Kim Eslinger

Brianna Ojard
Associate Editor

David Tinjum

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits
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Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
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Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
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Ryan Ojard
Staff Photographer

Jenny Heck
Mill City Cooks
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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.


Getting Around in our Neighborhood

I counted 13 ways to get around in our neighborhood:

  1) Walk
  2) Car - your own or hired
  3) Bus 
  4) Light Rail  
  5) Bicycle - your own or Nice Ride 
  6) Pedi Cab  
  7) Motorcycle/scooter
  8) Segway 
  9) Horse-drawn carriage
10) Pedal Pub
11) Skateboard
12) Rollerblades/Inline skates
13) Kayak/Canoe (Ok, probably not practical for getting to work, but it's still transportation!)

Did I miss anything? Let me know.

We recently used Twin Town Pedicabs for a ride to the a Twins game.  Our driver, Annie, was a hoot.  It was a very relaxing alternative to the busy pre-game Light Rail.


Take the Fire Safety Quiz and Help the Minneapolis Fire Department!

Take the online Fire Safety Pledge Program Quiz and the MFD could be awarded a $10,000 Grant.

HOW SAFE IS YOUR HOME FROM FIRE?  Test your fire safety knowledge, and at the same time help Minneapolis Fire Department, by taking an online fire safety quiz.  This quiz is sponsored by Liberty Mutual’s “Be Fire Smart” fire safety resource center, which will reward the departments with the most quiz-takers with a $10,000 grant to support their fire-education and prevention outreach efforts.  To take the quiz, go to:  and take the quiz in the “Fire Safety Pledge Program”.  Be sure to list Minneapolis Fire Department as your local fire department!  Although a name, email, zip code, and telephone are required to submit the quiz, this information is NOT used to solicit Liberty Mutual Insurance.  It will be used to notify participants of the department winners after the competition is over, end of October.

Questions? Contact: Casidy Anderson, Community Risk Reduction Officer
Minneapolis Fire Department, 350 South 5th Street #127, Minneapolis, MN 55415


Signs of Mill City

Ceresota Flour


Traffic Armageddon, Not

The media blitz ahead of the September 2nd dual Twins and Vikings games seems to have paid off, at least in the Mill City area.  Every newspaper, radio station, TV station, and local web site published repeated warnings and advice on how to get to the games and avoid gridlock.  The shot below is looking down Washington Ave. S. from in front of Mill City Market and Deli on 10th and Washington, towards downtown.  Time is 5:30PM.  Traffic heading out of downtown Minneapolis seemed a bit heavier than usual, but I did not observe any gridlock.


This Weekend in Mill City / September 3-5, 2010

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

Friday, September 3

September 3, 2010 - Live Music at the 501 Club

Saturday, September 4

September 4, 2010, Saturday - Minneapolis Riverfront Walking Tour

September 4, 2010 - Live Music at the 501 Club

September 4, 2010 Saturday - Italian Cultural Center at the Mill City Farmers Market

Sunday, September 5

Architecture Tour of the Guthrie Theater

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.


Downtown Traffic Alert - Today, September 2

Expect extra traffic during the first concurrent Twins and Vikings games tonight, September 2nd.  As many as 100,000 people could fill Target Field and the Metrodome.

The City of Minneapolis, Metro Transit, the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Vikings, and many other partners are working together to mitigate traffic congestion as much as possible and to spread the word to people who are living, working or visiting Downtown this evening. 



Mill City Cornerstones Mentioned on

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman is spending 6 months traveling around the country to learn how art works in neighborhoods and towns across America.

(left to right - (l-r) Justin Huenemann, NACDI President and CEO; Sue Gens, Minnesota State Arts Board Executive Director; Heid Erdrich, Author; and Vickie Benson, McKnight Foundation Arts Programming Director (and President of the Board of Directors, Grantmakers in the Arts).

He just returned from a tour of the Twin Cities, where his host was the McKnight Foundation, right here in the Mill District.  He also spent time visting the Guthrie Theater and the MacPhail Center for Music:

We began our next day, in Minneapolis, with a breakfast at the McKnight Foundation, our host throughout the day. I met Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, who’s been there a long time and really gets it. We talked about how you have to have a local political structure that’s dialed in, and Mayor Rybak totally understands the importance of the arts in the community. He was very generous with his time, very open and welcoming.

After breakfast, we took a tour of the impressive Guthrie Theater with my old friend Joe Dowling, and then we had a tour of the MacPhail Center for Music with David O’Fallon. At MacPhail, they’re doing a lot of interesting work with music and cognition and the role of music and art—both in very early child development and in geriatrics. We’re hoping that that may be a point of intersection with us and with the Department of Health and Human Services, and we want to know much more about the work the center is doing.

