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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.


Submit Your Nominations for City Pages' Best of the Twin Cities Readers' Choice Poll

City Pages' annual Best of the Twin Cities issue celebrates all the things we love most about our metropolis, from the finest bars and restaurants, to the coolest people, parks, museums, and music.

The 2019 Best of the Twin Cities Readers' Choice Poll gives you the chance to vote for 100 Best of the Twin Cities winners. For the first round of voting, which runs from February 5 until midnight on February 26, you'll nominate your favorite people, places, and things in 100 select categories. City Pages will tally the nominations, and from March 5 until midnight on March 26, readers will be able to vote on the top five nominees in each category. The Readers' Choice Poll results will be announced in the annual Best of the Twin Cities issue, online and hitting newsstands April 17. 


Welcome Back the Herons March 23 with the Mississippi Park Connection

The Mississippi Park Connection invites you to join them in welcoming back the herons on Saturday, March 23, at Marshall Terrace Park, 2740 Marshall Street NE.

Great blue herons start returning to their rookery on the Mississippi River toward the end of March. Join Park Ranger Sharon (aka Birdchick) at Marshall Terrace Park in Minneapolis to watch them rebuild nests and do a little flirting. With any luck, you may also see the resident peregrine falcons fly over, as well as migrating ducks such as the buffleheads and goldeneye.

This event takes place on the banks of the Mississippi River (weather permitting), so attendees should be prepared for mud or ice. It is free and open to everyone. Binoculars and cameras are encouraged. Ranger Sharon will have her spotting scope to aid viewing the birds.

NOTE: The time of this event will be announced closer to the date. Attendees will meet Ranger Sharon at the park down on the river bank.


February and March Opportunities to Meet with 3rd Ward Council Member Fletcher

Council Member Fletcher holds regular open office hours on Wednesday evenings for constituents to drop by, ask questions, and raise any issues you see in the community. These rotate through the different quadrants of Ward 3 (NE, SE, Downtown, North Loop), but all are welcome at any of them. If you would like to discuss a specific issue, contact the office (612-673-2203) so they can put you on the agenda. 

Upcoming Coffee with Your Council Member dates/locations:
February 6, 5pm at Five Watt Coffee
February 13, 5pm at the Purple Onion Cafe
February 27, 5pm Open Book
March 6, 5pm at In the Loop Coffee
March 13, 5pm at Taraccino Coffee
March 20, 5pm at Five Watt Coffee
March 27, 5pm at the Purple Onion Cafe

The Southern Theater opens 2019-2020 Call for Artists

Via a February 4 announcement from The Southern Theater 

The Minneapolis Theater will expand programming options for artists who want to perform under the historic arch

The Southern Theater has opened its call for artist for those interested in presenting work now through the summer of 2020.  Proposals will be accepted until February 22, 2019 with more presenting options available than in previous years.  
New this year is a program that will allow 3-4 artists to be part of a cohort series thanks to an Arts Access Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.  AMPLIFY: to make larger, greater, stronger: to increase in strength. The AMPLIFY series will give voice and a platform to underrepresented stories that need to be heard. Through different performance genres and artistic styles, cohort members will share their message, experiences and process, culminating in public performances of their work.  Artists will also participate in panel discussions and student performance, something The Southern programming has not offered recently.  
Other presenting options include a more traditional rental. The Southern has been almost exclusively a shared revenue presenter since the launch of the ARTshare program in 2015.  While some of these partnership slots are available, other groups and organizations find an upfront cost fits better with their operating model. More choices broaden the opportunity for a wider range of artists to present their work.   
The expansion comes in response to a number of challenges impacting many of the nonprofit arts organizations today. Two of the most pressing issues facing The Southern are artists’ need for space and the costs associated with operating a venue.   
“We are responding to the challenges that many are facing, finding the balance between rising cost, fewer foundation and grant funds, increased competition for limited dollars, donor giving trends decreasing, audience engagement shifting; all of this makes it necessary for us to adapt and be responsive,” says acting Executive Director Janette Davis.
With more and more performance spaces closing, artists need more options to be able to share their work.  Davis says by staying nimble, The Southern will be able to better serve the community as a whole. The Southern is also exploring special Monday night mini-programs that educate, inform and broaden the Southern’s reach to artist, audience and community.  This includes showcase evenings, new works in progress and various outreach and community engagement programs.

In addition to revised programming, The Southern has some new faces under the arch.  

