrangement, paper goods or a class in floral design?

    These things and more can be found at Foxglove Market and Studio located at 792 Grand Avenue whose proprietor, Christine Hoffman has provided these resources to customers since she moved into this open space last year. Her shop emphasizes sustainability, utility, community and comfort. In the growing season, Christine has five local flower farmers providing fresh cut flowers that are grown under sustainable, chemical-free conditions.

    Christine has lived in St. Paul “off and on” for the last 20 years or so. She studied classics and art history at Macalester College with an emphasis on Latin…a language she came to love - really! Christine didn’t expect she would become a retail merchant, but “I’ve always been somewhat of an entrepreneur and I like being self-employed”.

    She started out doing freelance design work in “retail merchandizing” for store displays and windows; hired her talents out as a home interior designer; … and even worked several years as a behind-the-scenes designer for an HGTV show for three seasons.

    After moving on to being a full-time event designer, Christine felt she was at a crossroads in her career. Then, she got a call from her friend, the owner of Golden Fig telling her about the open space available next door. Her first reaction to her friend encouraging her to set up retail on Grand Avenue was - “Are you crazy?” Long hours, costs and such.

    But…by the end of the day, she agreed that it was a very good idea. The concept of a retail store that could utilize all the many skills she had honed over the prior 15 years…except maybe Latin. Christine loves entertaining and wants to encourage others to do so. “That feeling of gathering.” She sees how customers like to come in and dig through her paper goods and other design elements to see what they can do with these at home.

    Christine doesn’t think the concept of Foxglove would probably have worked as well 10 years ago – “the mix of new and old, an organic feeling…” but it works now and she feels the support from all the neighborhood customers who come in.

    Store hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and you can get further information at www.foxglovemarket.com

    © 2014 Summit Hill Association

    Planning, public input underway for new Northeast Park building

    Wed, 2014-12-17 12:02
    Mark Peterson Northeaster

    There will be a new recreation building at Northeast Park, and here’s how the public is weighing in on how it will look and how it will be used.

    The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board held an open house at Northeast Library Dec. 11. Park Board Project managers Dana Murdoch and Kate Lamers and members of Perkins+Will Architects were on hand to guide visitors through a series of info boards illustrating the aspects of the recreation building, at a site in the northeast corner of the Northeast Athletic Field park, on Johnson Street near 16th Avenue NE.

    On display were time line charts (showing a possible start of construction in mid-2015), results of a MPRB online survey which asked for uses for the facility, preliminary site plans, and a number of photos of existing community buildings around the country. Visitors were given sticky notes to make comments on the design photos, and vote for preferred roof treatments, landscapes, facades, and other architectural solutions. The building itself has a basic floor plan, but not a formal design, yet.

    Doron Clark, Chair of the twelve-member Community Advisory Committee for this project, said that his committee will consider a design for recommendation at their January 12 public meeting at Logan Park (6-8:30 p.m.). Community Advisory Committees (CAC) are appointed by elected officials such as Park Board Commissioners, School Board members, City Council members and the mayor for specific large projects; the members’ terms can be six months or longer. If the CAC makes a recommendation, a public hearing on the final design will then be held at a scheduled MPRB meeting at their headquarters at 2117 West River Road North, probably in February.

    The Minneapolis office of Perkins+Will was selected by the MPRB Selection Committee in September from a list of 13 responders to the Park Board’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project. Project Manager Dave Sheppard, project architect Susie Nelson, designer Kathryn Watson and landscape architect Ana Nelson will be creating plans. Sheppard said that, as an architect, his job is “always advocating for the client, in this case the Park and Recreation board, but by extension the people of the city itself.”

    Susie Nelson said that construction impact on adjoining areas will be minimal; off-street parking is already in place, and underground utilities are close to the site, reducing or eliminating the need for street excavations.

    The online survey of desired uses of the recreation building was completed in 45 days. Survey responders could list their top five choices. Fitness programs came in first, with almost 55%; then a walking track (46%), community activities (43%), meetings (27%), and basketball (23%).

    Hilary Olson, a board member of the Northeast Park Neighborhood Association, noted that her board had some concern about the scope of the building and what they felt was a modest budget for the project. The building will be 15,000 to 17,000 square feet, with a preliminary construction budget of $3.2 million, not including surveys, soil testing and administrative costs.

    Project manager Lamers said that $4 million had been budgeted for the recreation building and adjoining site improvements. Although the building is part of the NE Athletic Field Park, that sum was allocated for the building alone, and was not part of the larger park improvements. Money not spent on the building from that amount will be directed toward other improvements to the park itself.

    There will be a new recreation building at Northeast Park, and here’s how the public is weighing in on how it will look and how it will be used.

    The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board held an open house at Northeast Library Dec. 11. Park Board Project managers Dana Murdoch and Kate Lamers and members of Perkins+Will Architects were on hand to guide visitors through a series of info boards illustrating the aspects of the recreation building, at a site in the northeast corner of the Northeast Athletic Field park, on Johnson Street near 16th Avenue NE.

    On display were time line charts (showing a possible start of construction in mid-2015), results of a MPRB online survey which asked for uses for the facility, preliminary site plans, and a number of photos of existing community buildings around the country. Visitors were given sticky notes to make comments on the design photos, and vote for preferred roof treatments, landscapes, facades, and other architectural solutions. The building itself has a basic floor plan, but not a formal design, yet.

    Doron Clark, Chair of the twelve-member Community Advisory Committee for this project, said that his committee will consider a design for recommendation at their January 12 public meeting at Logan Park (6-8:30 p.m.). Community Advisory Committees (CAC) are appointed by elected officials such as Park Board Commissioners, School Board members, City Council members and the mayor for specific large projects; the members’ terms can be six months or longer. If the CAC makes a recommendation, a public hearing on the final design will then be held at a scheduled MPRB meeting at their headquarters at 2117 West River Road North, probably in February.

    The Minneapolis office of Perkins+Will was selected by the MPRB Selection Committee in September from a list of 13 responders to the Park Board’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project. Project Manager Dave Sheppard, project architect Susie Nelson, designer Kathryn Watson and landscape architect Ana Nelson will be creating plans. Sheppard said that, as an architect, his job is “always advocating for the client, in this case the Park and Recreation board, but by extension the people of the city itself.”

    Susie Nelson said that construction impact on adjoining areas will be minimal; off-street parking is already in place, and underground utilities are close to the site, reducing or eliminating the need for street excavations.

    The online survey of desired uses of the recreation building was completed in 45 days. Survey responders could list their top five choices. Fitness programs came in first, with almost 55%; then a walking track (46%), community activities (43%), meetings (27%), and basketball (23%).

    Hilary Olson, a board member of the Northeast Park Neighborhood Association, noted that her board had some concern about the scope of the building and what they felt was a modest budget for the project. The building will be 15,000 to 17,000 square feet, with a preliminary construction budget of $3.2 million, not including surveys, soil testing and administrative costs.

    Project manager Lamers said that $4 million had been budgeted for the recreation building and adjoining site improvements. Although the building is part of the NE Athletic Field Park, that sum was allocated for the building alone, and was not part of the larger park improvements. Money not spent on the building from that amount will be directed toward other improvements to the park itself.

    © 2014 Northeaster

    Dazzling holiday lights and sights in Twin Cities (and beyond)

    Sun, 2014-12-14 23:45
    Paige Elliott TC Daily Planet

    Now is the time to shine, light-seekers! Holiday sparkle is back, illuminating cold, dark winter streets with bursts of vivid color and community spirit. Below, we’ve made a list – and checked it twice – of a few choice spots to see holiday lights around the Twin Cities and beyond. Scroll down to see how you can share your photos and add light displays in your community to our list!

    Related seasonal articles below:

    Tis the Season of Giving & Receiving

    2014 Holiday Arts & Attractions Roundup

    Shop small, shop local

     

     

     

    <a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/8522440/">When should holiday lights and decor go up?</a>

     

    Holiday Light Displays

    Taking in neighborhood light displays never seems to gets old. Whether they're religious or secular, there’s something captivating about a neighborhood all lit up with holiday cheer, each house putting forth their best designs. We've started with a list of residential displays, some of which were submitted by readers. We invite you to add displays to our list by using the comment section or emailing paigelelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net


    The Beaumont Holiday Light Show

    229 21st Avenue South, South Saint Paul, MN | 5 - 11:30 pm

    Featured are 11,000 bulbs in blue, soft white, and bright white, with wireframe angels, deer, and trees choreographed to music that you can hear by tuning into 97.9 FM in stereo.

    Glowing Tree in Bloomington

    9145 Meadowview Road, Bloomington | Nightly

    The big, glowing oak tree in Bloomington features over 35,000 glowing lights and is a sight to behold. WCCO reports that this could be the last year of the glowing tree, so make sure to see it if you haven’t already. (See first photo in the grid above for a preview).

    MN Light Show

    303 Snail Lake Road, Shoreview | Mon - Fri & Sun, 4:30 - 10 pm; Sat.,4:30 - 11 pm

    Inspired by Walt Disney World's "Spectacle of Lights," this family-opereated light display is a feast for the eyes, with 100% man-made controllers and synchonized music. 

    Tim Meyer Holiday Lights Display

    1913 Waterford Circle, Chaska | Nightly from 5 pm -10 pm

    Tim Meyer's display features 5000 lights and a 16 channel computer controlled light show, with a low Power FM Transmitter for audio tune to 106.5. Playlist includes The Little Drummer Boy by Alexander O’Neil, Carol of the Bells by The Piano Guys, Peanuts Linus & Lucy Theme Song and more!

    Schultz Family Lights

    1526 York Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106 | 5 pm -10 pm nightly

    Schultz Family Lights features over 45,000 colorful lights set to 91.5 FM. Schultz Family Lights accepts donations for the Merrick Food Shelf, which supports the Greater East Side. (See top right photo in grid for a preview).

