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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


5th Ave N

  • All underground utility work completed
  • All soil corrections completed
  • Started placing gravel in preparation for paving

7th Ave N

  • Began curb and gutter placement
  • Began driveway placement
  • Light foundations and conduit installed

8th Ave N

  • Curb and Gutter placed at the Washington end
  • Started preparations to reinstall salvaged granite curb

9th Ave N

  • Curb and gutter placed at Washington and partially along the west side of 9th Ave  N

3rd St N

  • Finished salvaging brick pavers and granite curb
  • Completed pavement removals, with the exception of the south sidewalk
  • Finished water work
  • Started sanitary and storm work


5th Ave N

  • Placement of the first lift of asphalt tentatively scheduled for Wednesday August 14,local access to 5th Ave N between Washington Ave and 5th St N will be open; however, plan for delays entering and leaving the area
  • Curb and gutter installation will follow asphalt placement
  • Driveway installation is scheduled to begin the week of August 19

7th Ave N

  • Finish placement of driveways, once the driveway has reached the required strength to carry traffic a gravel ramp will be placed at the roadway end of the driveway apron
  • Start placement of sidewalks
  • Placement of the second lift of asphalt tentatively scheduled for August 15th – 16th

8th Ave N

  • Install granite curb
  • Placement of the second lift of asphalt at Washington tentatively scheduled for August 14th – 16th
  • Once the second lift of asphalt is placed local access from and to Washington Ave will be allowed
  • Concrete crews may begin the installation of concrete parking bays

9th Ave N

  • Placement of the second lift of asphalt at Washington tentatively scheduled for August 15th – 16th
  • Once the second lift of asphalt is placed local access from and to Washington Ave will be allowed

3rd St N

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

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.


 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


  • 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.


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

Contact Information

Project Manager:

Stephanie Malmberg,, 612-673-3365

Chief Field Inspector:

John Benjamin,, 651-443-1096


New Fillmore Minneapolis to Become One of America's Most Beautiful Music Halls

Via an August 8 News Release:

New Twin Cities Concert Venue Scheduled to Open in February 2020

Plans to create one of the most beautiful venues in the United States were unveiled today for The Fillmore Minneapolis music hall, that will pay tribute to both the roots of the Minneapolis music scene and to one of the most legendary music halls in the history of rock. The concert venue, next to Target Field Station at 521 N. 5th Street in Minneapolis, is slated to open for shows in February 2020.

The 36,000-square-foot, 1,850-person capacity Fillmore Minneapolis will continue Live Nation’s growth in the Twin Cities market.  Live Nation is a long time promoter in the area, having produced shows in venues such as Target Field, U.S. Bank Stadium, Xcel Energy Center, Target Center, The Armory, The Hennepin Theaters and more for many years.  The last two years in particular have seen rapid expansion with the addition of operations at Varsity Theater, the booking of the 2019 Basilica Block Party, and a show count that has more than doubled over that period. Minneapolis talent buyer Tamsen Preston will book for The Fillmore Minneapolis whose music lineup announcement is scheduled for October.

The state-of-the-art intimate venue featuring incredible sightlines plans to host 175 concerts and events per year. The Fillmore Minneapolis music hall, VIP lounge and private box seats feature thoughtful design elements, including Fillmore nostalgia from the original San Francisco venue, traditional signature Fillmore red velvet drapes, a wood dance floor, murals, chandeliers and other local Minneapolis features to ensure a night out at the Fillmore will always be special. Box seats and premium tickets are on the venue’s mezzanine level, featuring custom artwork paying homage to Prince. Also, on the mezzanine level will be the luxurious BG’s Lounge, named for legendary Fillmore promoter Bill Graham, showcasing framed Fillmore posters featuring Minnesota artists and bands who have played at The Fillmore music venues. BG’s—with its unique elevated vibe—is planned to be the premium club within a club for fans to relax pre- and post-shows and even book for private parties.

“The Fillmore Minneapolis will be a redefined concert experience for the Twin Cities, and we’re thrilled to unveil this unmatched venue right next to Target Field near downtown in the North Loop,” said Ron Bension, president, Live Nation’s Clubs & Theaters division. “At every Fillmore we welcome our guests to make a night of it, not just with our incredible lineup of world-class performers, but also with delicious food, inventive cocktails and craft beers.”

Around the country, Fillmore music halls pay tribute to an early Fillmore San Francisco tradition of placing a basket of apples in the lobby with a sign encouraging guests to take one or more. It was Fillmore San Francisco music promoter Bill Graham’s way of saying “You’re family when you’re in this house.”

The Fillmore Minneapolis is being built in partnership with United Properties. For more information, visit fillmoreminneapolis.comFacebook, along with Twitter and Instagram @FillmoreMPLS.

Joining San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Charlotte, NC and Silver Spring, MD, The Fillmore Minneapolis will be the 9th one in the country. The concert venue will be paired with a restaurant, Trax Burgers and Bar, slated to open in mid-February and an Element by Westin Hotel, which will open early 2020. 

About Live Nation Clubs & Theaters

A division of Live Nation Concerts, the world’s leading live concert company, Live Nation Clubs & Theaters promotes over 25,000 shows in 1,700 venues with more than 20 million fans in attendance annually. As the world’s premier network of intimate live music venues, Live Nation Clubs & Theaters oversees legendary spaces including The Fillmore theaters, House of Blues clubs, the Academy Music Group portfolio and more.


FINNOVATION Lab Announces Second Cohort of Social Entrepreneurs for Fellowship Program

Via an August 6 News Release:

Nine Entrepreneurs Chosen for Nine-Month Program Aimed at Growing and Scaling Bold Business Ideas for Sustainable, Systems-Levels Change

FINNOVATION Lab, the social business catalyst known for helping local entrepreneurs launch and scale their ventures, selected nine early-stage social entrepreneurs to make up a second cohort within the FINNOVATION Fellowship Program. The nine-month incubator kicks off this September and will support the fellows as they foster their business ideas in pursuit of lasting social impact.

The selected fellows will receive a grant of $50,000 to cover living expenses in addition to a health insurance stipend, one-on-one mentorship, and tailored curriculum with an emphasis on leadership development and business planning and strategy. Dedicated workspace and business resources are available to the fellows in the FINNOVATION Lab space within the FINNEGANS House (817 5th Ave S. Minneapolis 55404).

The nine fellows, up from five in the first cohort, were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants who submitted ideas for mission-driven businesses that produce sustainable, systems-level change. Applicants were exceedingly diverse across race, gender, and education compared to the 2018 pool: 57% identified as people of color, 63% female or non-binary, 18% LGBTQ+, and 38% as the first in their family to attend college. After narrowing down to 20 finalists, a panel of innovation leaders judged and scored applicant pitch presentations, looking for top contenders who demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, resilience and passion, and business plans that showed potential for financial stability, growth, social impact, and innovation.

