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Columnist / Non-Profits
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Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
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Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
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Meg Forney
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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.

Monday
Apr232018

Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge Repairs Update

Via an April 23 e-newsletter from Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board:

Boom Isand-Nicollet Island BridgeThe Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge opened as a railroad bridge in 1901. It was converted into a pedestrian bridge in the early 1980s.

Bridge will be closed for repairs late May-September

The Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge rehabilitation project is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 21, 2018. Work is expected to be complete by early September.

During construction, the pedestrian and bicycle trail bridge connecting Boom Island/BF Nelson Park to Nicollet Island will be closed to all traffic. A pedestrian and bicycle detour will be posted for the duration of the project.

The project was able to proceed after the City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to allow rehabilitation of and alterations to the existing Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge on April 17, 2018 and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners approved a construction contract on April 18, 2018.

In late 2013, the bridge was closed to emergency and maintenance vehicles after an inspection discovered significant deterioration. Emergency repairs were completed in July 2015 to replace the bearings on the north abutment and modify the ends of the stringers. The bridge was then reopened to emergency and maintenance vehicle traffic.  

Please read the Discussion Item submitted to the Heritage Preservation Commission last spring for more information on the updated design of the bridge rehabilitation.

Project page

Monday
Apr232018

Mill District Traffic Community Meeting Scheduled for May 3rd at Stonebridge Lofts

A Mill District Traffic Community Meeting with City Council Member Steve Fletcher, Park Board Commissioner Jono Cowgill, and Minneapolis Public Works staff is scheduled for Thursday, May 3rd, from 5:30pm–6:30pm at the Stonebridge Lofts Community Room, 1120 S 2nd Street.

Please join Council Member Fletcher and City staff for this community meeting about traffic in the Mill District, including pedestrian and bike networks, to share your feedback and ideas on how the City can plan to better meet the needs of our growing neighborhood.

Contact Ward 3 City Council Member Steve Fletcher at 612‐673‐2203, FacebookWeb or Email: Steve.Fletcher@minneapolismn.gov.

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please contact Ward 3 City Council Member Steve Fletcher per the info above. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612‐673‐3000. TTY users call 612‐673‐2157 or 612‐673‐2626.

Monday
Apr232018

Northern Lights.MN Announces Winner of the 2018 Creative City Challenge

Excerpt from a recent Northern.Lights.MN e-newsletter:

Carry On Homes rendering by Carry On family

We are pleased to announce that Carry On Homes, a multi-functional pavilion hosting the stories of immigrants in Minnesota was selected by a national jury of arts professionals and community advocates as the winner of the 6th annual Creative City Challenge. Carry On Homes will be installed June - August in The Commons, where individuals can come together to explore the concept of home through community gatherings, workshops, live performances and personal reflection. Home is a universal idea that transcends divisions by race, religion, gender identity, and class. At home, we belong, we feel safe and we are loved.

Eric Quint, Chief Design Officer at 3M Company and Creative City Challenge Jury Chair said: “On behalf of the jury we want to congratulate the winning team for capturing the stories of immigrants searching for a place to build their homes. The multi-cultural team, connected through their artistic backgrounds, created this authentic installation to bring people together in the public space uniting them across nationalities.

Read more about Carry On Homes' five artists from five countries here

The project is made possible by the City of Minneapolis’ Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program in association with Northern Lights.MN and The Commons

Sunday
Apr222018

Mill City Singers 2018 Summer Performance Line-up Ends with a Finale at The Ordway 

Article by Claudia Kittock

It has been an exciting and busy season for the Mill City Singers. Only 2 ½ years old, this group has grown from 29 singers in the first session to a roster of 227 singers. The group began as a pilot project, funded by the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA), and with the mission of forming community.  The African concept, ubuntu, speaks of our interconnectedness and interdependence; it means “I am because we are.” Who we are as individuals is achieved through our relationship with others. Nowhere is this more evident than in this group of singers.

Mill City Singers and J.D. Steel at the Guthrie's April 16 Prince celebration

Daniel Levitin, professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience at McGill University, says that “The joy of singing…the communal part of it, the part where differences are reconciled and we’re all just in it together, that’s the truly uplifting power of it.” We also know that singing for even 10 minutes reduces stress, clears sinuses, improves posture, and may even help you live longer. If that happens after 10 minutes, imagine the benefits of singing together 90 minutes every Saturday.

Mill City Singers was formed to build community through the joy of singing. Its power lies not in its artistic quality, since members are amateurs, many of whom don’t read music or who say “I don’t have much of a voice.”  Instead, the choir’s power is in the uniting of diverse voices, singing in harmony, all just in it together. The magic is that the sound we produce is wonderful. Why? We aren’t sure, but we know that love and community play a huge role in that magic.

There are many performances for the Mill City Singers in the next 2 months. On May 15th, the Singers will join the Capri Glee and the MacPhail Youth Community Choir for a performance at the Capri Theater on West Broadway at 7:00pm. If you have never attended a concert there, put it on your calendar. We promise the building will be rocking!

