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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.


"Closing the Gap: Insider Insights for Park Funding" Looks at Neighborhood Park Funding


Via an October 6 Minneapolis Park and Rec Board e-newsletter:

   (L to R) Panel moderator Linda Mack, New York City Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Liam Kavanagh, Portland Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Warren Jimenez, Former Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Director Joe Wynns and Seattle Parks Foundation Executive Director Thatcher Bailey

How did other cities address neighborhood park funding shortfalls?

Park advocates from across the country share their experiences

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) staff hosted more than 30 public meetings throughout Minneapolis this summer to discuss how insufficient funding has impacted its highly-used, aging network of neighborhood parks.

While MPRB processes feedback received from the community, four distinguished park and recreation advocates from large urban park agencies across the country were invited to Minneapolis on September 29 to share how their cities tackled similar funding challenges.
“Closing the Gap: Insider Insights for Park Funding” featured representatives from Indianapolis, New York City, Portland and Seattle participating in a 90-minute panel discussion on creative park funding strategies, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Each city’s park agency deals with its own unique challenges, complicated by vastly different methods of governance, but common themes still emerged.

For a full recap of the fascinating discussion please see the full news release.


Electronic Upcycle Fest, a FREE Electronic Recycling Event, at Target Field Station October 9

The Twins Community Fund is teaming up with America Upcycles to host a free electronic recycling event on Friday, October 9, at Target Field Station. Help keep electronics out of landfills, and reduce carbon emissions all while helping to support youth baseball and softball.

Date: Friday, October 9
Time: 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Location: Target Field Station

Stop by Target Field Station and drop off your electronics into designated containers to begin the upcycling process. This sustainable solution to the buildup of old electronics helps to decrease the negative global impact that throwing out devices has on our environment. Upcycling gets rid of electronic clutter without adding to landfills. It also re-purposes your gently used electronics for the secondary market.
•100% Tax Deductible
•Free (for qualified devices)
•Data Destruction is guaranteed
•Proceeds support the Twins Community Fund

Details, including list of items accepted:


Do you have a story about the Red River Oxcart Trail?

 Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership wants to hear from you!

The Red River Oxcart Trail was an important route in the fur trade in the mid-1800s. Traders moved furs and buffalo hides from Pembina, near the Canadian border, to St. Paul, where they were shipped east.  The children of European traders and American Indian women were central to this trade, thanks to their language skills, social ties and knowledge of the land.  Others used the trail too, including statesmen, soldiers and eventually settlers seeking homesteads to the north.

The Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership is developing an audio bike tour for a portion of the trail that followed the Mississippi River from Anoka to St. Anthony Falls. We are learning about local connections to the trail, and we’d like to hear from you.  Are you descended from someone who traveled the trail?  Have you heard stories about family members who worked in the fur trade?  Do your neighbors still talk about the days when oxcarts caravans came through town?  Please tell us about it.  Contact us at



J. D. Steele to Lead New Downtown Choir

By Joan Bennett:

A free Downtown community choir, with J.D. Steele at the helm, launches this fall. The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA), MacPhail Center for Music and Emanuel Housing have partnered to bring this new choir to life. Singers of all abilities (or inabilities) are welcome. If you enjoy singing in the shower or at karaoke bars, then you are fully qualified to join.

In this choir, building relationships between neighbors will matter just as much as the music. The DMNA seeks to foster a range of free opportunities for neighbors to connect. Initially proposed by a resident of Emanuel Housing, the DMNA Board unanimously agreed to fund the administrative costs of the choir as well as allocate staff time to coordination. A member of the DMNA community, who wishes to remain anonymous, came forward with a donation to cover the cost of rehearsal space.

When the DMNA and Emanuel Housing approached MacPhail with the idea for a downtown community choir, staff were enthusiastic. MacPhail then upped the ante by securing J.D Steele, a nationally recognized musician and producer, to direct the group. Though he has spent much of his career working with highly decorated musicians, J.D. Steele is known for his ability to bring the best out of novices and currently leads MacPhail Community Youth Choir.