“Our first cohort exceeded all expectations. We saw a group of early-stage entrepreneurs, each building incredibly diverse businesses, accomplish individual goals to build something meaningful,” said Connie Rutledge, Managing Director at FINNOVATION Lab. “What we didn’t fully anticipate was the camaraderie and the team spirit within the group. When selecting our second cohort, we chose individuals with a wide range of skills and experiences, knowing they’d all bring something unique to the table.” 

The 20 finalists during FINNOVATION Lab's Selection Day for the Fellowship Program

The second cohort of fellows includes:

·       Lyndsey Calvin: Ascension Medical Devices is revolutionizing post-operative care for transgender women who undergo gender affirming vaginoplasty procedures through a newly developed vaginal stent.

·       Nestor Gomez Jimenez: Litty Solar brings transactive blockchain technologies to solar panel installation, aiming to speed up the adoption of renewable energy while creating accessible employment opportunities in underserved communities.

·       La’Shante Grigsby: Ju+Co Café, a social enterprise café, connects, employs, and inspires women of color through youth development, personalized coaching, and economic opportunities.

·       Judd Grutman: Vonzella aims to provide mission-driven insurance products to underserved and uninsured communities, starting with bail insurance for defendants navigating the bail process.

·       Shannon TL Kearns: Uprising Theatre Company partners with local organizations working on social justice issues to turn emotional engagement into concrete action.

·       Mohamed Malim: Epimonia supports the education and advancement of refugees, creating employment opportunities for refugees and donating 50% of profits to non-profit partners.

·       Katie Myhre: RED Market is an online marketplace connecting sustainable farmers with wholesalers, helping farmers deliver local products and build interdependent relationships with buyers.

·       Jules Porter: Seraph 7 Studios develops console video games with diverse heroes and storylines and offers an applied STEAM work-study program and summer camp.

·       Alysha Price: The Price Dynamic uses empowerment, motivational techniques, and meditation practices to support co-parenting for those working to restructure their families.

FINNOVATION Lab is the brainchild of FINNEGANS Brew Co. Founder Jacquie Berglund, an established social entrepreneur in her own right. She launched the FINNOVATION Lab following four business pillars: Leadership Development, Causes and Context of Social Problem, Human-Centered Design, and Business Planning.

“This Fellowship Program is further solidifying Minnesota as a leader in social innovation,” said Berglund. “It was hard to make our final selections because so many of our applicants were strong contenders. It’s inspiring and only makes us want to keep supporting and encouraging these types of mission-driven ideas.”  

Programming for the second cohort of the Fellowship Program will run through mid-June. It is made possible through generous support from the Bush Foundation, known for its commitment to innovation and creative problem solving.


FINNOVATION Lab’s mission is to create a space for intentional and constant cross-pollination of social entrepreneurship concepts, ideas and networks. Through original programming and partnerships with organizations such as the Neighborhood Development Center, the organization empowers and provides system change leaders with venture service support and access to capital increasing and accelerating their impact. For more information, visit 


The Southern Theater Announces the August Installment of Good Night at The Southern

Theater, Music, and Dance on The Southern Stage at 7:30 pm on August 19th

Good Night at The Southern on August 19th will offer works ranging from new pieces to revised favorites by Brenna Mosser Dance Works, multi-disciplinary artist Eric Larson, choreographer Jennifer Mack, and performing artist Queen Drea.

Brenna Mosser Dance Works will present work-in-progress Serve Id,  a modern dance quartet performed as a duet for this presentation, inspired by whitetail deer that investigates natural environments found in Minnesota. Toot, a whirlwind of collaborators, ideas, and practices led by Eric Larson, recently began rehearsals for Tweezer Burn and will be sharing initial discoveries. Jennifer Mack will be presenting 3 new works along with dancer, Hannah Benditt. A duet, "No Words just cut in Two" is based off the connection of two family members over space and time. The solo "Occultation" explores losing your grounding, feet, or self and trying to find it again from the perspective of yourself or the audience. The third piece is a brand new work, untitled as of yet.

In "From Black Wombs," created by Queen Drea and collaborators Ryan-Olivia McCoy and Jianna Reynolds, Afro-futurist sisters navigate a bleak world where due to AmeriKKKa's school to prison pipeline, there are no black men. The stress from this reality has left them disoriented and barren. Using poetry, electronica, and movement they seek to heal their wombs by laying waste to the prison industrial complex and giving birth to a NEW America.

The Southern Theater, located at 1420 S Washington Avenue, is thrilled to share the work of these artists and hopes you will join us at the bar starting at 6:30 for a local beer, glass of wine, pop, or a snack.

Tickets are Pay What You Can and are purchased at the door. All proceeds from this event will go to support the artists and The Southern Theater.


American Red Cross Urgently Needs Blood Donations!

The American Red Cross revealed they are facing a shortage of blood types A, B and O. Through their Missing Types campaign, they've issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives. The Red Cross currently has less than a three-day supply of most blood types – and less than a two-day supply of type O blood – for patients. At least a five-day supply is desired.

You can help!

Donate now. Download the Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to schedule your blood or platelet donation appointment. Consider inviting a friend to join you in giving. Another way to help is to host a drive.


Water Works Excavation - A Delicate Operation

Editors Note: Mill District resident Doug Verdier has been documenting the digging taking place during late July as he monitors the progress of the excavation phase of the Water Works project. Below is a photo essay of some recent activity.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

Taken from West River Parkway side of the Columbia Mill. Digging to locate a railroad scale that was buried there years ago, and to locate depth of foundation wall. People in photo are the contractor and archaeologists who are overseeing project. They found the scale! It is said to be about 50 feet long and was used to weigh rail cars when loaded with grain. Not certain what will be done regarding the scale at this point. It’s down pretty deep.

Some of the debris excavated from around the Columbia building foundation. A lot of junk and debris was dumped there at one time.

Digging to locate base of foundation of Columbia building on West River Parkway side.

Wide shot of excavation of Columbia foundation. RiverWest is in the background.

Exterior wall of Columbia structure showing temporary stabilization.

Taken July 25, 2019 - Excavating interior of Columbia Mill wall and foundation.

Taken July 25, 2019 - Excavating interior of Columbia Mill building. Fuji Ya can be seen in background.

Closer shot of excavation showing Columbia Mill exterior wall and Fuji Ya exterior wall.

Shot of work site from S 1st Street.

Following are additional photos of excavation of Columbia Mill interior taken July 26. Workers are removing old tires and brick that were placed in window openings of the building when the foundation was filled to prevent collapse of the wall. 


Clearing old tires and debris (mostly dirt and old brick) from window openings must be done by hand to prevent damage to remaining structure.

Archeologist in foreground monitoring excavation.