Program Associate, Kaleena Miller (Kaleena Miller Dance, Twin Cities Tap Festival), Production Coordinator and Front of House Manager, Kelly Turpin (Arbeit Opera Theater) Production Supervisor, Mark Ruark (Rhythmic Circus), and Media Intern, Andy Glischinski (Winona State University) join acting Executive Director, Janette Davis, Graphic Artist Galen Higgins (Schubert Club), and Sequoia Hauck (Administrative Services, on sabbatical until spring) to round out the staff.   

Those interested in submitting proposals can find more information at  Accepted submissions will be announcements after March 15, 2019.


Opinion: Act to Protect the “Power of the Falls”

By Cordelia Pierson

Growing with Integrity to Protect Our Historic Mississippi Riverfront

Our elected officials will soon decide how our Mississippi riverfront community will grow, as they review a proposal to redevelop the General Mills Riverside Technical Center, just one block from the Mississippi River.  Despite a 15-17 story height maximum, Doran/CSM is proposing a 32-story tower for the 311 2nd Street SE project, transforming two full city blocks between Second Street and University Avenue.  The site is next to the Pillsbury A Mill complex, a National Historic Landmark, in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District’s Water Power Character Area, where the historic mill buildings define the district on both banks of the Mississippi River.  The 32-story tower would dwarf the historic industrial buildings surrounding the Pillsbury A Mill, now prominent features in the protected “key viewshed” from the Mill City Museum and Stone Arch Bridge.

Now is a great time to ask our elected officials to vote to protect the “Power of the Falls” by supporting growth that honors this riverfront area’s integrity.

What is the “Power of the Falls?”

What places do you choose when you are welcoming visitors from other countries or cities here?

The Stone Arch Bridge? Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater? Perhaps Gold Medal Park?

All of these places are along the Great River Road, in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District.  The Great River Road is an 80-year old National Scenic Byway, connecting communities from the Headwaters at Lake Itasca to Forest History Center in Grand Rapids, from Oliver Kelley Farm to Fort Snelling, from Oheyawahi (Pilot Knob) to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.  Along the Great River Road, people can experience beautiful views and nature; learn about American Indian culture today; discover stories about how farming, sawmilling and grain milling here changed our state and nation; and enjoy biking, paddling and walking.  I serve as regional commissioner on the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, which protects and enhances the Mississippi valley and the Great River Road.

Here in Minneapolis, by the Mississippi River’s only falls, our riverfront boasts an incredible blend of all those values – scenic, natural, spiritual, cultural, historic, recreational.  We are lucky to have two National Historic Landmarks – the sister mills facing each other, one now the Mill City Museum, and the other affordable artist housing at Pillsbury A Mill.  We can easily see these mills and grain elevators that define the area’s “Water Power Character” area, at the heart of this national and state-designated St. Anthony Falls Historic District.  This protected, historic character makes this area unique, and private and public investment – well over $2 billion - has followed. 

While we have a National Scenic Byway Great River Road that is hundreds of miles long, we have only one national park on the entire length of the Mississippi River.  Our Mississippi River in the metro region earned its National Park status – the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area - because of this concentration of amazing, diverse assets at the falls.  Standing on the Hennepin Bridge and looking downstream at night, you can see “Gold Medal Flour” towering over the West bank, and “Pillsbury” atop the Red Tile Elevator on the East bank.  These mill complexes define this Water Power Character area, tying us to our sister communities in Greater Minnesota, where grain elevators dominate the landscape of rural towns. 

So why the “Power of the Falls?” That phrase captures more than the hydropower we draw from the Mississippi here.  It is the title of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board’s interpretive plan for the area because the “Power of the Falls” also captures the area’s spiritual, cultural, historic and natural significance and inspires new plans for the area’s future. “The enduring sense of place that drew people here many hundreds of years ago is prompting new generations to embrace the riverfront and care about its future.”  According to the plan,

  • Spiritually significant place for indigenous people: This relationship with the river is felt by many and is inspiring a new understanding of the river among others. St. Anthony Falls continues to be a place of homecoming for Dakota people.
  • Historically significant: The Mississippi River’s steepest drop attracted waterpower for industries that helped build a city, shape the region’s economy, and change how we eat.
  • Uniquely scenic: This is an urban landscape shaped by human and natural forces. The dramatic tension between these two forces resulted in a setting that is unlike any other in the region.

This is indeed a place of power – unique, and worth protecting, investing our lives in, and sharing with our visitors from afar.  Did that power draw you, too?

What does “Growing with Integrity” mean?