On May 19th, the Singers will be singing on the steps of the Minnesota State Capital at 1:00 pm. It is an event to promote legislation for reducing gun violence. We hope you all join us there.

The Loring Park Music Festival is June 9th and we will be a featured group. If you haven’t been to this Festival, please plan to go. It is great fun in a neighborhood filled with vibrancy. We appreciate getting to know our neighbors and lending our voices to this party.

We will be singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch of the June 21 Minnesota Twins game. This has become a summer tradition and is a highlight for the singers. Come and sing along with us.

The last event of the season will be June 23rd at the Ordway in St. Paul. We will again join with Capri Glee and the MacPhail Community Youth Choir to honor veterans in a 7:00pm concert.

What a year! We are so grateful to this community for their support. The Metro Regional Arts Council (MRAC) has awarded us two grants, and we are hoping for another one. The Guthrie Theater provides us rehearsal space at no cost, and our Singers are generous contributors. We know how lucky we are to sing here, led by the magical J.D. and Fred Steele.

New singers are always welcome. If this sounds like fun, and it is, contact Claudia Kittock at cjkittock@gmail.com. All you need is a heart for singing and community. Give it a try. I’m betting you won’t be able to resist!

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).
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Contact: claudia@millcitymedia.org

 

Wednesday
Apr182018

Design Week for the East of the River Park Master Plan kicks off April 30!

Via an April 18 e-newsletter from Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

Draft park designs for all neighborhood parks in NE/SE Minneapolis debut at Community Open House May 3

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is excited to announce East of the River Park Master Plan Design Week, April 30-May 4, 2018! Project Page

First, meet the park designers and kick off Design Week at the sixth East of the River Park Master Plan Community Advisory Committee meeting on Monday, April 30, 6-8 pm at Luxton Recreation Center, 112 Williams Ave. SE. Then check out new park design concepts for every Minneapolis neighborhood park east of the Mississippi River at a Community Open House on Thursday, May 3, 4-7 pm at MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road.

East of the River Park Master Plan CAC Meeting #6
Date: Monday, April 30, 2018
Time: 6-8 pm
Location: Luxton Recreation Center
Address: 112 Williams Ave. SE

All CAC meetings are open to the public and offer free children’s activities and delicious food!
 
East of the River Park Community Open House
Date: Thursday, May 3, 2018
Time: 4-7 pm
Location: MPRB Headquarters
Address: 2117 West River Road

Draft park design concepts will be on display for the community to review and discuss directly with designers and staff.

Wednesday
Apr182018

Stone Arch Bridge Planned Closure 7am-5pm, April 19-20, for Power Line Maintenance

 

Weather permitting, the Stone Arch Bridge will be closed from 7:00am to 5:00pm on April 19 and April 20. The closure is necessary for Xcel Energy to perform maintenance on overhead power lines running between towers at Gold Medal Park and Father Hennepin Bluff Park.

Please follow posted detours and stay clear of areas where work is being performed.

Tuesday
Apr172018

Retail Task Force Launches New Initiative for Enhancing Nicollet Shopping Experience

Via an April 17 News Release from the mpls downtown council:

The mpls downtown council’s 2025 plan development committee and its retail task force announced today a comprehensive plan for shaping downtown’s retail district along Nicollet between 5th and 10th streets.

A group of 33 task force members—including representatives from the City of Minneapolis, downtown retail locations, brokerage teams, property owners and management groups, and other downtown stakeholders—convened regularly to address short-, medium- and long-term plans for enhancing downtown’s retail scene.

The goal is to identify challenges in brick-and-mortar retail happening nationwide, assessing how retail fits the changing downtown landscape and build a platform for finding new tenants for spaces along Nicollet in our city’s core.

“We’ve already seen $300 million worth of private investment along the new Nicollet, including incredible investment in The Dayton’s Project. We know Nicollet is an important gathering destination for our city,” said Steve Cramer, president & ceo of the mpls downtown council. “This task force is assessing how we can position new retail tenants to succeed in our downtown, which continues to see overall business vitality, residential growth and visitor traffic.”

Their findings included the following strategies: 

· Define, publicize and market a core downtown retail district on Nicollet from 5th to 10th streets

· Create a comprehensive booklet used for marketing downtown retail to interested parties

· Organize an ongoing alliance of stakeholders (building owners/managers, commercial and retail brokers, retailers, public officials, business associations) focused on communication and alignment of interests, coordinated messaging, cross promotions, updating useful data and coordinating tenant recruitment

· Examine signage and regulatory requirements

· Work to develop smaller store footprints

· Integrate Nicollet and downtown safety and activation strategies into core retail district

“This is the perfect time to convene the expertise of this task force to work on opening a new era of retail on Nicollet,” said David Frank, co-chair of the 2025 Plan’s retail task force and Director of the City of Minneapolis Community Planning & Economic Development department. “We are embracing this moment of opportunity and a chance to redevelop the shopping scene in our city’s core.”

The retail task force understands the importance of retail throughout downtown, but their specific focus is revitalizing the shopping scene along Nicollet. Through focusing on economics, access and overall perception, the group is looking to re-establish Nicollet as a unique shopping experience in the heart of our thriving city.

