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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.


Agenda for December 6 Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Board Meeting

The public is invited to attend the December 6 Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Board Meeting. It is scheduled for 3:30pm-5:00pm at Mill City Museum.

Please RSVP to Pat Naidl at to confirm your attendance.

Meeting Agenda:

I.   Welcome and Call to Order   
II.  *Approval of the June 28, 2010 minutes (Addendum I)
III. Report on Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition
IV.  Presentation of East Bank Energy Center Documentation Project
V.   Brief updates on projects
      a. Greening the Riverfront Series
      b. East Bank Coordination
         1. East Bank Falls
         2. Dakota Conference and Consultation
      c. Timeline for Historic District Design Guidelines
VI.  Farewell to Nina Archabal
VII. Adjourn

A note of interest: This will be the final meeting for Chair Nina Archabal. She will be honored for her 22 years of exceptional service to, and accomplishments for, the Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Board.


Turkey Day 5K!

Happy Thanksgiving, Mill District neighbors!

It was a beautiful, sunny single-digit morning, and the Turkey Day 5K participants were out in full force:



Another Unique Story from MacPhail Center for Music

I recently signed up to be on MacPhail's email list, and received my first e-newsletter earlier this week.  The following story is an excerpt from that newsletter, and is a great example of the unique things happening at MacPhail:


Michael is an excitable toddler who receives Early Childhood Music Classes through a partnership between his pre-school and MacPhail.  

Before learning music with MacPhail, Michael had few language skills.  He did not speak, but communicated through expressive grunts and gestures.  When his friends at school could not understand him, he became frustrated and would push them and make an expression indicating that he wanted them to "stop". 

Michael was very motivated by music and loved a large African drum in his classroom.  In class, his MacPhail Early Childhood Music teacher started to sing a song that encouraged impulse control.  They sang, "We tap and we tap and we STOP."  Michael quickly caught on and after singing the song three to four times, he said his first word: "STOP". 

Michael now has a large vocabulary.  MacPhail's teaching artist who works with Michael tells us that his vocabulary has flourished.  In fact, last time she saw him he shared a story about butterflies and caterpillars with great articulation.

Click here if you'd like to sign up for future MacPhail e-newsletters.


Mill District Residents Create Their Own Green Space

I'm sharing this story because it's such a neat example of Mill District residents taking the initiative to improve their surroundings.

We live at the Bridgewater Lofts, a large development of roughly 280 residential units with retail on the ground floor.  The building is U-shaped, and many residents overlook an interior courtyard.  The courtyard, which is not visible from the street, had become an eyesore for residents whose balconies offer a view of it.

Bridgewater resident Ann Napp took the initiative to start a Garden Club, with an initial goal of transforming that area.  The first meeting took place in August of 2009.

To assist with the project, Garden Club member Mark Zimmerman contacted the graduate studies coordinator in both the Landscape Architecture program and the Horticulture Department at the U of M. Sandy Meulners and Sarah Ash, grads in the Landscape Architecture program, met with the Garden Club and developed a very thorough and creative plan.

Several Garden Club committees were formed to handle different stages of the courtyard project. Bricks were purchased from Menards and delivered in the spring of 2010.  Jim Stanton (Shamrock Development) generously agreed to cover the cost of installing an irrigation system.  Mickman Brothers delivered dirt for the new raised beds, and they also installed the irrigation system.

Some of the large trees and shrubs were delivered from Gertens. Subsequent smaller orders of shrubs, bulbs and some perennials from several garden centers were hauled by Garden Club members.  All of the plant material was installed by the Club. Most of the tools were purchased with either budgeted funds or funds raised by the Garden Club from donations, and a few hand tools were donated.

In addition to the courtyard project, the Garden Club also took on care of the main entrance planters, as well as planters in the pool area and the patio off the community room.  This actually saved the Association money over having an outside contractor take care of these seasonal plantings. Equally beneficial to the cost savings was how beautiful the planters turned out.

Peter Zenner, Bridgewater resident and Garden Club member, put together this video of phase one of the courtyard project, which was completed this year.