The City of Minneapolis adopted St. Anthony Falls Historic District Guidelines to protect the integrity of this area and the “Power of the Falls.” These rules apply to all private and public development here – parks, like Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, now in planning for $1M in 2019; public facilities, like WaterWorks and the Lock and Dam visitor center, now proposed; and private development, like the General Mills Riverside Technical Center redevelopment.  The City has also adopted a Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area plan, which applies to the entire historic district as well. 

Our elected officials are charged with applying these rules to all developments, private and public.  Everyone considering whether to invest here knows about both the historic and river protections. 

A key test for whether to grant permission to build here is whether the project “will ensure the historic district’s continued integrity” as well as being “compatible with the historic designation” and “consistent with the spirit and intent of preservation policies and laws.” 

“Growing with Integrity” means two things:  following the rules that apply to us all, and ensuring the historic district’s continued integrity. 

The proposal Doran/CSM submitted in December 2018 does not meet that standard. 

  • Height: The rules clearly require a maximum height of the Red Tile Elevators, which is 15 – 17 stories, and a 32-story tower does not meet the requirement of being “compatible with the character area.”
  • Visual impact: The rules list specific “key view opportunities” to gauge visual impact, particularly from public ways, and require new structures to be low to maintain views, such as from Mill City Museum and West River Road, our Great River Road.  Whether the project reduces the prominence and scale of the historic resources is the key test.  The 32-story tower would loom over the Pillsbury A Mill complex, and indisputably impact these historic resources.

Other towers have been approved in the historic district, close to the activity center along University and Central Avenues.  To use them as an excuse for allowing excessive height closer to the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill and deeper into the historic district and residential neighborhood is simply to abandon the design guidelines that aim for building compatibility in height, mass and scale. Previous loss of integrity underscores the importance of adhering to the guidelines and maintaining the integrity that remains in the district. 

Act to Protect the “Power of the Falls:” Urge Our Elected Officials to Support Growing with Integrity

You were drawn to the “Power of the Falls.”  You can act to protect it.

Members of the Heritage Preservation Commission on January 22 said they would deny permission for the 32-story proposed, and the developer agreed to return on February 19 with a revised proposal.  The City of Minneapolis now has until April 12 to approve or deny the developer’s project, a planned unit development.

Contact our elected officials – Council Member Steve Fletcher; Zoning and Planning Committee Chair Jeremy Schroeder; Council President Lisa Bender; Mayor Jacob Frey.

Encourage them to deny approvals for this 32-story project.  Encourage them to ask the developer to submit a revised proposal that preserves the integrity of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District by meeting historic district guidelines, including honoring the Red Tile Elevator maximum height (15-17 stories) and meeting visual impact requirements. 

Learn more at Power of the Falls – East Bank Development Task Force of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association.

Join me in acting to protect the “Power of the Falls” and welcome growth with integrity.  And the next time you tour the area with a visitor, you can be proud that you have helped protect the future of our Mississippi riverfront, leaving an inspiring legacy for generations to come.

Cordelia Pierson, Mississippi River Parkway Commissioner, Metro Region

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cordelia Pierson, 1st elected to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission in 2011, serves as Vice Chair. Contact Cordelia at


2019 Event Planner: Downtown Minneapolis & Riverfront Neighborhoods

Updated on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 8:55AM by Registered CommenterDavid Tinjum

Our first annual event planner for Downtown Minneapolis & Riverfront Neighborhoods is a list of 20 top events for 2019. We'll be adding to the list during the year as event dates & details become available. Did we miss your favorite event? Let us know, click here to submit event info...



Mill City Farmers Market is Minneapolis’ trusted source for healthy, local and organic groceries, bringing a wide assortment of fresh food, cooking education and live entertainment to one beautiful space.




View artwork of nearly 800 artists in every medium at more than 60 locations throughout Northeast Minneapolis, including studio buildings, art galleries, homes, storefronts, and local businesses. The artists’ open studio tours may include demonstrations, mini workshops, installations, and special exhibitions. Studio tours offer a great opportunity to ask questions, discuss techniques, experience art first-hand, and purchase unique artwork directly from the artists.





Northern Spark is known as an all-night arts festival that lights up the Twin Cities. In early June, tens of thousands of people gather throughout the city to explore giant video projections, play in temporary installations in the streets, and enjoy experimental performances in green spaces. From dusk to dawn the city surprises you: friendly crowds, glowing groups of cyclists, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, the magic of sunrise after a night of amazing art and experiences. Experience the artful magic of Northern Spark for two nights until 2 am!




A huge celebration of art and music on the Mpls Riverfront! Join 200+ artists, live music on 3 stages, family fun, food trucks, beer/wine gardens and the Art of the Car display.