“Our retail community downtown understands we need to work together to ensure that our shopping scene continues to grow and thrive,” said Deb Kolar, 2025 plan retail task force member and general manager of IDS Center on behalf of Accesso Services Inc. “This task force has identified a collective strategic approach to enhance retail here in downtown and help us reach new audiences looking to expand in our market while building a corridor that consumers will love.”

Other important aspects of the retail task force committees work include street-to-skyway wayfinding, working on coordinated efforts to lure new businesses downtown, and addressing new approaches to targeted retail businesses.

The Development Committee is one of six 2025 Plan committees, and the retail task force is one of five sub-committees carrying out the Development Committee’s initiatives. These six main 2025 Plan committees, comprised of more than 350 volunteers, are working to create an extraordinary downtown by addressing the 2025 Plan’s 10 key initiatives established in 2011.

For more information on The 2025 Plan’s initiatives or overall development downtown, follow @mplsdowntown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #mplsdowntown and #2025plan.

Sunday
Apr152018

Timeless New High-rise Riverfont Condominium Planned for Minneapolis

UPDATED APRIL 15, 2018

Download staff report/site plan (57MB)...

View all floor plans & project images...

Previous Mill City Times article...

The proposed project is a 43-story mixed-use tower with 2,500 square feet of commercial space and 105 residential units. The project is proposing to provide 415 structured parking stalls in 7-story above-grade enclosed parking podium.  185 of those spaces would be reserved for the office tenants of the existing building as a replacement for the existing surface parking lot. The remaining 230 parking spaces would be reserved for the residential units.

The commercial tenant space is located along the W River Parkway frontage on the ground level.  Residential amenity space, including a bike storage room, makes up the remainder of the ground-level frontage facing the parkway.   Primary vehicle access to the residential parking is proposed off of W River Parkway.   The parkway access leads to a large motor court with an additional principle residential entrance. The office tenant parking will be accessed off of 11th avenue S, as will the loading area. The project is proposing 12 surface parking stalls for guest parking as well as a small dog recreation area.

The project is proposing to establish a new public access pathway from the rear of the site connecting to West River Parkway.  Depending on agreements reached with adjacent property owners this right-of-way could connect through the block to adjacent properties and streets. There are currently no windows or active uses proposed along this public right-of-way.

The tower design employs limestone and granite at the base with an architectural precast concrete on the upper floors. The design utilizes a variety of setbacks and recesses to create balconies and terraces for the residential units.   The parking garage will be treated with false residential windows on all facades in order to create the appearance of active residential uses. The windows are not evenly distributed on the non-river facing facades. 7 floors of “accessory suites” are proposed at the northeast corner of the parking garage fronting partially on W River Parkway and partially onto the proposed motor court.

***PREVIOUSLY***

39 STORY CONDO PROJECT PROPOSED FOR MILL DISTRICT

The building is proposed to be 39 stories tall, with one to five homes per floor, for a total of 101 distinguished residences. It will feature architectural details and amenities designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, including a large landscaped rooftop deck with a pool affording dramatic views of the downtown skyline and river. Other details include, masonry facades with a hierarchical variety of windows; expansive private terraces on most floors; and other unique features. The private terraces will create setbacks that will form a memorable tower silhouette for the Minneapolis skyline. Construction could begin as early as the end of this year, with occupancy in 2020.

Full size Project images...

Strib article...

Journal article...

Via a March 7 News Release from Padilla:

World-Renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects Will Design First Twin Cities Tower

Luigi Bernardi and Ryan Companies US, Inc. will co-develop an ultra-luxury high-rise residential condominium tower in the Mill District of downtown Minneapolis. It will give residents unparalleled views of the Minneapolis skyline, including the Mississippi River, Stone Arch Bridge and Gold Medal Park. The future landmark will be designed by the world-renowned Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), acclaimed for designing some of the most iconic residential buildings in the world, including signature properties such as the record-setting 15 Central Park West in New York, One Bennett Park in Chicago and One St. Thomas Street in Toronto.

The elegant masonry and glass building, to be named “Eleven,” will be located near 1101 West River Parkway and Gold Medal Park.

“Eleven will establish a new standard for upscale urban living in Minneapolis,” said Carl Runck, Ryan Companies’ director of real estate development. Preliminary design concepts are being shared with the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association and City of Minneapolis officials.

The building is proposed to be 39 stories tall, with one to five homes per floor, for a total of 101 distinguished residences. It will feature architectural details and amenities designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, including a large landscaped rooftop deck with a pool affording dramatic views of the downtown skyline and river. Other details include, masonry facades with a hierarchical variety of windows; expansive private terraces on most floors; and other unique features. The private terraces will create setbacks that will form a memorable tower silhouette for the Minneapolis skyline. Construction could begin as early as the end of this year, with occupancy in 2020.

Photo credit Spacecrafting Photography 

“Not only will this building feature exceptional views of downtown and the Mississippi River, the design and quality of this building will add enduring value to the community,” added Luigi Bernardi, co-developer.