    More residential displays:

    73rd and Portland Avenue South, Bloomington: Flashing display of bold colors.

    W 40th Street & Blaisdell Avenue, Minneapolis: Beautiful artistic arrangement of lights and shapes (see middle picture in photo grid above for a preview).

    4239 13th Avenue Street, Minneapolis: Green, gold and white themed lights with reindeer and other figurines (see bottom left photo in collage for a preview).

    3808 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis: Colorful snowmen, nutcracker and other figures lit in the yard, plus brightly lit trees and house.

    4001 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis : Music, carousal, merry-go-around, reindeer and more.

    4021 16th Avenue S., Minneapolis: Huge inflatable moving Santa, blinking lights adorn the entire house and front yard.

    Lac Lavon Dr & Crystal Lake Rd E. Burnville: Four huge displays on one block (See "Peace on Earth" photo in collage for a preview).

    Add to our map below by using the comment section or emailing paigelelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net to gives us a heads up about light displays in your neighborhood (or elsewhere). You can also contribute photos to our Storify by using the hashtag #tclightseeking or the tagging tcdailyplanet.  


     

    Holiday Attractions:

    A Very Electric Christmas: The Cowles Center | 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis | Dec 17 & 18, 7:30 pm

    Set to Christmas classics by Nat King Cole and Mariah Carey, this innovative Christmas show tells a story through lights and dancing (see a video preview in the Storify below).  See the website for more details.

    Holiday Lights in the Park

    Phalen Park, 1600 Phalen Drive St Paul, MN | 5:30 – 10 pm Daily

    A joint venture between the St. Paul chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the St. Paul Police Foundation, Holiday Lights in the Park serves a fund-raiser for Union Gospel Mission, the St. Paul Police Foundation and the St. Paul Parks Conservancy. The display runs until Jan 1. $8 per vehicle by ordering online; $10 at the gate. Click here to order tickets.

    Governor’s Mansion Holiday Tour

    1006 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN | Dec 16, 1 – 3 pm.

    Elaborate decorations and lights, including a performance by Concordia Academy Choir, a  huge decorated tree and more. No reservations required, as tours are filled on first-served basis. There's no fee, but organizers ask that you consider donating a non-perishable food item for Second Harvest Heartland. For more info call 651-201-3464 or email residence [dot] gov [at] state [dot] mn [dot] us

    Holidazzle Village

    Between 10th & 12th Street, downtown Minneapolis | Saturdays & Sundays

    The parade may be gone, but festive sights remain, with live reindeer, sparkling holiday floats (including  the dancing bulbs) and other colorful fun. Free (the Minneapolis Holiday Market has a one-time fee of $3) . Open until until Dec. 21.

    Macy’s Santaland

    700 On the Mall, 8th Floor Auditorium, downtown Minneapolis | Times vary

    Maryc’s Santaland is a classic holiday attraction for kids, now in its 52nd year.  Enjoy old-fashioned fun, with fresh baked cookies, animatronic elf puppets, musical puppet shows and more. Open until Dec 24. Free ($4 for Macy’s Puppet Theater shows). Go here for more details.

    Night Trains

    Twin Cities Railroad Museum | 1021 Bandana Boulevard East #222, Saint Paul | Saturdays, 6 – 9 pm

    Twin City Model Railroad Museum’s Night Trains are back, rolling around the tracks of the magical make-believe town of Matlin. See the warm glow of colorful miniature lights on the train, set against the blizzardy town nightscape. Night Trains runs until the last Saturday in February. Santa Claus makes a special visit December 20; $10. Free for children 4 and under. (See a video of Night Trains in action in the Storify below)

    Prairie Lights

    George Moran Dr & Donegal Cove, Eden Prairie | Sun -Thurs: 5 - 9:30 pm; Fri - Sat: 5 – 10 pm

    Thousands of Christmas lights synchronized to music on 88.1 FM. Also, Prairie Lights is a drop-off location for unwanted lights and collects pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Free. Runs until Jan. 4.

    Rice Park

    109 West 4th Street, Saint Paul | Nightly

    Few displays in the Twin Cities usher in the holiday season like the gorgeous cluster of over 25,000 energy-efficient LED lights found at Rice Park. The nearby Wells Fargo Winter Skate tops of the winter wonderland feel of the area. Rick Park will be lit up until Jan. 1. 

    Recycle Your Holidays: Don't forget to recycle your lights! Check the interactive map to find the nearest location to drop off those unwanted bulbs!

     

     [If you don't see the Storify photos and comments below, please refresh your browser window.]

    [<a href="//storify.com/tcdailyplanet/eye-candy-in-the-cities-holiday-light-displays-201" target="_blank">View the story "Twin Cities' streets come alive with holiday lights!" on Storify</a>]

     

    Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

    Now is the time to shine, light-seekers! Holiday sparkle is back, illuminating cold, dark winter streets with bursts of vivid color and community spirit. Below, we’ve made a list – and checked it twice – of a few choice spots to see holiday lights around the Twin Cities and beyond. Scroll down to see how you can share your photos and add light displays in your community to our list!

    Related seasonal articles below:

    Tis the Season of Giving & Receiving

    2014 Holiday Arts & Attractions Roundup

    Shop small, shop local

     

     

     

    <a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/8522440/">When should holiday lights and decor go up?</a>

     

    Holiday Light Displays

    Taking in neighborhood light displays never seems to gets old. Whether they're religious or secular, there’s something captivating about a neighborhood all lit up with holiday cheer, each house putting forth their best designs. We've started with a list of residential displays, some of which were submitted by readers. We invite you to add displays to our list by using the comment section or emailing paigelelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net


    The Beaumont Holiday Light Show

    229 21st Avenue South, South Saint Paul, MN | 5 - 11:30 pm

    Featured are 11,000 bulbs in blue, soft white, and bright white, with wireframe angels, deer, and trees choreographed to music that you can hear by tuning into 97.9 FM in stereo.

    Glowing Tree in Bloomington

    9145 Meadowview Road, Bloomington | Nightly

    The big, glowing oak tree in Bloomington features over 35,000 glowing lights and is a sight to behold. WCCO reports that this could be the last year of the glowing tree, so make sure to see it if you haven’t already. (See first photo in the grid above for a preview).

    MN Light Show

    303 Snail Lake Road, Shoreview | Mon - Fri & Sun, 4:30 - 10 pm; Sat.,4:30 - 11 pm

    Inspired by Walt Disney World's "Spectacle of Lights," this family-opereated light display is a feast for the eyes, with 100% man-made controllers and synchonized music. 

    Tim Meyer Holiday Lights Display

    1913 Waterford Circle, Chaska | Nightly from 5 pm -10 pm

    Tim Meyer's display features 5000 lights and a 16 channel computer controlled light show, with a low Power FM Transmitter for audio tune to 106.5. Playlist includes The Little Drummer Boy by Alexander O’Neil, Carol of the Bells by The Piano Guys, Peanuts Linus & Lucy Theme Song and more!

    Schultz Family Lights

    1526 York Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106 | 5 pm -10 pm nightly

    Schultz Family Lights features over 45,000 colorful lights set to 91.5 FM. Schultz Family Lights accepts donations for the Merrick Food Shelf, which supports the Greater East Side. (See top right photo in grid for a preview).

    More residential displays:

    73rd and Portland Avenue South, Bloomington: Flashing display of bold colors.

    W 40th Street & Blaisdell Avenue, Minneapolis: Beautiful artistic arrangement of lights and shapes (see middle picture in photo grid above for a preview).

    4239 13th Avenue Street, Minneapolis: Green, gold and white themed lights with reindeer and other figurines (see bottom left photo in collage for a preview).

    3808 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis: Colorful snowmen, nutcracker and other figures lit in the yard, plus brightly lit trees and house.

    4001 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis : Music, carousal, merry-go-around, reindeer and more.

    4021 16th Avenue S., Minneapolis: Huge inflatable moving Santa, blinking lights adorn the entire house and front yard.

    Lac Lavon Dr & Crystal Lake Rd E. Burnville: Four huge displays on one block (See "Peace on Earth" photo in collage for a preview).

    Add to our map below by using the comment section or emailing paigelelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net to gives us a heads up about light displays in your neighborhood (or elsewhere). You can also contribute photos to our Storify by using the hashtag #tclightseeking or the tagging tcdailyplanet.  


     

    Holiday Attractions:

    A Very Electric Christmas: The Cowles Center | 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis | Dec 17 & 18, 7:30 pm

    Set to Christmas classics by Nat King Cole and Mariah Carey, this innovative Christmas show tells a story through lights and dancing (see a video preview in the Storify below).  See the website for more details.

    Holiday Lights in the Park

    Phalen Park, 1600 Phalen Drive St Paul, MN | 5:30 – 10 pm Daily

    A joint venture between the St. Paul chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the St. Paul Police Foundation, Holiday Lights in the Park serves a fund-raiser for Union Gospel Mission, the St. Paul Police Foundation and the St. Paul Parks Conservancy. The display runs until Jan 1. $8 per vehicle by ordering online; $10 at the gate. Click here to order tickets.

    Governor’s Mansion Holiday Tour

    1006 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN | Dec 16, 1 – 3 pm.

    Elaborate decorations and lights, including a performance by Concordia Academy Choir, a  huge decorated tree and more. No reservations required, as tours are filled on first-served basis. There's no fee, but organizers ask that you consider donating a non-perishable food item for Second Harvest Heartland. For more info call 651-201-3464 or email residence [dot] gov [at] state [dot] mn [dot] us

    Holidazzle Village

    Between 10th & 12th Street, downtown Minneapolis | Saturdays & Sundays

    The parade may be gone, but festive sights remain, with live reindeer, sparkling holiday floats (including  the dancing bulbs) and other colorful fun. Free (the Minneapolis Holiday Market has a one-time fee of $3) . Open until until Dec. 21.