Click to read more ...


Downtown Living: Stonebridge Lofts - 1120 S 2nd St #908

It’s all about the VIEW. Full unobstructed views of Gold Medal Park and the Mississippi River from this Stonebridge gem. Corner location and prime orientation allow for sunrise and sunset views from all windows.Two private balconies and open floor plan featuring 2 bedrooms and den, hardwood floors, and many thoughtful details. Bright and cheery with fresh paint throughout. Lovely amenities and new art exhibit in the lobby make this property a very special place to call home. Walking distance to the Light Rail, Trader Joe’s, Farmers Market, U of M, and US Bank Stadium.

2 bed | 2 bath | 2 parking | 1,640 sf

Visit this listing online for more details...


Mirror, Mirror - a poem by Sam Karpeh

Article by Claudia Kittock

This is the title poem from the book Mirror, Mirror written by 23-year old Sam Karpeh. Available through Amazon, this book of poems chronicles much of the chaos, pain, and triumph of Sam’s life. Sam, an actor in the Mill City Players since the first rehearsal, is multi-talented and an amazing young man. Don’t miss reading his story.

Mirror, Mirror 

    Can you hear me?
    What am I looking at?
    Answer me now dammit
    All I see is a man six feet three inches standing there
    With eyes red from all the bleeding to live and smile
    You adding weight to what I’m already carrying
    Can’t carry no more, my legs dying like I’m on my death bed waiting for someone to come and carry me on
    Come on now,
    I want to see what you see when you look me in the eye.
    I’m still waiting for that answer
    Day in, day out, it’s still quiet
    I see a fat man in the mirror trying to smile back at me
    I know you think I’ll fade away into the dust of the wind
    Come on I’m blowing away here
    I eat and eat the fruit of life yet I’m not full
    Something missing
    What’s missing here?
Mirror, mirror are you there?
    Can you hear me, are you still there
    Are you death to the ear or you sleep to the day to be waken by night
    Where you roam freely
    Mirror, mirror
    It’s getting cold from the day of loneliness
    Rushing to reckoning the night away
    Damaging my face with every blow
    Mirror, mirror
    It’s winter to the summer breeze
    Feel the cold air hit you
    Mind blowing ain’t it
    How long you going to let me bleed tears of fire
    Burning twisting in cyclone of flames touching the stars
    Mirror, mirror
    I slay demon and laugh at fear straight up
    Mirror, mirror
    Why do I pretend to smile?
    When I know it kills me
    Lend me your smile for a day
    And that I will smile till the sun cry out
    Mirror, mirror
    Borrow me your happiness
    Borrow me that sun that shine over you
    While I borrow you my rain of could that lurking over me
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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).



January by the Numbers

Downtown real estate market update from Cynthia Froid Group:


MN Brewery Running Series announces 2019 Season 

All events include the fun run, free beer, free swag and more! Additional details may vary by event. Cheers to beers! More info

* * * * * Be an Ambassador! * * * * *

Ambassadors are passionate about being active, having fun, and giving back, dedicated team players who are willing to go the extra mile to help runners have a great experience, and enthusiastic about sharing their experiences with others. As a Brand Ambassador you would volunteer at Brewery Running Series events, spread the word about BRS, and help recruit additional volunteers and encourage new participants. As part of the BRS team, you'll be hooked up with some great swag, craft beer, and race entries for you and your friends! Apply by Feb 8.


February 8 Art Opening at the Bridgewater

RE/MAX Resultsand Bridgewater Neighbors and Friends of the Arts invite you to the next art opening at the Bridgewater:

Friday, February 8, 2019
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Bridgewater Lobby
Art, Wine and Appetizers

This free event is generously sponsored by Lance Watkins & RE/MAX Results, a top-3 RE/MAX franchise in the world, for transactions and sales. RE/MAX Results is proud to say the RE/MAX brand was number one, with a 54% market share for total closed sales, in the 55415 zip code last year.

Appetizers are provided by Smith & Porter, an independent neighborhood restaurant in the Mill District, with a variety of menu offerings ranging from hand pattied burgers and walleye tots to Salmon en Papillote and a full-service bar.

The Bridgewater is located at 215 10th Avenue S, across from Gold Medal Park.