“I started my career with RAMSA in New York, and therefore know them well. I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact a RAMSA building can have on a market and a skyline. It sets a tone for others to follow.  It’s been decades since an architect of this caliber designed a project for the Twin Cities that was privately funded (since the Wells Fargo Tower was designed by Cesar Pelli), and we are thrilled to share our plans,” said Mike Ryan, Ryan’s SVP and market leader.

Paul L. Whalen, lead design architect for the project at RAMSA, sees the new building as an appealing bookend to the Mill District waterfront. “We want to bring urban living in Minneapolis to a new level,” said Whalen, “but just as importantly we want to anchor the east end of the city's riverfront with a visually powerful statement and a community that will enliven the neighborhood's streets, paths and parks.”

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, recognized for its modern traditional buildings in New York and other major international cities, is known for undertaking exhaustive neighborhood history studies to inform their designs. The residences will be offered exclusively by Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty, and reservations will be accepted starting in late March. “This will become the premier address in the Mill District,” said John Wanninger of Sotheby’s.

About Luigi Bernardi

Luigi Bernardi, serves as president of two real estate development and investment companies, Arcadia LLC and Aurora Investments which began developing Twin Cities commercial real estate in 1987. Now, focusing on medical-related facilities and multi-family residential development, recent projects include the Velo luxury apartments in downtown Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood and Aurora on France in Edina.

About Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Founded in 1938, Ryan Companies offers comprehensive commercial real estate services as a national developer, architect, capital investment consultant, builder and real estate manager with a focus on bringing lasting value to its customers and the communities in which it works. Ryan market depth includes retail, industrial, health care and senior living. Ryan development and corporate build-to-suit work spans a wide range of product types including office, mixed-use, hospitality, multifamily housing and mission critical facilities. Ryan has nearly 1,300 employees in 13 offices and has completed projects in 38 states. For more information, visit ryancompanies.com.

About Robert A. M. Stern Architects

Robert A.M. Stern Architects is a 265-person firm of architects, interior designers and support staff that has earned an international reputation as a leading design firm with wide experience in residential, commercial and institutional work throughout the U.S. and around the world. The firm's extraordinary portfolio of residential buildings, combining its longstanding dedication to the design of private residences with its deep commitment to urban place-making, includes such record-setting landmarks as 15 Central Park West in New York for Zeckendorf Development and residential towers in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vancouver. "Eleven" is the firm's first project in Minneapolis.

Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, practicing architect, teacher and writer, served as dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1998 through June of 2016. As founder and senior partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, he directs the firm's architecture, planning, interior design and landscape design projects. Mr. Stern was the 2011 Driehaus Prize laureate and has received both the Athena Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Board of Directors' Honor from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.

Paul L. Whalen, FAIA, is a partner and studio leader at Robert A.M. Stern Architects whose work includes the design of record-setting multifamily residential buildings across the United States as well as in Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. Along with Mr. Stern, Mr. Whalen is co-author of the 2016 monograph City Living: Apartment Houses by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. He currently serves as the president of Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation.

Sunday
Apr152018

The Pier in the River

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

Mill City Times photo from 2014, taken shortly after a number of blocks fell into the river.Many people who enjoy the Minneapolis riverfront throughout the seasons have more than likely noticed an old stone pier jutting out of the river, but what’s the story behind it? Every year, more bricks seem to fall into the river, and it is only a matter of time before the Mighty Mississippi erases all memory of this mysterious pier.

Going back to the early years of Minneapolis, in 1855 when the Hennepin Avenue Bridge became the first permanent crossing to go over the entire Mississippi, the needs of the city were met. However, the city was quickly growing, and when Minneapolis unified with St. Anthony, it became clear that more river crossings were necessary. One of the new bridges that was to be built would become the 10th Avenue Bridge. It connected 6th Avenue SE to 10th Avenue S. Since there is currently a 10th Avenue Bridge just downstream, I will be calling this bridge the Old 10th Avenue Bridge for the sake of this article.

The Old 10th Avenue Bridge from 1906

A painting of a similar view by Arnold Ness Klagstad from 1937

In 1874, the short-lived Kansas branch of the King Bridge Company completed the Old 10th Avenue Bridge. It consisted of a two lane 1,100-foot-long iron deck truss on top of five stone piers, and served pedestrians, carts and wagons for about sixteen years. In 1890, the Twin City Rapid Company installed a street car line on the bridge, which just happened to be a stone’s throw away from the spot where their new steam power plant would be built only thirteen years later. Since it was an iron bridge and not a much stronger and sturdier steel bridge, it did not exactly provide the safest experience when crossing the river. Once automobiles found their way to the area, they were also allowed to cross the bridge, and only a couple decades later, in 1934, the bridge was closed for good.

World War II saw a great need for raw materials, so the unused bridge ended up being torn down for scrap in 1943. During its almost seventy-year existence, the Old 10th Avenue Bridge was a daunting sight that connected the east side of the Minneapolis riverfront to the west side. While it might not have been the safest bridge, it saw Minneapolis grow from carts and wagons to street cars and automobiles. It served as an important river crossing for the city and eventually contributed to the U.S.’s war effort. Nowadays, it’s hard to picture the bridge in its heyday, but the lone stone pier in the river acts as a gateway into its once boisterous life. Let’s just hope we can all cherish the pier while it lasts.