    Macy’s Santaland

    700 On the Mall, 8th Floor Auditorium, downtown Minneapolis | Times vary

    Maryc’s Santaland is a classic holiday attraction for kids, now in its 52nd year.  Enjoy old-fashioned fun, with fresh baked cookies, animatronic elf puppets, musical puppet shows and more. Open until Dec 24. Free ($4 for Macy’s Puppet Theater shows). Go here for more details.

    Night Trains

    Twin Cities Railroad Museum | 1021 Bandana Boulevard East #222, Saint Paul | Saturdays, 6 – 9 pm

    Twin City Model Railroad Museum’s Night Trains are back, rolling around the tracks of the magical make-believe town of Matlin. See the warm glow of colorful miniature lights on the train, set against the blizzardy town nightscape. Night Trains runs until the last Saturday in February. Santa Claus makes a special visit December 20; $10. Free for children 4 and under. (See a video of Night Trains in action in the Storify below)

    Prairie Lights

    George Moran Dr & Donegal Cove, Eden Prairie | Sun -Thurs: 5 - 9:30 pm; Fri - Sat: 5 – 10 pm

    Thousands of Christmas lights synchronized to music on 88.1 FM. Also, Prairie Lights is a drop-off location for unwanted lights and collects pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Free. Runs until Jan. 4.

    Rice Park

    109 West 4th Street, Saint Paul | Nightly

    Few displays in the Twin Cities usher in the holiday season like the gorgeous cluster of over 25,000 energy-efficient LED lights found at Rice Park. The nearby Wells Fargo Winter Skate tops of the winter wonderland feel of the area. Rick Park will be lit up until Jan. 1. 

    Recycle Your Holidays: Don't forget to recycle your lights! Check the interactive map to find the nearest location to drop off those unwanted bulbs!

     

     [If you don't see the Storify photos and comments below, please refresh your browser window.]

    [<a href="//storify.com/tcdailyplanet/eye-candy-in-the-cities-holiday-light-displays-201" target="_blank">View the story "Twin Cities' streets come alive with holiday lights!" on Storify</a>]

     

    Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

    ©2013 Paige Elliott

    Announcing the Connections Mural at Folwell School!

    Thu, 2014-12-11 14:26
    Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association

    In partnership with Folwell School, Performing Arts Magnet, and the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO), SENA is thrilled to announce the start of a public mural project that will be installed on an exterior wall of Folwell School in the summer of 2015. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

    Folwell School, located on a border street (E. 36th St.) between the Corcoran and Standish neighborhoods, was reopened in 2012 as a K-8 school after the former middle school had been shuttered for several years. Many neighbors still do not know about these changes at Folwell, and the mural project is a great opportunity for community engagement and interaction with the school.

    Mural artist Greta McLain will create a large (2,000 sq. ft.!), painted mural through a series of community events held this winter and spring. Greta will work with community members to visualize the connections that unite the school, neighborhoods, and community. She is examining three themes that will influence the mural’s design:

    1. What things cause us to disconnect from one another? (Such as language or cultural differences)
    2. How do we connect to each other? What things/qualities/conditions bring us together? (Such as parenting, age, identity, beliefs)
    3. How can we further connect? What would a world look like where we all felt supported and connected to one another?

    More about the Artist

    Greta McLain has 10 years of muralmaking experience. She earned her BA degree from the University of California Davis and her MFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and she has traveled in South America and Europe studying new and traditional mural techniques. She has created and painted mosaic murals throughout the Twin Cities and in Argentina, Mexico, France, Memphis, and Philadelphia. McLain was awarded “El Fuerte de Barragan” for Artistic and Community Excellence for the mural Construyendo el Futuro with artist Melina Slobodian in December, 2009 in Ensenada, Argentina. One of her murals, the Central Identity

    Project, was voted Best Mural 2014 by City Pages. Greta has also worked on mural projects at South and Roosevelt high schools.

    To see more of her work, check out www.gretamclain.com and www.gretamclain.tumblr.com.

    Three design events are scheduled in 2014 to collect community feedback on the mural’s design. The first was held at the CNO Cook Off on Nov. 19. The next two are in the Standish Neighborhood. Please come out to contribute to the design at either one of these community events:

    • Dec. 7, SENA Holiday Tree Lighting, 4:00 to 6:00p.m. at A-Tree Service (1849 E. 38th St.)
    • Dec. 18, before the evening concert at Folwell School (3611 20th Ave. S.)

    If you are interested in submitting your design input but unable to attend the design events, submit your ideas via e-mail to ghmclain [at] gmail [dot] com.

    Greta will start mural fabrication in February. The mural will be created using an innovative, indirect mural technique called the “parachute cloth method.” This technique allows her to build the mural not on a wall but on tables, with community and school participation. The material will be painted at school and community events in the spring, and installation will take place in the summer. When complete, the Connections Mural will be installed on the exterior of Folwell School to stand as a large and beautiful reminder of what brings neighbors together.

    In partnership with Folwell School, Performing Arts Magnet, and the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO), SENA is thrilled to announce the start of a public mural project that will be installed on an exterior wall of Folwell School in the summer of 2015. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

    Folwell School, located on a border street (E. 36th St.) between the Corcoran and Standish neighborhoods, was reopened in 2012 as a K-8 school after the former middle school had been shuttered for several years. Many neighbors still do not know about these changes at Folwell, and the mural project is a great opportunity for community engagement and interaction with the school.

    Mural artist Greta McLain will create a large (2,000 sq. ft.!), painted mural through a series of community events held this winter and spring. Greta will work with community members to visualize the connections that unite the school, neighborhoods, and community. She is examining three themes that will influence the mural’s design:

    1. What things cause us to disconnect from one another? (Such as language or cultural differences)
    2. How do we connect to each other? What things/qualities/conditions bring us together? (Such as parenting, age, identity, beliefs)
    3. How can we further connect? What would a world look like where we all felt supported and connected to one another?

    More about the Artist

    Greta McLain has 10 years of muralmaking experience. She earned her BA degree from the University of California Davis and her MFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and she has traveled in South America and Europe studying new and traditional mural techniques. She has created and painted mosaic murals throughout the Twin Cities and in Argentina, Mexico, France, Memphis, and Philadelphia. McLain was awarded “El Fuerte de Barragan” for Artistic and Community Excellence for the mural Construyendo el Futuro with artist Melina Slobodian in December, 2009 in Ensenada, Argentina. One of her murals, the Central Identity

    Project, was voted Best Mural 2014 by City Pages. Greta has also worked on mural projects at South and Roosevelt high schools.

    To see more of her work, check out www.gretamclain.com and www.gretamclain.tumblr.com.

    Three design events are scheduled in 2014 to collect community feedback on the mural’s design. The first was held at the CNO Cook Off on Nov. 19. The next two are in the Standish Neighborhood. Please come out to contribute to the design at either one of these community events:

    • Dec. 7, SENA Holiday Tree Lighting, 4:00 to 6:00p.m. at A-Tree Service (1849 E. 38th St.)
    • Dec. 18, before the evening concert at Folwell School (3611 20th Ave. S.)

    If you are interested in submitting your design input but unable to attend the design events, submit your ideas via e-mail to ghmclain [at] gmail [dot] com.

    Greta will start mural fabrication in February. The mural will be created using an innovative, indirect mural technique called the “parachute cloth method.” This technique allows her to build the mural not on a wall but on tables, with community and school participation. The material will be painted at school and community events in the spring, and installation will take place in the summer. When complete, the Connections Mural will be installed on the exterior of Folwell School to stand as a large and beautiful reminder of what brings neighbors together.

    © 2014 Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association

    Prospect Park takes action to address winter street parking woes

    Thu, 2014-12-11 13:05
    The Minnesota Daily

    Unlike several other University of Minnesota neighborhoods, Prospect Park’s streets are winding, narrow and not laid out in a grid system.

    In winter months, snow combined with two lanes of street parking tends to congest the area’s roads, prompting its residents to take action to remedy seasonal traffic concerns.

    When the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association conducted a survey last spring, almost two-thirds of respondents reported concerns for area safety and accessibility during the winter, said Evan Roberts, PPERRIA’s transportation chair.

    “People were concerned with the safety and narrowness of the streets,” Roberts said.

    Late last month, the group enacted new winter rules, which restrict parking to one side of the road for streets 28 feet wide or narrower between mid-November and April.

    Those restrictions will begin this winter if the neighborhood decides to set up temporary signs, Roberts said, as Minneapolis’ frozen turf makes it impossible to install permanent signage until next year.

    Roberts said survey respondents brought up other concerns, too — including worries that the new Green Line light rail station would exacerbate area parking demand — but said this initiative was prioritized.

    Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon said he was impressed with the neighborhood’s autonomy and resolve to address winter street safety.

    “I’ve been pretty impressed that we’ve gotten this far so quickly,” he said.

    Resident Kari Simonson said she thought the need for winter parking change was obvious.

    She said Prospect Park’s streets become impassable for large vehicles days before the city declares a snow emergency.

    “My kid’s bus drives through, and there were a couple of mornings where we were waiting and the bus was late,” she said.

    In one such instance, Simonson said, she heard of a bus driver knocking on doors in the neighborhood to find people who could move the cars blocking the bus.

    “If a school bus can’t make those turns, there is no way a full-size fire truck can,” she said.

    Changing the neighborhood’s parking rules was relatively quick, Roberts said.

    Gordon said that could be because PPERIA took extra steps to organize and lay out its plan.

    “They created a task force, and we actually had a community meeting,” he said. “It’s good to see people working and concerned and taking their time to solve some problems.”

    More than 100 people responded to the survey, Roberts said, before the questionnaire’s results were forwarded to nearly 1,000 PPERIA members, who also provided feedback.

