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Minneapolis Riverfront News

Covering life, work, and play in the Historic Mill District and Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront neighborhoods. Have an opinion, local news or events to share?  Contact us.


Lineup of Movies and Music at Orchestra Hall

Watch the complete films while listening to the Minnesota Orchestra perform the scores live, conducted by Sarah Hicks!

* * * * * * * * * * FEATURED CONCERTS * * * * * * * *

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™ in Concert
October 26–28
Jurassic Park In Concert
November 24–25
Disney Beauty and the Beast In Concert
December 22

Maintenance Work Scheduled at 5 Hennepin County Road Bridges Over the Mississippi River Starting Monday, October 1

Via an October 1 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Bridge joint flushing begins this week

This week, Hennepin County bridge maintenance crews will begin routine maintenance work on five bridges over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. The bridges, listed in anticipated order of work, are: 

  • Franklin Avenue Bridge (County Road 5)
  • Lake Street Bridge (County Road 3)
  • Hennepin Avenue Bridge (County Road 52)
  • Broadway Avenue Bridge (County Road 66)
  • Lowry Avenue Bridge (County Road 153)

Crews will be flushing bridge expansion joints. Typically done every six months, flushing removes dirt and debris that build up inside joints over time. Properly maintaining these joints helps keep the bridge functioning as designed.  

Access and timing

People driving should expect short-term lane closures, and people walking should expect sidewalk closures. However, we will keep at least one lane for each direction of traffic and one side of the sidewalks open at all times. 

Signage, cones, barricades and flashing arrow boards will be on site to guide you around the work areas.

Weather permitting, maintenance work on each bridge is expected to take up to two days to complete. Once complete, crews will move onto the next bridge.

To minimize impacts to traffic, work will be completed on weekdays at off-peak hours between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

Expect delays when traveling through the area. For your safety and the safety of our crews, please exercise caution and slow down as you travel through the area. 


Book Launch: "Double Exposure - Images of Black Minnesota in the 1940s

Minneapolis Central Library

Saturday, October 6th, 2-3pm

Doty Board Room, 2nd floor


After serving in World War II, John Glanton returned home to Minnesota and used his camera to capture the sights and scenes of everyday life for African Americans in Minneapolis, highlighting black-owned businesses, the music and club scene, weddings and other family occasions. Glanton's photos in Double Exposure: Images of Black Minnesota in the 1940s offer a rare look into the lives and lifestyles of families and individuals often left out of histories of Minnesota's past. Books will be available for purchase.

Music by the George Scott Trio.

Light refreshments will be provided.

This program is being co-sponsored by the Minnesota Black Community Project.

Register online


Girls Play House, Women Build Them

Article by Cynthia Froid

On Wednesday, September 26, the Cynthia Froid Group (CFG) once again hosted Women Build Day in North Minneapolis. CFG, along with co-organizer and long time pal Susan Boren, rallied the support of thirteen other female volunteers to spend an entire day hammering, sawing, painting, and of course, writing checks. Big ones. The group donated approximately $5,000 to the organization. 

Habitat for Humanity formed the first Women Build program in the late 1990’s after the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project was launched. Women Build typically consists of an all female crew, female supervisor, and female volunteers. Supervisor Ashley Rose stated Tuesday that a family had not yet been identified for the home at 2907 Knox Avenue N, but the family will be expected to contribute over 100 hours of their time in building the home. Additionally, they’ll be required to take classes on household maintenance, financial management and other useful home ownership necessities.

Women love supporting other women. Since the majority of people who struggle with affordable housing or who live in poor conditions are women and children, it only makes sense that women come together to support each other achieve their housing dreams.

Froid and Boren organized a group in the summer of 2017 to build a home in North Minneapolis, and vowed to make it an annual tradition. Many of the same volunteers returned this past week, along with first-timers as well. Cathy Rydell, Mill District resident and Executive Director and CEO of American Academy of Neurology stated that she had wanted to volunteer for Habitat since she met President Jimmy Carter in an airport in North Dakota in the mid 1970’s. He was there building a home and urged her to do the same. She promised she would, and nearly forty years later, she fulfilled that promise.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity and Women Build, organize your own group of volunteers or donate money, please visit

Susan Boren and Cindy Froid would like to thank the following volunteers for their time, muscle, money and compassion: Virginia Mills, Ellen Young, Cathy Rydell, Nell Reuckl, Chris Bray, Lynn Burn, Wendy Caslavka, Elizabeth Hawn, Paula Meyer, Angela Morken, Susan Plimpton, Phyllis Saltzman, Karen Kepple and Wendy Dayton.

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group

Women Building & Cynthia Froid Group


Swiss Artist to Transform Mill City Museum into Light Art Sculpture on October 6

Via an e-announcement from the Minnesota Historical Society:

Swiss Light Artist Gerry Hofstetter has chosen Mill City Museum as Minnesota’s signature venue for his Light Art Grand Tour USA. Hofstetter says he works around the globe “transforming monuments and landscapes into light art sculptures for a short moment in time, as a way to highlight their history and importance to the world.” The art is also meant to showcase the friendship between the United States and his home country, Switzerland.

Mill City Museum, image courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

Light Art on Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps, image courtesy Gerry Hofstetter

For his “Grand Tour USA,” Hofstetter is visiting all 50 states selecting one monument, landscape or venue in every state to bathe in light for one night. A mix of images will be chosen by the artist and will feature historical images of the mill.