July by the Numbers

Downtown real estate market update from Cynthia Froid Group:


Mpls Downtown Improvement District and Hennepin Theatre Trust launch Downtown Minneapolis Street Art Festival August 15–17

The Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID) and Hennepin Theatre Trust today announced their collaboration on the inaugural Downtown Minneapolis Street Art Festival, which will take place next month on Hennepin and Nicollet from August 15 through 17. 

The Downtown Minneapolis Street Art Festival brings together artists from the worlds of visual, performing, craft and food arts and unleashes them together for the first time onto the streets of downtown for all to enjoy. This free and accessible festival breaks down barriers between the arts and downtown residents and visitors.  Festival-goers will relish in several arts-centered experiences, including chalk art installations, a short film showcase, several live performances, and an outdoor craft market. Additionally, there will be food and beverage vendors on-site to fuel the fun.  


Thursday, August 15 

Downtown Farmers Market Preview  |  10 am-2 pm
The activities begin with a Minneapolis-Nicollet Farmer’s Market preview on Thursday midday, when celebrated chalk artists Shawn McCann and Kimberly Wood will be near 6th and Nicollet for an impromptu demonstration. Fresh from their participation as one-half of Team USA at the Coloured Earth Festival in the UK, McCann and Wood will show-off their chalk art techniques.  

Downtown Street Art Festival Kick-off and Short Film Showcase  |  8:30 pm
The festival officially kicks-off Thursday evening at 8:30 pm on the rooftop at Hennepin Theatre Trust event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue. Catch a free concert from a Street Show competition winner as the sun sets, enjoy a drink from the cash bar, and relax into the evening with a short-film showcase about art in public places.  

Friday, August 16

Nicollet Chalk Art Festival  |  9 am-9 pm
The centerpiece of the Downtown Street Art Festival is a two-block-long series of chalk installations by more than 15 local and national chalk artists. Come watch beginning at 9 am as amateur and professional artists begin to transform the sidewalks of Nicollet between 6th and 8th streets with their unique artistic vision in vibrant chalk. Enjoy live Street Show performances and a variety of street games for all ages. Channel your inner artist and contribute to our community mandala in chalk. 

3D Chalk Installations  |  9 am-9 pm
Visit one of three special 3D chalk installations in progress, located on the plazas at Westminster Presbyterian Church (Nicollet & Alice Rainville Place), IDS Center (mid-block on Nicollet between 7th and 8th streets) and Hennepin Theatre Trust (900 Hennepin Avenue). See how these artists create these visually arresting artworks using advanced techniques and anamorphic perspective to create the illusion of depth in the artworks.

Live Spray Paint Demos  |  10 am-2 pm
Catch local spray paint artists Sig and the Funky Diabetic as they lay the groundwork for two mural-scale works live #OnNicollet between 7th and 8th streets.

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus  |  10 am-2 pm
Join artist Lee Noble #OnNicollet between 6th and 7th streets as he collaborates with local access TV station MTN to explore connections between Minneapolis and Weimar, the city in which the influential art school and cultural movement was founded in 1919. Part of the Bauhaus100 Bonanza Show presented by the Goethe Pop Up Minneapolis.

Street Eats on Nicollet  |  10:30 am-2 pm
Enjoy lunch from a selection of food trucks and street vendors #OnNicollet between 6th and 8th streets.

zAmya Zone with the zAmya Theater Project  |  11 am-noon

This community-based theater brings their unique perspective to the street with a live performance on Nicollet at 7th Street that builds understanding and connection between people with and without experience in homelessness.

Malamanya in Concert at the Marq  |  4-7 pm
Enjoy a late afternoon concert on the great lawn at the Parq at the Marq (between 3rd and Washington #OnNicollet) featuring local favorites Malamanya as they welcome the official start of the weekend. Bring Your Own Blanket and Beverage as winners of the Street Show competition warm up the stage before the vintage afro-latin all-stars take over at 4:45 pm. Dinner will be available for purchase from Elevate Food Hall onsite, along with free lawn games for all ages.

Saturday, August 17

Nicollet Chalk Art Festival  |  9 am-9 pm
See the Nicollet sidewalks come alive with color as more than 15 local and national chalk artists put finishing touches on their chalk art installations on the sidewalks of Nicollet between 6th and 8th streets. Enjoy live Street Show performances and a variety of street games for all ages. Channel your inner artist and contribute to our community mandala in chalk.

3D Chalk Installations  |  9 am-9 pm
Visit one of three special 3D chalk installations, located on the plazas at Westminster Presbyterian Church (Nicollet & Alice Rainville Place), IDS Center (mid-block on Nicollet between 7th and 8th streets) and Hennepin Theatre Trust (900 Hennepin Avenue). These visually arresting artworks use advanced techniques and anamorphic perspective to create the illusion of depth in the artworks and make ideal photo opportunities.

Live Spray Paint Demos  |  10 am-8 pm
Local spray paint artists Sig and the Funky Diabetic tag team the finishing touches on their two mural-scale works live #OnNicollet between 7th and 8th streets.  

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus  |  10 am-4 pm
Join artist Lee Noble #OnNicollet between 6th and 7th streets as he collaborates with local access TV station MTN to explore connections between Minneapolis and Weimar, the city in which the influential art school and cultural movement was founded in 1919. Part of the Bauhaus100 Bonanza Show presented by the Goethe Pop Up Minneapolis..

Street Eats on Nicollet  |  10 am-9 pm
Enjoy lunch from a selection of food trucks and street vendors #OnNicollet between 6th and 8th streets.

Nicollet Makers Market Street Art Festival Edition  |  noon-6 pm

Catch a special weekend appearance of the Nicollet Makers Market (, our bi-monthly downtown craft and art market that features locally made and designed goods. More than 15 artists and makers will bring their unique wares to the street, including live screen printing and artist demos. 

Throughout the festival

Downtown Street Art Festival Media Hub

Throughout the Festival, you can catch program highlights, images of the artworks in progress, live performance feeds and the schedule of events at the Street Art Festival Media Hub at 8th and Hennepin. Hosted by Hennepin Theatre Trust.

“This event is for everyone,” said Joan Vorderbruggen, Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Director of Engagement in the Hennepin Theatre District. “From the Bob Dylan mural on 5th and Hennepin to street music shows and 5 to 10 on Hennepin, we are always looking for exciting new ways to help make downtown Minneapolis a vibrant and welcoming place. Mpls DID has been a great partner for years, and we’re excited to create an accessible new festival together.”

“So many people come downtown to experience the arts, but often it happens inside iconic buildings and behind gallery doors. We’re excited to be working with Hennepin Theatre Trust on a new signature art event that will draw people downtown to experience street art of all kinds—whether it’s chalkers creating visual art, craft artisans presenting their handmade goods or street performers playing for the passersby,” said Lisa Middag, Director of Nicollet Activation for the Mpls Downtown Improvement District. “Street art is integral to animating our downtown public spaces, and we’re thrilled to bring more attention to our vibrant artist community.”