    “We gave people a lot of opportunity to weigh in,” Roberts said.

    Still, Gordon said the plan isn’t set in stone and could be altered.

    “Hopefully this will work out. I’ve already heard a few people who don’t necessarily like the idea of going one-sided automatically,” he said. “We may end up refining the idea.”

    Unlike several other University of Minnesota neighborhoods, Prospect Park’s streets are winding, narrow and not laid out in a grid system.

    In winter months, snow combined with two lanes of street parking tends to congest the area’s roads, prompting its residents to take action to remedy seasonal traffic concerns.

    When the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association conducted a survey last spring, almost two-thirds of respondents reported concerns for area safety and accessibility during the winter, said Evan Roberts, PPERRIA’s transportation chair.

    “People were concerned with the safety and narrowness of the streets,” Roberts said.

    Late last month, the group enacted new winter rules, which restrict parking to one side of the road for streets 28 feet wide or narrower between mid-November and April.

    Those restrictions will begin this winter if the neighborhood decides to set up temporary signs, Roberts said, as Minneapolis’ frozen turf makes it impossible to install permanent signage until next year.

    Roberts said survey respondents brought up other concerns, too — including worries that the new Green Line light rail station would exacerbate area parking demand — but said this initiative was prioritized.

    Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon said he was impressed with the neighborhood’s autonomy and resolve to address winter street safety.

    “I’ve been pretty impressed that we’ve gotten this far so quickly,” he said.

    Resident Kari Simonson said she thought the need for winter parking change was obvious.

    She said Prospect Park’s streets become impassable for large vehicles days before the city declares a snow emergency.

    “My kid’s bus drives through, and there were a couple of mornings where we were waiting and the bus was late,” she said.

    In one such instance, Simonson said, she heard of a bus driver knocking on doors in the neighborhood to find people who could move the cars blocking the bus.

    “If a school bus can’t make those turns, there is no way a full-size fire truck can,” she said.

    Changing the neighborhood’s parking rules was relatively quick, Roberts said.

    Gordon said that could be because PPERIA took extra steps to organize and lay out its plan.

    “They created a task force, and we actually had a community meeting,” he said. “It’s good to see people working and concerned and taking their time to solve some problems.”

    More than 100 people responded to the survey, Roberts said, before the questionnaire’s results were forwarded to nearly 1,000 PPERIA members, who also provided feedback.

    “We gave people a lot of opportunity to weigh in,” Roberts said.

    Still, Gordon said the plan isn’t set in stone and could be altered.

    “Hopefully this will work out. I’ve already heard a few people who don’t necessarily like the idea of going one-sided automatically,” he said. “We may end up refining the idea.”

    © 2014 The Minnesota Daily

      Nokomis East Neighborhood Association town hall meeting set for Dec. 11

      Tue, 2014-12-09 14:42
      edfelien@souths... Southside Pride

      The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) will host a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Keewaydin School cafeteria.

      From the NENA Board to Southside Pride:

      “At the meeting on Dec.11, the current board intends to fill the eight existing vacancies. The board has decided to solicit nominations for open seats from the voting members and has committed to appoint the candidates chosen by each neighborhood. To avoid perception of any board influence or bias in the process, NENA is working with an independent meeting facilitator and NCR [city] staff to run the meeting and oversee the neighborhood choosing process.”

      The quiet calm of the Nokomis community was shocked into sudden high alert when the NENA Board, at its Oct. 23 meeting and seemingly without prior notice, fired its two staff members who had been with the organization for 15 years. Three board members resigned in protest.

      Southside Pride asked the board:

      In the absence of any performance reviews or objective standards the firing of staff by the board seemed arbitrary and capricious. Can you, within the limits of employer-employee confidentiality, provide any explanation?

      The board responded:

      “The decision made by the majority of board members was not arbitrary or sudden, contrary to the statements made by the former staff members. The board had been trying unsuccessfully for many months to engage staff in a strategic review of NENA’s activities within the framework of the funding and resources available, and the staff was well aware of the issues that led to the board’s actions.”

      The conflict between the staff and board now seems to have been a long simmering cauldron of discontent. As revealed in postings on the Nokomis Issues List, Rita Ulrich, the executive director, had written a “whistleblower” letter to board members in January complaining that their secret meetings were in possible violation of open meeting laws. There was an unsuccessful attempt to fire the staff at that point. There was another attempt a few months later, but action was postponed until after the Monarch Festival.

      What may have seemed inevitable to staff and board was shocking to the Nokomis community. Some neighbors, concerned about transparency and accountability wanted to hold a separate meeting to recall the board and establish a fresh organization. They have since withdrawn their proposal and canceled their meeting.

      At this point it seems the NENA Board has made every effort to make their Town Hall meeting on Dec. 11 as open and democratic as possible. They have promised to respect the will of the community.

      Participation in a community organization is a generally thankless task—long hours away from home and family and frustrating meetings, but active participation insures that everyone has a say in what their community means. Not everyone can participate. Not everyone will want to participate. We should be grateful to those that make the sacrifice of their time and energy on behalf of our community.

      The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) will host a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Keewaydin School cafeteria.

      From the NENA Board to Southside Pride:

      “At the meeting on Dec.11, the current board intends to fill the eight existing vacancies. The board has decided to solicit nominations for open seats from the voting members and has committed to appoint the candidates chosen by each neighborhood. To avoid perception of any board influence or bias in the process, NENA is working with an independent meeting facilitator and NCR [city] staff to run the meeting and oversee the neighborhood choosing process.”

      The quiet calm of the Nokomis community was shocked into sudden high alert when the NENA Board, at its Oct. 23 meeting and seemingly without prior notice, fired its two staff members who had been with the organization for 15 years. Three board members resigned in protest.

      Southside Pride asked the board:

      In the absence of any performance reviews or objective standards the firing of staff by the board seemed arbitrary and capricious. Can you, within the limits of employer-employee confidentiality, provide any explanation?

      The board responded:

      “The decision made by the majority of board members was not arbitrary or sudden, contrary to the statements made by the former staff members. The board had been trying unsuccessfully for many months to engage staff in a strategic review of NENA’s activities within the framework of the funding and resources available, and the staff was well aware of the issues that led to the board’s actions.”

      The conflict between the staff and board now seems to have been a long simmering cauldron of discontent. As revealed in postings on the Nokomis Issues List, Rita Ulrich, the executive director, had written a “whistleblower” letter to board members in January complaining that their secret meetings were in possible violation of open meeting laws. There was an unsuccessful attempt to fire the staff at that point. There was another attempt a few months later, but action was postponed until after the Monarch Festival.

      What may have seemed inevitable to staff and board was shocking to the Nokomis community. Some neighbors, concerned about transparency and accountability wanted to hold a separate meeting to recall the board and establish a fresh organization. They have since withdrawn their proposal and canceled their meeting.

      At this point it seems the NENA Board has made every effort to make their Town Hall meeting on Dec. 11 as open and democratic as possible. They have promised to respect the will of the community.

      Participation in a community organization is a generally thankless task—long hours away from home and family and frustrating meetings, but active participation insures that everyone has a say in what their community means. Not everyone can participate. Not everyone will want to participate. We should be grateful to those that make the sacrifice of their time and energy on behalf of our community.

      © 2014 Southside Pride Nokomis East Neighborhood Association town hall meeting

      What's with the green donation bins around Dayton's Bluff?

      Tue, 2014-12-09 14:28
      Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      You may have noticed a few new donation bins around the East Side. But you may not have looked closely at these green structures. Put out by the Greener Read Company, they ask people to put books, DVDs, video games and other items down the chute.

      It seems that the green color and the name is meant to resonate with environmentally-concerned people. Other groups have similar bins, but if you look carefully, there is a difference: the Greener Read Company is a for-profit enterprise. Donors may not take tax deductions in the way one can for giving to registered nonprofit groups such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

      According to a recent newspaper interview, this business venture often sells these items for profit on Amazon or other outlets, and is looking at starting a retail outlet of their own to make money. Your donations may not be helping charitable groups at all.

      Their website emphasizes that they do recycle items that are damaged or can’t be sold, and they do donate some things to various places. The places that allow them to place bins on their property do get some monetary rewards and may not be aware that they are making profits off of donated material.

      You may have noticed a few new donation bins around the East Side. But you may not have looked closely at these green structures. Put out by the Greener Read Company, they ask people to put books, DVDs, video games and other items down the chute.

      It seems that the green color and the name is meant to resonate with environmentally-concerned people. Other groups have similar bins, but if you look carefully, there is a difference: the Greener Read Company is a for-profit enterprise. Donors may not take tax deductions in the way one can for giving to registered nonprofit groups such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

      According to a recent newspaper interview, this business venture often sells these items for profit on Amazon or other outlets, and is looking at starting a retail outlet of their own to make money. Your donations may not be helping charitable groups at all.

      Their website emphasizes that they do recycle items that are damaged or can’t be sold, and they do donate some things to various places. The places that allow them to place bins on their property do get some monetary rewards and may not be aware that they are making profits off of donated material.

      © 2014 Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      Big construction projects signal renewed economic vitality in Dayton's Bluff

      Tue, 2014-12-09 14:24
      Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      Heading down East 6th or 7th Street from the west, a a visitor might be surprised at the amount of new construction and wonder if the neighborhood is starting over from scratch. It's likely that with four new major construction projects, many Dayton's Bluff residents aren't quite sure what's going on either. The map [above] shows the location and identity of each of these projects.

      Metropolitan State University, which is constructing a science center, a student center and a parking ramp, has provided a website link with information about the projects as well as a round-the-clock live cam trained on each of the three. Go to metrostate.edu and click on “Construction Updates.”

      Further east on 7th Street is Mississippi Market, scheduled to open its third St. Paul store in 2015. Regular updates and pictures can be found at msmarket.coop.
      Preservationists will be pleased to know that no existing buildings were torn down in the process of creating a sparkling new face of Dayton's Bluff.