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About Michael Rainville, Jr.

A 6th generation Minneapolitan, Michael Rainville Jr. received his B.A. in History from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently enrolled in their M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Museum Studies programs.

Michael is also a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 5+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Sunday
Apr152018

In the News - Downtown & the Riverfront Neighborhoods

Our weekly digest of stories about Downtown Minneapolis and the Central Riverfront neighborhoods:

WEEK OF 4/16/2018

Want a mummified monkey found in downtown Dayton's? No receipt needed
The remains found by a construction worker may have been animal stolen in '60s.

Minneapolis mummy monkey mystery: Solved already?
As the story was told to Murphy, his dad and a friend skipped school -- either junior high or high school -- to make their way downtown to execute their caper. Their plan went as follows: Step one, kidnap a monkey then on display as part of a Dayton's store window display by putting it in a backpack and escaping; step two, take it home.

Workers discover mummified monkey in former Minneapolis Dayton’s
A spokeswoman for the Dayton’s Project, an office, retail and restaurant complex going into the century-old building, said workers found the carcass in an air duct on the seventh floor last week.

Twin Cities Family Offers Theory On Mummified Monkey In Dayton’s
A Twin Cities family says it knows how a monkey died in the ceiling of the Dayton’s building in downtown Minneapolis back in the 1960s.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr152018

The Week Ahead in Mill City

Saturday
Apr142018

Handmade Couture Hats Created by NE Milliner Karen Morris

Article and photos by Merle Minda

A Karen Morris Millinery spring lineup.

“Does anyone still wear a hat?” was belted out by award-winning Broadway actress Elaine Stritch in Stephen Sondheim’s Company in 1971. It was a lyric from “The Ladies Who Lunch” and was the standout song from the show – Elaine won one of her four Tony Awards for her show-stopping performance.

A “Fascinator” for spring.Today we are all wearing hats and more hats, beyond fashion expectations. Perhaps because we are so enamored of England’s Royal family – Diana wore hats beautifully and now the new princesses are wearing hats, from “fascinators” to fedoras. With the Royal Wedding coming up we are sure to see more. The Royal Ascot Enclosure is ideal for hat-watching, and in the U.S., the Kentucky Derby, where hats are ‘de rigueur.’ Plus most women look good in hats and, in Minnesota; hats can be warm and cozy too.

Many well-known hat designers are gone now: Lily Daché, Schiaparelli, Tatiana of Saks and Hattie Carnegie – but Philip Treacy is the current famed favorite and hatmaker to the Royals including the almost-Princess, Meghan Markle.

So where does that leave us here in NE Minneapolis? Happily, we have our own couture hat designer: Karen Morris Millinery with a showroom handy on Hennepin Avenue between 3rd and 4th.

Karen Morris in her showroom.

This hat is truly fun to wear!Karen is an expat from Hong Kong, coming here with her Minneapolis husband in 2009. She was in marketing there but had a strong yen to become a fashion designer. She has now made that transition, designing the most gorgeous hats you could ever hope to find. She even attended the Royal Ascot event in England, where she was motivated to start designing hats.

Now her hats are featured in shops around the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the UAE. Locally you can find her hats at Dugo in the Galleria, Frank Murphy in White Bear Lake, and Scarborough Fair in St. Paul. Her hats are online, and in the Kentucky Derby online shop as well.

Another gorgeous one!

Easiest is to make an appointment with Karen at her NE shop, and you can see the full spring line for yourself. All of Karen’s hats are handmade in a variety of shapes and textures – and they are gorgeous. Even practical! Karen Morris hats are shown in many fashion shows around town, or you can order online. Go in for an appointment though, because then your hat choice is fitted and made for your head exactly, and you have a wide choice of fabrics, materials, colors and trimmings to choose from.

I walked out with this one!This spring her hats will be shown at Minnstafashion, Spring 2018 on April 19th at the W Hotel, and again at the April 26th Studio Progressive: A Minnesota Fashion Week Event at Northrup King Building in NE Minneapolis, and then on the 28th at the Galleria. Following the success of her collections, she has been featured in American Craft Shows, Smithsonian Craft Show, New York African Fashion Show, Pure London Show, ELLE, Pioneer and Star Tribune press and PBS’ MN Original series.

Quality, originality and simple elegance are the Karen Morris hallmark. Pricing is not too bad either, with hats starting at $195 for a summer straw.

So, we have a famous hat designer right on our own NE doorstep. Who knew?

Karen Morris Millinery is located at 326 E Hennepin Avenue. Phone 612-839-4857; follow on InstagramFacebook and Twitter. Email info@kmhats.com.

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at mminda@earthlink.net or TravelOverEasy.com on the web.