All Mill District neighbors and their guests are welcome. Please RSVP to


2019 Earth Day 5K Bee Run Call for Volunteers

The 4th Annual Earth Day - 5K Fun Run/Walk/River Cleanup is on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Diane Hofstede invites you join the Great River Coalition with planning and marketing, setup, registration, greeters etc. during the event.
Why should you volunteer?
The 5K Bee Runs have drawn hundreds of participants to the banks of the Mississippi River, and to the mission of the Great River Coalition. By joining the team of volunteers, you can help to enhance our riverfront environment while bringing awareness to the plight of pollinators.
How to sign up:
It's easy! Please send an email with your name and phone number to: Feel free to forward this email to your friends, too.
BEE READY for the best Earth Day ever!
The Great River Coalition, 501c3 and sponsor of the 5K Bee Run/Walk/River Clean Up, thanks you for your consideration. Their 4th Annual Earth Day - 5K Fun Run/Walk/River Cleanup is a direct result of contributions made by our volunteers, sponsors, partners, and, of course, participants. 

Brazilfest MN's Carnaval Brasileiro Celebrates with Two Shows on March 9 at the Cedar

Carnaval Brasileiro Family Matinee and Masquerade Ball 2019

Brazilfest MN's Carnaval Brasileiro celebrates its 17th anniversary with TWO shows - a kid-friendly family matinee in the afternoon, and an all-ages (but mostly for grown-ups) Masquerade Ball in the evening, both on Saturday, March 9th!

The most attended and longest-running annual Brazilian festival in the Twin Cities teams up with the Cedar Cultural Center for the 17th annual Carnaval Brasileiro on Saturday, March 9 at one of the premier live music venues in Minneapolis, internationally respected for top quality world music events.  This year the event brings back the very popular Brazilfest MN Family Matinee after a two-year hiatus, which will take place in the same space as the evening show from 3 to 5 pm and will include children performing with the headlining band for the first time ever! Children attending the matinee can have their faces painted, make their own masks, create and play their own percussion instruments, and learn to dance samba and sing in Portuguese.  The evening show will be an all-ages show as well, though designed more for grown-ups, and will start and end earlier than previous years. Over 60 singers, musicians, samba dancers, actors and artisans will transform the Cedar Cultural Center into an all-day authentically festive Brazilian cultural experience!

Guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest and his ten-piece group Beira Mar Brasil will host both Brazilfest MN Family Matinee and Carnaval Brasileiro Masquerade Ball from 8pm to 12 midnight.  Everest, who also serves as Executive Director of Brazilfest MN, has been joyfully exploring Brazilian music and culture for over 25 years and brings us authentic Brazilian carnival flavor through various musical genres from around the country -- Samba, Axé, Frevo, Baião, and other dance-inducing styles.  Joining Beira Mar Brasil for the thirteenth straight year, direct from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil’s famous party-loving city, will be singer and samba dancer extraordinaire, Dandara Odara, who performs at over 50 carnival celebrations around the world each year in Europe, North America, and of course, Brazil.  

Along with Beira Mar Brasil, Carnaval Brasileiro 2019 will present more performers and performance groups than ever before, including Brazilian percussion ensembles Batucada Do Norte and Drumheartprofessional samba dancers/instructors Ginga da Bahia, Edilson Lima (who has been featured on Ellen DeGeneres) and Vanessa Luiz from São Paulo, Brazil, and Blue Lady - the mysterious mermaid, as well as Brazilian martial arts group Capoeira Floração of Minnesota.  Plus, for the first time in the seventeen-year history of this event, there will be children as young as 3 years old performing on stage, trained by Robert in Portuguese and different instruments throughout several months leading up to the event! (contact him directly ( if you would like your child to participate as a performer!)

Carnaval guests can participate in Brazilian dance lessons, purchase authentic carnival masks created by master Brazilian artisan Goretti Aamot, and have their face and body painted just like they do it in Rio!

The annual Carnaval, celebrated throughout Brazil, lasts nearly a week and has roots dating back to the 1700s.  Like Mardi Gras, Carnaval is an all-out party with music, masks, dancing, food and drink - a final blowout before Lenten traditions kick in for the Easter season.  This Minneapolis edition of Carnaval takes place after it is celebrated in Brazil, allowing for many of the special guests to come to Minneapolis.

DATE: Saturday, March 9, 2019

TIMES: Brazilfest MN Family Matinee 3 - 5 pm (doors at 2:30 pm, ideal for young children and seniors)
All-Ages Evening Show 8 pm - 12 midnight (doors at 7:30 pm, all-ages)    

VENUE: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Avenue S

TICKETS:  Afternoon Matinee $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Evening Show $22 in advance, $30 at the door.  Tickets available at the Electric Fetus, Depth of Field, and  

PARTICIPATION: If you would like your child to participate as a performer contact Robert Everest at


New book "A People's History of the Seward Neighborhood" includes the story of Falls City

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

In December of 2018, a new local history book hit the shelves that tells the story of one of Minneapolis’ most vibrant neighborhoods. Included in the 2017 American Planning Association’s “Great Places in America” list, the Seward neighborhood has a very rich history, and their newest publication A People’s History of the Seward Neighborhood unveils the uniqueness of the area. The book chronologically lays out the neighborhood’s history while focusing on the important events and eras, made evident by the chapter headings.