I asked Mark if he had any advice for members of other Associations who might be considering a Garden Club.  Here are his thoughts:

  • Start small, and pick a project with high visibility to Association members.
  • Plan well, and raise as much money as you can to have the most impact.
  • Make it a social event.
  • Go for the big display. If you make a great impression early on, you'll have much better luck raising money and expanding your projects later on.
  • Get people to take ownership and pride in the project, and they're more likely to stick it out.

If you have a story about a positive effort being made by your condo or apartment building residents, please let us know - we'd love to share it on Mill City Times!


You Don't Have to be Overweight to be Out of Shape

This is the second in an ongoing series of personal health and fitness success stories, brought to us by Mill City Times Fitness Expert, Andrea Austin.

I met Caroline Friday night after her RealRyder spin class led by Andrea at 501SP1N.  She explained how working long hours led her away from her previous atheletic lifestyle, and how she turned that around. 

Below, Caroline shows off her lean physique while perched on a RealRyder bike.  The 5pm Friday Happy Hour RealRyder spin class is just one of the cardio activities Caroline uses to stay fit without getting into a rut.

Email Andrea if you'd like to try a complimentary class, or if you have a fitness or nutrition question.


Behind the Scenes of A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie

In case you missed the article by Rohan Preston in todays Star Tribune, here is the link


This Weekend in Mill City / November 19-21

Events this weekend in and around the Historic Mill District of Minneapolis:

Friday, November 19

Book Arts Roundtable: Hamilton Wood Type Museum "Road Show" at MCBA

Zenon Dance Company at the Sourthern Theater

Backstage Tour at the Guthrie

Live Music at the 501 Club

Saturday, November 20

9th Annual Book Arts Fest: Unique Holiday Shopping at MCBA

Childish Movies at the Central Library

Mill City Farmers Market at Local D'lish

Washburn A Mill Tour

Grown Near Home: Winter Vegetables at Mill City Museum

Zenon Dance Company at the Sourthern Theater

Live Music at the 501 Club

Sunday, November 21

Accordo at Southern Theater

Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers at the Dome

Weekend Brunch


Brunch at Spoonriver

Reservations recommended

10:00am - 2:00pm

See the menu


Brunch at Spill the Wine
1101 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415

brunch buffet 10am- 2pm Sunday
$12/person (kids 3 and under eat free, 4-12 years are 1/2 price!)

includes: eggs, bacon, french toast, hash browns, fresh salad and fruit, pastries, build your own omlette bar and more...

featuring absolut bloody bar for $5.

also offering fair trade coffee and full bar. 


Tonight - Jazz Thursdays Series at the MacPhail Center for Music

Location:  MacPhail Center for Music, Antonello Hall, 501 South 2nd Street

Cost: Adults $10, Students $5

Q&A with artists 7:00pm–7:30pm
Concert begins at 8:00pm

Location:  MacPhail Center for Music, Antonello Hall, 501 South 2nd Street

Cost: Adults $10, Students $5

Jazz Thursdays: Meditations and Revelations, celebrating the works of jazz great Charles Mingus. “So Long Eric” featuring Mike Lewis, saxophone; Greg Lewis, trumpet; J.T. Bates, drums; Adam Linz, double bass; Bryan Nichols, piano.
Half politician, Half musician. Half New World explorer. Charles Mingus set the new standard for intensity in jazz. From wild highs to beautiful lows his music has shaped young musicians all over the world to ask, “Why is Governor Faubus so ridiculous?”

For more information call 612-321-0100.

The MacPhail Center for Music is located in the Historic Mill District of Minneapolis.



Curious George Visits the Library Today

Time: 10:30am–11:30am

Location: Central Children's Library

Curious George Visits the Minneapolis Central Library

Preschool-Grade 2. Join Curious George and "The Man in the Yellow Hat" for monkeyshines and shenanigans. Enjoy stories, activities and games!


