Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Susan Schaefer

Julie Craven

Joan Bennett

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits 

Doug Verdier

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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.


Minneapolis Park Board Adopts 2017 Budget

Via a December 8 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board:

Minneapolis Park Board’s 2017 Budget Focuses on Fiscal Responsibility, Service Delivery, and Implementation of the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan

On Wednesday, December 7, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) adopted its 2017 budget for the park system, which serves more than 22 million visits annually. The budget focuses on enhanced maintenance, rehabilitation and capital investments for neighborhood parks, continued sound fiscal management, providing responsive service delivery to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, and, for the first time, implementing a racial equity tool throughout the budget process.
“The 2017 budget fully integrates the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan into the MPRB budget and is the first MPRB annual budget to use a racial equity lens for budget decisions,” explained MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller. “The 2017 budget continues to reflect the MPRB’s commitment to strategic long-term planning by focusing on sustainable funding, supporting ongoing operations, addressing threats to the urban tree canopy, continuing refinement and implementation of operating efficiencies and targeted service delivery, and aligning employment and asset investments to meet changing demographic needs across the city.”
As the demographics of Minneapolis have changed and continue to change, the Park Board is working hard to be responsive to the changing needs of the city’s current community and plan for the needs of future residents through more diverse service delivery, modifications to the system of parks and park assets to meet the diverse needs of residents, the updating of policies that demonstrate the respect of varied cultural values and needs, and the expanded employment of a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization.

Budget Report
The 2017 budget and related documents are available for viewing at or by calling 612-230-6400 between 8 am–4:30 pm, Monday–Friday.


Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) Brings Artful Cheer to Your Holiday Season! 

Visit The Shop at MCBA for gifts, art work, and oodles of things that will delight your creative and bookish friends. They also have a wonderful selection of gifts for the kids in your life, ranging from unique children's books to fun art kits.

MCBA members receive an additional 10% off one item in December! Learn more about memberships online, call them at 612-215-2520, or drop by The Shop.

Like their decorations? You can make them at one of these free workshops:

Recycled Paper Trees: Saturday, December 10; 1:30pm
Recycled Cut Paper Stars: Saturday December 17; 1:30pm

Both workshops take place in The Shop.
No registration necessary!
Follow The Shop at MCBA on Instagram to see examples of previous demos!
Minnesota Center for Book Arts is located at 1011 Washington Avenue S in the Open Book building. 

Firefighters for Healing partners with HCMC Burn Unit for Annual Christmas Blessing Gift Drop

Via a December 6 news release from Firefighters for Healing and Hennepin County Medical Center:

Firefighters for Healing partners with HCMC Burn Unit for Annual Christmas Blessing Gift Drop

Today from 10:30AM to 11:45AM Firefighters for Healing will once again deliver gifts and good cheer to patients and their families who are being cared for in Hennepin County Medical Center’s Burn Center. In addition, the event will feature the unveiling of the Firefighters for Healing Family Room.

“We want staff to feel our love and support, patients to feel a moment of relief, families and caregivers to see a good deed and – and volunteers to feel energized to do even more,” explains Jake LaFerriere, former Minneapolis firefighter and founder of Firefighters for Healing. “The age range of patients and stories of how they are burned compounds the emotions we experience each year we do this. Our only wish is to bring hope and joy in the midst of what can be an extremely painful time – both physically and emotionally – for these patients and families.”

Firefighter and founder Jake LaFerriere with a young burn survivor 

Who: Firefighters for Healing board of directors and the Minneapolis Fire Department

What: Fire trucks to deliver gifts, holiday cheer to patients, families and staff at Hennepin County Medical Center’s Burn Center and unveil the FireFighters for Healing Family Room.

When: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 between 10:30AM – 11:45AM (2 fire rigs loaded with presents will arrive on 6th Street near the 717 S. 6th St. entrance between 10:15AM – 10:30AM)

Where: Hennepin County Medical Center – 717 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis MN, 55415

Why: This holiday season may be different for families experiencing burn trauma or surgeries related to a previous burn injury. The FireFighters for Healing mission is to bring hope and joy to families in need so families know they are not alone in their recovery to a new normal.

Firefighters for Healing (F4H) was founded by a former Minneapolis firefighter, Jake LaFerriere, after he suffered third and fourth degree burns as a result of a backdraft explosion in 2010. While in recovery, he met several children in the burn unit, each undergoing painful treatments for their injuries. This inspired him to create Firefighters for Healing (F4H), a non-profit foundation that provides financial and emotional support to children who are survivors of severe burns. Visit for more information.