Rehearsals are scheduled for 2:00-3:30 on Saturdays on October 24th, 31st, November 7th, 14th, December 5th, and 12th at Central Covenant Church (810 S. 7th Street).  Contact to pre-register. All are welcome. Registration is free. 


Opinion: East Downtown Council Has Concerns re: Working Families Proposal

Published today on the Opinion Page:

Dear Members of the East Downtown Council,

We are writing to you today (a PDF of this letter is attached to this email) - at the request of the full board - to bring to your attention two city regulation changes that the Minneapolis City Council are beginning to consider. While neither proposed regulation has been put into final text and content, there are talking points the city staff have created to discuss these issues and council members have been speaking publically about these ideas, so the intended reach of these regulations has been clearly articulated. A city website containing more information is where you can access the information released by city staff and the working group formed in April 2015.

Read the full opinion...


The Jewel of Minneapolis - Mississippi River Gorge

David C. Smith, from a presentation at the Minneapolis Central Library on October 3, 2015.

Many people overlook what a spectacular asset has been preserved for our health and enjoyment. So often the emphasis on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is on reclaiming the river at and above St. Anthony Falls -- and that is an exciting development that is overdue -- but I think we take for granted the truly unique resource that was preserved for us below the falls. I don't know that a similar riverfront exists in an urban environment anywhere else in the world. Come and say "thanks!" with me to some people with extraordinary vision and persistence more than 100 years ago.


The Week Ahead in Mill City

1886 - Artist rendering of the Minneapolis Riverfront.

Above: 1886 - Artist rendering of the Minneapolis Riverfront.


Each week we provide an easy to reference list of events and activities for the week ahead in the Historic Mill District and Minneapolis Riverfront Neighborhoods.  Have an event to share?  Submit your events here...

Monday, October 5

Tuesday, October 6

Wednesday, October 7

Thursday, October 8

Friday, October 9

Saturday, October 10

Sunday, October 11 


Community Quote of the Week


Our West Bank Human Landmark Has Left Us

Submitted by Susan Schaefer, Riverview Tower Resident

Photo credit: ©2015 Susan Schaefer

The Last Cigarette

Saturday 10/3/15 10PM

I felt privileged to have had a slice of time with the man in the top hat and tails who has been a West Bank fixture for years, and my neighbor. Today, returning from a photo shot at Mill City Farmer’s Market I felt an uncanny pull as I walked by his infamous encampment directly next to my building, Riverview Tower, tucked under the 10th Avenue Bridge. Had I done as my entire being was directing me, I might have become the last person to see the man so many Twin Citians know as Chester alive. But I didn’t follow my instincts. And tonight, after an evening out with friends at Seven Corners, I returned home to find law enforcement quietly conducting their business exactly at Chester’s outlier campsite home. I knew without even asking that this man whom I photographed was no longer among us.

I am sure the formal details will emerge, but it seems he died of natural causes.

According to our building’s evening attendant, his female companion of years, Marcia, asked to call the police, explaining that she had found Chester “cold and motionless”.

Most old timers in our building had a great fondness for this enigmatic outsider who rode a bicycle throughout the West Bank and Dinkytown, most often soliciting change from passersby. But the afternoon I snapped my portrait on a Dinkytown corner, Chester had just given his last cigarette to another homeless young man. That’s the only Chester I knew. I hope there’s a peg in heaven for his top hat.

Drs Susan Schaefer, APR, is a communications consultant, executive coach, corporate trainer, university professor, writer, published poet, and former newspaper editor and publisher.

- - -

Editors Note - 

Here is a Star Trib article about Chester (a.k.a Bruce, a.k.a. Charlie) from May, 2014 - Chester's West Bank Hideaway is Changing.

In case you're not familiar with Chester's home camp, it's located under the 10th Avenue Bridge on the Midtown Greenway bike route by the Bluff Street Park.  Dave took these pictures this morning, October 4:




A couple of videos from one of our Facebook followers:


Week 22 at the 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

In spectacular fashion, October 3 kicked off the final month of the 2015 outdoor season.

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

A budding cheese connoisseur.

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

Dueling photographers...

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

Melanie having fun with finger puppets.

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

Come to the Market hungry - go home with a happy tummy! 