Saturday
Apr142018

Minneapolis City Council Approves "The Falls"


The Falls Visitor & Interpretive Center at the Upper Lock will be a game changer for the Central Riverfront, and a gateway to the Upper River

The Minneapolis City Council passed a Resolution today supporting The Falls, a redevelopment initiative to transform the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock into a visitor and interpretive center. The action underscores the City’s ongoing commitment to public interests and outcomes on the Central and Upper Riverfront.

What is The Falls?

The Falls is a destination visitor and interpretive center at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock. Once frequented by barges, the Upper Lock at St. Anthony Falls was closed to commercial navigation in 2015. The Falls envisions repositioning the Lock as a destination for recreational, touristic, and interpretive purposes. It will draw visitors to discover the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, our river national park, at one of its most iconic features: St. Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River, which thunders down a 49-foot drop on a concrete spillway at the toe of the iconic Stone Arch Bridge. The facility will implement the vision of multiple adopted plans and would become a destination feature of the 10-state Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway. It will:

    • Welcome people to the city, region and state with a Meet Minneapolis tourism association visitor center, offering information and a gateway to opportunities and experiences.
    • Provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about and experience this amazing site
with National Park Service Park Rangers.
    • Host interpretive exhibits and provide educational enrichment, for instance, about river history and ecology, civil works and engineering, hydrology, and culture.
    • Provide a unique venue for meetings and events.
    • Offer options for food and drink while enjoying spectacular views.
    • Serve as a hub of recreation and activity (e.g., biking, walking, fishing, paddling, water taxi).

 

The Falls is envisioned to include water access and water taxi service, which would ensure that the Central Riverfront could serve as a gateway to the Upper River.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has engaged in efforts to redevelop the Upper Lock since its closure, which occurred when he served as a member of City Council representing Ward 3, home to St. Anthony Falls and the Upper Lock. His administration has taken an interest in the transformative opportunities along the riverfront, including at Upper Harbor Terminal, the Grain Belt Historic District, the Post Office site (a future opportunity), and the Upper Lock.

“The Mississippi River is one of the defining features of our city and state. It demands that we think big. If we achieve our vision at The Falls, it’s going to be an amazing destination for learning, for culture, and frankly – for fun. It’s also going to be a gateway to the Upper River, and specifically to Upper Harbor Terminal. For a long time, these two sites were connected by commercial barging – and now they’ll be connected by community,” said Frey.

Minneapolis City Council Member Steve Fletcher, who championed the resolution, said, “This is a chance for us to implement what City, Park Board, and heritage plans have been calling for in this area for years. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

Friends of the Lock & Dam, with the City of Minneapolis, have proposed repositioning the Upper Lock at St. Anthony Falls, which closed to navigation in 2015, as a world class visitor and interpretive center paired with recreation, education, water access, and dining. The City added redevelopment of the Upper Lock to its list of bonding requests to the State Legislature in 2018, and currently has bills in the Minnesota House of Representatives (H.F. 2989, authors, Dehn, Omar, Lee, and Wagenius) and Minnesota Senate (S.F. 2707, authors Champion, Hayden and Dziedzic) directing $1.5 million in predesign dollars are under consideration. State dollars would be matched 2:1 by Friends of the Lock & Dam, who has committed $3 million to the predesign effort.

“This goes beyond Minneapolis,” said Representative Raymond Dehn. “The Falls will be a destination on the Great River Road, and will be a feature of the National Park System since it’s part of the Mississippi National River Recreation Area. We see this as an opportunity to create a valuable amenity for the entire state.”

A coalition of stakeholder organizations supporting redevelopment of the Upper Lock met in November 2017 to establish principles for its future use. They also established recommendations for the Upper Riverfront as a whole. Coalition outcomes and project information can be found on the project website at www.thefalls.org. Stakeholders see the Lock as a launch point for lots of different experiences that hint at a vibrant riverfront district with ports of call stretching well beyond the Lock itself in the future.

“The Mississippi River is such a significant feature of our state – it informs our culture, commerce, and recreation, and it presents a wonderful opportunity for the next generation of urban place making,” said Tom Fisher, Vice President of Friends of the Lock & Dam.

Recent attention by both national and local press on the future of the Mississippi River has shed light on the national conversation now taking place. Federal government is also taking note: a Mississippi River caucus has emerged in Congress, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has authorized a disposition study for all three Locks on the Upper Mississippi. Here in Minnesota, projects have been underway statewide to rewrite cities’ relationship to the river, including in St. Cloud, Brainerd, Red Wing, St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Friday
Apr132018

Spring 2018 Updates from Mississippi Watershed Management Organization

Excerpts from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) Spring 2018 Newsletter:

Rebuilding Hall’s Island to improve habitat and ecology along the Mississippi River

Urbanization destroyed most of our local wildlife habitat. The Mississippi River corridor is an exception — and we want to protect it. Learn how the reconstruction of Hall's Island represents a milestone in the effort to reclaim the Minneapolis riverfront for people and nature. Read more

New Projects for 2018

The MWMO has a slate of new water quality and habitat projects lined up for 2018. Check out these highlights of upcoming projects and learn more on our website.