To learn more about the Downtown Minneapolis Street Art Festival, visit or follow along @MplsStreetArtFest on Facebook and Instagram, or @MplsStArtFest on Twitter,

The Downtown Street Art Festival is organized by the Mpls Downtown Improvement District and Hennepin Theatre Trust with support from our hospitality partner AC Hotel Minneapolis Downtown. IDS Center (Accesso Services),  the Minneapolis-Nicollet Farmers Market, the Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day and Westminster Presbyterian Church are site sponsors, and event presenters include the Goethe Pop Up Minneapolis, the Parq at the Marq (Marquette Plaza), zAmya Theater Project, and the Warming House.


Mill City Museum’s Water Lab Exhibit Gets First Major Updates Since Opening in 2003

The interactive Water Lab offers new ways to explore Minneapolis history along the Mississippi, thanks to support from the Henry S. Crosby Jr. Fund.

This week Mill City Museum unveils the first major additions to its Water Lab since the museum opened in 2003. An interactive exhibit that teaches visitors how the Mississippi River powered Minneapolis industry for over a century, the Water Lab has long been a visitor favorite, but the space needed a refresh after 16 years. 

Thanks to a generous $250,000 grant from the Henry S. Crosby Jr. Fund, Mill City Museum can now offer visitors a Water Lab experience that is better than ever.

Henry S. Crosby Jr. passed away in 2009 and was the great-grandson of John Crosby, whose partnership with Cadwallader Washburn formed the Washburn Crosby Company—the predecessor to General Mills—whose Washburn A Mill is now home to Mill City Museum. The Henry S. Crosby Jr. Fund was established to continue his legacy of philanthropy and environmentalism.

Build a Mill City water table

New Direct-Drive Waterpower Interactive

New Water Lab features include:

  • New Direct-Drive Waterpower interactive: This 7-foot tall exhibit shows how water-powered turbines were key to operating the mills on the Minneapolis riverfront. Visitors can open and close gates to control the water flow and see how various belts, pulleys and machines spring into action. 
  • A revamped Build a Mill City water table: This water table now offers an expanded and more detailed model of the riverfront in 1916, the peak of the Minneapolis milling industry. The table has more than 100 3D puzzle pieces of mills, railroads, bridges, and more, which visitors can put together to build the Mississippi riverfront as it appeared in the 1910s.
  • New exhibit graphic panels: New panels around the room explore the 12,000-year story of St. Anthony Falls—called Owaniyomni in Dakota—including Native people’s relationship with the falls.
  • Work to improve visitor experience: After 16 years of operation, staff replaced aging components in existing interactives and worked to reduce noise, including installing quieter motors throughout the space. 

In conjunction with the revamped Water Lab, this fall Mill City Museum will host an event series titled “River, Water, Stories,” examining the relationship between people and the Mississippi River in the past and today. Events include a new exhibit exploring the history of St. Anthony Falls; a panel discussion on caring for Minnesota’s rivers, lakes, and land; and a family day to enjoy water-related activities and explore the new Water Lab. 

About Mill City Museum
Built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill, a National Historic Landmark, the award-winning Mill City Museum chronicles the flour milling industry that fueled the growth of Minneapolis. The story comes to life through the eight-story Flour Tower, Water Lab, Baking Lab and other hands-on exhibits.

The museum is located at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The site is also open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August. For more information, call 612-341-7555 or visit

The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. 

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partner: Explore Minnesota Tourism.


Project Update: Cedar-Riverside Recreation Centers Predesign

Following are several updates, including upcoming engagement opportunities, for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's (MPRB) Cedar-Riverside Recreation Centers Predesign project:

Follow-up: Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Meeting Number 1

The agenda from the July 16 meeting, a presentation and meeting notes are all now available on the project website - or you can access them using the links below: 

CAC Meeting No. 1 Agenda [PDF]

CAC Meeting No. 1 Presentation[PDF]

CAC Meeting No. 1 Notes [PDF]

August 17: All are invited on a project tour of recreation center locations and facilities

Join MPRB staff to tour proposed locations for Cedar-Riverside recreation centers (one is in the area around the existing Coyle Community Center; the other, at an Augsburg University surface parking lot). Afterward, we'll tour two recently built MPRB recreation centers. Everyone is invited but please RSVP so that tour preparations can be made accordingly. 

Date and time: Saturday August 17, 2 pm

Tour meeting place: Coyle Community Center 

RSVP: Contact MPRB project planner Siciid Ali ( / 612-230-6576) 

August 20: Engage with the project team

The project team holds "office hours" at Coyle Community Center as an opportunity for Cedar-Riverside residents and the general public to engage with them outside of the CAC meetings.

Date and time: Tuesday August 17, 3 pm to 4:30 pm

Place: Coyle Community Center 

September 17: CAC Meeting Number 2

Times and Topics:

5 pm: Short-term recreation programming
5:30 pm to 8 pm: CAC for Cedar-Riverside Recreation Centers Predesign project

Place: Coyle Community Center, 420 15th Ave. S., Minneapolis

All are welcome! Children’s activities and a light dinner are provided.

Other scheduled CAC meeting dates include November 19, 2019; January 21, 2020; March 17, 2020; May 19, 2020 (third Tuesday every other month).

About the Cedar-Riverside Recreation Centers Predesign project

The project explores two new recreation centers in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood:

  1. One would be integrated into a larger development on the east end of the Augsburg University campus

  2. The other would renovate/relocate the Brian Coyle Community Center, currently located in Currie Park

The outcome of the project will be two Predesign reports: one for each center. The reports will be used to apply for State Bond Funds to fund each center independently. 

This project is not a Design and Construction project. Additional funding will be required to design and construct one or both recreation centers. 

About the community advisory committee (CAC)

A community advisory committee (CAC) provides volunteer opportunities for stakeholders to share insights and resources related to a park or recreation center project. The CAC serves to build and sustain relationships between the community, partner agencies, and the MPRB.

CAC members are expected to represent the views of park/recreation center users and to work collaboratively with each other and the public to provide comprehensive recommendations about the project to the MPRB. They are appointed by MPRB commissioners and an MPRB selection committee. 