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market

The goat! (Nancy - what's going on with that pepper !?!)

October 3, 2015 Mill City Farmers Market


Free Events Honoring the Voices of Soldiers and Veterans

Free events honoring the voices of soldiers and veterans


More than 8,000 soldiers and veterans lives are lost to suicide each year – a fact that is brought into sharp focus through The 8030 Project currently on exhibit at the Hennepin Gallery.

In conjunction with exhibit and Veterans’ Voices Month, two events open to the public will take place in October.

When and where

Thursday, October 8, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., a special screening of “Surviving the Peace,” a film by The 8030 Project artist and curator Mara Pelecis will be held in the Hennepin County Government Employee Development Classroom, A110, on the southwest street level.

Thursday, October 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 22 among us, a panel discussion about returning veterans and mental health services will be held in the Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium, A-level.

Submit your photos

People are invited to submit their own images via Images will be continually added to the gallery online and images submitted in September will also be added to the Hennepin Gallery in October.

About The 8030 Project

The 8030 Project art installation will continue to be on view in the Hennepin Gallery until October 27. Images featured in the installation are curated from The 8030 Project's open call to create individual memorials for these lost lives. The memorials use everyday objects in everyday spaces; 22 items represent the 22 solders and veteran lives lost each day to suicide. The exhibit is a selection of the submissions with the stories that accompany them as curated by Ms. Pelecis.

The project is sponsored by the Hennepin County Multicultural Arts Committee, in partnership with Forecast Public Art.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at


Parkway Closures for October 3 and 4

The following parkways will be temporarily closed October 3-4 for the events listed:
October 3 - Slutwalk Minneapolis - 8:30am-1:00pm
Main Street - From Hennepin Ave to 6th Ave SE West River Parkway - From Plymouth Ave to S 4th Street Plymouth Bridge and Stone Arch Bridge Special Event Details
October 4 - Medtronic Marathon & 10 Mile - 6:30am-2:00pm
Marathon Course – Lake of the Isles Parkway (Left side of Lake), Dean Parkway, W Lake Calhoun Parkway, William Berry Parkway, E Lake Harriet Parkway (From Bandshell to Minnehaha Parkway), Minnehaha Parkway (From Harriet to Godfrey Parkway), Lake Nokomis Parkway, Godfrey Parkway, West River Parkway (From Godfrey to Franklin Ave).
10-Mile Course - West River Parkway (From Portland to 22nd Ave), East River Parkway (from 14th Ave to Lake Street) 

Franklin Avenue Bridge Closure and Construction Updates

Via an October 1, 2015, Hennepin County e-newsletter:

Franklin Avenue Bridge Construction Update

Planning ahead for weekend traffic impacts

Before we get to a construction update, we have important information about weekend traffic impacts to share.

Saturday, October 3

Motor vehicle traffic will be reduced to one lane on the Franklin Avenue Bridge from 5 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, for concrete delivery. Flaggers will guide traffic. Please use caution when traveling through the area.

Similar to a few weeks ago, concrete trucks will be on the bridge deck throughout the day, transporting concrete through a hose to equipment located on a barge below the bridge.

The concrete will be used to create a floor of the Pier 3 cofferdam. Previously, crews dove sheet pile to create walls for the cofferdam. Next, crews will drain the water within the cofferdam to create a dry work area. This will allow them to conduct concrete repair to bridge piers normally below water level.

The bike and pedestrian lanes on the south side will remain open.

Sunday, October 4

This Sunday is the annual Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. A portion of the route travels across the Franklin Avenue Bridge. As a result, the roadway will be closed to traffic from approximately 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The bike and pedestrian lanes on the both sides will remain open during the marathon.

An update on construction

Crews have been active around the project site for the past few weeks.

Above water level

Crews continue their work to restore concrete below the bridge deck. This includes work on the piers. Below is a picture of a section of a pier that has been restored using shotcrete. Shotcrete is a special concrete that is applied using a controlled spray.

At and below water level

Crews have also been using the cofferdams in the river to get access to the parts of the pier that are at and below river level. Below is a picture showing concrete removal at one of the piers.

Concrete is being restored in a way that protects the integrity of the structures. 