Read the whole article on -



Minneapolis Central Library Tour

It's amazing how many places there are to tour around here! Last night we took the 6:30pm public tour of the Minneapolis Central Library

David Jones provided us with over an hour of interesting facts, figures, features and history of this beautiful facility.

The incredible Children's area offers 40 world languages. According to David, 80% of Minneapolis kids have a library card.

The Central Library's Grand Opening was in May, 2006.  At the time it was built, the library was 30% more energy efficient than what was required by code. One reason is the green roof.  It features 7 inches of soil and 50 varieties of ground cover.  Whatever rain water the roof doesn't absorb is routed to a conduit underground - so no run off.  Another benefit is the rooftop temperature stays moderate on hot days, both extending the life of the roof and saving on cooling costs. 

The building has two sides - the public area and storage/operations - separated by the library commons.  Each floor on the public side features a fireplace and special artwork.  The above picture of  violin artwork is from the 3rd floor, which houses music, art, drama, literature and over 1,000 periodicals.  

Only two items from Minneapolis' original 1889 library were included in the new Central Library. First, the statue of Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom. Second, an ornate doorway (above), which currently serves as the entrance to the Special Collections room on the 4th floor.

I have to confess this was my first time visiting the Central Library. Even so, without all the background and interesting facts David provided, I wouldn't have the same appreciation had I just dropped in. Here are a few fun facts:  

360,000 square feet above ground

250 underground parking stalls

The staff answers 900,000 inquiries per year

There are over 7,000 cookbooks on the 2nd floor

2.5 million pieces of material are housed at the Central Library

40% of the material that goes out is Fiction, and half of that is in electronic format

There is an Adaptive Technology area for people with special needs

Take the tour!


Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

We’d like to acknowledge all the people in the community who provided suggestions, contacts, background and other assistance as we created this site. 

Special thanks to Michele Strusz of Gittleman, Kit Richardson of Schafer Richardson, Ana Armstrong and Judy Boeckel of MacPhail Center for Music, Tom Meyer of Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd., Marjorie Hegstrom of the Mill City Farmers Market, and Ann Calvert of the City of Minneapolis.  Also, the Mill City Museum staff who are present at the various tours have been wonderful. 

Finally, many thanks to the numerous residents, employees and business owners we’ve talked to over the past months.

We appreciate your input - it has helped us build the foundation of Mill City Times.

Kim Eslinger, Editor

Mill City Resident


What's that smell??

If you led me down Washington Avenue blindfolded, I could tell you exactly when we reached the Portland Avenue intersection.  Seriously, what IS that smell?

After crossing that intersection 100's of times since moving to the neighboor in September 2009 (we walk a lot), I decided to investigate.  First, I tried the Sewer & Storm Drain Unit.  They knew exactly what I was talking about, and referred me to the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services(MCES). 

Tim O'Donnell of MCES promptly returned my call.  He explained that there are two vents as part of a carbon odor control system in the SW corner of that intersection.  Air goes in one vent and out the other. While some exhaust is needed, it should not be accompanied by pungent odor.

The good news is they have been monitoring the situation, and are scheduled to check on the odor filtration system in the near future.  Tim said he'd give me a follow up call when there was something new to report.

A side note - Both the person I spoke to at the Sewer & Storm Drain Unit and Tim at MCES were responsive, pleasant and willing to take the time to discuss/explain the situation.   In addition to these two fellows, I've also talked with 311 staff a few times.  It seems we tend to hear more negative comments than positive when it comes to government employees, but I'm happy to report my interactions have all been positive.



Mill City Farmers Market seeks Executive Director

The Market is seeking an Executive Director to help lead this growing organization and build on the successes of the first five years. Since the first season, the market has more than tripled the number of vendors, increased average attendance to 3,000-5,500/week, become Minnesota's first 'Zero Waste' farmers market, and been voted City Pages 'Best Farmers Market' two years in a row. As the market moves to the next phase of organizational growth the board is looking for an executive director to grow the organization through strong fundraising and strategic collaborations, while maintaining the commitment to sustainability and exceptional vendor/product quality.

The Position and Candidate Specification Document  


Above the Falls Sports - Fun and Exercise on the Mississippi

I met Bob Schmitz of Above the Falls Sports at the Mill City Farmers Market this morning.  From May through October they offer kayaking, canoeing and open water rowing on the Mississippi River.

Safety and skill development are key aspects of this fully insured operation.   Before allowed to venture out solo, users are qualified with an initial instruction session.  Upon completion, users receive an ATFS certificate, giving them access to boats without further instruction.