East Side Storage and Maintenance Facility

The City of Minneapolis plans to build its new public works facility on a 9-acre site in Northeast Minneapolis. The MWMO will fund a variety of innovative stormwater best management practices (BMPs) for the facility. Read More

Nicollet Island Restoration

A community-led coalition will restore more than 7 acres of natural areas on Nicollet Island. The project will improve habitat and reduce erosion by removing invasive plants and restoring native prairie and forest. Read More

 

Mill City Commons

Mill City Church is upgrading its shared community meeting space with an innovative, stormwater-friendly landscape. The MWMO funded the design through a Planning Grant and awarded an Action Grant to help pay for the construction. Read More

Thursday
Apr122018

Westbound I-94 to 11th St. ramp closes April 16; Overnight closures on I-35W begin April 18

Via an April 12 e-newsletter from MnDOT:

Ramp and overnight closure details
As the weather warms up and spring arrives, construction activities are picking up on the 35W@94 project. We have a ramp closure into downtown Minneapolis starting at 6 a.m. on Mon, April 16. We are also planning a couple overnight closures of each direction of I-35W next week.

Have questions about the project? There will be a “Coffee with the Contractor” event on Wed, April 18. Details about the event are below.

Westbound I-94 to 11th S.t ramp closure begins April 16
In order for us to complete work in the 11th Street/Grant Street/5th Ave S area in downtown Minneapolis, and prepare for upcoming construction activities, we need to close the ramp from westbound I-94 to 11th St. for two months.

The 11th S.t ramp is scheduled to close 6 a.m. Mon, April 16, weather permitting, and will remain closed through mid-June 2018.

Detour: WB I-94 to the Lyndale Ave/Hennepin Ave. exit and follow NB Hennepin Ave. to 12th St.
Note: Motorists who use the ramp to access Grant St. and 5th Ave S will also need to find alternate routes.

Access to 11th St, Grant St. and 5th Ave. S from northbound I-35W will remain open.

Overnight I-35W closures April 18 and 19
As crews continue to make progress on the 38th St. bridge, a couple nighttime closures of I-35W are necessary to set beams for the bridge deck.

Beginning 10 p.m. Wed, April 18 northbound I-35W will close between Hwy 62 and I-94. Motorists will detour to Hwy 62, Hwy 100 and I-394. The ramp from 35th St. to northbound I-35W will remain open. The northbound lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. Thu, April 19.

Beginning 10 p.m. Thu, April 19, southbound I-35W will close between I-94 and Hwy 62. Motorists will detour to I-394, Hwy 100 and Hwy 62. The ramp from 46th St. to southbound I-35W will remain open.  The southbound lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. Fri, April 20.

More about this project
To learn more, including all current traffic impacts and detour routes, visit the project website at: www.mndot.gov/35w94.

Metro Transit bus routes will be impacted as a result of construction. For updated route information, and to sign up for Rider Alerts, visit: www.metrotransit.org/35W.

Stay connected
Visit the project website: www.mndot.gov/35w94
Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/mndot and Twitter: @mndotnews
Email the project team at: info@35w94.com
Call the project hotline at: 612-284-6125
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota visit: http://www.511mn.org/ or dial 5-1-1.

Wednesday
Apr112018

Road Closures for April 14 Hot Chocolate 5K/15K

The following roads will be closed on Saturday, April 14, from 7:30a - 12 Noon for the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K races: 

SE Main Street - Stone Arch Bridge - West River Parkway (from Plymouth Ave to E 27th Street)

Tuesday
Apr102018

mpls downtown council 2025 Plan Committee Grants $86,500 Toward 4 Efforts Helping Those Experiencing Homelessness

Via an April 10 Press Release from mpls downtown council:

The mpls downtown council and its Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan Ending Street Homelessness committee announced today the award of grants totaling $86,500 to four organizations working to help those experiencing homelessness in our community. Grant funds were donated by mpls downtown council member companies and individual mdc board members.

Grants were awarded to recipients intending to launch projects that will help Minneapolis reach the goal of “functional zero”, the point when the number of people experiencing street homelessness is not larger than the number of housing placements available. The Request for Proposals submissions were due February 2, with winners notified in March.

“Our 2025 Plan Ending Street Homelessness Committee is comprised of volunteers and organizations working hard to help end street homelessness in the city by the year 2025,” said Steve Cramer, president & ceo of the mpls downtown council. “The initiatives chosen for this grant funding are inspiring causes that work toward that goal and will make a difference in our community.”

Recipients of the grants include:

  • YouthLink: Street outreach expansion—addition of a worker for evening hours
  • St. Stephen’s Human Services: Enhancing engagement protocol to improve street outreach outcomes
  • Teen Tech – Hennepin County Library: Street outreach worker to serve as a community resource mentor for Teen Tech Center at the Minneapolis Central Library
  • Avenues for Homeless Youth: Housing stability/eviction protection fund

“Ending street homelessness is a community effort, and this grant process is an example of that,” said Mark Hamel and Joseph Desenclos, co-chairs of the 2025 Plan Ending Street Homelessness Committee, in a joint statement. “These grants were made possible by generous corporate and individual donations. Their private contributions will make a difference in people’s lives, and we’re grateful for their involvement in this important work. A huge thank you to our grants selection subcommittee for their work throughout the process, particularly sub-committee chair Paul Verrette for his leadership.”