Scattered throughout the book are also very interesting fun stories, such as Falls City: The City That Never Was. The story of Falls City starts back when Fort Snelling was the only non-native settlement on the west side of the Mississippi River from the fort to St. Anthony Falls. As westward expansion grew by the year, the U.S. government decided to allow the settling of the west side of the river near Fort Snelling. At the time, the Village of St. Anthony was becoming a booming industry town and in the area just across the river lied the wilderness. When settlers began establishing homes and businesses on the west bank, there became a very apparent need to improve infrastructure and transportation, because hauling goods via oxcarts from the river landings in St. Paul to what eventually became Minneapolis was not cutting it.

Edward Murphy, 1874The first attempt at bringing more commerce to the west bank was done by Edward Murphy. He formed a steamboat company that would traverse the small islands and rapids that occupied the river from Fort Snelling to St. Anthony Falls. Murphy even piloted his flagship steamboat, the Falls City, for several years. His other ambitious plan was to connect both sides of the river gorge just upstream from the current Franklin Avenue Bridge, and in 1857, his bridge was completed. It washed away in a flood just two years later. Oops.

Around this same time, plans were starting to take shape to build a series of locks and dams to raise the river level and cover up the small islands and rapids, which would make boat travel up to the mills around St. Anthony Falls a walk in the park. The first lock and dam to be built would be located at Meeker Island, but unfortunately it would take 50 years for the government and Army Corps of Engineers to approve its construction. At the time the businesses of the area did not foresee the lengthy delays and also planned warehouses to be built near the dam, which eventually lead to the panning of a small community. The Mississippi River Improvement and Manufacturing Company, the entity that was the mastermind behind these new developments, divided the land near the lock and dam into 600 plots.

There was a lot of expected success from those who invested in this idea, especially those who initially owned the land along the west bank. As word got out about this new town, the mapmakers of the time began including the area in their publications. Falls City was officially on the map. However, at its peak, there were only eight residents. Quickly after the town got up and running, the economy crashed and scared everyone away from this business endeavor. While Falls City never became the thriving river town that its founders envisioned, it still laid the groundwork for city planners to develop that part of Minneapolis and the Seward neighborhood.

Seward's riverfront facing upstream with the old Franklin Ave. Bridge in the background taken in 1910

This story, like others found hidden between the pages of A People’s History of the Seward Neighborhood, offers a glimpse into the past of an area that has been vital to the growth of industry, community, and inclusiveness in Minneapolis. From railroads to Co-ops and Scandinavian’s to East African’s, this book embraces the many identities that have left their mark on the neighborhood. If you’re like me and are always looking to further your knowledge on local history, this book is a must need for your bookshelf.

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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 a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 6+ years.

He can be reached at


Check Out Designs Outlining Proposed Long-term Plan for Mississippi Gorge Regional Park

Mississippi Gorge Regional Park includes the trails and green space along West and East River Parkways in Minneapolis between Bohemian Flats and Minnehaha Regional Park

Weigh in on draft Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan during 45-day public comment period

After more than a year of in-depth community engagement and design, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) has released a draft of the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan for a 45-day public comment period beginning today, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 and ending Sunday, March 10, 2019.

The Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan creates a new long-term vision for 132 acres of beautiful riverfront parkland between Bridge 9 (Dinkytown Greenway bridge) and Minnehaha Regional Park. The five-mile long landscape was split into several framework areas linked together by linear trails, parkways and swaths of green space and river bluff edges.

The master plan is split into eight sections, which are linked below. It's also available on the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan project page, in the right column under "Draft Documents." 

Ch. 1: Introduction
Ch. 2: Park Conditions
Ch. 3: Visitor Demand
Ch. 4: Public Engagement
Ch. 5: Vision and Guiding Principles
Ch. 6: Master Plan Recommendations
Ch. 7: Implementation
References and Appendix

Comment on Draft Master Plan

Paper copies of the plan and written comment cards will be available at Mary Merrill MPRB Headquarters and six recreation centers near Mississippi Gorge Regional Park: Brackett, Coyle, Hiawatha School, Longfellow, Luxton and Matthews.