Guided Tours range from 1 hour (the “Lunch Break”) to full day “Marathon Tours”.   Corporate outings and a Twilight Supper Cruise are also offered.  Self-equipped paddlers receive a 15% discount off the price of their trip.

Above the Falls Sports promotes the use of the river accessed from downtown Minneapolis.   River access is within walking distance from their shop.  Check out this unique urban adventure!


Signs of Mill City

From Grumpy's



McKnight Foundation Names 2010 Awards Winners

One of the award winners, Jerry Fleischaker of Minneapolis.

The McKnight Foundation, located in the Historic Mill District of Minneapolis, announced the 2010 Virginia McKnight Binger Awards in Human Service recipients yesterday.  The awards are described in a press release on August 25, 2010:

The $10,000 awards honor Minnesota residents who give their time to improve the lives of people in their communities. This year's recipients include a restorative justice program provider who serves youth offenders; a street outreach advocate for the homeless; a provider of stable, dignified housing to low-income families; a childcare provider offering nurturing care to infants and toddlers in need; a coordinator of a biking program for victims of torture; and a community builder with more than 30 years of direct service engagement.

The Star Tribune did a profile on Jerry Fleischaker here.

View the press release here...


Plans for the 35W Remembrance Garden to be Announced Soon

The 35W Remembrance Garden will honor the 13 dead and 145 injured as a result of the 2007 I-35W bridge collapse.

According to an August 25 article in the Star Tribune, more funding than expected in now available for the memorial thanks to a recently announced $1.5 million contribution from a legal settlement. The donation comes as part of the $52.4 million settlement reached to settle claims from the collapse.

Final plans could be presented to the public in as few as three weeks, and once families sign off the work can begin.

The proposed site is 11th Avenue South at West River Road:

View Larger Map



Check Out What's Happening in Our Neighborhood!

We added several Events to the Events  section today.  Be sure to check back often to see what's coming up.  If you know of a local event that isn't listed, please let us know and we'll get it posted. Thanks!


Mill District City Apartments Still On Track for October Opening

According to an article in the August 16-29 Downtown Journal the new building is on schedule:

Just five months after breaking ground at the corner of Portland and Washington avenues, Mill District City Apartments will have models ready by the end of September, and tenants will be able to move in by the end of October, according to Jonathan Holtzman, CEO of Village Green, the Michigan-based company responsible for the $25 million, 175-unit project.

We've reviewed the developers website in detail, and it looks to be a great addition to the Mill District community.


In an earlier post we provided a link to information on the soon to open Mill District City Apartments.



The Minnesota Table: Recipes for Savoring Local Food Throughout the Year

On a recent trip to the Mill City Farmers Market, we met Shelley Holl and B.J. Carpenter, creators of The Minnesota Table: Recipes for Savoring Local Food Throughout the Year.

The Minnesota Table: Recipes for Savoring Local Food throughout the Year is a year-round companion for those who want to explore Minnesota-grown and -produced foods. Beginning with asparagus sprouts in early spring and following the calendar year, Shelley Holl and B. J. Carpenter reflect on what they discovered in their travels across the state, show the foods they made, photographed and ate, give suggestions for monthly menus, and present recipes and tips for foods of the season while sharing from the best growers, producers and purveyors in Minnesota. Meet gardening nuns and artisan farmers who breathe color and warmth into the argument for sustainable agriculture; try new twists on classic and regional recipes that take the pure flavors of fresh, local ingredients to new heights; hunt morels, pick blueberries, winnow wild rice and come nose-to-nose with yaks, elk and bison in this beautifully illustrated collection of travel stories, recipes and menu ideas that follow Minnesota’s growing season.

This book would make a great edition to anyone's culinary library, a thoughtful housewarming gift, etc.

Learn more.


Sweet Corn Ice Cream?  YES!

During our weekly visit to the Mill City Farmers Market this morning, I tried the Sweet Corn Ice Cream from Sonny's cart.  WOW - it was incredible!  If you love super sweet corn and the smoothest of ice creams - you have to try it.

Sonny's has been creating award winning ice cream for more than 65 years at the corner of 34th & Lyndale.  Learn more about them at


35W bridge debris to be moved

According to an August 19 Star Tribune article, the twisted steel from the fatal August 2007 35W bridge collapse will soon be cleared from park land and relocated to storage in Afton.

The girders have rested on Bohemian Flats along the Mississippi River's west bank since shortly after the collapse.  MnDOT is working out a plan for how to haul the hunks of steel.

Keeping the mangled steel on the 7-acre park parcel has cost the park system annual revenue of about $16,000 from paid parking, and another $20,000 annually that a tour boat company would have paid to operate from there.

See the full story.