Project Managers

Dan Elias: 612-230-6435 / 
Siciid Ali: 612-230-6576 / 
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board


Want Better Balance and Strength? Check Out ZeSa Fitness

Article by Brianna Ojard, Photos by Ryan Ojard

Many of us don’t realize it, but balance plays a large role in all of our physical activity.  Something as simple as walking down the street or climbing a flight of stairs demands balance from our bodies.  Good balance can help protect us from injury and is a key component in improving athletic abilityZeSa Fitness, located at 1024 Washington Avenue S in the Mill District, understands the importance balance plays in our lives and their classes focus on improving balance and increasing core strength (the two go hand-in-hand). This is done with an Activator, a unique piece of equipment created by co-owner and instructor Shanti Rainey. Simply described, the Activator is a rotating platform that sits on top of a partial sphere and allows for 3-dimensional movement – forward and backward, side-to-side, and rotationally.

ZeSa stock photo

I met with studio co-owner and instructor Cindy Varva in ZeSa’s beautiful studio space to learn more about the benefits of incorporating balance training at ZeSa into a fitness routine. First things first – ZeSa is accessible to all ages and fitness levels. There are 4 levels of Activators used in class, allowing you to level up as your strength and balance improve. To give you an idea, you can start at a Level I Activator, which is the rotating platform on a slightly less than ¼ sphere, and work your way up to the Level IV Activator, which is the rotating platform sitting atop a ¾ sphere (that takes some crazy balance!). And if the Level I Activator is too much for your current abilities you can start on a Stimulator, which incorporates the rotating platform of the Activator but sits on a flat base.  

Cindy explained that the instability of the Activator has neuromuscular benefits such as improved functional abilities, increased muscle strength, better agility, and a decreased risk of injury when taking part in other physical activities. The workouts at ZeSa are low impact and will activate and strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, which could be beneficial to those suffering from joint pain. Cindy offered to walk me through some of the moves that you’ll find in a typical ZeSa class and I happily, and somewhat nervously, agreed. Turns out, there was nothing to be nervous about. Once I was comfortable getting up on the Activator and finding my balance, it was very fun. We practiced things like lunges, squats, deadlifts, and planks.

Cindy Vavra, left, and Brianna Ojard, right.

Besides the fact that instability made all of the exercises much more challenging, I really loved how the Activator forced me to move through each exercise with much more intention than I would on a flat surface.  I also liked how focused I had to be. There’s not much room for your mind to wander when you’re trying to stay upright. Every Saturday from 10-10:30a Cindy holds a similar session, completely free, meant to let people get accustomed to using the Activators before taking a full class.  

After my one-on-one I was excited to go back and try a couple of classes. I started with ZesaPower, the studio’s signature class. This class is a total body toner that utilizes body weight, free weights, and resistance bands to strengthen from head to toe, all while balancing on an Activator. The class starts with a warm-up to get the muscles loose and the body acclimated to being on the Activator. After that we performed many of the moves that Cindy put me through during our one-on-one. 

I also tried ZeSa HIIT & Kick which, as you may have guessed, utilizes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to get the heart rate up, as well as kicking. The kicking definitely upped the instability factor. Something I really enjoyed in both classes was when we flowed through a series of moves. The instructor broke down the exercises and we went through each one a few times, then we connected them all together and flowed through them a set number of times at our own pace. This allowed newbies like me to go as slowly as necessary, and people who were more advanced could flow through the moves at a pace that they felt was challenging.

I can say that ZeSa is one of the most unique and functional workouts I’ve tried. The classes offered at ZeSa will definitely help your fitness level to progress no matter your current capabilities (even athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NBA train with Activators).

I recommend you add some (good) instability to your life and check out ZeSa. Here’s what you should know before you go:

  • Your first week is free! You can take as many classes as you want during that time. By the end of the week you’ll be hooked!

  • There’s an Intro to ZeSa class every Saturday from 10-10:30am. This is also free and won’t count as part of your free week.

  • Classes are performed barefoot.

  • There are a variety of classes to choose from: ZeSa Power, ZeSa HIIT, ZeSa HIIT & Kick, ZeSa Cardio Boxing (wraps and gloves are provided), ZeSa Yoga.

  • Definitely bring a water bottle. Towels are provided.

  • There’s a shower if you need to freshen up.

  • There’s free parking located in the Bridgewater retail parking area, accessed from 11th Ave S. There’s also metered street parking available.

You can stay connected with ZeSa on Facebook and Instagram


The Best Days of Summer

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

The city of Minneapolis recently celebrated its seventy-ninth Aquatennial; a celebration of the city’s lakes, streams, and river. While the week-long festival isn’t as prevalent as it was during its first few decades, it’s slowly turning back into the highlight of the summer for those who attend. When the sun is glimmering on our refreshing lakes and rivers and the sky is as blue as Paul Bunyan’s Babe, it's time to slap on some sunscreen, create your game plan for getting the best spot for the fireworks show, and enjoy the many events throughout our city’s waters.

Once the United States came out of the Great Depression and our economy was as invigorated as it has ever been, people had the extra income to splurge and celebrate a little more. Events were becoming more extravagant, like the Rose Parade and Mardi Gras, and there’s no way the business community of Minneapolis were going to miss out on the fun, and money. Lead by Winfield ‘Win’ Stevens, a group of businessmen were eager to organize a spectacular festival starting in 1940. A naming contest was held and “Aquatennial” was chosen as the winner. This led to the idea to have the festival focus on the city’s water features to attract tourism.

Aquatennial Parade in 1943

Held during the third week of July every year, the first Aquatennial was a success. People from around the Twin Cities attended all of the events, which included a Grande Day Parade that saw over 200,000 people attend, an air show that had 100,000 people in attendance, an appearance by Gene Autry, boat races on Bde Maka Ska, and the Paul Bunyan Canoe Derby that was a 450-mile canoe race on the Mississippi River from Bemidji to Minneapolis. There was no doubt that this week-long festival was here to stay. Throughout the next decades, more events were added to the schedule including the Aqua Follies show at Theodore Wirth Lake, the Queen of the Lakes contest, concerts by Jefferson Airplane and Buffalo Springfield, milk carton races on Bde Maka Ska, speedboat races on the river between Broadway and Plymouth, the Twin Cities River Rats water ski show, a fireworks show, and the Torchlight Parade, which saw over 750,000 people attend in 1962.

Aqua Follies in 1952

The Queen of the Lakes pageant was one of the most popular in the nation at its peak. The winners were also the most traveled, by trekking more miles than any other pageant winner in the U.S. except for Miss America. The 1974 Queen of the Lakes, Barbara Peterson, even went on to win Miss America. A proud moment in Aquatennial history to say the least. Organized by the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization, the Queen of the Lakes Contest, which has also added princesses and commodores since its inception, focuses on personality, public speaking skills, and professionalism. It continues to work with females of all ages to help them succeed in life. The 2007 winner, Jessica Gaulke, chose to protect and fight for her city, state, and country when she gave up her crown to fight in the war in Afghanistan. In 2017, the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization hosted the first professional development Women’s Expo at the University of St. Thomas. Nowadays instead of driving and flying to be in different parades throughout the nation, the winners receive scholarships to further their education. The AAO has done wonders for the Aquatennial and the community they serve.