Criteria for selection in the grant process included:  target population, need, activities, project feasibility, overall goals, projected short-term results, long-term outcomes desired, and innovation.

A Grants Selection Subcommittee of the Ending Street Homelessness Committee made final recommendations on selected projects and financial allocations. Grants were made ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

The Ending Street Homelessness Committee is one of six 2025 Plan committees. These six committees, comprised of more than 350 volunteers, are working to create an extraordinary downtown by addressing the 2025 Plan’s 10 key initiatives established in 2011—one of which is ending street homelessness in the city.

For more information on The 2025 Plan’s initiatives or overall development downtown, follow @mplsdowntown on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #mplsdowntown and #2025plan.

About the mpls downtown council:

Founded in 1955, and one of the most historic central business associations in the nation, the mpls downtown council (mdc) is a membership-based entity that works to create an extraordinary downtown. The mdc’s collaborative developments of Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan was designed to help downtown businesses, community leaders and citizens build on downtown assets and implement future goals. For more information, please visit mplsdowntown.com.

About The 2025 Plan:

Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan is a vehicle to help leaders and citizens build on downtown’s assets and guide downtown Minneapolis’ development. This includes initiatives to double downtown’s residential population, transform Nicollet Mall into a must-see destination, create a compelling and walkable environment around the clock, lead the nation in transportation options, end street homelessness, forge connections with the University of Minnesota and more. For more information on the 2025 Plan and its initiatives, visit mplsdowntown.com/2025plan. The 2025 Plan is a mpls downtown council initiative introduced in 2011. 

Monday
Apr092018

County Will Activate Sirens on April 12 as Part of Severe Weather Awareness Week

Via an April 9 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

As part of a statewide tornado drill, the county will activate outdoor warning sirens at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on April 12. 

The drills are part of Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 9 – 13. This week serves as a reminder for individuals, families, places of business and schools to create, update and practice emergency plans.

Sirens alert people who are outdoors of severe weather warnings and other situations when they should take shelter. People who are indoors may not hear them and should use another means to monitor the weather, such as a NOAA weather radio.

Weather-related sirens sound when the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning and/or if there are reports of sustained straight-line winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. While the county activates sirens, the cities within Hennepin County purchase and maintain the equipment.

In Minnesota, more than half of federally declared disasters are due to severe weather. While severe weather can happen during any month of the year, it most commonly occurs in Hennepin County between May – July. During Severe Weather Awareness Week and into the 2018 severe weather season, residents should take time to prepare for the worst. 

Siren safety tips

  • Obey the sirens. Sirens still mean people should seek shelter and tune to local weather information on radio, television or a NOAA Weather Radio. Unless it’s a first Wednesday of the month drill, the warning is real. 
  • Be weather aware. Know the weather forecast when you start the day. Keep track of the weather as you continue with your day. 
  • Be alert and know where to shelter. If conditions change quickly or you see violent/threatening conditions, seek shelter and tune to local media. Take time today to learn and practice the emergency procedures at your workplace or school.
  • Get a personal warning. Sirens alert people who are outdoors. Inside your home, you may not hear them. Use a NOAA weather radio or a severe weather smartphone app and stay tuned to local media.   

Learn more about Severe Weather Awareness Week

Learn more about Hennepin County Emergency Management

Monday
Apr092018

Run With Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey - Bee Run Earth Day 5K Run/Walk

  

Friday
Apr062018

Request for April 27 Garage Sale Donations to benefit Cedar Riverside Community Traveling Basketball Program 

Article by Claudia Kittock

A year ago, I realized that the Cedar Riverside community is our next door neighbor, and yet there seem to be very few things we do together as neighbors. In trying to figure out how to begin to reach out to extend invitations, I was advised to talk to Coach Jennifer Weber from the Cedar Riverside Community School. I am honored to say that I now count Coach Jennifer as a neighbor and a friend, who has brought untold connections and richness to my life.

Coach Jennifer runs an amazing Cedar Riverside Community Traveling Basketball program, and the first event I attended in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood was a basketball tournament. As a former ‘Basketball Mom’ I felt instantly at home and loved watching the ferocious basketball players engaged in wonderful competitions. Coach Jennifer embodies all of the best qualities of the coach you would want for your child or grandchild. Working hard, playing fairly, and being a good person are the most important parts of her program.

The program is holding a Garage Sale Fundraiser event on April 27-29 that will benefit student athletes from this program by assisting with tournament fees, uniforms, coaches training, referee training, travel expenses, etc. These young people deserve our assistance by helping them with donations. I KNOW you all have things you no longer need that could be put up for sale.

  Donations are being accepted and can be dropped off at Cedar Riverside Community School, or pickups can be arranged by contacting Coach Weber at j.weber.mn@gmail.com or 763-464-2790. Please look through your home and donate from the heart. These basketball players are our neighbors and deserve our support!

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).
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Contact: claudia@millcitymedia.org