      Heading down East 6th or 7th Street from the west, a a visitor might be surprised at the amount of new construction and wonder if the neighborhood is starting over from scratch. It's likely that with four new major construction projects, many Dayton's Bluff residents aren't quite sure what's going on either. The map [above] shows the location and identity of each of these projects.

      Metropolitan State University, which is constructing a science center, a student center and a parking ramp, has provided a website link with information about the projects as well as a round-the-clock live cam trained on each of the three. Go to metrostate.edu and click on “Construction Updates.”

      Further east on 7th Street is Mississippi Market, scheduled to open its third St. Paul store in 2015. Regular updates and pictures can be found at msmarket.coop.
      Preservationists will be pleased to know that no existing buildings were torn down in the process of creating a sparkling new face of Dayton's Bluff.

      © 2014 Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      Noise wall looms for Mounds Boulevard neighbors

      Tue, 2014-12-09 14:09
      Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      A planned noise wall in the Mounds Boulevard area is dividing residents and building owners as the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) gets ready to embark on an I-94 upgrade scheduled to begin in 2016.

      The disagreement is between those who like their view of downtown St. Paul (and aren't so bothered by the noise) and those who hate the noise (but may not mind having their view blocked or partially obstructed).

      After feedback from neighborhood meetings and a vote by those in the affected area, the original proposal was refined, with current plans calling for the barrier to stretch about two-tenths of a mile along the east-bound lanes of I-94, from Conway Street to Hudson and Wilson Roads.

      The issue was put to a vote because federal law requires that if highway noise exceeds a certain decibel level, then a wall must be erected unless the neighbors vote against it. But how the vote is conducted is subject to a complicated set of rules that evaluate proximity to the wall and allocate different numbers of points (or votes) to different categories of voters. Two points are allotted to renters, four to building owners and six to owner-residents. The votes are then further weighted by their proximity to the wall and, to make it even more complicated (some might say more undemocratic) the feds decree that for a vote against the wall to succeed, it must include more than 50% of all possible votes, not just those that are cast.

      The vote in the affected area was 27 for the wall and 27 against and since, under the voting formula, this was not sufficient to defeat the wall or trigger a revote, the construction is planned to go forward.

      Dissension continues among the neighbors, some of whom have asked the Dayton's Bluff Community Council to help facilitate a new discussion with MNDOT.

      And in another twist, although officially the noise wall has nothing to do with the proposed-but-still-unfunded Gateway Corridor that in 2019 would connect the Union Depot with Woodbury and possibly beyond, in reality the two projects connect. That's because if the Gateway is built, one of the possible stops is on Old Hudson Road which would mean that a big portion of the noise wall would have to be torn down, and a new vote would be triggered for reconstruction of the wall. There's not much disagreement among the Mounds Boulevard neighbors that that would be a big waste of money.

      A planned noise wall in the Mounds Boulevard area is dividing residents and building owners as the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) gets ready to embark on an I-94 upgrade scheduled to begin in 2016.

      The disagreement is between those who like their view of downtown St. Paul (and aren't so bothered by the noise) and those who hate the noise (but may not mind having their view blocked or partially obstructed).

      After feedback from neighborhood meetings and a vote by those in the affected area, the original proposal was refined, with current plans calling for the barrier to stretch about two-tenths of a mile along the east-bound lanes of I-94, from Conway Street to Hudson and Wilson Roads.

      The issue was put to a vote because federal law requires that if highway noise exceeds a certain decibel level, then a wall must be erected unless the neighbors vote against it. But how the vote is conducted is subject to a complicated set of rules that evaluate proximity to the wall and allocate different numbers of points (or votes) to different categories of voters. Two points are allotted to renters, four to building owners and six to owner-residents. The votes are then further weighted by their proximity to the wall and, to make it even more complicated (some might say more undemocratic) the feds decree that for a vote against the wall to succeed, it must include more than 50% of all possible votes, not just those that are cast.

      The vote in the affected area was 27 for the wall and 27 against and since, under the voting formula, this was not sufficient to defeat the wall or trigger a revote, the construction is planned to go forward.

      Dissension continues among the neighbors, some of whom have asked the Dayton's Bluff Community Council to help facilitate a new discussion with MNDOT.

      And in another twist, although officially the noise wall has nothing to do with the proposed-but-still-unfunded Gateway Corridor that in 2019 would connect the Union Depot with Woodbury and possibly beyond, in reality the two projects connect. That's because if the Gateway is built, one of the possible stops is on Old Hudson Road which would mean that a big portion of the noise wall would have to be torn down, and a new vote would be triggered for reconstruction of the wall. There's not much disagreement among the Mounds Boulevard neighbors that that would be a big waste of money.

      © 2014 Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      Preparing the field: Urban Oasis

      Mon, 2014-12-08 14:49
      Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      Urban Oasis closes the year with a celebration of the harvest and plans for new growth.

      In June 2014, Urban Oasis officially launched. The winning idea in The St. Paul Foundation’s 2013 $1 Million Forever St. Paul Challenge, Urban Oasis is now an initiative of The Lower Phalen Creek Project.

      “As we approach the end of the year, we’re taking stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going,” says Tracy Sides, executive director and founder of Urban Oasis. “Since June, we’ve worked with more than 40 community organizations to serve the people of the East Side. And next year, we’ve got a lot of exciting ways people can discover the magic of food.”

      Urban Oasis has assembled staff and a nine-member community advisory panel to help shape the organization’s five-year plan. The group has begun building the trellis that will hold Urban Oasis for years to come.

      “Many of our staff and community advisory panel members live and work on the East Side. We’ve got similar values around the power of food. We’re committed to cultivating a healthy, resilient, and prosperous community by strengthening the local food system and increasing access and enjoyment of sustainably-grown, affordable, whole food,” Sides said.

      Here are a few of the things Urban Oasis has accomplished this year:

      • Held the first annual Urban Oasis Food Fest in August, drawing nearly 1,000 people from the neighborhood and beyond.
      • Developed the Urban Oasis Healthy Meal-Making program, which will launch a free pilot class to East Side residents in January to teach food skills for use at home or in the job market.
      • Created menus and plans for catering and food product development programs that will launch in March, focusing on purchasing from underserved local farmers.
      • Published a monthly newsletter featuring articles related to Urban Oasis programs, food-system issues, and human-interest stories from East Side community members and business owners.
      • Established an office in the East Side Enterprise Center, a home that enables collaboration with area organizations committed to the economic development of the East Side.
      • Partnered with Latino Economic Development Center to reopen an incubator kitchen on the bluff in 2015, for food entrepreneurs, job training, community classes, and workshops.

      As Sides looks ahead to next year, she’s excited about the opportunities Urban Oasis is creating. “I believe that food can change the world. Food is a part of every celebration, every milestone, and every big moment of our lives. It’s the magic that creates happy people and healthy neighborhoods.”

      To sign up for their newsletter or get involved in any Urban Oasis programs, visit www.urbanoasismn.org.

      Urban Oasis closes the year with a celebration of the harvest and plans for new growth.

      In June 2014, Urban Oasis officially launched. The winning idea in The St. Paul Foundation’s 2013 $1 Million Forever St. Paul Challenge, Urban Oasis is now an initiative of The Lower Phalen Creek Project.

      “As we approach the end of the year, we’re taking stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going,” says Tracy Sides, executive director and founder of Urban Oasis. “Since June, we’ve worked with more than 40 community organizations to serve the people of the East Side. And next year, we’ve got a lot of exciting ways people can discover the magic of food.”

      Urban Oasis has assembled staff and a nine-member community advisory panel to help shape the organization’s five-year plan. The group has begun building the trellis that will hold Urban Oasis for years to come.

      “Many of our staff and community advisory panel members live and work on the East Side. We’ve got similar values around the power of food. We’re committed to cultivating a healthy, resilient, and prosperous community by strengthening the local food system and increasing access and enjoyment of sustainably-grown, affordable, whole food,” Sides said.

      Here are a few of the things Urban Oasis has accomplished this year:

      • Held the first annual Urban Oasis Food Fest in August, drawing nearly 1,000 people from the neighborhood and beyond.
      • Developed the Urban Oasis Healthy Meal-Making program, which will launch a free pilot class to East Side residents in January to teach food skills for use at home or in the job market.
      • Created menus and plans for catering and food product development programs that will launch in March, focusing on purchasing from underserved local farmers.
      • Published a monthly newsletter featuring articles related to Urban Oasis programs, food-system issues, and human-interest stories from East Side community members and business owners.
      • Established an office in the East Side Enterprise Center, a home that enables collaboration with area organizations committed to the economic development of the East Side.
      • Partnered with Latino Economic Development Center to reopen an incubator kitchen on the bluff in 2015, for food entrepreneurs, job training, community classes, and workshops.

      As Sides looks ahead to next year, she’s excited about the opportunities Urban Oasis is creating. “I believe that food can change the world. Food is a part of every celebration, every milestone, and every big moment of our lives. It’s the magic that creates happy people and healthy neighborhoods.”

      To sign up for their newsletter or get involved in any Urban Oasis programs, visit www.urbanoasismn.org.

      © 2014 Dayton's Bluff District Forum

      NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | December 2014-January 2015 Standish-Ericsson community events calendar

      Mon, 2014-12-08 14:44
      Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association

      December 2014

      2 Senior congregate dining, Sibley Park (19th Ave. S. and E. 40th St.), 11:30 a.m.
      4 Holiday Boutique, Minnehaha Senior Living (3733 23rd Ave. S.), 3:00–6:00 p.m.
      7 SENA Holiday Tree Lighting and Mural Design Event, A-Tree Service (1849 E. 38th St.), 4:00–6:00p.m.
      8 Dementia Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living, 7:00 p.m.
      SENA Board meeting, 1830 E. 42nd St., 7:00 p.m., handicapped accessible
      10 Nokomis Healthy Seniors Health Program: “Music for Life,” Musician Mary Hall. Nokomis Square Cooperative (5015 35th Ave. S.), 1:30 p.m.
      16 Parkinson’s Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living, 3:30 p.m.
      18 Concert and Mural Design Event, Folwell School, Performing Arts Magnet (3611 20th Ave. S.).