East River Flats Park near the University of Minnesota East Bank Campus is part of the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan

Community Engagement

The plan was shaped through months of in-depth community engagement that included hosting and attending numerous public meetings, open houses and focus groups, online and in-person surveys, feedback from technical and project advisory committees, and eight Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings. The CAC was comprised of 21 members of the public appointed by MPRB staff and commissioners, City Council Members, local neighborhood associations and the University of Minnesota Student Government.

The park concepts linked above are also available on the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan project page under “Key Documents” in the right column.

Next Steps

After the 45-day comment period closes, the design team will again consider comments from all stakeholders and potentially make more adjustments. Then, over the spring, the final plan will be sent to the Board of Commissioners for a final public hearing and vote on its final approval. Please continue to share your thoughts on the park plans in these final stages of public comment.

About this project

The Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan will create a new long-term plan for all riverfront parkland in Minneapolis between Bridge 9 (Dinkytown Greenway bridge) and Minnehaha Regional Park.


Restaurant Week February 17 - 22

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week started in 2007 in an effort to connect Twin Cities food enthusiasts with the best in Twin Cities dining. Since then, Restaurant Week has become a tradition embraced by Minnesotans.

Celebrate the best of Twin Cities dining with a week's worth of great deals in some of the Twin Cities trendiest and best restaurants from February 17 - 22.  Participating restaurants will serve two to three course, prix fixe menus for just $10 to $35 per person. (beverage, tax and gratuity not included)

Visit restaurants such as Cafe Alma, Red Stag Supperclub and Smack Shack. View full list.


Meet Minneapolis Winter Sweepstakes is back with a chance to drive off in a new Chevy Blazer, or a weekend getaway

Via a January 23 e-announcement from Meet Minneaplis:

Meet Minneapolis Winter Sweepstakes Offers a Chance to Drive Off with an All-New 2019 Chevy Blazer

Four additional weekly prize drawings feature a Minneapolis getaway for winter fun

Meet Minneapolis and Chevy Heartland Dealers are offering a chance to get out in style this winter with a sweepstakes prize package that could bring you a night on the town in Minneapolis, or have you blasting through the snow in a brand new SUV. The 2019 Chevy Blazer Sweepstakes* offers four weekly prizes and one grand prize of a 3-year lease on an all-new 2019 Chevy Blazer. The keys will be awarded to one lucky winner at the Twin Cities Auto Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday, March 9.

One weekly prize package will be drawn every Friday, starting February 8 and ending March 1 and includes:

  • A complimentary night at the Radisson Red Hotel, putting you right in the center of all the action, whether it’s U.S. Bank Stadium, the Guthrie Theater, Mill City Museum or you can jump on the light rail to explore more of what Minneapolis has to offer.
  • A gift card worth $50 gift to Young Joni, one of the most innovative restaurants in Minneapolis and created by owner/chef Ann Kim – a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist.
  • One $50 Visa® Gift Card for a Minneapolis attraction or experience. For inspiration on what to see or do, check out “150 Things to Do in Minneapolis” for some great ideas.

Enter the sweepstakes in person at the Twin Cities Auto Show, or via the Meet Minneapolis website. At, planning a day trip or a memorable vacation to Minneapolis is easy with insider information to help you map out local neighborhood hot-spots, the latest craft brew favorites or a memorable dinner for two.

Sweepstake details

Only one entry per person. No purchase necessary to win. Open only to legal residents of Minnesota, as well as Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Must be 21 years or older at the time of entry. Some residency restrictions apply. Void where prohibited. Weekly prize drawings will be held Feb. 8, 15, 22 and March 1. Entries for the 2019 Chevy Blazer Sweepstakes must be received by 11:59 p.m. on March 3.

The five randomly selected finalists eligible for the grand prize of a low-mileage 2019 Chevy Blazer lease must be present for the live drawing at the Twin Cities Auto Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center to win. The grand prize drawing will take place the morning of Saturday, March 9.

*For full sweepstakes information and rules complete with eligibility, prize description and other details visit

About Meet Minneaplis

Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area.


Northern Spark 2019 scheduled for June 14-15

Via a January 23 Press Release:

The two-night, free public art festival explores the theme We Are Here: Resilience, Renewal, & Regeneration in the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis, The Commons in downtown Minneapolis and the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul

Northern announces the ninth annual Northern Spark, the free arts festival illuminating public spaces in the Twin Cities. This year, artists will explore the theme We Are Here: Resilience, Renewal, & Regeneration with projects in three walkable and transit-accessible locations—the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis, The Commons in downtown Minneapolis, and the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul.