Roadway deck panels

Crews continue to work at the casting yard at Bohemian Flats area up the river. At present, more than 160 of the 366 panels needed for the roadway deck have been completed. All panels will be floated down the river next year and hoisted into place.

Detours and closures 

West River Parkway and trail remain closed at Franklin Avenue Bridge. View detour map.

The Lower East River Parkway trail is closed between the East River Flats (University of Minnesota Boathouse) and Cecil Street while crews restore concrete below the bridge deck.

Project Website


Primrose Park to Close Northeast Shop with an October 9 Goodbye Party

Via a September 29 e-newsletter:

Primrose Park Goodbye Party!

Please join us as we say "goodbye" to our home in Northeast Minneapolis.  We will send the store off in style on Friday, October 9, 2015, with wine, sweet treats and 20% off all regularly-priced purchases. We hope you can join the festivities!

Date:  Friday, October 9

Time:  6:00pm-9:00pm
Location:  Primrose Park, 20 University Avenue NE


Local Law Firm Founder to Retire

Larry Zelle Retires From Practice of Law to Form Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice

MINNEAPOLIS – September 29, 2015 – Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason announces the retirement of Larry Zelle, a founder of the firm, effective October 1, 2015.  After a legendary career as a trial lawyer, Zelle will leave the active practice of law to serve as an arbitrator or mediator in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings.

“There comes a time in the life of a trial lawyer when one stops looking ahead to the next victory. Yet, we have a need to stay active and productive. That is our nature. This is my time” said Zelle. 

During his legal career, which began in 1959, Zelle earned his reputation by obtaining successful results for clients in many high-profile cases including: the MGM Grand fire; the Hyatt Regency Hotel walkway collapse; the General Mills Cheerios product recall; the Bhopal, India disaster; and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York, among others.

“Over the years, as we have grown Zelle Hofmann, added practice lines and expanded internationally, Larry has been a constant force in the firm and has been instrumental in building a legal powerhouse,” said Dan Millea, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. “He leaves a legacy that includes his unselfish mentoring of those young partners who became the leadership of the firm in the 21st century and his development of an institutional client base that continues to be a significant part of the firm’s success. Most importantly, he has been an essential role model to all of our lawyers, by insisting that the Zelle firm provide the highest quality of legal services to its clients. The firm is grateful for Larry’s many contributions.  We wish him well as he launches the next phase of his distinguished career.”

About Zelle Hofmann:

Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP LLP is an international litigation and dispute resolution law firm with offices in Boston, Dallas, London, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The Firm excels at handling insurance, antitrust and other complex litigation on both a national and global scale. The Firm also has an affiliate office in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. For more information about Zelle Hofmann, visit For more information about the firm’s Zealous Women initiative, visit

# # #



Thursday, October 8, 7:00pm - 9:30pm, Solar Arts Building

[NE MINNEAPOLIS. September 28, 2015] In a celebration of the strength and bounty of the local food movement, the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market is excited to announce the fourth annual Harvest Gala.  Proceeds from the event will be used to fund the activities and mission of the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market.

The Solar Arts Building, located at 711 – 15th Avenue NE, is generously donating their beautiful third-floor event space for this year’s Gala, to be held on Thursday, October 8, from 7 pm until 9:30 pm.

The NEFM Harvest Gala features an innovative format that pair’s farmers market vendors and local chefs. Chefs and farmers team up to create tasty appetizers using ingredients sourced from the Northeast Farmers Market.  This year, expect eats by Sen Yai Sen Lek, Chowgirls, Red Table Meats, and Lone Grazer Creamery, just to name a few. At the bar, try fine wines, beer from Nordeast Brewers Alliance, and specialty-crafted cocktails by Norseman Distillery.

Flamenco guitarist David Grams will provide live entertainment. A silent auction will feature arts, crafts, certificates and services donated by local artisans, restaurants, businesses and individuals. We’re off to a great start with donations from Park Square Theater, Minnesota Orchestra, Mill City Running, Denny Kemp Salon, Minneapolis St. Paul Film Society and Minnesota Historical Society.