Mill City Museum and the connecting Washburn-Crosby grain elevator will be lit on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8 to 9 p.m.

The Light Art will be shown on the river side of the museum, and the public is encouraged to watch from the Minneapolis riverfront, Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Main.


Fall Fun in Nature Awaits You at North Mississippi Regional Park

Fall Outdoor Programs

* * * * * * Outdoor & Nature Programming * * * * * *

School Release Day Camps for Kids

Register kids ages 6-12 for naturalist-led day camps on no school days throughout the year! Explore outdoors, get messy and learn by doing. Spend days off in nature's classroom while having fun playing in the park at North Mississippi.

MEA Break: Creepy, Crawly Creatures

Wednesday - Friday October 17 - 19, 8am-4pm: If you like the creepy, the crawly and the slimy, then join us for some gross, spooky fun. We'll explore outdoors, play games and make art. Nature is full of freaky things that will make your skin crawl, if you dare to find them. Registration Fee $90.  Activity #87902

Predator-Prey Adventure

Thursday & Friday November 1 -2, 8am-4pm: Find out how animals battle for survival. Learn about food webs and adaptations by looking at skulls, furs and more! Take your knowledge to the trails by searching for animal signs and playing games. Registration Fee $50.  Activity #87903

Day camp is based out of Kroening Interpretive Center. Every day please bring a lunch, snack and water bottle. Dress for the weather and a mess.

 * * * * * * * * * * * Special Events * * * * * * * * * * *

Animal Masquerade Party - Oct 28th  1-3:30pm: Party animals welcome to the animal costume party! Come dressed as your favorite animal to enjoy an afternoon of games, dancing and fun. It may not be so spooky, but you can disguise your identity in natural style by making a leaf mask to complete your costume.  All Ages. Activity #87879

Nature’s Black Friday Fun - November 23 11am-3pm: Ditch the mall crawl and opt outside this year! We’ll have naturalist programming and self-guided nature exploration activities. Hike the park, build a fort, go on a scavenger hunt, play games and more! Activities will be based out of Kroening Interpretive Center.  All Ages. Activity #87899

Nature Nuts Play Group Wednesdays

Come with your little one to play and have fun in nature with other children and parents/guardians. During this four-week series each day will be different, but will have nature themes involving plants, animals, and seasons. Enjoy the fall together! For kids up to age 5 with an adult. Registration Fee $16 (for 4 weeks of classes)

October 24 - November 14 10:45 - 11:45am   Activity #87895

November 28 - December 19 10:45 - 11:45am   Activity #87896

 * * * * * * * * * * Nature Programs * * * * * * * * * * 

Bird Watching

Join us for a morning of bird watching! We’ll hike through prairie, woodland and along the river while keeping our eyes and ears open for our feathered friends. First Saturday Each Month 9-10:30am. Binoculars provided.

Fall Migration - Oct 6th: look for the last of our summertime migratory songbirds. Ages 8 & up. Activity #87876

Mississippi River Flyway - Nov 3rd: Find out more about how and why birds use the Mississippi River to guide them during their roundtrip migration Ages 8 & up. Activity #87875

Saturday Nature Hikes 2-3pm

Fall into Phenology - Oct 13th: Explore the park with a naturalist to learn about phenology, the seasonal happenings of plants and animals. We’ll search for the ever-changing elements of autumn and ways that plants and animals in the park are getting ready for winter. All ages. Activity #87883

Our Park, Past and Present - Nov 10th: The mighty Mississippi influences how we live, work and play as it runs through the heart of our city. Hike with a naturalist to learn more about how the land on the banks of the river has changed over time. Find out how human use and attitudes towards the river have changed through the years. Ages 10 & up. Activity #87884

Family Funday Sundays

Animal Masquerade Party - Oct 28th 1-3:30pm: Party animals welcome to the animal costume party! Come dressed as your favorite animal to enjoy an afternoon of games, dancing and fun. It may not be so spooky, but you can disguise your identity in natural style by making a leaf mask to complete your costume.  All Ages. Activity #87879

Turkey Time -  Nov. 25th  1:30-3pm: Get ready for goofy gobbles as we discover more about turkeys! Play games and have fun investigating feathers, tail fans, snoods and feet to learn more about these big birds.  FREE for All Ages. Activity#87880

Outdoor Exploration & Nature Art

Soil Critters - Oct 20th 1-2pm: Who lives beneath our feet in the dark mysterious world of soil? What are the benefits and challenges to living underground? Prepare to get dirty as we explore the creatures below the surface. Ages 6 & up. Activity #87887

Cornucopias - Nov 17th 1:30-2:30pm: As a symbol of the harvest’s bounty, cornucopias are a great reminder to show thanks for the bounties in our own lives. Craft your own “horn of plenty” for your dining table this year using natural materials found in the park.  All ages. Activity #87890

Public programs are FREE for all ages - Unless otherwise noted. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a registered adult.

Thursday Neighborhood Nights 5:00-7:00pm

Each week spend an evening at your neighborhood nature center! Every week enjoy a bonfire, campfire cooking and nature activities. Develop your wilderness skills, play games or simply relax around the fire with a tasty treat. Thursday nights, come hang out in our backyard! Through the end of October.

More Ways to Enjoy the Park

- Stop by the front desk at the Kroening Interpretive Center 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

Fall Building Hours
9am-5pm, Tuesday & Thursday
10am-5pm, Wednesday & Friday
10am-4pm Saturday
12pm-4pm Sunday
Closed Mondays
Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Phone: 612-370-4844

Minneapolis Releases Final Draft of Comprehensive Plan

Via a September 28 e-newsletter from the City of Minneapolis:

Minneapolis releases final draft of comprehensive plan


The City of Minneapolis is pleased to share with you the final draft of its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, a document that will guide equitable growth in the city over the next 20 years.

First and foremost, thank you for the time, dedication and thought that you put into the comments that you made on the initial draft.

Over the past two years, we have been to every corner of the city, meeting with a diverse range of residents to hear your vision for our city. We heard that people want to reduce disparities, provide access to affordable housing and living-wage jobs, create a sustainable community, and remain a health and diverse economic center.

Over the four-month public comment period on the initial draft, the City received more than 10,000 comments, and planning staff read every single one. Your feedback made this plan stronger and more reflective of our community’s values.

We encourage you to review the final draft at We have provided an executive summary as well as a marked-up version of the plan so that you can easily see what was changed.

You still have time to share your feedback on the final draft. Public comments can be submitted to the Planning Commission and City Council online at The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on October 29, and the City Council will also hold a public hearing the week of Nov. 12. The City Council is expected to vote on the Comprehensive Plan in December before submitting the plan to the Metropolitan Council.

Minneapolis is growing, and will continue to grow. Thanks to your input, we are confident that this plan will allow new growth to help our city become a healthy, sustainable, and thriving place for all.


Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and Graco Announce Plans to Work Together on Riverfront Park

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Graco Inc., a Minneapolis-based manufacturer of fluid handling equipment, have reached proposed agreements on the development of the riverfront park adjacent to Hall’s Island in northeast Minneapolis. 

Separately, the Graco Foundation has announced its intention to donate more than $3 million to the MPRB to fund the development of the open space portion of the site, which will be named “Graco Park.” Along with Hall’s Island, Graco Park will be part of the Above the Falls Regional Park, which includes parkland on both the east and west banks of the Mississippi River and extends from the Plymouth Avenue Bridge north to the city limits.

On Oct. 3, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Administration and Finance Committee will vote on a resolution related to several agreements between Graco and the MPRB. If approved, the MPRB full Board is anticipated to vote on the resolution on Oct. 17. These agreements signal Graco and the MPRB’s ongoing commitment to Minneapolis and serving the community for generations to come. 

“This agreement with Graco allows the Park Board to build a world-class park that will return much needed green space along the river for everyone while also preserving the city’s ability to retain and attract jobs,” said Brad Bourn, MPRB President. 

MPRB President Brad Bourn was joined by Superintendent Mary Merrill, Mayor Jacob Frey and leaders from Graco and the MPRB as he announced proposed agreements for a new riverfront park.

Included in the agreements, Graco will give the trail easement to the MPRB for free, the parties will end the legal proceedings related to the East Bank Trail easement and the MPRB will sell a 2.2-acre portion of the 3.55-acre Parcel D located next to Graco’s Riverside production facility to Graco at a fair market value of $1.1 million. 

Of the 11-acre site, the 3.55 acres of Parcel D were purchased by the Park Board without state regional park dollars. At the time of the acquisition from Scherer Brothers Lumber Company in 2010, the Park Board, the City of Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Council all agreed that Parcel D would not become parkland and planned to instead use Parcel D for a public-private partnership of some kind. 

Graco’s total financial commitment is valued at approximately $10.6 million, through a combination of release of its condemnation claim and related fees, prepayment of park dedication fees, payment for certain flood protection components to be constructed on Parcel D, payment to purchase part of Parcel D, and a donation from the Graco Foundation. Approximately $5 million from Graco and the Graco Foundation will be dedicated for the development of Graco Park and development of the MPRB’s 1.35-acre portion of Parcel D.

The contribution from Graco allows the public amenities to be constructed up to a decade earlier than they otherwise could. If the agreements are approved by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioners, it is anticipated all additional steps to finalize the agreements would be complete by the end of 2018. Pending finalization of all agreements, community engagement, final design, engineering and permitting for the park would take place in 2019, with construction in 2020-2021 and the park open to the public as soon as 2022.

“We are extremely pleased to assist financially in the development of this beautiful new park to be enjoyed by all community stakeholders, including Graco employees,” said Pat McHale, Graco’s President and CEO. “Graco has been committed to its Minneapolis operations for nearly 100 years, providing hundreds of great jobs with full benefits as well as donating tens of millions of dollars to worthy charities through the Graco Foundation. This agreement is an outstanding example of public and private cooperation, and we thank both the Park Board and the City of Minneapolis for their constructive work to achieve this result. While we have no immediate plans to build, having a park-oriented green space buffer between our industrial operations and Graco Park should be a positive outcome for all involved.”


Vibrant and Safe Downtown - Working to Create a Better Downtown For All of Us

Article by Claudia Kittock

We live downtown. It is an exciting and interesting place to live, full of energy and activity. There are always things to do and choices to make. It is never boring, but like all cities sometimes there are concerns about safety. Can I do what I want to do when I want to do it and feel safe?           

Safety in an urban setting is always a high priority, and in 2018 it is a collaborative effort. During a recent conversation with Mpls Downtown Improvement District(DID) director of safety initiatives Shane Zahn, I learned just how multi-faceted it is. Shane began working with Vibrant and Safe Downtown,  previously known as the Minneapolis SafeZone Collaborative, in 2007, partnering with Minneapolis Police 1st Precinct downtown. Shane, who worked with Target at the time, began collaborating with the police department to work on safety concerns. After two years on loan from Target to run Vibrant and Safe Downtown, Shane joined the DID staff in 2009 to continue this work, and today remains a leader in downtown safety and collaboration.

Vibrant and Safe Downtown is a wholly-owned, 501c3 subsidiary of the DID. Its focus is building collaborations to ensure a safe and vital downtown community by bringing public, private and non-profit entities together through key initiatives, including connecting public-private radio and camera networks, partnering with social outreach teams and much more. Part of that strategy is helping with programming in the downtown area that will provide opportunities for the community to gather. The intent is to add creative activities throughout the city as a way to decrease violence.

One of the resources available to Vibrant and Safe Downtown is the DID Safety Communications Center. Located within the Minneapolis Police First Precinct, the Safety Communications Center serves as a downtown safety information hub. Part of its work is to dispatch DID Ambassadors, responding to pedestrian requests from Ambassadors on the street, tracking weather and emergency alerts, communicating with outreach services for people in need, monitoring public area cameras and collaborating with private security.

Dispatch Ambassadors staff at the Safety Communications Center 

The DID Safety Communications Center is a resource available for day-to-day needs as well as a major asset for overseeing big downtown events like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in 2014, the Super Bowl in 2018, the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in 2019 and NCAA women’s basketball Final Four in 2022. Through RadioLINK, for example, the Safety Communications Center is connected to approximately 65 buildings downtown. Last year alone, DID Ambassadors made more than 89,000 pedestrian assists - many of which are coordinated through the Safety Communications Center.

For programming, the DID and Vibrant and Safe Downtown collaborate with organizations to help bring initiatives like the mpls downtown council’s Pianos on Parade program, which places pianos throughout downtown, including the Mill District. Who hasn’t been moved by beautiful piano music reverberating through the downtown streets?

RadioLINK brings the private and public security partnership to life. The radio equipment is coordinated through the City of Minneapolis’ Radio Communications Electronics department and is a valuable tool in expanding law enforcement’s reach. There are an estimated 13 private security officers for every one law enforcement officer in downtown. The DID Safety Communications Center serves as the central point of the RadioLINK system and it connects officers directly with private security teams and outreach teams via a common radio channel.

Collaborations with social service organizations is another way that DID and Vibrant and Safe Downtown work to enhance a livable downtown for all. DID Livability Team supervisor Joseph Desenclos came to DID from 15 years as Outreach Director at St. Stephen’s. Everyone knows Joseph, and he knows everyone. His incredible skills and knowledge make him the perfect person to head up the outreach portion of the DID Ambassador operations. Joseph is joined by partnerships with the outreach teams from YouthLink and St. Stephen’s.

How can you help to be part of the work done by Vibrant and Safe Downtown?
1. Donate to Vibrant and Safe Downtown.
2. Want more information on DID and Vibrant and Safe Downtown or how to get involved? Email

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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).



Free October 4 Event Provides Low-income Families with Pre-winter Vehicle Inspections and Care Kits

The Lift Garage is a local nonprofit providing low-cost car repair to those in need. Last year we published an article about them, Nonprofit Spotlight: The Lift Garage - Changing the World One Car at a Time

On Thursday, October 4, the Lift Garage and Eden Prairie-based Element Fleet are joining forces to offer free pre-winter car inspections to vehicle owners from low-income families. 300 winter car care kits that include jumper cables, a blanket, hat, mittens and more will also be given out. Car owners simply need to sign up online.

Getting a vehicle professionally inspected before the winter months can mean the difference between doing a small repair now or getting stranded on the side of the road in zero-degree temperatures.

The goal of Lift Garage and Element Fleet is to keep families safe all winter long by offering tips and flagging potential vehicle issues – for free.

Inspections will take place at:

Element Fleet, 3 Capital Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Appointments are avilable between 7:00am and 5:00pm, taking about 20 minutes.


Metro - 35W@94 Downtown to Crosstown in Minneapolis: 2017-2021 Construction Update

Via a September 26 electronic announcement from MnDOT:

In this update:

- Franklin Ave. lane closures Sept. 27
- I-35W overnight closure Oct. 8
- Westbound I-94 to southbound I-35W ramp closure Oct. 12-22
- I-35W weekend closure mid-October
- Update on bridge, ramp and road closures
We are happy to report that construction activities are progressing well despite the rain over the past week. We have some major milestones coming up in the next month: westbound I-94 will have three lanes back open; access from northbound I-35W to downtown (11th St./E. Grant St.) will reopen, and the 26th St. bridge is expected to reopen. To reach these milestones though, we need an overnight closure of I-35W, a ramp closure from westbound I-94 to southbound I-35W and a full weekend closure of I-35W.
Franklin Ave. lane closures Sept. 27
We are ready to permanently stripe the pavement on the Franklin Ave. bridge. To do this, we need lane closures on Thu, Sept. 27 on Franklin Ave. between 4th Ave. and 5th Ave. from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
I-35W overnight closure scheduled for Oct. 8
We are ready to pour the new 26th St. bridge deck and need a nighttime closure of I-35W, which is scheduled for the following date:
- On Mon, Oct. 8, I-35W will close in both directions between Hwy 62 and I-94 at 10 p.m. The highway will reopen at 5 a.m. on Tue, Oct. 9. The detour route includes Hwy 62, Hwy 100 and I-394.
WB I-94 to SB I-35W ramp closure Oct. 12-22
We need to do utility work and repave the ramp from westbound I-94 to southbound I-35W, so will need to close the ramp for 10 days on the following dates:
- On Fri, Oct. 12, the ramp from westbound I-94 to southbound I-35W will close at 10 p.m. The ramp will reopen on Mon, Oct. 22 at 5 a.m. The detour route is WB I-94 to WB I-394 to SB Hwy 100 to EB Hwy 62. However, for drivers coming from the east metro traveling to the south, we recommend using alternative routes including I-494, Hwy 52, and I-35E.
I-35W weekend closure scheduled for Mid-October
We are looking forward to the project hitting a major milestone in mid-Oct. when we move into the next phase of the project. We anticipate reopening one lane of traffic from northbound I-35W into downtown to 11th St./E. Grant St. (access to 5th Ave. will remain closed through 2019) and shifting lanes of traffic on southbound I-35W. To make all of this happen, an I-35W weekend closure is tentatively being scheduled for mid-October. More details will follow.
Update on bridge, ramp and road closures
We are working quickly and efficiently to reopen bridges, ramps and roads. Here’s an update on upcoming openings and closures:
- WB I-94 between Chicago Ave. and Nicollet Ave. returns to three lanes mid-October.
- Access from NB I-35W to downtown (11th St/E. Grant St.) reopens: mid-October. (access from NB I-35W to 5th Ave. will remain closed through 2019; and, access from downtown to SB I-35W will remain closed through 2021)
- 26th St. bridge reopens late October/early November
- 28th St. bridge closes late October/early November
To learn more, including all current traffic impacts and detour routes, visit the project website
Metro Transit bus routes will be impacted as a result of construction. For updated route information, and to sign up for Rider Alerts, visit:
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority routes will be impacted as a result of construction. For updated route information, visit:
Stay Connected
Follow us on Facebook: and Twitter: @mndotnews
Email the project team at:
Call the project hotline at: 612-284-6125 
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota visit: or dial 5-1-1.



Win Mall of America® and Nickelodeon Universe® Prizes at the October 4 ‘First Thursdays’ Event at Minneapolis Visitor Information

Via a September 26 News Release:

Minneapolis Visitor Information, located on Nicollet at 5th Street, is bringing the fun of Mall of America to downtown Minneapolis for its monthly “First Thursdays” event. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 4, guests may register to win a Mall of America coupon book and Nickelodeon Universe all-day wristband.

Winners will be selected every 10 minutes between noon and 2 p.m.* In addition, Mall of America staff will be onsite giving away promotional items and answering questions. Guests also will receive 10 percent off retail merchandise from Love From Minneapolis during this event.

Guests may:

  • Register to win a coupon book and wristband and receive promotional items from Mall of America
  • Purchase Love From Minneapolis merchandise at 10 percent off from noon to 2 p.m.

Even after the October First Thursdays ends, Minneapolis Visitor Information will continue to be the only downtown location where Mall of America coupon books and Nickelodeon Universe all-day wristbands can be purchased.

First Thursdays are held each month to encourage residents, employees of downtown businesses and visitors to learn more about Minneapolis Visitor Information and its partners, Love From Minneapolis and Move Minneapolis, as well as highlight community organizations and events.

For more information and daily hours, visit 

*No purchase necessary. Need not be present to win.


Minneapolis Visitor Information includes three services in one convenient location on Nicollet at 5th Street:                                                                

  • Shop: Love From Minneapolis offers Minneapolis- and Minnesota-themed apparel, art, specialty foods, souvenirs and gifts, including many made by local artisans. Products are also available at:
  • Move: Move Minneapolis (formerly the Commuter Connection) provides services to commuters, carpool information, transit passes, schedules and maps, MnPass and bicycling commuting information and accessories. Visitors seeking help with transit options should make this their first stop downtown.
  • Find: Meet Minneapolis staff is available to answer questions, share visitor maps and provide suggestions about things to do in Minneapolis and the surrounding area. The Visitor Information Center in the Minneapolis Convention Center also is available to provide similar information to visitors and convention attendees.

New Facilities for People Biking in Downtown Minneapolis

Excerpt from September 24 Hennepin County e-newsletter:

A few new resources to support people biking are being installed near the Hennepin County Government Center in Downtown Minneapolis.

Fixit station

This resource is located across the street from the Government Center at the 701 building near the intersection of 4th Avenue South and 7th Street South. Like other Fixit Stations around Hennepin County, it includes some basic bike tools to aid in simple repairs such as fixing a flat, tuning your derailleur, or checking your brakes.

View all Fixit Station locations

Bike parts vending machine

A new vending machine with spare bike parts and accessories will be installed this fall. One-on-One bike shop will supply items like spare inner tubes, rim tape, water bottles, bike lights and more.

New bike racks at Government Plaza LRT station

New bike racks were recently installed near the Government Plaza light rail station. The new racks make it even easier to combine transit and biking for a truly multimodal trip in downtown Minneapolis.

These new resources were made possible through a partnership between Hennepin County's Active Living team, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Minnesota Department of Health's Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.


Minnesota Tellabration 2018 - Story Artists Donate Day of Storytelling at Open Book, November 24

Tellabration!, an annual event promoted by The National Storytelling Network and hosted in over 300 venues around the world, will be celebrated in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, November 24, 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave S.

The day-long event, which is free to all, features a dozen panel discussions, classes, and workshops that explore a wide-range of topics about storytelling, narrative techniques in other disciplines (e.g. film, podcasts, poetry), and how to craft, promote, and refine stories for audiences and print. Topics include: Storycrafting, Creating and Hosting a Spoken Word Series (with five veteran hosts), Growing a Social Media Presence, and Smart Micro-Publishing That Makes the Effort Worth It.

There will also be a literature/merchandise table, games and stories to which guests can contribute, and, most importantly, a hosted open mike from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. where all visitors are invited to tell a story, or a story about a story.

The event will conclude with an evening concert in the Target Performance Hall featuring the donated talents of Kevin Kling, Tom Cassidy, Erica Christ, Dorothy Cleveland, Loren Niemi, Laura Packer, Richard Rousseau, Sue Searing, and Jim Stowell.

Three of the region’s story organizations - Cheap Theatre, Northlands Storytelling Network, and Story Arts of Minnesota - combined efforts to produce this engaging showcase of spoken word expertise and talent as part of Tellabration!’s international reach.

For additional details visit All classes and the concert are free though donations are appreciated. Doors for the concert open at 6:30 p.m. 


Mill City Players - New Season, New Call for Community Support

Mill City Players Summer 2018 - Rehearsal

Article by Claudia Kittock

The Mill City Players will begin another session in mid-October. We are so very excited to begin rehearsing with this group of talented young actors. They bring their considerable talents, intelligence, and enthusiasm to this group and we are so very grateful to be able to do this work.

Our community has been incredibly generous in helping this group and we are, again, asking for your help. 

Friends of the Mill District makes sure each and every actor gets a meal during all rehearsals. In the past, we've asked community members to help us by preparing and bringing the meals. We again request your help to feed our actors, but this time we're asking for a different type of help: monetary. Ordering in food from a restaurant is the easiest and most consistent method of feeding the actors, but also costly (about $7,000 to cover every rehearsal for the duration of this session). 

If you are interested in helping build our "food fund", please:

• Send a check, made out to Friends of the Mill District, to: Claudia Kittock at 212 10th Avenue S, #102, Minneapolis, MN 55415; or


We are so grateful for your support and help. Feeding young people is an important part of the work we want to do, but we can only do this work because of you!

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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).



Out of the Box Opera - Opera for New Audiences

Article by Merle Minda

Out of the Box Opera Enters 3rd Year with Reboot of “Diva Cage Match 2.0”

First-Ever Season Planned for 2018-2019 

Out of the Box Opera enters its third year with a return of its wildly popular “Diva Cage Match 2.0”, to be held Saturday, October 20th at 7:00 PM at the Uppercut Boxing Gym, 1324 Quincy Street NE, in North East Minneapolis. Last year’s sell-out audience was treated to spectacular “Diva” performances by sopranos in full evening dress who climbed into the boxing ring to sing their hearts out.

“It’s hard for me to explain why you should see world-class opera singers strutting around a boxing ring competing to see who can hit the highest glass-shattering note. But trust me, this one’s worth it!” said former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

“Diva Cage Match exceeded my every expectation,” said singer, rapper and writer Dessa, a Diva Cage Match judge in 2017. “It was funny, stocked with impressive talent, and brilliantly staged.”

And “pure genius!” said renowned gospel singer J.D. Steele, who was also a judge in 2017.

As in last year’s performance, “Diva Cage Match 2.0” will feature six world-class sopranos competing against each other in a first-round sing-off, with the top finalists returning for a second round finale. Judges this year are American soprano Emily Pulley; Penumbra Theater veteran actor and singer T. Mychael Rambo and jazz singer Patty Peterson. Three singers will present the ‘home team’, locally-based divas, and three others come from various opera communities and companies around the nation. Pianist/accompanist is Lara Bolton. This year’s winner will be crowned by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. This production is co-sponsored by Ten Thousand Things Theater.

David Lefkowich, Founding Artistic Director of Out of the Box OperaArtistic Director for the company is David Lefkowich, well-known to Twin Cities’ audiences for his stellar productions at both the Minnesota Opera and six years of artistic leadership of Mill City Summer Opera. “We are delighted at the Twin Cities’ response to Out of the Box and even more pleased to announce that our Diva Cage Match will also be performed in cities around the country, including Pittsburgh, PA; Austin, TX, and Detroit, MI,” said Lefkowich. “Out of the Box will also present its “Opera/Jazz/Fusion” production in New York City on November 28, 2018.”

For this first full-year season, Out of the Box Opera will present “Opera & Gospel" on February 9, 2019 in cooperation with the Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus. “Opera & Gospel” is co-conceived and directed by Artistic Director David Lefkowich and J. D. Steele.

And in May 2019, "Heroes and Villains" a site-specific theatrical experience featuring a pastiche of music and famous operatic characters will be presented at the Pillsbury A Mill in Minneapolis. This production will wind throughout all levels of the Pillsbury A Mill, ending up on the roof overlooking the Mississippi River. A spring date for this event is still to be announced. As usual for Out of the Box events, a full bar will add to the casual atmosphere and fun.

Tickets for Diva Cage Match 2.0 in the Twin Cities are available online. The Uppercut Boxing Gym is located at 1324 Quincy Street in North East Minneapolis with free onsite parking. Tickets are $35 and $65. Doors will open at 6:15 PM.

Scenes from last year's event:


Out of the Box Opera was founded in 2017 to explore opera in new and different ways, presenting opera concerts and pop-up performances in unique spaces with extraordinary talent.

David Lefkowich is Founding Artistic Director of Out of the Box Opera. David is well-known to Twin Cities audiences through his work with the Minnesota Opera and six years of artistic leadership of Mill City Summer Opera. David has also worked with the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, among others. David believes in presenting opera in new ways and notes, “Opera should be an experience and not an obligation.”

Noah Eisenberg is a Founding Producer of Out of the Box. Noah has been an active supporter of the performing arts, serving on the boards of Mill City Summer Opera, Weisman Art Museum, Children’s Theater and Illusion Theater. Jim Berman is also a Founding Producer of Out of the Box. Jim has been a life-long opera fan and formerly served on the New Projects Committee of Mill City Summer Opera.

Out of the Box will be presenting its opening performance of the 2018-2019 season with a return of “Diva Cage Match 2.0” on October 20, 2018 at the Upper Cut Boxing Gym, 1324 Quincy Street NE in North East Minneapolis. Performance at 7:00 PM; doors will open at 6:15 PM, onsite parking is free. This production is co-sponsored by Ten Thousand Things Theater. Out of the Box will also present “Opera & Gospel” on February 9, 2019 in cooperation with the Weismann Museum, University of Minnesota campus, co-created by David Lefkowich and well-known gospel singer J.D. Steele. A third performance scheduled for May 2019, date to be determined, titled “Heroes & Villains” will be presented at the Pillsbury A Mill in Minneapolis.

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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.


SteppingStone Theatre announces Fly Guy the Musical

The team at SteppingStone Theatre asked us to share information on their upcoming production of Fly Guy the Musical, which is ideal for kids aged 4-12.

Show description:

Discover Friendship! What's the best pet in the world? According to Buzz it's not a cat or a's Fly Guy, his pet fly! Join Buzz, his new friend Liz and their pet flies on a surprise field trip to...a flyswatter factory?! It's gonna take brains, bravery, and friendship to get through this crazy adventure!

Tickets are available thru Brown Paper Tickets.

Fly Guy by Austin Zumbro

Adapted from FLY GUY by Tedd Arnold

Originally Commissioned by Oregon Children’s Theatre, Inc., Stan Foote, Artistic Director, and Bay Area Children’s Theatre

Nina Meehan, Artistic Director 



The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul announces 6th Cine Latino Minneapolis St. Paul Film Festival, Nov 8‐11

Via a September 20 Press Release from The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul:

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul announced today the forthcoming Cine Latino Minneapolis St. Paul Film Festival, November 8-11, showing at the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theatre Screen #3.

Returning for its sixth edition, this year’s Cine Latino selection highlights the tremendous cinematic energy and creativity offered by the ever bourgeoning Latin American, US Latino and Ibero American cinema nurtured by their vast diversity, unique histories and rich tradition of storytelling to bring urgent, reflective and highly entertaining stories.

Cine Latino 2018 will showcase some of the most acclaimed cinematic works currently on the festival circuit, including: Iranian Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi’s thrilling first Spanish feature EVERYBODY KNOWS (Todos lo saben) starring Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, and Ricardo Darín; four official Oscar® Entries to the 91st Academy Awards category for Best Foreign Language Film with BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Pájaros de verano, from Colombia by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra), CHAMPIONS (Campeones, from Spain by Javier Fesser), THE HEIRESSES (Las herederas, from Paraguay by Marcelo Martinessi), and RUBEN BLADES IS NOT MY NAME (Yo No Me Llamo Rubén Blades, from Panama by Abner Benaim); the most awarded 2018 Goya winner GIANT by Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño; and, an intimate look at student life at the US/Mexico border in the moving documentary HOME + AWAY by Matt Ogens.

“It is exciting to witness a new generation of talented filmmakers join established directors to defy stereotypes, look across age, gender, and an array of socially diverse characters and subjects to explore a wellspring of untold stories.”  said Hebe Tabachnik, who returns as Cine Latino Artistic Director for a third year. “Including the powerful cinema from Central America which are seeing brilliant films emerge this year like RUBEN BLADES IS NOT MY NAME from Panama and MIRIAM LIES from Dominican Republic.”

Other highlights include a Nextwave screening of ¡VIVA KID FLICKS!, a collection of Mexican animated, family-friendly shorts in collaboration with the New York International Children’s Film Festival. “Nextwave is the Film Society’s youth programming initiative,” said Susan Smoluchowski, Film Society Executive Director, “Our youngest audience members will view films by some of the most talented and inspiring Mexican artists in this whimsical and endearing program.”

Strengthened by a record-breaking number of film productions, timeless in its treasuring of traditions and celebration of diversity, Latin American and Iberian cinema traveled farther across the world garnering critical acclaim, media attention, and winning the most coveted awards.

Cine Latino 2018 will feature some of these gems and offer the unique opportunity to meet the creative force behind these provocative stories.Together with a variety of engaging film-related events: workshops, panels and parties, with great food and music, Cine Latino is back to surprise, thrill and entertain us all.

All-Access Passes, 3-Packs, and 6-Packs are now on sale on Additional Cine Latino titles, the full schedule, guests, events and more will be announced in mid-October. Artistic Director Hebe Tabachnik is available for interviews in English and Spanish.

Cine Latino is presented by the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, Minnesota’s leading non-profit exhibitor of international independent cinema. Our mission is to foster a knowledgeable and vibrant appreciation of the art of film from around the globe and its power to inform and transform individuals and communities.

2018 Cine Latino Minneapolis St. Paul Film Festival Lineup (alphabetical):

Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) The origins of the Colombian drug trade, through the epic story of an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in the booming business of selling marijuana to American youth in the 1970s. Colombia’s official entry to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Black Hole (Agujero Negro) The life of 30-year-old Víctor takes an unexpected turn when his girlfriend Marcela announces her pregnancy. Instead of taking responsibility and assuming his role as a soon-to-be-father, Víctor spirals into a second adolescence when he meets Valentina, the bright but defiant 16-year-old girl who lives next door.

Champions (Campeones) Acted by a crew of intellectually disabled actors that will steal your heart, writer/director Javier Fesser’s Champions is not just Spain’s newest box office smash, but a rollicking and unforgettable reminder that none of us is truly “normal.” Spain’s official entry to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Everybody Knows (Todos lo saben) Laura and her children travel from Buenos Aires to the village where she was born, on a Spanish vineyard, to attend her sister’s wedding, but unexpected events lead this gathering toward a crisis that exposes the family’s hidden past. Starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Ricardo Darín.

Giant (Handia) Home from war, Basque farmer Martin discovers his brother Joaquin has grown to an enormous size, driving the ambitious elder brother to exploit his brother’s condition and into a reckoning with his own soul in this unforgettable new film from the creators of Spanish Academy Award submission Loreak. Winner of 10 Goya Awards.

The Heiresses (Las Herederas) A daughter of Paraguay’s fading aristocracy who’s on the cusp of financial ruin, introvert Chela finds work as an ad hoc chauffer, leading to an encounter with earthy, sexually adventurous Angy-and an unexpected late-in-life coming of age-in this sly and funny debut feature from writer/director Marcelo Martinessi. Paraguay’s official entry to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Home + Away Following the search for the American dream on the extreme edge of the nation, Home + Away explores the lives of student athletes at El Paso’s Bowie High School, with dreams inspired by family, fueled by sports, and deeply complicated by the US/Mexican border – the fault-line between two worlds.

The Last Suit (El último traje) Facing the waning years of a rich life, cantankerous Abraham finds himself ditching his Buenos Aires-based family and en route to Europe in order to payoff a secret debt, encountering a colorful band of cohorts and fellow wanderers, as well as discovering the man he truly is, in this lively and touching new film from Pablo Solarz.

Miriam Lies (Miriam Miente) A quiet middle class world of good intentions begins to crumble when fourteen-year-old Miriam meets her internet boyfriend. While her family and friends prepare for her a traditional fifteen birthday party, Miriam doesn’t know how to explain that her boyfriend is black.

Ruben Blades Is Not My Name (Yo No Me Llamo Rubén Blades) An energizing and intimate look at the life and legacy of musician/actor/politician Ruben Blades as he begins a new chapter in his life, reflects on his triumphs, failures and surprises-and a fearless love of others that has fueled a legendary career. Panama’s official entry to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

¡Viva Kid Flicks! The Film Society is partnering with the New York International Children’s Film Festival to offer a new Spanish-language program of animated, documentary, and live action films full of warmth, wit, and the cultural richness of our friends and neighbors to the south: Mexico. Drawn from NYICFF’s annual Friends and Neighbors program spotlighting a different country every year, this lineup is co-curated with Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles or no dialogue, perfect for Spanish learners, speakers, and all seekers of fun, artistic, and enriching cultural experiences, ages 7+. Titles will be announced on


New Exhibition at Minnesota Center for Book Arts Explores the Storytelling Power of Quilts

Quilt Not Quilt by Tari "TJ" Goerlitz 

Via a September e-newsletter from Minnesota Center for Book Arts:

Quilt, Not Quilt: The Afterlife is a new exhibition at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), on view from October 12th ­­­- December 2nd in the Open Book Cowles Literary Commons. This exhibition features artwork that repurposes old, tattered quilts into new forms while still preserving the quilts’ heritage, craftsmanship, and legacy. The opening reception for Quilt, Not Quilt will take place on Wednesday, October 17 from 6-8pm. The reception includes an artist talk and poetry reading from 7-8pm in the Target Performance Hall on the second floor of Open Book, as well as a meet and greet with the artists and poets. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Twelve participating artists created paper, poetry, broadsides, and other works from quilts, drawing inspiration from the textiles themselves as well as from the stories they tell. The artists explored the political, economic, and social contexts surrounding the creation of the quilts, making connections between the makers’ history and their work. The artwork created for the exhibition touches on themes of craftsmanship and labor, scarcity and wealth, and stories both recalled and forgotten.

Quilt, Not Quilt showcases artists from the MCBA community and beyond. Participating artists include Zoë Bird, Katy Collier, Tari “TJ” Goerlitz, Georgia A. Greeley, Darius Homayounpour, Karen Kinoshita, Dana LeMoine, Rosa Maria de la Cueva Peterson, Jerry McClelland, Cathy Ryan, Patty Wheeler Andrews, and Morgan Grayce Willow. Each artist transformed their chosen quilt in unexpected and thought-provoking ways, and the resulting exhibition both honors the practice of quilting and expands established notions about what it means to craft and make art.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit


Water Works Update: Open House Scheduled for September 27 at the Mill City Museum 

An artist's rendering of the "City Steps" section of Water Works

Attend Water Works Open House September 27, 6-8 pm at Mill City Museum

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Minneapolis Parks Foundation invite the public to view and comment on the design progress of Water Works at an open house scheduled Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 6-8 pm at Mill City Museum, 704 South 2nd Sreet

The project team will present the updated design of the riverfront park project, take questions and provide project updates. Open House attendees are invited to review project materials, ask questions and provide comments that will be considered in the final stage of design evolution before construction begins in 2019. Light refreshments will be provided.

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