The Burn Center at Hennepin County Medical Center is nationally recognized for its expertise in treating burn patients of all ages. Staffed by specially trained burn care nurses and physicians, the 17-bed inpatient unit and ambulatory care clinic provide comprehensive burn care to patients from throughout the Midwest.

“Continuing to fight after the fire is out. We have a passion for compassion”


News from Preserve Minneapolis

Via a December 5 e-newsletter from Preserve Minneapolis:

Give to the Max Success!
We want to express our gratitude to everyone that donated to Preserve Minneapolis on Give to the Max Day. We are fortunate to have so many generous preservationists supporting our efforts to educate and advocate for Minneapolis history. We raised a total of $2,350! Thank you again for the support to help us continue to offer programs like Breakfast and Happy Hour with a Preservationist, Walking Tours, and the mobile app.

Volunteers Wanted
Interested in getting involved with Preserve Minneapolis? Our various committees are looking for volunteers! If you have interest in joining one of the committees listed below, please email Indicate which committee you have interest in learning more about or volunteering for and we will put you in-touch with the committee chair.  Our committees include:

  • Advocacy (blog writing and advocating for preservation)
  • Events
  • Summer walking tours
  • Minneapolis Historical (online walking tour website/app)
  • Finance (treasury)
  • Communications (social media and website updates)
  • Development (fundraising)

Call for Preservation Interns
Minneapolis' Office of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) is looking to add two Historic Preservation Planner positions to their team.

The 8-12 month-long part-time internship will focus on conducting designation studies and developing design guidelines for religious properties associated with under-documented groups. The posting is available through December 11 under "Internship Opportunities."

Preservation Victory
The Hewing Hotel opened on November 17th after almost two years of work on the 1897 brick building. Located at 300 Washington Street, the developers received approval from the Heritage Preservation Commission on January 6, 2015 to rehabilitate the historic building located in the Warehouse Historic District as a hotel with associated retail and restaurant space. The building re-purposed vintage materials from throughout the Twin Cities such as original wood from the first floor of the Jackson Building for table tops. The development is a showcase of the successful use of preservation techniques in an economically feasible manner.

Alatus Development Update
You may recall the recent approval of a proposed 40 story tower on the site of the Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. The Planning Commission approved the Conditional Use Permit and Variance request in September with disregard to the St. Anthony Falls Historic District Guidelines. Demolition should have been underway by now, but has been delayed by Alatus, LLC after an injunction was filed by Neighbors for East Bank Livability. The NEBL group, one among many, is concerned the overruling of the Heritage Preservation Commission recommendation will set a dangerous precedent in historic districts across the city. The tentative hearing is set for December 23, 2016 at the Hennepin County District Court.

Get involved: Support Preserve Minneapolis with a donation or by volunteering

For the latest Preserve Minneapolis news and events, find us on Facebook.


Job Fair for New Mill District Eatery

Smith & Porter, an independent restaurant, bar, and cafe located in Abiitan Mill City is holding a job fair to hire all staff.

Friday Dec 2, Saturday Dec 3, Sunday Dec 4
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Elan Uptown - Conference Room
2837 Dupont Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN
(Call 612-248-9098 at the front door)

AM & PM POSITIONS: Sous Chef, Cooks, Dish/Prep, Servers, Hosts, Bartenders, Serve Assist, Lead Barista, and Supervisors


  • Training will start Dec 16 and run through Jan 8--skipping the holidays.
  • Opening in early January, Smith & Porter is in the historic Mill City district of downtown Minneapolis just blocks from the Guthrie and Stone Arch Bridge. We anticipate an opening on January 9, 2017.
  • Porter Café will be open from 7am-4pm and Smith & Porter from 4pm-10pm.
  • Great benefits: Medical, Dental, Vision, Paid Time Off, Free Underground Parking, Wages start at $11.00!!


Saturday, December 10: Winterfest on Second Street!

Article by Claudia Kittock

Saturday, December 10 will be the first ever Winterfest on Second Street S, 11:00am-1:00pm, sponsored by the Friends of the Mill District. We are a small, neighborhood charity and our mission is to build community in the Mill District by connecting, convening, and supporting our neighbors. This event is certainly part of convening and connecting with horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate, Farmers Market, a photo booth, caroling, and sledding and snowman building.

We also want to support our neighbors. This wonderful Mill District has 26% of our population living below the poverty level. Often invisible in this district of plenty, we want to make sure that everyone is seen and everyone is supported.

We are asking people to help support our neighbors by dropping off donations at Cynthia Froid Group (across from the Mill City Museum). People Serving People is always in need of diapers, and any size is welcome.  YouthLink needs hats, mittens and scarves, as well as any type of outerwear for youth ages 16-24. Donations of money or gift cards can also be dropped off.

If you love to sing, join the Friends of the Mill District Singers who will be caroling during the Winterfest. We will begin at the Guthrie, and will sing at various locations along 2nd Street. Join us! All are welcome! You don’t have to be a member of the Singers to join us. We just want to sing together.

Claudia can be reached at


In the News - Downtown & the Riverfront Neighborhoods

Demolition delayed for old funeral home building near downtown Minneapolis
The delay comes after the Neighbors for East Bank Livability (NEBL) asked a Hennepin County judge to grant an injunction that would prevent Alatus LLC from proceeding with its plans to build a 42-story mixed-use tower that would replace the Washburn-McReavy funeral home and the adjacent St. Anthony Athletic Club at the corner of 2nd Street and Central Avenue in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood in Minneapolis.

Former Minneapolis freeway ramp to reopen for cyclists and pedestrians
An initial plan to include vehicles on the connection between Cedar-Riverside and downtown spurred backlash from some residents.

Upper St. Anthony Falls visitor center proposed
While park leaders are planning a major overhaul of the downtown riverfront, a new civic group is planning to add to that vision by turning the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam into a world-class visitor and interpretive center.

Click to read more ...


The Week Ahead in Mill City


First Covenant Church - a Hidden Gem in the Shadows of US Bank Stadium

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

The construction of the US Bank Stadium has been a fact of life in our neighborhood for years. Many of us have gotten used to the daily changes. However, how many of you know about a hidden gem, virtually across the street from the stadium?

Reflection of US Bank Stadium in the Church vehicle window

First Covenant Church, literally in the shadow of the stadium, seeks to be a diverse, multi-generational, urban Christian community that is a place of learning and transformation for all kinds of people. What is perhaps even more fascinating is how the people of First Covenant live that mission. Pastor Dan Collison stresses that being an urban church comes with its own set of challenges, but the congregation of First Covenant has decided to face some of those challenges in a unique and innovative way.

Pastor Dan Collison 

Several years ago and as part of a “re-birthing” process, the decision was made to invite different groups to house themselves within the church building in the spirit of a non-profit incubator model. Striving to create a community that involves all aspects of life, the groups that are within First Covenant are fascinating, creative and diverse. There are eight different nonprofit groups that call the First Covenant building their home.  Each of them has a very different mission, but provide comprehensive services for all areas of life.

The Good Arts Collective is a non-religious, member-driven arts organization seeking to enrich the Twin Cities art scene through collaboration and coordination. As an example of the creativity within this group, they will be presenting Oliver Holiday & the Cinnamon Sabotage, a variety show for the whole family. There are funny characters, great music, and family friendly giggles along the way. The show runs Monday and Tuesday December 19 and 20 starting at 7:30pm at First Covenant Church Minneapolis. (Tickets are $10, children under 12 are free.) You can also find Good Arts Collective on Facebook.

Metro Kids Early Childhood Center is licensed for 76 children and operates a day care at the church. It is open Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Parents set the schedule that works for their family. The teacher-child ratio is very low, so children get the one-to-one attention and nurturing they need. For more information or a tour, please contact Executive Director Charice Deegan at or 612-332-5437.

First Covenant is also the site of a homeless adult emergency shelter from November 1 through the end of April, and is open 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., 7 nights a week. The winter shelter is funded by Hennepin County, and The Salvation Army provides the professional staff, assigns the guests, and shares the cost of operations. First Covenant provides the space and volunteer coordination of more than 60 individuals and community groups to provide and serve a hot meal nightly. There are two main ways to help:

  • Provide a meal - (3+) volunteers (most critical need)
    Time frame: Approximately 5:30-8:30 p.m.; dinner served at 6:30
    Responsibilities include purchasing ingredients, preparing a meal for 50 guests and cleaning the kitchen. If you would like ideas for a menu, contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
  • Assist in the shelter as an evening advocate - (1+) volunteer
    Time frame: 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. (a Salvation Army staff member will also be onsite).  Responsibilities include assisting staff with general duties such as monitoring restrooms, distributing linens and hygiene items, etc. The objective is to free up the Salvation Army staff to deal with housing issues, rosters, paperwork, information and referral, and advocacy.

The East Town Business Partnership is also housed in First Covenant.  It is a business and professional association which supports the activities of businesses, non-profit corporations and property owners in the Downtown East/Mill District and Elliot Park neighborhoods of Minneapolis. The Board of Directors holds an open board meeting on the second Thursday of every month, September through June. Contact for more information, or visit the website.

The Twin Cities Christian Legal Aid organization holds a free legal aid clinic at First Covenant every first and third Wednesday of the month from 1 – 3 pm. Walk-ins are welcome and no appointment is necessary.

First Covenant houses an HCMC program called Upstream Health Innovations. The vision for this group includes a future where health is managed proactively within the community rather than reactively within the healthcare system, and a future in which meaningful conversations about health are not confined to the clinic. This future would redefine primary care as that which happens upstream—in homes and communities. Upstream Health Innovations is taking steps towards creating a future where people realize their full potential because the barriers to health have been recognized and removed. Visit their website for more information.

First Covenant also shares their space with a Nigerian church, United International Christian Fellowship. They are a small fellowship of between 20-25 people but do connect with and sometimes promote their gathering in a larger religious affiliation called African Christian Fellowship-Twin Cities.

First Covenant has been working for a year and a half with Community Housing Development Corporation and Ryan Construction to build a six story affordable housing project with 169 units on the surface parking lot. The project continues to gain momentum. It will have 200 bike stalls for the 300 people expected to live there. Look for the ground-breaking announcement within the next few months.

It is clear that First Covenant is a gem in our neighborhood, and too often, a hidden gem. Please take some time to read about all of these enterprises, and help where and when you can. We are stronger together.

Claudia can be reached at


New Annual Winter Festival: The Great Northern, January 27 - February 5, 2017 

Via a December 1 Press Release:


The Great Northern Celebrates Winter in the North with 10 Days
of Events and Programming
(Friday, January 27 – Sunday, February 5, 2017)

Event leaders from the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, the 130-year-old Saint Paul Winter Carnival, and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships today announced The Great Northern, a collaborative winter festival. Led by Eric Dayton of Askov Finlayson and in partnership with Northern Spark and Andrew Zimmern’s Food Works Inc., the organizers have joined forces to celebrate winter together. The three foundational organizations represent a combined 152 years of history and tradition. This exciting partnership will further enhance Minnesota’s reputation as a national destination for winter activity at its best. Sponsored by Target, The Great Northern will run Friday, January 27 – Sunday, February 5, 2017 and will showcase signature events alongside new winter programming across Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

“We are Minnesotans and this is the North. Winter is not a season we should hide from or apologize for,” said Eric Dayton, founder of Askov Finlayson. “The Great Northern is a festival co-created by the leaders of our premier winter events and brought to life by Target, one of our most beloved hometown companies. Together we aim to bring a new, annual tradition to Minnesota that promotes year-round outdoor activity and provides fun and inclusive programming for locals and visitors of all ages. Winter is a defining element of our state, and it’s time we reposition it from a liability to one of our greatest assets.”

New festival programming will include an outdoor public art display in downtown Minneapolis supported by The Minneapolis Foundation in partnership with Northern Spark. This generous contribution was announced today as a keystone to building vibrant and accessible arts programming for The Great Northern in its first year.

The Great Northern is a nod to Minnesota’s history and its Great Northern Railway, which was built by local entrepreneur James J. Hill and connected Minneapolis and Saint Paul with the West Coast. The festival name also recognizes Minnesota’s distinct Northern geographic position in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to announce The Great Northern today, and the inspiration behind its name couldn’t be more fitting,” Dayton added. “The historic Great Northern Railway transported visitors from around the country to our state, so it is only appropriate that we share in its name as we work to attract visitors nationwide to the festival in years to come.”

“Whether it’s outdoor hockey or the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the capital city – like the rest of Minnesota – embraces winter,” said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “There is no such thing as too cold. We take on winter like we take on the course at Red Bull Crashed Ice – boldly, daringly and, always, with an eye toward fun.”

“In Minneapolis, we don’t apologize for winter — we embrace it,” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. “The Great Northern is a bold step forward in showcasing the great events and endless possibilities that both Minneapolis and Saint Paul have to offer our residents and visitors in winter, and a great way to define ourselves to the world as vibrant, year-round cities where we let nothing hold us back.”

The Great Northern will celebrate Minnesota’s winter season with a wide-range of programming, with the opportunity to layer on additional elements in the years to come. By leveraging existing events to start, the festival is anticipated to draw more than 350,000 attendees in its first year. 

In 2018, The Great Northern’s dates will align with Minnesota’s Super Bowl LII, providing thousands of national and international visitors and press with an exciting and authentic impression of Minnesota at its wintry best leading up to the game. “We’re thrilled to work with The Great Northern as it’s exactly the kind of experience that we want to deliver to our Super Bowl guests,” said Maureen Bausch, CEO of Minnesota’s Super Bowl Host Committee. “Our message to a global audience will be representing Minnesota as the Bold North, so the fit couldn’t be better.”

The Great Northern is sponsored by Target. Its leadership team and partnering organizations include:

Rosanne Bump – President and CEO, Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Eric Dayton – Principal, North Corp
Steve Dietz – Founder and President, Northern Spark
Carson Kipfer – Co-Commissioner, U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
John Munger – Executive Director, The Loppet Foundation
Andrew Zimmern – Founder, Food Works, Inc.

For more information about The Great Northern and its partnering organizations, and to sign up for updates, visit and connect with The Great Northern on Facebook and Twitter @GreatNorthern


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Generic Save the Date AB bannerVia a December 3 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

All lanes now open on Washington Avenue

Starting today at 10:30 a.m., westbound lanes on Washington Avenue reopened to traffic between 3rd and Portland avenues. All westbound and eastbound lanes are now open and major construction work is complete for the season on Washington Avenue.
Crews will continue to remove construction related signage through the weekend and will paint turn arrows at 5th Avenue and additional striping on 3rd Avenue Monday. This may require some short term lane closures. The lane reductions on 3rd Avenue near Washington related to City of Minneapolis work will remain until the middle of next week.
Thank you for your patience as we worked to reconstruct and improve this important route these last few months.
Winter travel considerations

As you navigate the reconstructed roadway over the winter months, please keep in mind:
- Some orange cones and barriers will remain in place this winter. This is to help traffic and plows safely navigate the partially reconstructed road.
- Sidewalks will remain open through the corridor and will be maintained by the City of Minneapolis.
Cycle track to remain closed

The new cycle track (off-street bike path) will remain closed over the winter until new traffic signals with bike-specific lights are installed early next year. This is to ensure the safety of bicyclists and other road users. If you are traveling by bike in the area, you may consider choosing an alternate route such as:
- 2nd Street for traveling east or west 
- 3rd Street for traveling east
- 4th Street for traveling west
- West River Parkway for traveling east or west
All these routes run parallel to Washington Avenue and have dedicated bicycle infrastructure.
Looking ahead to 2017 work

Reconstruction of eastbound lanes on Washington Avenue will begin in spring 2017. At that time, a new detour will begin for eastbound traffic following Hennepin Avenue, 4th Street South and Portland Avenue. 
Washington Avenue will remain open to westbound traffic throughout 2017, though some short-term lane reductions on that side of the road are possible. Westbound work yet to be completed includes:
- Installing permanent curb and pedestrian ramps at the northeast corner of 3rd and Washington avenues
- Completing new sidewalk and cycle track between 3rd and 4th avenues
- Greening and landscaping elements
Thank you for following our regular email updates about this project. They will be less frequent over the winter, but will pick back up again as project work begins in 2017.

If you have any questions in the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out using the contact information below.

Contact us

Project website:
Project email:
Project phone: 612-543-3722
Project engineer:
Stanley Lim, P.E
See active projects on our interactive road construction map.

Learn more about how transportation is connecting people to places.


C’est Chic Boutique Announces Rising Style Stars of Spring 2017

C’est Chic Boutique presents Rising Style Stars of Spring 2017

 Design contest and style show for students of apparel design hosted by C’est Chic Boutique

“A breath of Fresh French air.” — HERLIFE Magazine

“Pretend you’re strolling the Ile-Saint Louis while browsing.” — Minnesota Monthly

C’est Chic Boutique recently announced the launch of Rising Style Stars of Spring 2017, their first annual design contest and style show for apparel design students. Talented student designers throughout Minnesota submitted spring designs for casual, business and formal wear to be voted on by C’est Chic’s loyalty clients through November 10. The winning designs from each category will be made by C’est Chic’s local design team and available for pre-order at their spring style show at C’est Chic Boutique on Thursday, February 2 at 6:30pm. Pam Pappas Stanoch, owner of C’est Chic, explained her vision for the design contest:  

“As an independent boutique, that values unique styles, C’est Chic is honored to welcome the designs of these up and coming designers. In an effort to support local artists, we will be premiering the winning designs at an exclusive style show in February at C’est Chic Boutique, located in the North Loop. The items selected by our loyal customers, will be featured in our Spring 2017 collection under our private label.”