Back again this year... the Garden Stroll, NEFM's version of a Cake Walk, will feature really cool market bags filled with goodies from market vendors and friends.

Admission to the Gala is $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available on Saturday, October 3rd at the Northeast Farmers Market, and on-line.

Chowgirls Killer Catering and Norseman Distillery sponsor this event.

The Northeast Farmers Market is located on the corner of 7th and University Avenues NE, in the St. Boniface Church parking lot. The Solar Arts Building is located at 711 NE 15th Avenue.


Art Attack 2015 - November 6 thru 8

Friday, November 6 from 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Saturday, November 7 from Noon – 8:00pm
Sunday, November 8 from  Noon - 5:00pm

Art Attack is an annual open studio and gallery crawl at the Northrup King Building, in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. The weekend-long event features over 200 artists working in painting and drawing, sculpture, photography, custom furniture, fiber arts, metal, ceramics, glass, hand-crafted and custom jewelry, mixed media, mosaics, textiles, and more.

On Saturday from Noon-6:00pm, TPT’s award-winning weekly art series, MN Original, will be taking over our 3rd floor gallery space with a special guest artist, offering interactive art activities, a MN Original viewing area, and an Instagram takeover.

Music, performace and demonstrations take place throughout the weekend.

Food Trucks:
Friday – Butcher Salt
Saturday – Simply Steve’s and Kabomlette
Sunday – Gastrotruck 


The Bakken Trio’s 2015 - 2016 Concert Series at MacPhail Center for Music

A full gamut of moods and music — The Bakken Trio opens their fall performance with the haunting thrumming of Ferdinand Meza’s marimba in Golijov’s remembrance of his friend Mariel, and finish in April with actress Sally Wingert narrating Aaron Kernis’ hysterical piece about futuristic cuisine.

2015 - 2016 Concert Series:

November 22, 2015  MEMORY:  Marimba specialist Fernando Meza joins the Bakken for music of  composers Rachmaninoff, Golijov and Shostakovich, inspired, in the Russian tradition, by great friendships.

January 24, 2016  JAPONAISE:  Cellist Pitnarry Shin plays music from Japanese puppet theater in  this program tracing the circles of inspiration to and from Claude Debussy.

April 3, 2016   WHIMSY!    Actress Sally Wingert narrates a hysterical spoof on food and  foodies in a program for having and hearing fun!

All concerts are at 4:00pm in Antonello Hall of MacPhail Center for Music, 501 S 2nd Street.


Upcoming Events at 1010 Washington Wine & Spirits

For wine and whiskey lovers, a few events of interest:

September 30th,  Susan and Anthony Truchard will be conducting a tasting of award winning Napa Valley wines from Truchard Vineyards  6:30 PM – 8:30 PM at the Aloft Hotel.  Please call  612-339-4040 to reserve a spot at this free tasting

October 9th,  Gordon & MacPhail  is a private bottler of small lot scotch whiskies.  We will be doing a very interesting tasting from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM.  Please call the store to reserve a spot for this free tasting.  If the response is large enough we will move it off site.

October 17th, Bobby Kacher, the revolutionary importer of outstanding French wines will be doing a seminar on Burgundy wines 4:00PM-6:00 PM.  This promises to be one of the truly outstanding wine tasting events of the year in Minneapolis!  Please call the store to reserve a spot for the tasting.  Again, depending on demand we may move this off site, but in the neighborhood.


MPRB is Looking for Volunteer Coaches for Winter Youth Sports

Via a September 24 Minneapolis Park and Rec Board e-newsletter:

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's (MPRB) Youth Volleyball program begins in October and we are seeking volunteer coaches at recreation centers in Minneapolis.

We are also seeking coaches for winter sports programs (basketball, hockey, and wrestling) that begin in November/December.
• Athletes range from 6-18 years old
• Teams practice 1-2 times per week
• Games are scheduled 1-2 nights a week and/or Saturdays
• MPRB will provide orientation for all new coaches

Contact Nicole at 612-499-9258 or email for more information about coaching and other volunteer opportunities.

Can't coach this Winter? We'll need coaches for Gymnastics, Baseball, Softball, T-ball, and Track and Field this spring, too.