      January 2015

      6 Senior congregate dining, Sibley Park (19th Ave. S. and E. 40th St.), 11:30 a.m.
      12 Dementia Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living (3733 23rd Ave. S.), 7:00 p.m.
      SENA Board meeting, 1830 E. 42nd St., 7:00 p.m., handicapped accessible
      14 Nokomis Healthy Seniors Health Program, Nokomis Square Cooperative (5015 35th Ave. S.), 1:30 p.m.
      17 Used Book Sale, Roosevelt Library (4026 28th Ave. S.), 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
      20 Parkinson’s Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living, 3:30 p.m.
      22 Senior blood pressure checks, Standish Green (2210 E. 40th St.), 12:00 noon
      Caregiver Support Group, Bethel Lutheran Church (4120 17th Ave. S.), 1:00 p.m.

      December 2014

      2 Senior congregate dining, Sibley Park (19th Ave. S. and E. 40th St.), 11:30 a.m.
      4 Holiday Boutique, Minnehaha Senior Living (3733 23rd Ave. S.), 3:00–6:00 p.m.
      7 SENA Holiday Tree Lighting and Mural Design Event, A-Tree Service (1849 E. 38th St.), 4:00–6:00p.m.
      8 Dementia Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living, 7:00 p.m.
      SENA Board meeting, 1830 E. 42nd St., 7:00 p.m., handicapped accessible
      10 Nokomis Healthy Seniors Health Program: “Music for Life,” Musician Mary Hall. Nokomis Square Cooperative (5015 35th Ave. S.), 1:30 p.m.
      16 Parkinson’s Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living, 3:30 p.m.
      18 Concert and Mural Design Event, Folwell School, Performing Arts Magnet (3611 20th Ave. S.).

      January 2015

      6 Senior congregate dining, Sibley Park (19th Ave. S. and E. 40th St.), 11:30 a.m.
      12 Dementia Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living (3733 23rd Ave. S.), 7:00 p.m.
      SENA Board meeting, 1830 E. 42nd St., 7:00 p.m., handicapped accessible
      14 Nokomis Healthy Seniors Health Program, Nokomis Square Cooperative (5015 35th Ave. S.), 1:30 p.m.
      17 Used Book Sale, Roosevelt Library (4026 28th Ave. S.), 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
      20 Parkinson’s Support Group, Minnehaha Senior Living, 3:30 p.m.
      22 Senior blood pressure checks, Standish Green (2210 E. 40th St.), 12:00 noon
      Caregiver Support Group, Bethel Lutheran Church (4120 17th Ave. S.), 1:00 p.m.

      © 2014 Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association

      Promise Zone could invigorate north Minneapolis, some question its efficacy

      Sun, 2014-12-07 14:55
      The Minnesota Daily

      Lesa Clarkson started connecting Minneapolis’ middle and high school students with University of Minnesota undergraduate tutors last year.

      As an associate director for the University’s STEM Education Center, she oversees a group of undergraduate and graduate students who prepare students citywide for the ACT.

      The program operates partly in north Minneapolis, a historically low-income part of the city. The area has been subject to much attention from both city officials and University staff members, some of whom say it needs lasting attention for it to improve.

      “A thing like this will take a generation,” Clarkson said.

      To help the area, University and city leaders applied late last month to receive a Promise Zone designation. If approved, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would make a section of north Minneapolis part of a program the president started last year to help create jobs and improve education in low-income areas.

      The designation, which would last 10 years, doesn’t provide any grants. But it would give the proposed zone preference for some federal programs, said Jay Stroebel, Minneapolis’ deputy city coordinator. Five AmeriCorps VISTA members would work in the area, and a federal liaison would be assigned to the zone.

      The city applied for the first round of designations in 2013, but wasn’t on the list of accepted areas released early this year, Stroebel said. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will announce the second group of Promise Zones this spring, he said.

      Obama designated five Promise Zones this year, and he has pledged to create 20 in total by the end of 2016.

      The University is active in creating opportunities in north Minneapolis. For example, its Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center — which houses initiatives like Clarkson’s Prepare2Nspire program — is located within the proposed Promise Zone.

      UROC Executive Director Heidi Barajas said the federal designation would align the University’s work with the city’s to help identify problem areas, adding that the two could more closely collaborate if the Promise Zone designation is approved.

      “People are already doing remarkable work,” she said. “The way that one aligns is to take the work that you’re doing and look at where the overlap is, look at where the redundancy is, but also to look at where the gaps are.”

      Ward 4 City Councilwoman Barbara Johnson represents part of the proposed zone and expressed some concern with the proposal, saying the city is applying for the designation without looking at what kinds of initiatives have worked or not worked in the past.

      “I’ve been around long enough so that I’ve lived through an empowerment zone and an enterprise zone,” she said. “You just wonder sometimes when you don’t see a lot of change, are these efforts worth it?”

      Although community workers may not have fully met their goals, Barajas said, that doesn’t mean there’s no progress.

      “[Past initiatives] may not have moved the dial to where we want it, but I know there are things that have been impacted and families whose lives have been improved.”

      Gloria James, a University family social science junior and a tutor for the Prepare2Nspire program, said there are already enough programs in the area, but they’re missing the people power to make them run.

      “A lack of volunteers seems to be the issue,” she said. “We need people to volunteer.”

      James said programs like Prepare2Nspire do a good job of providing children with college role models, but they could do more to encourage professionals to volunteer.

      Although some people expect results to come instantly, true progress takes time, said Forster Ntow, a University STEM education research assistant, who works for Prepare2Nspire.

      “People think it’s like a vaccine and that you’ll see results in a week,” he said.

      Stroebel said improving the outcome of education takes more than programs aimed at education. Public safety and housing should be top priorities, he said, followed by the educational achievement gap.

      “What works is not coming in and doing something to the community,” Clarkson said. “It’s working with the community.”

      Lesa Clarkson started connecting Minneapolis’ middle and high school students with University of Minnesota undergraduate tutors last year.

      As an associate director for the University’s STEM Education Center, she oversees a group of undergraduate and graduate students who prepare students citywide for the ACT.

      The program operates partly in north Minneapolis, a historically low-income part of the city. The area has been subject to much attention from both city officials and University staff members, some of whom say it needs lasting attention for it to improve.

      “A thing like this will take a generation,” Clarkson said.

      To help the area, University and city leaders applied late last month to receive a Promise Zone designation. If approved, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would make a section of north Minneapolis part of a program the president started last year to help create jobs and improve education in low-income areas.

      The designation, which would last 10 years, doesn’t provide any grants. But it would give the proposed zone preference for some federal programs, said Jay Stroebel, Minneapolis’ deputy city coordinator. Five AmeriCorps VISTA members would work in the area, and a federal liaison would be assigned to the zone.

      The city applied for the first round of designations in 2013, but wasn’t on the list of accepted areas released early this year, Stroebel said. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will announce the second group of Promise Zones this spring, he said.

      Obama designated five Promise Zones this year, and he has pledged to create 20 in total by the end of 2016.

      The University is active in creating opportunities in north Minneapolis. For example, its Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center — which houses initiatives like Clarkson’s Prepare2Nspire program — is located within the proposed Promise Zone.

      UROC Executive Director Heidi Barajas said the federal designation would align the University’s work with the city’s to help identify problem areas, adding that the two could more closely collaborate if the Promise Zone designation is approved.

      “People are already doing remarkable work,” she said. “The way that one aligns is to take the work that you’re doing and look at where the overlap is, look at where the redundancy is, but also to look at where the gaps are.”

      Ward 4 City Councilwoman Barbara Johnson represents part of the proposed zone and expressed some concern with the proposal, saying the city is applying for the designation without looking at what kinds of initiatives have worked or not worked in the past.

      “I’ve been around long enough so that I’ve lived through an empowerment zone and an enterprise zone,” she said. “You just wonder sometimes when you don’t see a lot of change, are these efforts worth it?”

      Although community workers may not have fully met their goals, Barajas said, that doesn’t mean there’s no progress.

      “[Past initiatives] may not have moved the dial to where we want it, but I know there are things that have been impacted and families whose lives have been improved.”

      Gloria James, a University family social science junior and a tutor for the Prepare2Nspire program, said there are already enough programs in the area, but they’re missing the people power to make them run.

      “A lack of volunteers seems to be the issue,” she said. “We need people to volunteer.”

      James said programs like Prepare2Nspire do a good job of providing children with college role models, but they could do more to encourage professionals to volunteer.

      Although some people expect results to come instantly, true progress takes time, said Forster Ntow, a University STEM education research assistant, who works for Prepare2Nspire.

      “People think it’s like a vaccine and that you’ll see results in a week,” he said.

      Stroebel said improving the outcome of education takes more than programs aimed at education. Public safety and housing should be top priorities, he said, followed by the educational achievement gap.

      “What works is not coming in and doing something to the community,” Clarkson said. “It’s working with the community.”

      © 2014 The Minnesota Daily

        St. Paul honors one of its most dedicated citizens: Come spring, look for Debbie Montgomery Street

        Sun, 2014-12-07 14:48
        Isaac Peterson

        After a long career in public life and many achievements and distinctions, St. Paul’s Debbie Montgomery recently racked up another one: having a large section of a major St. Paul street renamed in her honor.

        The St. Paul City Council earlier this month passed a resolution to rename Marshall Avenue in the area of St. Paul that includes the Rondo neighborhood. The plan is for “Debbie Montgomery” street signs to be placed on Marshall Avenue at the intersections of Lexington Parkway and Marshall, Victoria and Marshall, Dale and Marshall, and Western and Marshall.

        The ceremony celebrating the passage of the resolution has already taken place; the actual dedication and placing of street signs will happen, per Montgomery, “on a warm day when we can actually put the signs up.”

        This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Check out the links below for other recent Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder stories:

        Montgomery, a long-time Rondo neighborhood resident:

        • At the age of 17 was the youngest person ever elected to the National Board of Directors of the NAACP
        • Marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1963 March on Washington, and marched with him again from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for the Voting Rights Act
        • In 1975 became the first female officer in the St. Paul Police Department, eventually rising to the rank of senior commander, and in 2013 winning the Heritage Award from the International Association of Women Police
        • Was the Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety between 1991 and 1998
        • Was elected in 2004 to the St. Paul City Council.

        When we asked Montgomery what she considered her proudest achievement, she hesitated before replying, “I have never thought of it that way… People told me, ‘You just don’t beat your chest enough.’ I told them, ‘It’s not about me. It’s always been about my community, my city… It’s just not about me.

        “I’m a street fighter. I want to get down. If there’s a problem, I want to solve it. I don’t need the accolades. I just want to get things done.”

        Montgomery did, however, point to some of her accomplishments on behalf of her ward during her term on the city council: “In four years I got 1,350 new jobs, $109 million in new investment into the poorest ward in the city, 400 mixed-income housing units, the brand new Jimmy Lee rec center built, getting a Super Target built and making them hire 300 new employees, all Ward One residents.

        “Like I say, it’s not about me, it’s about getting stuff done. I saw a problem. The community said they needed jobs, they needed affordable housing.”

        Getting things done is still job one. Said Montgomery, “I’m teaching at two different colleges, MCTC and Hennepin Tech. I’m taking care of my husband and my mother and my brother. My mother and my brother were in a car accident two years ago, and both have traumatic brain injuries. My husband just had major bypass surgery in September, so he’s on his road to recovery.

        “I’m still engaged with the community. I’m still president of the YWCA Board of Directors, and I’m involved in numerous community activities and boards.

        “I’m still busy trying to make sure people don’t forget Rondo, and working on the three things that are impacting African Americans in this city: the achievement gap, the education and income disparities between African Americans and Whites, and closing the gap between African Americans and Whites in incarceration.”

        Montgomery is also involved in trying to help resolve some remaining issues with light rail in St. Paul and the proposal to change the number of lanes on University Avenue in St. Paul.

        As for what the future holds, Montgomery answered, “I want to stay involved with issues that this community and the city have. I just want to thank my community and my city and city leaders for the support they’ve given me to make our community and this city more livable.

        “I’m still in the struggle, still trying to make sure the doors are open for everybody.”

        Isaac Peterson welcomes reader responses to ipeterson [at] spokesman-recorder [dot] com.

        After a long career in public life and many achievements and distinctions, St. Paul’s Debbie Montgomery recently racked up another one: having a large section of a major St. Paul street renamed in her honor.

        The St. Paul City Council earlier this month passed a resolution to rename Marshall Avenue in the area of St. Paul that includes the Rondo neighborhood. The plan is for “Debbie Montgomery” street signs to be placed on Marshall Avenue at the intersections of Lexington Parkway and Marshall, Victoria and Marshall, Dale and Marshall, and Western and Marshall.

        The ceremony celebrating the passage of the resolution has already taken place; the actual dedication and placing of street signs will happen, per Montgomery, “on a warm day when we can actually put the signs up.”

        This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Check out the links below for other recent Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder stories:

        Montgomery, a long-time Rondo neighborhood resident:

        • At the age of 17 was the youngest person ever elected to the National Board of Directors of the NAACP
        • Marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1963 March on Washington, and marched with him again from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for the Voting Rights Act
        • In 1975 became the first female officer in the St. Paul Police Department, eventually rising to the rank of senior commander, and in 2013 winning the Heritage Award from the International Association of Women Police
        • Was the Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety between 1991 and 1998
        • Was elected in 2004 to the St. Paul City Council.

        When we asked Montgomery what she considered her proudest achievement, she hesitated before replying, “I have never thought of it that way… People told me, ‘You just don’t beat your chest enough.’ I told them, ‘It’s not about me. It’s always been about my community, my city… It’s just not about me.

        “I’m a street fighter. I want to get down. If there’s a problem, I want to solve it. I don’t need the accolades. I just want to get things done.”

        Montgomery did, however, point to some of her accomplishments on behalf of her ward during her term on the city council: “In four years I got 1,350 new jobs, $109 million in new investment into the poorest ward in the city, 400 mixed-income housing units, the brand new Jimmy Lee rec center built, getting a Super Target built and making them hire 300 new employees, all Ward One residents.

        “Like I say, it’s not about me, it’s about getting stuff done. I saw a problem. The community said they needed jobs, they needed affordable housing.”

        Getting things done is still job one. Said Montgomery, “I’m teaching at two different colleges, MCTC and Hennepin Tech. I’m taking care of my husband and my mother and my brother. My mother and my brother were in a car accident two years ago, and both have traumatic brain injuries. My husband just had major bypass surgery in September, so he’s on his road to recovery.

        “I’m still engaged with the community. I’m still president of the YWCA Board of Directors, and I’m involved in numerous community activities and boards.

        “I’m still busy trying to make sure people don’t forget Rondo, and working on the three things that are impacting African Americans in this city: the achievement gap, the education and income disparities between African Americans and Whites, and closing the gap between African Americans and Whites in incarceration.”

        Montgomery is also involved in trying to help resolve some remaining issues with light rail in St. Paul and the proposal to change the number of lanes on University Avenue in St. Paul.

        As for what the future holds, Montgomery answered, “I want to stay involved with issues that this community and the city have. I just want to thank my community and my city and city leaders for the support they’ve given me to make our community and this city more livable.

        “I’m still in the struggle, still trying to make sure the doors are open for everybody.”

        Isaac Peterson welcomes reader responses to ipeterson [at] spokesman-recorder [dot] com.

        © 2014 Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

        New vendor selected for Como Lakeside Pavilion

        Fri, 2014-12-05 14:51

        After months of speculation, a new vendor was selected to operate Como Lakeside Pavilion.

        Como Dockside is slated to open in spring 2015 and will include a full-service restaurant, an expanded summer concession stand and new recreational options. Based on community feedback and evaluation, listening sessions and more than 1,000 public comments, Como Dockside will be a center for the community first and foremost, according to city councilmember Amy Brendmoen.

        If the tentative agreement is approved by the St. Paul City Council on Dec. 17, the pavillion will be run by Jon and Jarret Oulman, the father-and-son team behind Amsterdam Bar in downtown St. Paul and the 331 Club in Minneapolis.

        “The new vendors are very much responding to what the community is asking for,” Brendmoen said.

        This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Park Bugle. Check out the links below for other recent Park Bugle stories:

        The Oulmans say they hope to provide visitors with a place to enjoy year round, a community hub that includes great food, both indoor and outdoor activities, and plenty of fun-filled events. Fans of the Music in the Park series need not worry, the contract requires a minimum of 100 events per year on the outdoor promenade, including up to 20 dates selected by the city for its Music in the Park concerts.

        “We’re very excited about this opportunity,” Jon Oulman said. “We are going to activate the lake. We will add new paddleboats and canoes—lots of activities.”

        The Oulmans plan to have a picnic-type menu for the restaurant, which will also include local beers.

        “Folks can bring a picnic basket or get one from us and get out on the water,” Oulman said. An overhaul of the building will make the venue cozier and more welcoming during the winter months as well, he said. The team is considering adding a small arcade facility downstairs for kids of all ages.

        While the Oulmans will take over the building the first week in January, a meet-and-greet event is tentatively planned for mid-January. “We want an opportunity to introduce ourselves,” Oulman explained. “We won’t have much to show everyone yet, the ink is still drying, but we are excited to reach out to the community as soon as possible.”

        “The city has been amazing to work with,” he added. “They made the process as smooth as possible and were clear about what the neighborhood wanted. I’m a longtime St. Paul resident. I feel that in St. Paul, city officials assume you are trying to do the right thing by the community, and they help you get there.”

        The proposal will be reviewed by the parks commission next week and go to the City Council for final approval on Dec. 17.

        After months of speculation, a new vendor was selected to operate Como Lakeside Pavilion.

        Como Dockside is slated to open in spring 2015 and will include a full-service restaurant, an expanded summer concession stand and new recreational options. Based on community feedback and evaluation, listening sessions and more than 1,000 public comments, Como Dockside will be a center for the community first and foremost, according to city councilmember Amy Brendmoen.

        If the tentative agreement is approved by the St. Paul City Council on Dec. 17, the pavillion will be run by Jon and Jarret Oulman, the father-and-son team behind Amsterdam Bar in downtown St. Paul and the 331 Club in Minneapolis.

        “The new vendors are very much responding to what the community is asking for,” Brendmoen said.

        This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Park Bugle. Check out the links below for other recent Park Bugle stories:

        The Oulmans say they hope to provide visitors with a place to enjoy year round, a community hub that includes great food, both indoor and outdoor activities, and plenty of fun-filled events. Fans of the Music in the Park series need not worry, the contract requires a minimum of 100 events per year on the outdoor promenade, including up to 20 dates selected by the city for its Music in the Park concerts.

        “We’re very excited about this opportunity,” Jon Oulman said. “We are going to activate the lake. We will add new paddleboats and canoes—lots of activities.”

        The Oulmans plan to have a picnic-type menu for the restaurant, which will also include local beers.

        “Folks can bring a picnic basket or get one from us and get out on the water,” Oulman said. An overhaul of the building will make the venue cozier and more welcoming during the winter months as well, he said. The team is considering adding a small arcade facility downstairs for kids of all ages.

        While the Oulmans will take over the building the first week in January, a meet-and-greet event is tentatively planned for mid-January. “We want an opportunity to introduce ourselves,” Oulman explained. “We won’t have much to show everyone yet, the ink is still drying, but we are excited to reach out to the community as soon as possible.”

        “The city has been amazing to work with,” he added. “They made the process as smooth as possible and were clear about what the neighborhood wanted. I’m a longtime St. Paul resident. I feel that in St. Paul, city officials assume you are trying to do the right thing by the community, and they help you get there.”

        The proposal will be reviewed by the parks commission next week and go to the City Council for final approval on Dec. 17.

        © 2014 Park Bugle

        East Side Enterprise Center now open for business

        Thu, 2014-12-04 16:18
        carla riehle Dayton's Bluff District Forum

        The East Side Enterprise Center (ESEC) has held two major events to introduce itself to the world: the October 30 New Moon community celebration and the official November 18 Grand Opening for all ESEC partners.

        Each event showcased a separate aspect of ESEC. The New Moon festival proved it's a family-friendly gathering place for the whole community, with a petting zoo, live music, Day of the Dead activities, Big Free Library and, of course, food. ESEC is already hosting a wide variety of organizational meetings and will soon also be available for private events.

        The Grand Opening highlighted the rainbow alliance for small business that ESEC has created and is continuing to nurture. Event chair Mario Hernández, Vice-President of the Latino Economic Development Center, stressed a common theme: the new level of energy and vitality on the East Side, and a confidence that by working together and supporting each other, the neighborhood's disparate cultural and ethnic communities will be much stronger and successful. Sia Lo, administrator of Dellwood Gardens assisted living center and leader in the Hmong community, echoed that sentiment, comparing the revitalization of the East Side to the community determination that created the Grand Avenue business area.

        The brainchild of Hernández and Dayton's Bluff Community Council Executive Director Deanna Abbott-Foster, ESEC now has 12 organizational partners that will bring their services to the East Side. And in a move akin to moving from Baltic Avenue to Park Place, it's also the sparkling new home of the Dayton's Bluff Community Council.

        The Grand Opening also served as the venue to announce the formation of the newly-formed East Side Alive, an unprecedented collaborative of funders and city and nonprofit agencies. The group's first project has been to submit an application for Promise Zone designation, President Obama's plan to create economic opportunity in high-poverty communities. Whether or not the designation is achieved, East Side Alive has determined that it will continue to support and promote the upward trajectory of the new East Side.

        More information about all these initiatives and individual partners can be found at daytonsbluff.org.

        The East Side Enterprise Center (ESEC) has held two major events to introduce itself to the world: the October 30 New Moon community celebration and the official November 18 Grand Opening for all ESEC partners.

        Each event showcased a separate aspect of ESEC. The New Moon festival proved it's a family-friendly gathering place for the whole community, with a petting zoo, live music, Day of the Dead activities, Big Free Library and, of course, food. ESEC is already hosting a wide variety of organizational meetings and will soon also be available for private events.

        The Grand Opening highlighted the rainbow alliance for small business that ESEC has created and is continuing to nurture. Event chair Mario Hernández, Vice-President of the Latino Economic Development Center, stressed a common theme: the new level of energy and vitality on the East Side, and a confidence that by working together and supporting each other, the neighborhood's disparate cultural and ethnic communities will be much stronger and successful. Sia Lo, administrator of Dellwood Gardens assisted living center and leader in the Hmong community, echoed that sentiment, comparing the revitalization of the East Side to the community determination that created the Grand Avenue business area.

        The brainchild of Hernández and Dayton's Bluff Community Council Executive Director Deanna Abbott-Foster, ESEC now has 12 organizational partners that will bring their services to the East Side. And in a move akin to moving from Baltic Avenue to Park Place, it's also the sparkling new home of the Dayton's Bluff Community Council.

        The Grand Opening also served as the venue to announce the formation of the newly-formed East Side Alive, an unprecedented collaborative of funders and city and nonprofit agencies. The group's first project has been to submit an application for Promise Zone designation, President Obama's plan to create economic opportunity in high-poverty communities. Whether or not the designation is achieved, East Side Alive has determined that it will continue to support and promote the upward trajectory of the new East Side.

        More information about all these initiatives and individual partners can be found at daytonsbluff.org.

        © 2014 Dayton's Bluff Disrict Forum

          West Bank Business Association enters second year of cleanups

          Thu, 2014-12-04 14:29
          The Minnesota Daily

          After Cedar-Riverside businesses complained for years that graffiti and street trash were deterring customers from the area, the West Bank Business Association banded together with other local organizations to clean up their neighborhood.

          The WBBA is now gearing up for a second year of seasonal community cleanups to rid the area of graffiti and litter, said its executive director, Jamie Schumacher.

          In 2015, the group plans to increase its quarterly efforts and sweep through the West Bank area on a monthly basis.

          During cold winter months, Schumacher said the organization will coordinate future cleanup efforts so they can roll out as soon the temperature hits 35 degrees.

          “In sunny optimism, you think, ‘Let’s start doing it in January,’” Schumacher said. “But January is very cold.”

          Each season, she said, a rotating team of community members spreads out across Cedar-Riverside. Some groups come to every cleanup, she said.

          Volunteers from local businesses led the WBBA’s first-ever cleanup last spring, and nonprofit workers took over the summer effort, she said. Schumacher said this fall’s work involved students, mostly from Augsburg College.

          The WBBA also launched a graffiti-prevention campaign, hanging posters that read: “We live here. We work here. We learn here.”

          Because of Cedar-Riverside’s multilingual demographics, Schumacher said, the group decided to print the posters in a variety of languages, including Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

          Those efforts mirror common community approaches to improve neighborhood aesthetics, said Ed Goetz, a professor at the University of
          Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.

          “The cleanup of trash [and] graffiti is really important for maintaining an atmosphere that seems welcoming,” he said.

          Phill Kelly, interim director for the West Bank Community Coalition, was on hand at the recent fall cleanup.

          “This is both a response to [a] need that is not filled as well as a community-building activity,” he said.

          Kelly said he would like to see Cedar-Riverside be turned into a business improvement district — like that of downtown Minneapolis where a crew of ambassadors carries out tasks like pressure-washing streets, removing old gum from public spaces, patrolling sidewalks, and decorating the downtown blocks with baskets of flowers and twinkling winter lights.

          “[It’s] one of the things our neighborhood has looked for,” he said. “This is kind of the volunteer version of that.”

          But Kelly said that an official Cedar-Riverside improvement district can’t take off without approval from local area property owners. He said support has been lackluster because of funding concerns.

          While the West Bank as a community greatly benefits from volunteer cleanup work, he said, the area’s issues aren’t isolated.

          “It’s a pretty normal problem to have throughout the whole city,” Kelly said. “You see graffiti everywhere, you see trash everywhere and you see people throwing trash on the ground everywhere.”

          Both Kelly and Schumacher said the cleanup effort has seen results just a year into its existence.

          “Each time we did it, we found less and less graffiti,” Schumacher said. “And each time we did it, we went a little bit further.”

          After Cedar-Riverside businesses complained for years that graffiti and street trash were deterring customers from the area, the West Bank Business Association banded together with other local organizations to clean up their neighborhood.

          The WBBA is now gearing up for a second year of seasonal community cleanups to rid the area of graffiti and litter, said its executive director, Jamie Schumacher.

          In 2015, the group plans to increase its quarterly efforts and sweep through the West Bank area on a monthly basis.

          During cold winter months, Schumacher said the organization will coordinate future cleanup efforts so they can roll out as soon the temperature hits 35 degrees.

          “In sunny optimism, you think, ‘Let’s start doing it in January,’” Schumacher said. “But January is very cold.”

          Each season, she said, a rotating team of community members spreads out across Cedar-Riverside. Some groups come to every cleanup, she said.

          Volunteers from local businesses led the WBBA’s first-ever cleanup last spring, and nonprofit workers took over the summer effort, she said. Schumacher said this fall’s work involved students, mostly from Augsburg College.

          The WBBA also launched a graffiti-prevention campaign, hanging posters that read: “We live here. We work here. We learn here.”

          Because of Cedar-Riverside’s multilingual demographics, Schumacher said, the group decided to print the posters in a variety of languages, including Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

          Those efforts mirror common community approaches to improve neighborhood aesthetics, said Ed Goetz, a professor at the University of
          Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.

          “The cleanup of trash [and] graffiti is really important for maintaining an atmosphere that seems welcoming,” he said.

          Phill Kelly, interim director for the West Bank Community Coalition, was on hand at the recent fall cleanup.

          “This is both a response to [a] need that is not filled as well as a community-building activity,” he said.

          Kelly said he would like to see Cedar-Riverside be turned into a business improvement district — like that of downtown Minneapolis where a crew of ambassadors carries out tasks like pressure-washing streets, removing old gum from public spaces, patrolling sidewalks, and decorating the downtown blocks with baskets of flowers and twinkling winter lights.

          “[It’s] one of the things our neighborhood has looked for,” he said. “This is kind of the volunteer version of that.”

          But Kelly said that an official Cedar-Riverside improvement district can’t take off without approval from local area property owners. He said support has been lackluster because of funding concerns.

          While the West Bank as a community greatly benefits from volunteer cleanup work, he said, the area’s issues aren’t isolated.

          “It’s a pretty normal problem to have throughout the whole city,” Kelly said. “You see graffiti everywhere, you see trash everywhere and you see people throwing trash on the ground everywhere.”

          Both Kelly and Schumacher said the cleanup effort has seen results just a year into its existence.

          “Each time we did it, we found less and less graffiti,” Schumacher said. “And each time we did it, we went a little bit further.”

          © 2014 The Minnesota Daily

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