Winning styles include designs created by young designers Maria Dang and Kathleen Moua of St. Catherine University. These beautiful spring designs feature flattering silhouettes and imaginative design details that align with C’est Chic’s goal to inspire every woman to feel the best in what she wears.

C’est Chic Boutique is a European style women’s wear boutique located in the North Loop neighborhood, recently named one of Fodor’s top 25 worldwide shopping destinations. C’est Chic features the collections of designers who take great care to create designs truly made for the female body. Shop at C’est Chic to find apparel with silhouettes that accentuate female curves and design innovations that can only come from the creative mind of a true designer.

Kathleen Moua
Maria Dang

Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 6:30pm
C’est Chic Boutique
210 N Second Street, Suite 101, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Follow C’est Chic Boutique on their websiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter 


Nominations Sought for Annual "Third aWards"

Join Council Member Frey for his 3rd annual State of the Ward Address and Third aWards. Awards of the year will be given for Leader, Local Business, Neighborhood Project/Initiative, and Youth Leader.
“The Third aWards are a chance to acknowledge our amazing residents and small business owners that help make the Third Ward a dynamic place,” said Council Member Jacob Frey. 
Winners will be revealed the night of the event. All nominees will be recognized and presented with a certificate of nomination. Individuals interested in making a nomination should write a brief description of the accomplishments that deserve recognition.

Please submit Third aWards nominations via email, fax (612-673-3940) or mail to Council Member Jacob Frey, 350 South 5th Street, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN  55415 by Friday, January 27, 2017. 


Streets Near US Bank Stadium Closing for December 1 Vikings Game

Via a November 30 e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

Streets near U.S. Bank Stadium closing for Thursday’s Vikings game

A few streets will close near U.S. Bank Stadium for Thursday’s Minnesota Vikings game, which starts at 7:25 p.m.

Beginning at noon today, Wednesday, Nov. 30, the following street will close:

• Chicago Avenue, from Fourth Street to Sixth Street.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 1, the following streets will close:
• Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Interstate 35W.
• Norm McGrew Place from Third Street to Fourth Street.

These street closings are for traffic safety and security needs related to a large stadium event. All streets will reopen approximately one hour after the completion of the game.


The Story So Far: Mill City Running

Having just celebrated their 3rd Birthday, Mill City Running shares the story of how they came to be. Great videography:


Friends of the Mill District Singers Update

Article by Claudia Kittock

JD Steele

The Friends of the Mill District Singers are currently rehearsing on the 8th floor of the Guthrie on Saturday afternoons, from 2:00-3:30. We are practicing for a number of upcoming performances.

On December 10th, we will be caroling at the first Winterfest on Second Street.  We will meet in the Guthrie atrium at 11:00am for caroling, followed by a rehearsal at 2:00pm.  Please join us for both.  No previous experience is necessary, only a willingness to sing with your whole heart and laugh together.

On December 14th we will be caroling at the Skyway Senior Center from 11:30-1:00.  The Fair School Choir will be joining us and we will guarantee a great time.

On December 16th we will be singing in the atrium of the Guthrie before the performance of A Christmas Carol. The last rehearsal of this session will be held on December 17th!

Don’t miss a chance to sing with this dynamic group, under the direction of JD Steele, accompanied by Fred Steele. We are sponsored by the Friends of the Mill District, individual contributors, and a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.

Come . . . .sing!  Please direct your questions to Claudia at


Youth Farm: Cultivating Leadership Through Planting, Growing, Preparing and Selling the Food They Grow

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

I grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota. We all had chores that we did in the mornings and chores in the afternoons. There were chores I liked and chores I hated. My favorite chores were out in the field, raking hay. The smell of fresh cut hay and the solitude of doing my work all by myself was spiritual and very special. All of the best parts of my personality were formed on the farm, learning the lessons nature taught me every single day.

How many of you grew up with a garden? How many of you like to work in a garden? How many of you enjoy Farmers Markets with all of the fresh produce? I recently learned about an exciting program whose mission is to help youth develop by teaching them to plant, grow, harvest, cook, and feed the community where they live, and it all takes place in communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Youth Farm is a nonprofit that provides year round programs for youth ages 9 to 24.  The mission of Youth Farm is to educate and train youth through gardens and greenhouses, hoping to cultivate leadership through planting, growing, preparing, and selling the food they grow.

Above, pictures from the site at Nellie Stone Johnson School in the Hawthorne neighborhood.

Youth Farm has 18 farm sites throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul and conducts four 8-week sessions of after school farming and food programs, as well as an 8-week summer program. Over 800 youth are served every year with 273 youth participating in at least one session of after school nutritional programming. 214 youth participated in the 8-week summer program, producing 3640 pounds of produce distributed to the participating families. There were over 7500 pounds of produce grown and distributed through meals prepared and served by the youth.  166 families received family shares.

The youth involved not only find that they
have changed their own eating habits, but have
grown in their ability to take on a leadership
role and in social and emotional skills.

How does the food distribution work?  Families of the youth involved can sign up for food shares and receive fresh produce.  There are cooking classes, and youth prepare and serve lunches to community members during the summer.  There are family and community farm work and harvest days as well as community dinners.

The results of this program are impressive.  60% of families surveyed reported a change in their eating habits.  Families reported an increased consumption of fresh food as well as an increased variety of vegetables eaten, and, of course, an increased willingness to try and prepare new foods. The youth involved not only find that they have changed their own eating habits, but have grown in their ability to take on a leadership role and in social and emotional skills.

There are farm sites in Lyndale, Powderhorn and Hawthorne neighborhoods in Minneapolis as well as Frogtown and the West Side neighborhoods of St. Paul. 150 community partnerships have been formed, with over 10,000 healthy meals served every year.

Youth Farm needs our help.  Please learn about YouthFarm at  Donations can be sent to

Claudia can be reached at


November 26 - Small Business Saturday

Please join us in supporting our neighborhood businesses!  :)


Injunction Filed Against Alatus Tower

Citizen’s Group Contends Zoning Overreach

Neighbors for East Bank Livability (NEBL), a group of Marcy-Holmes and Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood residents, has filed an injunction against Alatus LLC in their ongoing effort to stop development of a proposed mixed-use condominium tower at the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd St SE.

The site, most recently a funeral home, was originally home to the St. Anthony Falls Commercial Club and is in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. The city approved a conditional use permit (CUP) to increase the height of the Project from 4 stories to 42 stories, and a variance to increase the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) by more than 600% from 2.04 to 14.42.

NEBL contends the approval is an extreme departure from the city’s own regulations, and would be a dangerous precedent placing historic and residential districts across Minneapolis at risk. According to NEBL, in approving the project, the city’s Planning Commission overruled its own Heritage Preservation Commission’s rejection of the zoning variance finding that the building height was not appropriate for the historic district.

Erich Wunderlich, of NEBL and a Marcy-Holmes neighborhood resident, objects to the project as “…representing extreme overreach. The city has abdicated its responsibility in the planning process. They’ve essentially handed zoning and planning over to the developer. How is this not a citywide issue? If this project is allowed to go forward in its current form, the city will have the ability to ignore guidelines with any future projects in any historic district and any neighborhood throughout the city.”

According to NEBL’s attorney William C. Griffith of the Larkin Hoffman law firm, “This is not a group intent at stopping reasonable development in their neighborhood.  Rather, this is a diverse group of thoughtful residents intent on persuading the City to follow its own rules to bring about reasonable and sustainable development that is respectful of the historic neighborhood in which it is proposed.”


Road Closures for November 24 and 26 Races

The following parkways will be temporarily closed November 24 and 26 for these events:

November 24 – Turkey Day 5K - 7:00am to 11:00am – West River Parkway - N 4th Ave to 11th Ave S.  (See the Turkey Day 5K website for additional race course info.)

November 26 – Moustache Run – 8:30am to 1:00pm - Main Street - 6th Ave SE to Plymouth Ave., West River Parkway - Plymouth Ave to E 38th St, Stone Arch Bridge (There are 4 races, see the Moustache Run website for additional race course info.)

Please note, the duration of the closures is subject to change based on the event's start and finish times.

A complete list of current and upcoming parkway closures is available online.