For the second year in a row, Northern Spark will take place on two nights: Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15, starting at dusk (9:02 pm) and ending at 2 am. Programming and art will be the same each night unless noted.

The venues for Northern Spark 2019 are in Minneapolis and Saint Paul:

- American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis

- The Commons in downtown Minneapolis

- Hallie Q Brown Community Center in the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul

We Are Here: Resilience, Renewal, & Regeneration
Every year, Northern Spark creates a theme to inspire artists’ creativity around cultural and societal issues. This year’s theme was generated through responses from people and organizational partners in the communities of Northern Spark 2019.
Northern, along with the 2018-2019 Program Council (more info below), explored new ways of determining the festival theme by involving community input. Northern engaged with community members during neighborhood events at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center and Native American Community Development Initiative's Four Sister's Market over the summer to ask people what challenges or celebrations their communities face everyday. The various responses were molded by the Program Council into the overarching theme, We Are Here. The subthemes Resilience, Renewal & Regeneration were formed to contextualize the theme and inspire artists and audience.
The theme also grounds this year’s Creative City Challenge, a competition for artists, architects and designers in Minnesota, a showcase for local creative talent and a tangible symbol of the complex stories that make up the many narratives within our urban landscape. The CCC commission supports an interactive artwork sited in The Commons through the end of August. Opening on the night of Northern Spark and supported by the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program of the City of Minneapolis, in partnership with Green Minneapolis, the competition winner will be announced in March.
“We Are Here is a collectively authored call to our communities to raise their voices,” says Teeko Yang, Program Council and Projects Manager at Northern “As we say in the theme document we wrote with the Program Council: ‘Claiming space is one of the most powerful actions anyone can take. For people who do not see themselves or hear voices like their own in the dominant culture around us, raising their voice can mean the difference between invisibility or resilience, renewal, and regeneration.’”
More information will be available in February at A full roster of Northern Spark artists will be announced in March. 

Out of the Box Opera Teams With J.D. Steele on “Opera/Gospel” Show Feb. 9th

Article by Merle Minda

Artistic Director David LefkowichOut of the Box Opera and the Weisman Art Museum will present a program of opera and gospel music created by Out of The Box artistic director David Lefkowich and Minnesota music legend J.D. Steele on Saturday, February 9 at 7pm, at the Weisman Museum on the University of Minnesota campus. Steele will also perform an original piece he has composed for the event that incorporates both opera and gospel styles. The program is part of Out of The Box’s “Fusion Series” combining opera with other musical genres.

Renowned gospel musician J.D. SteeleLefkowich explains, “Our goal is to take what is best in both genres and combine them into something new that will appeal not just to fans of opera and gospel but to music lovers across all disciplines.” He adds, “Breaking down boundaries is what Out of The Box is all about.” Steele’s career has also reached across musical boundaries, covering everything from singing and arranging commercial jingles for Target and other national brands, to composing and performing gospel, musical theater, R&B, jazz and opera across the US and around the world with collaborators including Prince, Donald Fagan, George Clinton and Mavis Staples.

With their similar category-defying approaches, Steele says “it seemed a natural fit for us to create a program incorporating both opera and gospel music.” Lefkowich notes that this production is actually the second “Fusion” event presented by Out of The Box. The first was a melding of opera with jazz that was presented in cooperation with the Weisman in February of 2018 and also performed in New York City in November 2018 at the 75 Club at Bogardus Mansion.

Material will be drawn from opera favorites by Verdi and Puccini as well as gospel songs from Edwin Hawkins, Quincy Jones and Curtis Mayfield. The program will feature accompaniment by J.D.’s brother Fred Steele, and two groups that Steele directs, the Mill City Singers and MacPhail Community Youth Choir. The evening will end with all the performers joining with the audience in a grand finale that Steele guarantees “will get people moving around” and Lefkowich says “the Weisman will rock with music of gospel and opera like never before.”

Tickets ($55 reserved rows and $40 general admission) are available at or Doors will open at 6:00pm, with the audience invited to explore the Weisman galleries before the performance, which begins at 7:00pm. The Weisman is located at 333 East River Parkway on the University of Minnesota Campus, and there is paid parking available on site.

In addition to J.D. Steele, the following artists will be performing:

Tenor Dom Wooten

Soprano Alexandra Razskazoff (Alexandra won the 2017 Diva Cage Match)

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at or on the web.


2018 Annual Downtown Market Numbers Review

Downtown real estate market update from Cynthia Froid Group: