Kim Eslinger
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Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
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Ryan Ojard
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Mill City Cooks
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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.

Tuesday
Aug272019

Voting for Top Downtown Green Spaces Now Open for 2019 DID Greening & Public Realm Awards

Via an August 27 News Release:

The Greening Awards, a Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID) initiative since 2010, celebrate outstanding examples of greening and placemaking that improve public space in Downtown Minneapolis. Winners will be selected by public vote, which is open August 27 through September 13.

This year, 42 finalists were selected from more than 110 nominee submissions through an interactive public nomination process. These finalists were divided into 12 categories based on the project’s characteristics and size.  Among the finalists selected were 14 new nominees—a continued sign of the growing diversity of greening in the downtown area—as well as 15 past winners. Six of last year’s 12 winners are nominated again this year—including nine-time winner Loring Greenway.

“Each year our greening awards finalists represent the best of the best public and private greening we enjoy here in our downtown,” said Steve Cramer, Mpls Downtown Improvement District President & CEO. “We appreciate all the efforts done to enhance our downtown environment. The work being done throughout our community help make our downtown vibrant, welcoming and extraordinary.”

Winners will receive a commemorative Greening Award created by Wood from the Hood, a Minneapolis-based company that reclaims discarded trees from urban neighborhoods and creates high-quality wood products. Each award will display the year the award was issued.

The DID Greening Awards are intended to inspire all to work toward making downtown greener and more vibrant. DID’s mission through the Greening Awards is to encourage all downtown businesses and organizations to participate in the greening effort.

The public is encouraged to vote by visiting mplsdid.com/greeningawards and clicking on the interactive vote link. Each category will showcase the finalists along with a photo of each location for easy viewing and identification. This year’s 12 categories include the following finalists:

Small Activated Space

  • Gethsemane Community Garden
  • Mill City Farmers Market*
  • Open Book Parklet*

Small Green Space

  • Gateway Park*
  • Hennepin Healthcare Pocket Park
  • RSM Plaza – Pocket Park*
  • WCCO Plaza

Large Activated Space

  • The Commons
  • Hennepin County Government Center
  • Loring Park
  • Nicollet

Large Green Space

  • Gold Medal Park
  • Loring Greenway
  • Peavey Plaza
  • Triangle Park

Façade Greening

  • Borealis North Loop Apartments*
  • Lenox Brownstones
  • The Local

Public Art

  • Hennepin Theatre Trust – It’s the People public art project*
  • Nimbus*
  • Radical Playground*

Outdoor Café

  • Bachelor Farmer Café Ally
  • Barrio*
  • The Freehouse*
  • The News Room

Streetscape

  • Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot*
  • Grant Park Median*
  • HQ Apartments

Streetscape Infrastructure

  • Hennepin-Lyndale Crossroads
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
  • North Loop Washington Avenue*

Entryway Greening

  • Canopy by Hilton*
  • Cynthia Froid Group
  • Demi (Parking Lot)*
  • The Marquette Hotel

Public Realm Improvement

  • Peavey Plaza
  • RSM Plaza – Pocket Park
  • Open Book Parklet
  • Grant Park Median
  • Borealis North Loop Apartments
  • Barrio
  • Nimbus
  • Radical Playground
  • Hennepin Theatre Trust – It’s the People public art project

Best Neighborhood

  • Downtown East
  • Downtown West
  • Elliot Park
  • Loring Park
  • North Loop

* First-time finalist

The public is encouraged to not only vote on a winner for each category, but to also celebrate greening on social media year-round. Send your greening photos to @MplsDID on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GreenAwardsMpls.

For more information, visit www.mplsdid.com/greeningawards.

Tuesday
Aug272019

Two September Events Scheduled to Inform on, and Engage Volunteers for, the Greening Lab Project

Green Minneapolis and the Downtown Improvement District will host two September events to provide information about the Greening Lab project, and engage volunteers in a fall census of downtown street trees. Volunteers will receive a short training at the event and be assigned a block downtown to collect data (but they won't be conducting the data collection that night).


Tuesday
Aug272019

Father Louis Hennepin: Man, Myth, Legend.

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

What is the story behind Father Louis Hennepin? It’s a name so common around here that we don’t think twice of it. There’s Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Hennepin Island, Hennepin Avenue, Father Louis Hennepin Bridge, and Hennepin County. He was the first non-Native American to set eyes on Owahmenah, “falling water” in Dakota, Kababikah, “severed rock” in Ojibwe, or St. Anthony Falls, but that’s just the middle of the story. Well here’s the beginning and the end.

A portrait of Hennepin from 1694.

Father Louis Hennepin was born in 1626 as Antoine Hennepin in Ath, Spanish Netherlands, what is now Belgium. Growing up he traveled around Europe as much as he could, and by the time he turned twenty, he joined the Récollets, also known as the Franciscan Order. During his time studying at a convent in Bethune, France he quickly became interested in stories of missionaries traversing the wilderness of undiscovered lands. In 1673, he was sent to Maastricht, Netherlands and became a military chaplain. A year later he was sent to the Battle of Seneffe, a part of the Franco-Dutch War, where he ran into Daniel Greysolon Dulhut, the namesake for Duluth. After the battle, he was ordered to make his way to La Rochelle, France where he would soon set sail for the New World.