City Council Member Lisa Goodman Gets More Kudos

Two weeks ago we wrote about the help we received from Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Goodman and her staff member Ruth in solving a problem affecting our neighborhood.  Having moved to the Mill District  one year ago, we're still newcomers of sorts.  However, with a recent posting from Ross Kaplan on his blog as the latest evidence, it seems like our city government is hard at work for us - at least in the 7th Ward.  Below is an excerpt from a blog post from Mr. Kaplan on a problem he was having after a recent power outage:

P.S.: one silver lining in all this? A virtuouso performance by my City Council Member, Lisa Goodman.

In sheer exasperation, I looked up her home phone number Sunday night, and was shocked to find it listed.

I was even more shocked when Ms. Goodman returned my message within 10 minutes.

She proceeded to give me a mini-tutorial on Xcel Energy's inner workings, as well as multiple suggestions for getting action (call the fire dept. if it's genuinely an emergency) and avoiding another power outage (work with neighbors to bury the power line serving our homes).

It's nice to know we have a place to call...


Mill City Farmers Market this Weekend - The Winter Market

Yep, the Mill City Farmers Market is open this Saturday in partnership with Local D'lish!


4th Avenue Playground is Now Open Thanks to Volunteers

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has completed construction of the new playground at 4th Ave N and James I. Rice Parkway in Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood, and the playground is now open. Undaunted by high winds and cold rain, over 50 volunteers—local, regional, even national—showed up October 26 to assemble the first playground to be built on parkland on the west side of the central Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis.  “The families of the North Loop have long been advocating for this playground,” said 2nd Park District Commissioner Jon Olson. “The playground has been eagerly anticipated and promises to be well used.”

Though the playground equipment is now fully installed and ready to use, accessible surfacing will not be installed until spring due to the need for warmer temperatures for this work. Park staff may be on site intermittently through spring, as materials arrive and weather permits, to complete additional elements such as site furnishings, water connections and walkways. In spring, more volunteers will plant additional shrubs and perennials in preparation for the June grand opening. The parking lot adjacent to the playground has been reopened.


Signs of Mill City

Mill Ruins Park

In the Mill District of Minneapolis.



Minnesota Vikings / Green Bay Packers Fan Challenge November 19

I noticed this Event on the Red Cross web site:

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are known for their rivalry on the football field. To kick-off their second showdown this season, both teams are encouraging their fans to also support patients in need by donating blood or platelets through the American Red Cross on Friday, November 19, 2010.  The team that has the most people turn out to donate earns extra bragging rights on and off the field.

All blood and platelet donations made at American Red Cross blood drives and donor centers in Minnesota on Friday, November 19 will count for the Minnesota Vikings. Donations in Wisconsin will count for the Green Bay Packers.

Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to find a blood drive near you in Minnesota on November 19. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good general health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

“The best part about this rivalry is that no matter which team triumphs on the field, patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions are the ultimate winners,” said Geoff Kaufmann, CEO of the local American Red Cross Blood Services Region. “By giving blood on November 19, donors can support their hometown team while helping to ensure a stable blood supply.”

“Many of our terrific fans say they ‘bleed purple.’ Well, now’s their chance to prove it,” said Brad Madson, Minnesota Vikings executive director of community relations. “This is a terrific way to enjoy our Packers rivalry while helping a very important cause.”

The American Red Cross partners with 129 hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and more than 3,000 nationwide, providing lifesaving blood products and specialized laboratory services.

There is an American Red Cross Donor Center in our neighborhood at 1201 West River Parkway.


First Mill City Snowman of the Season

Saturday morning was a beautiful winter wonderland (at least for those of us who didn't have to drive or shovel snow).   Around 9am we trudged down to Dunn Bros. for beans, and got a few shots along the way: 

And finally, a diehard worker washes windows on the newly leasing Mill District City Apartments:




CORRECTION: This Weekend in Mill City

We inadvertently published items for the wrong dates in todays post for events this weekend.  The article has been updated with the correct events for this weekend.


This Weekend in Mill City / November 12-14 

Events this weekend in and around the Historic Mill District of Minneapolis:

Friday, November 12

New Work by MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellows at MCBA

Lionel Popkin: There is an Elephant in This Dance at the Southern Theater

Live Music at the 501 Club

Saturday, November 13

Discover Saturday: Minnesota Black Bears at the Children's Library

Cowboy Versus Samurai Opens at the Guthrie

Thanksgiving Paper Dinner at MCBA

MacPhail Free Family Music Event

Guest Chef: Shefzilla, Stewart Woodman at Mill City Museum

Volunteer Biennial: A Very Much More Opening Reception at the Soap Factory

Lionel Popkin: There is an Elephant in This Dance at the Southern Theater

How'd They Do That Workshop: The 39 Steps at the Guthrie

Live Music at the 501 Club

Sunday, November 14

Jazz Off the Charts at MacPhail Center for Music

Southern Songbook - Lush Life at the Sourthern Theater

Weekend Brunch


Brunch at Spoonriver

Reservations recommended

10:00am - 2:00pm

See the menu


Brunch at Spill the Wine
1101 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415

brunch buffet 10am- 2pm Sunday
$12/person (kids 3 and under eat free, 4-12 years are 1/2 price!)

includes: eggs, bacon, french toast, hash browns, fresh salad and fruit, pastries, build your own omlette bar and more...

featuring absolut bloody bar for $5.

also offering fair trade coffee and full bar.

Saturday & Sunday

501 Club Hash House Brunch


Vice President and Mrs. Mondale Featured on MPR

Mill District residents Walter and Joan Mondale were interviewed recently on Minnesota Public Radio on the topic of their long, love filled life together.  A couple of mentions are made about one of the landmarks of our neighborhood:

"Today, the Mondales live in a loft overlooking the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis. The walls are decorated with political mementos, memoribilia and artwork. Joan has worked or taught in the arts for decades, earning her the nickname Joan of Art."

"One of their favorite things to do is walk across the Stone Arch Bridge. Even after decades in public life, Joan and Walter Mondale are still humbled when people recognize them on the street."

Listen to the interview here:

Read the story on MPR here...

Former President Jimmy Carter, left, and former Vice President Walter Mondale walk together after helping build a Habitat for Humanity home in Minneapolis, October 6, 2010. (MPR Photo / Jefferey Thompson)


Opening reception for Coffee House and Toothpaste Press at Open Book - From Letterpress to E-book 

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is pleased to host an exhibition celebrating over 25 years of Minneapolis-based Coffee House Press and its letterpress predecessor Toothpaste Press, founded by Allan Kornblum. See how Coffee House Press has grown from a small mimeographed poetry magazine called Toothpaste to an independent nonprofit publishing company with international reach and an award-winning history of excellence.

With introductory comments from Emilie Buchwald, the opening reception will spotlight founder Allan Kornblum who will present on the the genesis and history of Coffee House and Toothpaste, with refreshments to follow.

The exhibition will be on display through January 9, 2011.

Opening reception: Coffee House and Toothpaste Press: From Letterpress to E-book
at the Open Book Cowles Literary Commons

Thursday, November 11; 6:45pm

Location: Open Book at 1011 Washington Avenue South


Mill District City Apartments Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Tour 

Mill District City Apartments - already 35% leased - held it's official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 10.

Wielding the scissors in the below video are (left to right) Elliot Jaffee, President, US Bank, Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Jonathan Holtzman, CEO, Village Green. 

A tour of several furnished models followed the ribbon cutting.  We started at the living green wall just off the lobby.

Mill District City Apartments Ceremony IMG_3610

From there we continued on to the 2-story model:

 Mill District City Apartments Ceremony IMG_3653

Mill District City Apartments Ceremony IMG_3654

Mill District City Apartments Ceremony IMG_3657

And the first floor model:

Mill District City Apartments Ceremony IMG_3662

At the end of the tour, Dan waives farewell from the private 2nd Street South entry of the first floor model.  

"Mill District" Minneapolis IMG_3663

Dan mentioned the underground garage has 300+ bike racks, 2 car wash bays and a Pet Spa.  

For apartment leasing information, contact Diane Tidwell at 612-886-3780, or millpropmgr@villagegreen.comClick here for Floor plans, rates, etc.