2017 Aqutennial fireworks

This year’s Aquatennial had many fun events, such as canoe rides in Loring Park and the Mississippi River at Boom Island, a 5k, the Twin Cities Caribbean Festival, the Loring Park Art Festival, family fun zones in Loring Park and along West River Parkway near the Stone Arch Bridge, a blood drive, lawn games and activities throughout downtown, a block party hosted by Our Lady of Lourdes Church, and the best fireworks show I’ve ever seen. The Aquatennial is full of fun and excitement no matter which events you attend, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s celebrations during the best days of summer.

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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


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


5th Ave N

  • Continuing water work at 5th and 3rd St N
  • Continue soil corrections between 3rd St and 4th St N
  • Began storm sewer work

7th Ave N

  • Placed 1st lift of asphalt

8th Ave N

  • Placed the 1st lift of asphalt (at Washington Ave only)

9th Ave N

  • Placed the 1st lift of asphalt (at Washington Ave and the west side of 9th Ave N)

 3rd St N

  • Continued water work between 8th Ave N and 5th Ave N
  • Finished salvaging brick pavers on the north side of 3rd St N between 10th Ave N and 7th Ave N, and started the south side removals
  • Removal of north sidewalk & curb between 10th & 5th Avenue
  • Frana began work on the Bassett Creek Apartments, currently connecting storm, sanitary, water and a new hydrant into 3rd St N (this is why 3rd St N has been closed off at 7th Ave N)-the utility connections work should be complete by early next week.


5th Ave N

  • Continuing water work at 5th and 3rd St N (8th Ave N to 5th Ave N)
  • Hydrant installation at 4th Ave N
  • Complete sanitary sewer work
  • Complete storm sewer work
  • Begin grading and hauling in gravel in preparation for paving

7th Ave N

  • Begin concrete installation (curb and gutter placement and possibly driveway placement) starting Monday 7-29
  • Access to properties between Washington and 3rd St N will partially reopen at Washington soon as 3rd St N removals have begun

8th Ave N

  • Begin concrete installation (curb and gutter placement and possibly driveway placement) starting Monday 7-29
  • Access to properties between Washington and 3rd St N will partially reopen at Washington soon as 3rd St N removals have begun

9th Ave N

  • Begin concrete installation (curb and gutter placement and possibly driveway placement) starting Monday 7-29
  • Access to properties between Washington and 3rd St N will partially reopen at Washington soon as 3rd St N removals have begun

3rd St N

  • Possible water work on 3rd St between 7th Ave N and 8th Ave N
  • Pedestrian access will be maintained on the south side of 3rd St N
  • Milling asphalt between 5th and 6th Aves N
  • Bassett Creek Apartment excavation to commence soon

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

North Loop Pedestrian Improvements Updates


1st St N

  • 3rd Ave N-water work completed
  • 4th Ave N- placed concrete on SW corner
  • 2nd Ave N -SW corner removed, storm sewer work in process
  • 2nd Ave N-NE and NW intersections removed
  • 8th Ave N Pour remaining concrete along 1st Ave N

2nd St N  North Side

  • 4th Ave N – Poured remaining concrete
  • 5th Ave N –Poured remaining concrete
  • 8th Ave N -  Electrical work for Pedestrian Crosswalk system and poured remaining concrete
  • 10th Ave N-North side poured except a few panels

4th Ave and W River Parkway

  • North side of Parkway complete

10th Ave N

  • 4th St N – remove pavement on north side
  • 4th St N – Removed trees


1st St N

  • 1st Ave N – Asphalt paving
  • 2nd Ave N – Finish removals on the north side and begin pouring new ped ramps, curb and sidewalk, asphalt paving
  • 3rd Ave N- Asphalt paving SE corner, remove SW corner, remove north side
  • 8th Ave N – Complete concrete paving
  • 3rd Ave N-Remove SW corner and North side

2nd St N

  • 3rd Ave N – Storm sewer work will begin August 5 on east side. This is a separate project, once it is complete the pedestrian ramps will be constructed
  • 4th Ave N pour remaining concrete
  • 5th Ave N pour remaining concrete
  • 8th Ave N begin installing conduit for new pedestrian flasher system. Pour remaining concrete

10th Ave

  • 4th St N – Relocate hydrant
  • 4th St N- Pour concrete

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


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: August 7, 7:30 am to 8:30 am

Location: Corner Coffee 514 N 3rd St #102

Contact Information

Project Manager:

Stephanie Malmberg,, 612-673-3365

Chief Field Inspector:

John Benjamin,, 651-443-1096


2019 X Games Run August 1-4

Bringing you everything from extreme sports and live music to nonstop festivities and A LOT of energy drinks, X Games Minneapolis is back August 1-4 for another round.

Whether athlete or attendee, first timer or returning fan, local or not quite from around here, these links will provide all the info you need to plan your 2019 X Games experience:


US Cities Boost Clean Energy Efforts, But Only a Few (Including Minneapolis) are on Track to Meet Climate Goals

Excerpts from a July 25 Press Release from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE):

Scorecard of 75 large US cities reveals the top 10, including Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC.

US cities are ramping up their clean energy efforts, notably with stricter energy-saving rules for buildings, but only a few cities appear on track to meet their community-wide climate goals, according to the 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard, released today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

For the first time, the ACEEE Scorecard tracks ­policy efforts to advance renewable energy in addition to energy efficiency, because both are needed to build a clean energy future and address climate change. It is the most comprehensive national report that tracks city progress toward climate goals.

The Scorecard shows that cities took more than 265 initiatives to advance efficiency and renewable energy between January 2017 and April 2019, ranging from modest but practical efforts such as Philadelphia’s teleworking for public employees to cutting-edge policies such as Washington, DC’s new high-performance standards for existing buildings.

Yet the Scorecard also reveals that most cities with climate goals are either not on track to achieve them or are not yet tracking progress. One-third (26) of the 75 cities surveyed have yet to even set greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. Of the 49 with targets, 22 are not yet fully tracking their progress. The remaining 27 have data, and of those, 8 are not projected to be close to achieving their targets and 8 are projected to make substantial progress but still fall short. Only 11 are on track to meet their GHG reductions goals.

Cities vary widely in their policies and performance. The Scorecard, which ranks cities on more than 50 metrics, has these key findings:

  • Boston retains its first-place ranking, earning 77.5 out of a possible 100 points. It’s followed by San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Washington, DC, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, Austin and Portland. This year, Minneapolis adopted policies requiring homes and apartment buildings to disclose their energy use to buyers or renters. New York City recently established programs calling for large buildings that benchmark energy use to post their energy performance ratings.
  • Cincinnati, Hartford, and Providence are Cities to Watch. They did not make the top 10 but stand out for adopting several major clean energy policies and programs since early 2017, improving their ranks since the last Scorecard. Hartford created an energy improvement district, began converting its streetlights to LEDs, and has taken steps to improve location efficiency through improvements to the zoning code.
  • Cities expanded efforts to save energy in new and existing buildings. Since 2017, nine cities—Las Vegas, Mesa, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Reno, San Antonio, St. Louis, and Tucson—adopted more-stringent building energy codes and five advocated for their states to do so. In addition, eight cities—Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Reno, Salt Lake City, San José, and Washington, DC—adopted efficiency requirements for existing buildings.
  • Cities increased their push to reduce GHGs from the transportation sector but not as much as they did with buildings. To slash emissions, they need to accelerate their action. Since 2017, nine cities developed targets to increase public transit, biking, and walking in lieu of driving.
  • Some cities are engaging with and investing in low-income communities and communities of color. Still, they have significant room for improvementThey can tap planning models—like those used in Minneapolis, Providence, and Seattle—to jumpstart their activities.

“Cities are making impressive clean energy gains—taking big steps to waste less energy and encourage more renewable power. But they have more to do,” said ACEEE senior research manager David Ribeiro, the lead report author. “Cities must continue their push for innovative buildings policies, take greater steps to tackle transportation emissions, and better track progress to know which investments have the greatest impact. With their innovation, ingenuity, and resolve, they can build prosperous and equitable low-carbon communities.”

Minneapolis’ Mayor Jacob Frey: “In the absence of leadership from the federal government, local governments have had to step up and take the lead on climate policy. Climate action is intrinsically linked to housing and equity, and we will continue to lead on efforts to make Minneapolis the greenest city in America.”

The 2019 report, our fourth ranking of cities, scores 75 large US cities, 24 more than our previous edition in 2017. It includes all 25 cities participating in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge, eight of which land on ACEEE’s top 10 list. This expanded Scorecard adds city efforts to encourage renewable energy, the impact of their policies, and their investment in and engagement with low-income communities and communities of color. Because of these extensive changes, we caution against simple comparisons to past scores and ranks.

Click here for the full Press Release.


2019 Greening & Public Realm Awards Nominations are Open Thru August 2 

Nominations for the 2109 Greening & Public Realm Awards are open through Friday, August 2nd.

The Greening & Public Realm Awards celebrate outstanding examples of private greening and placemaking in downtown Minneapolis. Photos of your nomination are encouraged, but name and location is sufficient to identify your green space of choice.  Click here for the survey.  Last year's winners are listed here.


Minnesota Center for Book Arts Presents Mimic: Modern Marbled Objects

Via a July 24 Press Release

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) presents Mimic: Modern Marbled Objects, an exhibition that examines the history and craft of marbling, from book arts origins to present day sculpture, fine art, and other decorative objects. This exhibition was co-curated by Torey Erin (Exhibitions and Artist Programs Manager at MCBA) and Heather RJ Fletcher (visual artist and innovator of HRJ Design Studio).  

Dating back to the 12th century in Japan and 15th century in Turkey, the art of modern marbling involves floating paint on water mixed viscous with carrageenan, a seaweed extract; creating intricate patterns and unique designs using unusual, handmade tools; and then laying paper, fabric, wood, or other porous materials onto the surface of the bath, where the image is immediately and permanently transferred to the desired surface. The exhibition includes local and international artists Sue Bjerke (Minneapolis, MN), Maeve “Maise” Broome (Queens, NY), Antonio Velez Celemin (Madrid, Spain), Heather RJ Fletcher (Minneapolis, MN), Karli Frigge (Gelderland, Netherlands) Mary Holland (Richmond, VA), Dan and Regina St. John (Amherst, MA), Jemma Lewis (Wiltshire, UK), Diane Maurer-Mathison (Spring Mills, PA), Iris Nevins (Johnsonburg, NJ), Sheryl Oppenheim (Brooklyn, NY), Sally Power (St. Paul, MN), Jana Pullman (Minneapolis, MN), Christin Ripley (Catskill, NY), Barb Skoog (South Pasadena, CA), Natalie Stopka (Yonkers, NY), Sevim Surucu (Elk Grove Village, IL), and Robert Wu (Ontario, Canada).

Visiting masters of marbling Regina and Dan St. John will give an artist talk at the Mimic closing reception on October 3, and MCBA will host a series of master marbling workshops led by Regina and Dan this fall. Both Chena River Marblers based in Massachusetts, Regina and Dan specialize in book edge-marbling, miniature marbling, custom marbled papers, and teaching marbling workshops around the country. Connecting the local community to national masters of the form, MCBA's marbled-themed exhibition and educational programs aim to engage, inspire, and focus attention on contemporary applications of this vibrant traditional craft.

Please join MCBA for a public reception and Artist Talk by Regina and Dan St. John on Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 6-8 pm in MCBA’s Main Gallery.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is a visual arts nonprofit organization that supports creative expression through traditional and contemporary book arts, including papermaking, bookbinding, and letterpress printing. MCBA’s philosophy and artistic vision challenges its artist community to think beyond the traditional notion of “book.” Today, books can be bound and unbound, fabricated into sculptures, interpreted as metaphor, experienced as installation or performance, and interacted with virtually. What unites this varied work is a focus on the interdisciplinary expression of narrative. To learn more, visit our website.


New York Life Foundation Awards $50,000 Grant to ACES Program to Support Out-of-School-Time Programs to Help Middle School Students Transition to 9th Grade

Via a July 23 News Release:

Award is one of 26 Aim High Grants Nationally, Totaling $1.35M

The New York Life Foundation in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance today announced a two-year $50,000 grant to ACES Minneapolis and Saint Paul afterschool program, one of 26 grants to be awarded to youth development organizations across the country, and the only to a Minnesota Organization, to support middle school youth during the out-of-school time (OST) hours. Twenty-six OST programs won new grants, and 16 organizations received continuing grants first announced in 2018. These programs serve underserved youth in 18 states. The grants mark the third year of awards made under the Foundation’s Aim High education initiative, and this year’s grants bring the total awarded under the program to $3.45 million.

Aim High is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in OST programs to help 8th graders reach the 9th grade on time and prepared for high school level work. Afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs nationwide are selected for grants through a competitive application process managed in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance.

“The support from the New York Life Foundation will have a profound impact on the children in our program. The support will enable us to produce our unique and engaging sports math and social-emotional lessons and programming,” said Christina Saunders, Executive Director of ACES. “We’re beyond grateful and look forward to putting the generous support to good use serving local youth and families.”

“ACES and our other 25 grantees do vital work in their communities. Middle school is a vulnerable time for students, and without these programs children and youth would be without a safe, productive and enriching place to go after school or during the summer,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “The New York Life Foundation supports OST programs like ACES that help children develop social, emotional and academic skills, which are essential for the transition to high school. We value the Afterschool Alliance’s expertise and vast network of OST providers and youth development experts in helping us administer the Aim High program.” 

The following eight organizations received grants of $50,000 payable over two years: 

·      LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership), New Haven, CT

·      Adult Friends for Youth, Honolulu, HI

·      High Jump, Chicago, IL

·      Brookside Community Development Corp., Indianapolis, IN

·      ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students), Minneapolis, MN

·      Montana Conservation Corps, Bozeman, MT

·      Apex for Youth, New York, NY

·      PAIR Houston (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees), Houston, TX

Eight organizations received grants of $100,000 payable over two years, and ten organizations received one-year awards of $15,000 to support their programs.

Research has shown that for disadvantaged students, additional learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded day and summer programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance and more engaged students. Further, a successful transition from 8th to 9th grade – middle school to high school in most cases – is particularly critical to student success.

“We’re delighted to partner with the New York Life Foundation in this effort,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “The Foundation continues to do terrific work in this area, supporting children at a vital time in their development. These grants change lives by supporting OST programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning, and give working parents peace of mind in the afternoon and during the summer.”

In 2017, the first year of the Aim High program, the New York Life Foundation awarded $750,000 to 18 recipients, with grant periods of one or two years. In 2018, the Foundation expanded the program, awarding $1.35 million to 26 additional organizations. This year’s $1.35 million in Aim High grants brings the total amount awarded to $3.45 million, given to 70 organizations, in all. Since 2013, the New York Life Foundation has invested more than $41 million in national middle school OST efforts.

About ACES

ACES works with students in underserved communities in Minneapolis and Saint Paul to develop the skills necessary to achieve academic excellence. Our program develops and uses innovative curriculum that blends sports and math to spark learning. Our vision is that ACES students succeed in college and career and become engaged citizens in safe and equitable communities.

About the Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. 

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $280 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative.


The Park Board Invites You to Find Time for Nature this Summer

Outdoor & Nature Programming at North Mississippi Regional Park


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Special Events & Nature Art

  • Dragonfly Snag & Spy EVENT  11am-3pm Aug 10thCelebrate the wonders of dragonflies through art, activities and games. Participate in monitoring efforts by trying your hand at catching real dragonflies in the air! All Ages.  Activity #91943
  • Nature Art: Sun Catchers  3-4pm Aug 17thAdd a touch of nature to your home by catching its beauty in a sunbeam. Use your creativity to make a unique window display to take home. All Ages.  Activity #96537
  • Field Day  Bug Hunt 1-3pm Aug 22nd: Explore bug life! Identify insects versus other creepy crawlies, then test your skills by searching for insects and catching them in the park with a naturalist. Registration Fee $5.  Ages 5-13.  Activity #96485

Bird Watching

Hike through prairie, woodland and along the river with a naturalist while keeping eyes and ears open for our feathered friends. Binoculars provided.

  • Summer Visitors  8:30-10am Aug 3rd: search for our summertime birds before they fly off this season.  Ages 8 & up. Activity #91942
  • Summertime Songbird Series  8-9:30am Aug 7th-21st: develop your bird watching skills while looking for summer birds with a naturalist. All experience levels are welcome. $30  Ages 18+.  Activity #96836

Nature Play Group & Family Funday

  • Come with your little one to play and have fun in nature with other children and parents/guardians. For kids up to age 5 with an adult. Registration Fee $16 (for 4 weeks of classes). Aug 7th - Aug 28th  10:15 - 11:15am  Activity #91951
  • Ugh-A-Bug  1-3pm Aug 18th: Go on a bug hunt outside with a naturalist, create insect art and meet the Madagascar hissing cockroaches. All Ages. Activity #91946

Nature Hikes & Outdoor Exploration

  • Trail Trekkers Inclusive Hikes 10-11am Aug 3rd: Spend the morning walkin’ or a rollin’ on park paths with a naturalist guide in search of nature’s treasures during this program for adults with developmental disabilities. Ages 18+. Activity #97192
  • Family Trail Trekkers Inclusive Hikes 11:15-12:15pm Aug 3rd: During this program for families that have children with disabilities, use different tools like binoculars and magnifying glasses to examine high up in the trees or down low under logs. All ages. Activity #97189
  • Prairie Blooms Tour Series  10-11:30am Aug 6th-20th: Watch the shifting colors of blooms in our restored prairie and discover the adaptations prairie species have developed to be successful in this diverse grassland ecosystem. $15  Ages 18+.  Activity #96830
  • Sense in the Season Hike 5-6pm Aug 16th: After the hustle and bustle of the week, take a peaceful walk through the park to realign your senses with nature.  All ages. Activity #96943
  • Beneficial Botany 3-4:30pm Aug 24th: Learn about how people have benefited from the unique properties of plants. Hike with a naturalist to find out how to identify the beneficial plants in your community. Ages 8+. Activity #97111
  • Urban Wildlife Hike 10-11am Aug 31st: You don't have to leave the city to see wildlife - explore the park with a naturalist to learn more about the critters living alongside us every day. All ages. Activity #91965

Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a registered adult

-  -  -  -  -  Summer Day Camps for Kids -  -  -  -  -

Sign up your 6-12 year olds for a summer outside with week long, naturalist-led camps. Explore outdoors, get messy and learn by doing! Spend summer days playing in neighborhood nature at North Mississippi Park. Full and half days available.

Nature Engineering July 29–Aug 2  Activity #91975  AM #91976  PM #91977

Insect-o-pia Aug 5-9 Activity #91972  AM #91973  PM #91974

Underground Explorers Aug 12–16 Activity #91995  AM #91996  PM #91997

River Romp Aug 19–23  Activity #91988  AM #91989  PM #91990

-  -  -  -  -  More Ways to Enjoy the Park  -  -  -  -  -

- Stop by the front desk to check out binoculars, nature activity packs and nature guides.
- Talk with a naturalist to meet and learn about our education animals.
- Celebrate your birthday with us!

Like North Mississippi on Facebook to stay in the loop about what’s happening in our park!  Learn more about North Mississippi Regional Park at our website.

Contact Information:

Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park

4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430

Phone: 612-370-4844



Become a Youth Sports Coach this Fall!

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is seeking enthusiastic volunteer coaches for youth soccer, flag football, and volleyball.

  • Practices start in August for soccer and football, October for volleyball
  • Athletes range from 5-18 years old
  • Teams practice 1-2 times per week
  • Games/meets are scheduled for a weeknight and/or Saturdays
  • MPRB will provide orientation for all new coaches
  • Can't coach this fall? We'll need coaches for basketball, hockey, gymnastics, and wrestling this winter

Click here to receive more information or to express interest in MPRB volunteer opportunities. Call (612) 230-6493 or email with questions.