For his first three years in Quebec, he would follow hunters and trappers to their camps and visit Native American settlements only bringing a portable altar, a blanket, and a mat made of rushes to sleep on. He took notes during all his journeys and would report back to French officials on his discoveries. During this time, he stumbled upon his first claim to fame, Niagara Falls, and he became the first non-Native American to document the falls. In 1678, a French explorer by the name of Robert Cavelier de La Salle made his way to Quebec with permission from King Louis XIV of France to explore the Mississippi River and the land that drains into it. Boarding a boat near Niagara Falls, the exploration party became the first non-Native Americans to navigate Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.

Once landing in Green Bay, the party traveled by canoe and foot, and by the time they reached Fort Crèvecoeur, near present-day Peoria, Illinois, the food supply was low and they were lacking the necessary materials for navigation, so many members of the party, including La Salle, deserted and decided to head back to Niagara in order to rethink their plan. Only three men remained; Father Hennepin, Michel Accault, and Antoine Auguel Du Guay. Following the Illinois River, they made their way to the Mississippi. Once the ice left the river, they made their way upstream, and in mid-April of 1680, they were greeted at Lake Pepin by thirty-three canoes paddled by 120 Dakota. The three men were then taken upstream to Kaposia where the elders decided what to do with them. They were then taken by foot to a village along the south shore of Mille Lacs where they stayed for two months.

Famous 1905 painting by Douglas Volk.

A hunting party from the village then took the men down the Rum River to the Mississippi and the Dakota agreed to let them paddle down to the Wisconsin River where they could pick up supplies. The three men paddled their way down and on July 6th, 1680, they approached a roaring waterfall Hennepin eventually named after his patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua. The men soon made their way to Prairie du Chien, where the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers meet, and started the journey back upstream. With a canoe fully loaded with supplies, the three men struggled to paddle against the ripping current and were met by Daniel Greysolon Dulhut once again. Dulhut and Hennepin recognized each other from their previous meeting during the Battle of Seneffe. Dulhut’s party helped the three men back to Mille Lacs and over a month later, Dulhut negotiated with the Dakota chief to allow them to return home to Quebec. The men once again packed up their canoes and started paddling home, and on their way, Father Louis Hennepin set his eyes on what he called “the Niagara of the West” for the last time.

Statue of Hennepin located in front of the Basilica of Saint Mary.Once returning to Europe, he seemed to have made a few enemies, including King Louis XIV who said he would be arrested if he ever set foot in New France again. His eccentric personality and passion to become an explorer might have bolstered his ego a bit too much. He wrote three books about his travels and went into great detail in all of them. In his first book, he even slandered La Salle by saying, “Sieur de La Salle wanted all the glory and secret knowledge of this discovery for himself alone. This is why he sacrificed several persons to prevent them from publishing what they had seen and from foiling his secret plans.”

Paranoia and his need for being recognized for his discoveries took over Hennepin during his later years and passed away in Rome around the year 1705. Not much is known about his life other than what he wrote about in his books and what other explorers wrote about if they ever traveled with Hennepin. Some sources say he was born in 1626 and some say 1640. Some sources say he greatly exaggerated his discoveries in his books, and some say he returned to Quebec to a hero’s welcome. However, there’s one thing that’s for certain; Father Louis Hennepin will always be a legend in the Mill City.

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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 an intern at the Hennepin History Museum and a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 7+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Monday
Aug262019

Interstate 335: Lower Northeast’s Ghost Highway

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

The next time you take a stroll through James I. Rice Parkway on West River Road or watch the Fourth of July fireworks from Boom Island Park, imagine a six-lane highway right in front of you. The Twin Cites has a history of splitting communities in half, like with I-94 in St. Paul, and I-35W in South Minneapolis, but there was almost one more. This is the story of how a neighborhood was shaped by a project that was never built.

Map from 1975 of the plan for I-335

Interstate 335 was first proposed in the 1940’s to connect I-94, at Plymouth Avenue N, to I-35W, between East Hennepin Avenue and Broadway Street NE, which would complete a highway loop around Minneapolis. Since this “North Ring” section would go right through a big chunk of lower Northeast, it took a few decades for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to carefully choose the most fitting design for the area. In 1970, the project started to pick up steam when a federal highway bill granted money to the project to buy right-of-way land and prepare the route for construction. In fact, if you head southbound on I-35W, you can still see the beginnings of an on ramp as you approach the East Hennepin Avenue overpass.

Google Maps picture of I-35W near the East Hennepin Ave overpass showing an unused on-ramp

I-335 was planned to start at Plymouth Avenue N with its first on/off ramps at Washington Avenue N. It crossed the Mississippi River just south of the Plymouth Avenue bridge, curved its way through Boom Island and B.F. Nelson parks, and its first on/off ramps on the Northeast side would have been at Main Street, where Marshall Street breaks off, roughly where the Pioneer monument currently stands. I-335 would have then continued east, with on/off ramps at University Avenue NE and 4th Street NE. Its last on/off ramp before it that would have connected to I-35W was planned to be at Monroe Street NE.

It’s hard to comprehend a six-lane highway going right through my favorite riverfront park, but it was very close to happening. Understandably, the residents of the St. Anthony West neighborhood were not happy about a highway going through their backyard. Led by their president, Patrick Rainville, Sr., the grandfather of yours truly, the St. Anthony West neighborhood board fought tooth and nail to stop this project. This was a daunting task, as no neighborhood organization has ever shut down a federal government project. Well do I have good news for you! History was made on July 25, 1975 when the Minneapolis City Council listened to one of their oldest neighborhoods and passed a resolution opposing the I-335 project.

When the weather warms up and you find yourself at Boom Island Park, take a moment to look at the Minneapolis skyline, smell the wildflowers in the fields, wave hello to the canoers and kayakers, and appreciate the natural beauty of the Minneapolis riverfront.

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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 an intern at the Hennepin History Museum and a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 7+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Sunday
Aug252019

Mpls St. Paul Magazine shout out to Good Space Murals

Excerpt from a recent Mpls St. Paul Magazine e-newsletter:

Photo credit: Lauren Cutshall

Good Space Murals, a local arts organization that uses murals as a way to strengthen communities, partnered with the nonprofits Youthlink, Project for Pride in Living (PPL), and Kulture Klub to create this vibrant mural. The nonprofits share a building space downtown and aim to help the local youth homeless population in different ways. YouthLink helps coordinate access to healthcare, employment, and other resources, PPL provides homeless youth with safe housing, and Kulture Klub offers therapeutic art experiences that allow for personal growth and self-expression. Consider volunteering your time, talent, and donating to these instrumental organizations.

Saturday
Aug242019

Construction Begins This Fall at Currie Park

The Currie Park Improvements project includes a new splash pad pictured here

New restroom building, splash pad, basketball court and more coming soon to Currie Park

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) of Commissioners approved the construction contract for the Currie Park Improvements project at its Aug. 21, 2019 meeting, along with allocating $480,000 of additional funding from the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan Capital Investment Construction Contingency Fund.

Construction starts mid-September on the wide-ranging project that will bring significant upgrades to the park. Improvements include:

  • New restroom building
  • New splash pad
  • New basketball court
  • Playground safety fencing
  • Trail and lighting improvements

A map of park facilities that will be open while Currie Park is under construction

Almost the entire park will be closed during construction with the exception of the athletic field.

The MPRB appreciates the public's patience while the park overhaul is completed. There are several other parks nearby, including The Commons, Elliot Park, Riverside Park, Matthews Park, East Phillips Park, Phillip Aquatics Center and Peavey Park.

Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2020. The Currie Park Improvements project follows the master plan approved for Currie Park as part of the South Service Area Master Plan approved for all neighborhood parks in south Minneapolis in 2016. Find out more on the Currie Park Phase 1 Improvements project page, where you can sign up to receive email updates on this project.

Project Contact: Daniel Elias, 612-230-6435, delias@minneapolisparks.org

Every neighborhood deserves a great park.

Funding for this project includes a $2,812,400 allocation from NPP20, a historic agreement between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the City of Minneapolis. NPP20 helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities. 

Friday
Aug232019

North Loop Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements

Editor's note - This is an ongoing series of updates as the North Loop Reconstruction and Pedestrian Improvements project.

North Loop Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements

The North Loop Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements Project consists of two separate projects:

  1. A full street reconstruction along 3rd St N between 10th Ave N and 5th Ave N
  2. A pedestrian improvement project generally bounded by 10th Ave N on the north, 1st Ave on the south, West River Parkway on the east, and 4th St N on the west

North Loop Reconstruction Updates

WORK THIS PAST WEEK

5th Ave N

  • Placed 1st lift of asphalt
  • Placed 70% of the curb and gutter
  • Started driveway placement, most driveways will be poured ½ at a time, allowing continued access
  • East side sidewalk placement will start next week

7th Ave N

  • Completed driveway installation
  • Completed sidewalk installation
  • Placed the 2nd lift of asphalt
  • Began work on the north side of Washington Monday 9-19
  • Access at Washington now open

8th Ave N

  • Grading for walks and driveways
  • Salvaged granite curb has been reinstalled
  • Start placing sidewalks
  • Start placing driveways
  • Access at Washington now open
  • Began work on the north side of Washington Monday 9-19

9th Ave N

  • Continue placing driveways
  • Continue placing sidewalks
  • Access at Washington now open
  • Began work on the north side of Washington Monday 9-19

3rd St N

  • Continued amending poor soils
  • Complete underground utility work
  • Begin grading and bringing in aggregate in preparation for paving

WORK ANTICIPATED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK AND NEXT WEEK

5th Ave N

  • Driveway placement
  • East side sidewalk placement

7th Ave N

  • May place the 3rd lift of asphalt
  • Continue work on the north side of Washington

8th Ave N

  • Grading for walks and driveways
  • Finish placing sidewalks
  • Finish placing driveways
  • Start placing concrete parking bays
  • Continue work on the north side of Washington

9th Ave N

  • Continue placing driveways
  • Continue placing sidewalks
  • Continue work on the north side of Washington

3rd St N

  • Finish amending poor soils between 8th and 10th Aves N
  • Complete underground utility work
  • Begin grading and bringing in aggregate in preparation for paving
  • Placement of the first lift of asphalt is tentatively planned between 8-28 through 8-30
  • Installation of curb and gutter will follow asphalt placement

For more information on this project, visit the project website.

North Loop Pedestrian Improvements Updates

Crews will be coming back in September to finish up the job.

WORK THIS PAST WEEK

  • 1st St N & 4th Ave – Continuing water work
  • 2nd St N and 3rd Ave N – Continuing sewer work

REMAINING WORK ON THIS PROJECT

1st St N

  • 2nd Ave SE corner
  • 4nd Ave SE and NE corner 

2nd St N

  • 1st Ave N - All corners
  • 2nd Ave N – NE, SE and SW
  • 3rd Ave N – All, currently the City is working in this intersection, pedestrian ramps will be done after the sewer work is complete
  • 5th Ave N – SE corner
  • 8th Ave N – South side and NE corner
  • 10th Ave N – SE and SW corners

4th St N

  • 10th Ave N – NE corner
  • 7th Ave N – South side

Other

  • All signal installation will start late in September due to long lead times on materials
  • Remaining concrete work will continue through September

For more information on this project, visit the project website.

Miscellanious

Stakeholder Meeting -These meetings are informal, held biweekly and intended to offer residents and businesses on the job an opportunity to get construction updates, ask construction and access related questions.

Date/Time:   September 4, 7:30 am to 8:30 am
Location:    Corner Coffee 514 N 3rd St #102
.

Contact Information

Project Manager: Stephanie Malmberg, stephanie.malmberg@minneapolismn.gov, 612-673-3365

Chief Field Inspector: John Benjamin, john.benjamin@minneapolismn.gov, 651-443-1096

Friday
Aug232019

The Southern Theater Announces New Performance Series, AMPLIFY

The Southern Theater Launches AMPLIFY Program Series this Fall

Performances will highlight important stories focused on underrepresented communities

The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., will present a new program series giving artistic voice to stories that are not always given a performance platform. AMPLIFY: ​to make larger, greater, stronger: to increase in strength. Through movement, music, and narrative, artists will share stories that support and represent the many voices that make up a community. “Art is a powerful way to connect,” says Acting Executive Director Janette Davis. “Our hope is that these performances will spark important conversations, open up minds, and share perspectives.”  

This inaugural year of the AMPLIFY series will feature four stories from African American, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ communities. A talkback after a designated public performance will allow each artist to connect with audiences, while special Pay What You Can performances make shows accessible to anyone who wants to attend. Youth performances for student groups and ASL shows are also being arranged.
 
PBC Nation presents: ​Pulling Back The Curtain:Remastered
September 19-Sept 22
Valuing freedom of expression and a community in communication, this show visibilizes the invisibilized narratives of marginalized communities and the oppression of African-American people, presented through movement, conversation, and interaction.  
 
Freaque presents: ​A Cripple’s Dance
October 14-20
This live music and dance performance began as an expression of Gabriel Rodreick’s (C5-C6) desire to dance, move, and reconnect with his body post injury, and has now become a deeper story about how to hold the acceptance of one’s injury and hope for a life beyond one’s injury in the same hand. 
 
Mixed Precipitation presents: ​Hit the Wall
November 11-17
Ike Holter's play honors queer ancestors and the historic events of a pivotal night at a gay bar known as the Stonewall Inn.    
 
The New Renaissance presents:​ ​Ancestral Origins: An Afrofuturist Exploration of Joy and Beauty
December 5-8
After discovering that their music powered experiments can open up doorways to other worlds, rebel scientists struggle to escape a post-apocalyptic future and embark on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and transformation.  
 
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to legislative appropriations from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 
Thursday
Aug222019

Mr. Pettingill’s Wonderful Water

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

1875 - Chalybeate Springs near Pillsbury A MillIn 1875, the Minneapolis Riverfront welcomed its first, and last, resort. Mr. Mannesseh P. Pettingill reached an agreement with the St. Anthony Falls Company to lease a portion of their land, where he would start a spring-fed resort and tourist attraction. This was not the first time people would visit the springs, as they have been a popular spot to unwind since pioneers settled in the area. However, during the Civil War, the springs fell out of popularity.

The visitors of Mr. Pettinghill’s resort descended a steep flight of stairs, which were located in present day Father Hennepin Bluff Park. At the base of the bluff, they were able to enjoy ice cream, cigars, great views of St. Anthony Falls, and relaxing natural springs, which he marketed it as his Wonderful Water. One of the main attractions of the resort was a cavern, advertised as “Chute’s Cave.” An August 1876 issue of the Minneapolis Tribune says that visitors were able to take a tour of the cavern. “For the moderate sum of ten cents you can take a seat in a boat, with a flaming torch at the bow, and with a trusty pilot sail up under Main Street a distance of 2,000 feet.” If you were not the adventurous type, they also provided live music along the banks of the Mississippi every Saturday, such as the East Minneapolis Cornet Band on the evening of August 26th. Mr. Pettingill eventually constructed a covered dancefloor as a “rendezvous for lovers of dancing, where they can trip the light fantastic whenever occasion admits.”

1875 - Chalybeate Springs near Pillsbury A Mill

The growth of the city eventually made it hard for Mr. Pettingill to continue to run his resort, and in Autumn of 1880, it closed for good. Everything that could have went wrong happened all at once. Milling continued to grow at a rapid pace, which chased away many visitors of the resort because of the noise pollution, it was discovered that the source of Mr. Pettingill’s Wonderful Water was a swamp, and to top it all off, the city connected its sewers to the tailraces of the mills that emptied into the river right next to the resort.

Lower Father Hennepin Bluff Park

Fortunately for us, that area has cleaned up quite nicely. If you want to check out the springs, wait until the snow melts and the river thaws, and wander down the trails of the lower section of Father Hennepin Bluff Park and rediscover the beauty that attracted many residences of the Twin Cities and beyond to Mr. Pettengill’s resort.

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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 an intern at the Hennepin History Museum and a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 7+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Monday
Aug192019

Save the Date: Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements Grand Opening Celebration scheduled October 5

Via an August 19 e-newsletter from Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

A new picnic shelter is part of a major park improvement project at Sheridan Memorial Park

Major park improvement project includes new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art

Please join the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Northeast Minneapolis neighbors and park users on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, 10:30 am-1 pm for a special event celebrating the completion of a collection of new amenities at Sheridan Memorial Park.

Join us at the park for family-friendly activities on Oct. 5 between 10:30 am and 1 pm. Save the date and more details about the celebration will be available soon!

Local artist Zoran Mojsilov works on artwork installed at the new Sheridan Memorial Park playground, March 26, 2019

About the Project

The Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements project features a new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art, along with benches, a drinking fountain, portable toilets and path connections. The $1.5 million project held a groundbreaking ceremony last October and construction took place over the last year.

The MPRB would like to thank the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization, which has committed thousands of dollars in funds and many volunteers to help plan and construct past improvements in the park.

An illustration showing some of the new amenities at Sheridan Memorial Park

Project History

In April 2015 the MPRB received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership project to develop recreation facilities at Sheridan Memorial Park. The grant was matched with $1 million from Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy Funding, administered by the Metropolitan Council.

Community engagement in 2016 and 2017 helped decide which improvements were chosen for the park and how those improvements were designed. Construction occurred fall 2018-summer 2019.

Northeast veterans, community members and public officials pose for a photo at the Sheridan Memorial Park Land Dedication event on Nov. 9, 2007

Park History

A grand opening celebration for the Sheridan Veterans Memorial occurred on June 28, 2014 after nearly 20 years of planning, fundraising and environmental remediation. Read more of the park’s fascinating backstory on the MPRB website: Sheridan Memorial Park History

Currently the park centers on a large spherical sculpture of protective shields created by local artist Robert Smart. The sculpture is surrounded with quotes about peace engraved into granite and vertical markers describing the ten conflicts in which Minnesotans have served. Smart imbued the steel and granite markers with faces of veterans cast in iron.

In 2016 the Mississippi East Bank Trail opened. The two-way, off-street, lighted riverfront trail runs through the park.

Project page

Saturday
Aug172019

JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar Reopens September 12 in the North Loop

JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar Reopens September 12, 2019 in the North Loop

The Fiery Szechuan Restaurant by Jessie Wong Returns After Sudden Flood

 

Local restaurateur and chef Jessie Wong reopens JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar in Minneapolis’ North Loop on September 12, after being forced to close in October 2018 due to severe water damage caused by a sprinkler system malfunction. JUN originally opened in January 2017 and was Wong’s second restaurant to feature her elevated Chinese cuisine, following the success of Szechuan in Roseville.

Wong, who was born and raised in Shandong, China, is excited for the restaurant to reopen so she may continue to share the cuisine and culture of her heritage with the North Loop area that is lacking Chinese cuisine options. Wong will be working in collaboration with Chef Kyle Dahl, and General Manager Jeffery Fortson to continue the evolution of the restaurant.

Both Dahl and Fortson bring great experience and excitement to their new roles with Wong. Chef Dahl has extensive experience in the Twin Cities restaurant community, where he learned from top local chefs by working at Betty Danger’s, Sushi Fix, and most recently, as Executive Chef for Masu Sushi & Robata in Northeast Minneapolis. Dahl is driven to share his passion for food and create an experience for all guests that is captivating and memorable.

General Manager Fortson has a vast and varied background in food, beverage, and hospitality. Hailing from Queens, New York, Fortson honed his experience throughout a long and successful career in both front of house and back of house positions as a food and beverage director, general manager, director of operations and director of sales and marketing. He previously ran the large team at Tartan Park in Lake Elmo as well as being general manager of the Normandy Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.

The menu at JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar will showcase dim sum and authentic Szechuan dishes. Special features include the handmade, signature Szechuan dumplings, steak and broccoli stir-fry in a sesame soy-ginger sauce and a crispy whole snapper topped with crispy garlic, chives and lime-chili vinaigrette. JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar will also offer a full bar serving handcrafted cocktails, sake and Japanese whiskey, as well as daily happy hour.

JUN Szechuan Kitchen & Bar will be open Monday through Thursday 4pm – 10pm, Friday 4pm – 12am, Saturday 10am – 12am, and Sunday from 10am – 10pm, with a daily happy hour from 4pm – 6pm and brunch on the weekends.

“Our team has been working diligently for many months to get the restaurant ready to serve our customers the great Szechuan food we know they have been missing,” said Wong. “We couldn’t be more excited to reopen the doors and welcome them back.”

Friday
Aug162019

STREY Collective Discontinues MOA Pop-Up; Available at Northrup King Building

Via an August 14 Release:

Brands Will Remain a Collective and NE Studio Location Will Be Open 6 Days A Week With Extended Hours

STREY Collective is a community of MN brands that have joined forces to promote sustainable, ethical, and local products. We’re artists, makers, chemists, designers, and visionaries celebrating a dynamic Minnesota. We support our community throughout our creative process because we acknowledge the benefit of embracing the local economy. We recognize our individual strengths but know we can be stronger together.

Sarah Butala - founder of Strey Designs, opened her first brick and mortar last fall at Mall of America and this Spring and converted her solo act into a collaborative pop up effort with 8 brands from the local maker community. “Along my journey I have met some amazing people. People who lift each other up, support one another's brands and understand what the Maker Movement is all about. Each of the artists participating in my new concept, STREY Collective, have been a quintessential part of my brand’s evolution. If there is one thing I'm more passionate about then Strey, it's the community of makers that support each other. Together we are stronger and can make a bigger impact on our world and the deeper sense of what this movement is about.”

The local makers who are part of the STREY Collective include:
  • Strey Designs - creates functional leather bags and accessories that are practical, yet fun. We design and manufacture all of our products in our studio in Northeast Minneapolis. We are committed to giving local artists jobs, providing a handmade product to our clients and giving back to our community.
  • Elixery - founded in a vintage laboratory and launched on the runway, the Elixery formulates and manufactures lipsticks and other cosmetic delights. We do Science from Scratch. 100% Vegan/Certified Cruelty Free.
  • Scott Lehmann - an inclusive clothing and accessory label that won’t be defined by gender, age or culture. Inspired by minimalism with a sense of the absurd; simple yet unexpected.
  • Karen Morris Millinery - contemporary hats and headpieces handmade by Karen Morris in Minnesota. We focus on high-quality craftsmanship and shopper experience.
  • Vikse Designs - sterling silver jewelry hand crafted by Jeannie Trelles. Vikse jewelry features unique stones from MN and around the world.
  • Mousework Glass - creates unique hand blown functional and decorative glass art. Using borosilicate tubes and solid rods of glass, each piece is created individually by manipulating the glass in different ways.
  • Sweet B Design - hand paints, letters, and designs home décor, so wonderful people can get unique artwork & gifts in an era of mass production & same-ness. This one-woman business creates positivity-infused astrological goodies that help you tune in to the moon, stars, and your celestial being.
  • Create Laser Arts - an artist run company based in South Minneapolis, MN. We have a passion for making and focus on creating high-quality, functional art-objects that bring joy to everyday life. Our heartfelt, sustainably made gifts share our love of Minnesota nature, combining the rich traditions of hand-craft with laser technologies.  
  • Kate Pearce Studios - collection of Minnesota and beyond items are sweet reminders of this place we call home. From flour sack towels and pillows, to a variety of baby gifts and kids apparel, there is something for every room in the house.  Each piece is hand-cut and sewn and features our state in charming themed fabrics.
STREY Collective has given nine Minnesota makers a more permanent space to call home through the summer after years of popping up at various makers markets throughout the Twin Cities. All of their products are authentically made in Minnesota. This collaborative store took over the current Strey Designs pop up shop located on the second floor in the Mall of America near Nordstrom. The pop up will end on Thursday, August 29th. Select items throughout the store will be on sale for the next two weeks.
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All 9 brands will remain a Collective and their studio location at the Northrop King building will be open 6 days a week with extended hours (listed below.) Each of the brand owners will continue to bring their goods to art fairs, farmers markets and special events throughout the Twin Cities.
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Boutique/Open Studio Hours at Northrup King Building, Studio #179, 1500 Jackson St NE:
Monday 10a - 4p
Tuesday 9a - 5p
Wednesday 9a - 5p
Thursday 9a - 5p
Friday 11a - 5p
Saturday 12p - 4p 
Or By Appointment
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Our Mission:
- Support the local community with integrity, inclusivity, and compassion
- Celebrate small business instead of competing with small business
- Create a friendly & fun atmosphere for everyone to celebrate Minnesota’s entrepreneurs
Friday
Aug162019

Volunteer to Count Bicycles and Pedestrians in Hennepin County

Via an August 15 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Volunteer for the countywide bike and pedestrian count
September 10-12, 2019

 

Hennepin County is teaming up with the City of Minneapolis again for the fourth annual county bike and pedestrian count. The city is leading recruiting efforts for their locations, and we are leading recruiting efforts for suburban locations.

We have a new goal this year. We are aiming to recruit enough volunteers to cover more than 30 sites in 19 suburban locations. 

We don’t need much from those who volunteer. We need people willing to count the people they see walking, biking or rolling from 4 to 6 p.m. on any of these three dates:

  • Tuesday, September 10
  • Wednesday, September 11
  • Thursday, September 12

If you can help, click here to learn more about the counting process and register online for count locations outside of Minneapolis. You can also contact Emily Kettell at emily.kettell@hennepin.us or 612-543-1963.

If you want to help with Minneapolis locations, contact Chris Kartheiser at chris.kartheiser@minneapolismn.gov or 612-673-2544.

Please let us know if you need any special accommodations, too.

Thank you for your willingness to consider playing a role in this effort. These counts help us better understand how our streets, sidewalks and trails serve people walking, biking and rolling. 

Thursday
Aug152019

Hennepin Avenue Downtown Reconstruction Project

Hennepin Avenue Downtown Reconstruction Project

Hennepin Ave. reconstruction project, led by City of Minneapolis Public Works, will be reconstructed between 12th Street and Washington Avenue beginning Spring 2019.  The project will reconstruct the pavement from building face to building face, including improvements to public and private utility infrastructure, and improved infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and vehicles.
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Latest Project News
 

Both Public and Private Utility construction continues throughout the corridor.  This work is continuing to be more and more as we go through the season.  Traffic lane restrictions will continue on Hennepin Ave. as well as the cross-streets.

What's Coming Up 

Both 7th Street and 9th Street will be reduced significantly to cross street traffic starting Monday next week.  Expect delays.  9th St will then be closed to cross traffic starting Friday 8/23 through the end of the month.

Xcel and Centerpoint continue their work on the north end of the project between 5th and Washington.  The City Sewer contractor continues work at 9th and progressing south, while Xcel is starting their work at 7th St.  Xcel will continue to head south along the corridor to 12th.

Please see update attached for more details

Hennepin_Update_Vol10.pdf

For more information on this project contact: 

Construction Manager, hennepinCM@minneapolismn.gov or 612-225-4049

www.hennepindowntown.com 

Thursday
Aug152019

Joint Statement from Five Minneapolis Organizations Regarding Mayor Frey's 2020 Budget Plan for Public Safety

Via a joint statement from mpls downtown council, MPLS Regional Chamber, BOMA Greater Minneapolis, Warehouse District Business Association and North Loop Neighborhood Association regarding Mayor Frey’s 2020 budget plan for public safety:

Our City and downtown continue to experience too much violence and other dangerous behavior. This is a time for clarity, both in understanding the situation we face and the need for action. Policing is not the only response needed, but it is an essential response which must be better supported.

None of us deny the importance of investing in the future of our community and its residents through affordable housing, workforce training and quality education. In fact the private sector is frequently a key partner in such endeavors.

None of us deny the importance of implementing a wide range of strategies to keep neighborhoods and commercial districts safe. In fact, businesses and several of our organizations fund outreach, prevention and activation programs as priority components of a comprehensive approach to public safety.

But when it comes to denial, we are concerned that too many City Council Members deny the obvious need for investments in the Minneapolis Police Department.  Today, all the core functions of the MPD are stressed by the lack of available personnel. We are too often seeing the results on our streets.

Mayor Frey’s 2020 budget plan addresses long-term solutions, embraces a range of public safety strategies, and importantly adds additional resources including 14 sworn officer positions to the Police Department consistent with Chief Arradondo’s vision. His plan has our support.

Community health and vitality starts with confidence in personal security. Effective law enforcement is a necessary part of making our City secure. It’s essential that the City Council face this reality and provide MPD the additional resources needed to do their job of protecting residents, workers and visitors.

Thursday
Aug152019

North Loop Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements

Editor's note - This is an ongoing series of updates as the North Loop Reconstruction and Pedestrian Improvements project.

North Loop Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements

The North Loop Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements Project consists of two separate projects:

  1. A full street reconstruction along 3rd St N between 10th Ave N and 5th Ave N
  2. A pedestrian improvement project generally bounded by 10th Ave N on the north, 1st Ave on the south, West River Parkway on the east, and 4th St N on the west

North Loop Reconstruction Updates

WORK THIS PAST WEEK

5th Ave N

  • Placing the first lift of asphalt today between Washington to just past 4th St N

7th Ave N

  • Completed curb placement
  • Placed the second lift of asphalt pavement
  • Completed most of the sidewalk placement
  • Continuing with the driveway placement

8th Ave N

  • Granite curb placed
  • Sidewalk placed at Washington Ave
  • Second lift of asphalt placed at Washington

9th Ave N

  • Sidewalk placed at Washington Ave
  • Second lift of asphalt placed at Washington

3rd St N

  • Completed pavement removals, with the exception of the south sidewalk
  • Finished water work
  • Finishing up the storm and sanitary work
  • Started removing poor soils at 5ht Ave N and working towards 10th Ave N

WORK ANTICIPATED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK AND NEXT WEEK

5th Ave N

  • Curb and gutter installation will follow asphalt
  • Driveway placement will start next week
  • East side sidewalk placement will start next week

7th Ave N

  • Complete driveway installation
  • Complete sidewalk installation
  • May place the 3rd lift of asphalt
  • Access at Washington will open Monday 8-19
  • Work will begin work on the north side of Washington Monday 9-19 – the lane closure that is currently on the south side of Washington will shift to the north side of Washington

8th Ave N

  • Grading for walks and driveways
  • Start placing sidewalks
  • Start placing driveways
  • Access at Washington will open Monday 8-19
  • Work will begin work on the north side of Washington Monday 9-19 – the lane closure that is currently on the south side of Washington will shift to the north side of Washington

For more information on this project, visit the project website.

North Loop Pedestrian Improvements Updates

The concrete crews are off site until the end of the month, however the sewer and water crews will be doing intermittent work in the next few weeks.

WORK THIS PAST WEEK

  • 1st St N & 4th Ave – Continuing water work
  • 2nd St N and 3rd Ave N – Continuing sewer work

REMAINING WORK ON THIS PROJECT

1st St N

  • 2nd Ave SE corner
  • 4th Ave SE and NE corner

2nd St N

  • 1st Ave N - All corners
  • 2nd Ave N – NE, SE and SW
  • 3rd Ave N – All, currently the City is working in this intersection, pedestrian ramps will be done after the sewer work is complete
  • 5th Ave N – SE corner
  • 8th Ave N – South side and NE corner
  • 10th Ave N – SE and SW corners

4th St N

  • 10th Ave N – NE corner
  • 7th Ave N – South side

 Other

  • All signal installation will start late in September due to long lead times on materials
  • Remaining concrete work will continue through September

For more information on this project, visit the project website.

Miscellanious

Stakeholder Meeting -These meetings are informal, held biweekly and intended to offer residents and businesses on the job an opportunity to get construction updates, ask construction and access related questions.

Sate/Time: August 21, 7:30 am to 8:30 am
Location:  Corner Coffee 514 N 3rd St #102
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Contact Information

Project Manager:

Stephanie Malmberg, stephanie.malmberg@minneapolismn.gov, 612-673-3365

Chief Field Inspector:

John Benjamin, john.benjamin@minneapolismn.gov, 651-443-1096

Wednesday
Aug142019

NIEBNA Board of Directors Meeting Agenda for August 15

Thursday, August 15, 2019
6:30 - 8 pm
Our Lady of Lourdes Church (Hofstede Hall)
1 Lourdes Place

NIEBNA meetings are open to the public and handicap accessible. If you need any special accommodation, contact Chris Lautenschlager at chris@niebna.com five (5) business days in advance of the meeting.

6:30     
Welcome, Call to Order | Verification of Quorum | Approval of Agenda
Secretary’s Report (Kaufman)

Treasurer’s Report (Hondros)
 
6:35   
2nd Precinct Crime & Safety Report (Meehan)

6:40 
Update from Office of Council Member Steve Fletcher

6:50
Request to move additional NRP funds to existing NRP Phase II Strategy(Friends of the Mississippi River)

6:55
NCR Department’s Steve Gallagher on Neighborhoods 2020, and the recent AUP (Agreed Upon Practices) Audit of NIEBNA

7:30
Parks for All: A Vision for the next decade of the Minneapolis parks and recreation

7:50
ONYX Lounge introduction; a new business to be located at 24 University Avenue NE

7:55    
Announcements
 
8:00    
Adjourn

Tuesday
Aug132019

PowerPoint from August 7 Crime and Safety Public Forum

Photo credit: DMNA

For anyone who was unable to attend the August 7 Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association / North Loop Neighborhood Association Crime and Safety Public Forum at Open Book, they have provided a link to the PowerPoint presentation from that meeting:

DMNA - NLNA Crime and Safety Public Forum 8/7/2019 Presentation

The following people served as members of the panel and helped in gathering information for the presentation:

MPD Deputy Chief Kathy Waite
MPD First Precinct Inspector Billy Peterson
DID Director of Safety Initiatives Shane Zahn
MPD First Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist Renee Allen
MPRB Chief Jason Ohotto
MPRB Lieutenant Calvin Noble
Assistant City Attorney Matthew Wilcox

Tuesday
Aug132019

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Warns Residents About Financial Telephone Scam

Via an August 13 News Release:

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Warns Residents About Financial Telephone Scam

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is warning residents about telephone scams in which individuals pose as representatives of local law enforcement agencies. These individuals are telling residents that there is a warrant out for their arrest because they missed a federal jury date. The phone scammers tell residents that they will be arrested unless they pay a fine, and often suggest purchasing gift cards, calling the scammer back, and reading them the numbers on the cards. The victim is then told to contact their local Sheriff’s Office to get a federal number for proof that the warrant has been cleared.

HCSO and other law enforcement agencies will never contact individuals via phone or email to ask for any kind of payment. If individuals receive such a call, they are advised to NOT provide any personal information to the caller. Rather, they should record the caller’s number, save any voicemails that may have been left by the caller, and contact their local law enforcement agency.

Individuals should not rely on caller ID or recorded messages to verify the origin of a phone call. In some cases, phone scammers are able to use technology to appear as if they are calling from a legitimate law enforcement or government agency number. Scammers have also been known to create fraudulent recorded messages that identify their number as originating from law enforcement.

If you are uncertain about the identity of a caller, hang up the phone, locate the official phone number of the agency, and call the number directly.

Sunday
Aug112019

Thank You to MacPhail and Everyone Who Helped Make the 2019 National Night Out in the Mill District a Success

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photos by Dave Tinjum

Two months ago, Roque Diaz, the Director of School Partnerships at MacPhail Center for Music, contacted me about discussing National Night Out. Roque had an idea, and that idea was for MacPhail to take the lead in this year’s National Night Out. He wanted to know if Friends of the Mill District would be interested in partnering with MacPhail on this project.

I quickly suggested a meeting with David Tinjum of Mill City Times. We discussed holding the event in Gold Medal Park and soon had the cooperation of Emanuel Housing, Bihi Abdirizak, Open Eye Theater, the staff of The Legacy, Wildflyer Coffee, and scores of neighbors. Everyone and every group we asked said, “Yes! I’ll be there.” Our goal was to bring neighbors out to the park to get to know each other while enjoying music, food, a photo booth, a puppet show, coffee, and so much more.

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

Click on the picture below to view the entire photo set:

2019 MacPhail National Night Out at Gold Medal Park

What happened on August 6 surpassed all our hopes. We had a wonderful crowd of hundreds of neighbors, fabulous music, a great puppet show, root beer floats, free coffee, games, picnic dinners, and conversation all around. August 6 was the epitome of what it means to be a community. We ARE stronger together, and that evening was a step in that process. Let’s keep the momentum going.

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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