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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.


Take Online Survey or Attend May 24 Meeting to Help New Project at Sheridan Memorial Park

Online survey open until May 22; design options will be discussed at May 24 meeting

Sheridan Memorial Park will receive more than $1 million in park improvements in 2018, including a picnic shelter, playground and pathways. Now a new online survey is available for park users (including kids!) to weigh in on a new picnic shelter, playground and other potential additions planned for the new riverfront park.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is hosting the second public meeting regarding this project on Wednesday, May 24, 6-8 pm at East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 2nd St. NE. At the meeting, several design options will be presented and discussed. 

You can also take the online survey.


May 11 is Nice Ride Day!

Nice Ride Day this Thursday, May 11th.

Nice Ride is hosting special promotions at the following locations:
- IDS Center from 11:30am - 1pm and 4pm - 5:30pm
- Coffman Union from 11:30am - 2pm and 4pm - 5:30pm

As part of the promotion for Nice Ride Day, all 30 Minute trips purchased through the official Nice Ride Bike Share App will be only $2.50 for the first half hour. Organizations wishing to give a $6 24-Hour pass to their team members, please contact Subsidized 1-Year Memberships are also available for purchase for your team. More details can be found at

Additional themed days for riding include: 
- Bike to School Day, May 10
- Twin Cities Bike to Work Day, May 19
- Family Bike to Parks Day, May 27 

Minneapolis Convention Center's New Stormwater System Will Reduce Runoff by 5.4 Million Gallons a Year

Via a May 9 News Release from Meet Minneapolis:

This spring, the Minneapolis Convention Center has begun using its recently installed stormwater storage system, which will keep an estimated 5.4 million gallons of stormwater from running off and into the Mississippi River each year. A series of large rainwater storage pipes buried under the center’s marshalling yard will collect runoff from the building’s roof, with a total storage capacity of 250,000 gallons. The stored water will be used to irrigate the landscaped areas all around the center, becoming the primary source of water for the facility’s irrigation system.  

The system captures water from about 10 acres of the building’s roof and stores it in a network of 10- and 11-foot diameter corrugated steel pipes until it’s needed for irrigation. In addition to reducing stormwater runoff to the river, it also significantly lowers the center’s water costs by reducing the amount of potable water the center has used to irrigate its green spaces in the past.

This major project is a recognition of the importance of the Mississippi River and our lakes to the region. As Minneapolis has embraced the riverfront in recent years as a draw for recreation, visitors and new businesses, the City of Minneapolis and many partners have invested in efforts to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from properties in the city, which carries pollutants into the storm sewers and into our lakes and river.

This project will further the Minneapolis Convention Center’s efforts to attain United States Green Building Council LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance (EBOM) certification. The rainwater project will help by meeting the LEED credit requirements for Rainwater Management.

To learn more about sustainability initiatives at the Minneapolis Convention Center, visit the center’s website.


The City-owned Minneapolis Convention Center is the largest indoor, contiguous convention center in the Upper Midwest. The MCC is more than a meeting place. It's more than a show space. It's a building all about building something else…relationships. With nearly 480,000 square feet of trade show space, 87 column-free conference meeting rooms, a 28,000-square-foot ballroom, and an auditorium with superb production and flexible technology options, the facility can handle any event from a small meeting to a large convention or trade show.


May 11 - West River Parkway (Portland to 13th Ave) Closed for Medtronic 1 Mile

West River Parkway (Portland to 13th Ave) will be closed from 6:00pm-8:30pm on Thursday, May 11 - Medtronic 1 Mile. Click here for a course map and additional information on the event.


Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Area Visited by 32.5 Million in 2016, a New All-time Record

Via a May 8 News Release from Meet Minneapolis:

Meet Minneapolis-commissioned study shows increased visitor counts and spending as industry celebrates National Travel & Tourism Week

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area saw 32.5 million total visitors in 2016, a 2.8 percent increase over 2015’s 31.6 million convention and leisure travel visitors, which is a new all-time record for the area. Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association, announced today that a study conducted by DKShifflet shows that both the number of visitors and visitor spending increased yet again in 2016. This news arrives as the hospitality industry celebrates the 34th annual National Travel & Tourism Week (May 7-13, 2017).

Those visitors spent $7.6 billion in the area, an increase of 1 percent over 2015, when spending was $7.5 billion. The number of leisure visitors alone increased 4 percent to 23.4 million in 2016 from 22.5 million in 2015, with their spending increasing to $5.3 billion, or almost 2 percent over $5.2 billion spent in 2015. Full details are available online.

“I sound like a broken record, but it’s all true: Minneapolis continues to set all-time hospitality records,” said Melvin Tennant, president and CEO, Meet Minneapolis. “Travel and related spending continue to increase in our own community, just as it is across the nation, where travel is one of America’s strongest industries.” Travel and tourism generates $2.3 trillion for the U.S. economy.

National Travel & Tourism Week gives the industry an opportunity to shine a light on what travel means to jobs, economic growth and personal well-being. Travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance.

“Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including 34,870 jobs right here in the city of Minneapolis, or 10 percent of the local workforce,” said Tennant. “This week, we are celebrating these workers and what travel means to our community.”

Meet Minneapolis celebrates with other tourism organizations nationally by conducting a program for partners that includes educational information for the summer convention season, including this July’s X Games, updates on the Tourism Master Plan and a tour of some key tourism sites in the city.

The program will also include an update on the Tourism Master Plan. The Tourism Master Plan includes multiple goals to enhance Minneapolis’ tourism economy. It includes a goal of 50 million visitors by 2030 and support of 40,000 hospitality-related jobs.


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 of the greater Minneapolis area. Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International.


Opening Day at the 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Dave and I were only able to take in the first hour of opening day, but we packed in as much as possible in that short period of time!

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Welcome and Thank You to this seasons Mill City Cooks sponsor, Lakewinds Food Co-opJill Holter and Mary Jacobs provided shoppers with reusable totes. Look for a separate post about Lakewinds on our Farmers Market blog in the near future.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Some of the new vendors for 2017 were at opening day, including the following four (for which I'll be doing more in-depth posts on in coming weeks):

Lucas and Jenna of Kappers' Big Red Barn, Chatfield, MN, sell fresh cream, milk (regular and chocolate) and cheese curds. Dave is the chocolate milk aficionado in our home, and he gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up!

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Claudia Fierro-Poppen of Ommie Snacks offers a variety of energy bars made with dried fruits and seeds.  Note to vegetarian shoppers - these bars have no eggs or dairy. No nuts, soy or wheat either. If you want to see what's in them - just look at the two jars atop the display!

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Farmers Market Vendor Event

Phil Calvit is the creator of Calvit's Drinking Shrubs, which are available in an assortment of flavor combinations. I brought home a bottle of the Thai Basil (I'm a sucker for anything with "Thai" in the name), and while the label says "drinking shrubs", I think this particular flavor will add some fun zing to a crisp spring slaw.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Farmers Market Vendor Event

Joe Silberschmidt of You Betcha! Kimchi will tempt you with three degrees of kimchi: Uff Da!, A Bit Nippy and Minnesota Nice. Get your probiotics with this versatile product - give a sandwich some crunch, dress up scrambled eggs, kick up a salad. (If you go with Uff Da!, be sure to have some milk on hand to cool off!)

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

So good to see all the young families return to the Market. Be sure to get your little ones signed up for a Power of Produce (POP) passport.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

It's "sun's out - guns out" at Black Cat Natural Foods!

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Dr. Harold Wilkins of Goldfinch Flower Farm working his magic.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Be sure to pick up some seedlings or flower pots in the coming weeks. You can find them at Green Earth Growers on the 2nd Street plaza and Loon Organics in the Train Shed.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

3 Bear Oats serves up hearty porridge in both sweet and savory options - enjoy a meal at the Market, or take home for later.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Northern Fires Pizza is back!

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

First fresh pickings of the season!

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Burning River Farm offers CSA shares.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Finally, Thank You to Cynthia Froid Group for the herb giveaway, which took place after we'd left.

Milly the Goat! :D

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market

Here to help! The staff at the Info Booth is always happy to answer your Market questions.

May 6, 2017 Mill City Farmers Market


Star Tribune Celebrates 150th Anniversary with Free Printing Facility Tours

The Star Tribune is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and they invite you to join them for a free tour of their Heritage Printing Facility. Learn the production story, including robots and giant rolls of paper.

Click here to reserve a date and time.

- Reservations are required. 
- All members of the party must be 10 years old or older. 
- Maximum group size is 20. 
- Building is fully accessible. 
- Guests must wear closed toe shoes. 
- Each tour lasts about 90 minutes.


Night of Hope Sleep Out

Article by Claudia Kittock

I have written about YouthLink many times.  The work that goes on every day is life changing for the young people.  I work with a young woman, Jordan, who has been homeless since she was 10.  She has finished 75% of her GED exam and has big plans for the rest of her life. Her story, like so many others, is powerful and happened with the support and assistance from the people who work at YouthLink.  However, it is also important to look at the impact that YouthLink has on our city.  The work done there benefits an entire community, not just the youth who find YouthLink.

In a study conducted by Steven Foldes, Ph.D., an Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, and Andrea Lubov, Ph.D., the annual fiscal and social costs of YouthLink 2011 cohort, per person and as a cohort is shown in the following graph:

Not only is the experience of homelessness devastating on the lives of young people, it costs each and every one of us. 

The Night of Hope Sleep Out is an annual event. Funds from this year’s Sleep Out will support transformational programming that helps young people reconnect with pathways of education and employment - giving them opportunity to live their dreams.

Photos taken by Danae Hudson at last year's Night of Hope

Bring your sleeping bag for a night you’ll remember! Join over 100 other professionals on Sunday, September 24, for an inspirational, one-of-a-kind fundraiser and event - YouthLink’s Night of Hope: Sleep Out.  Here are some questions and answers about this event:

Q: How much do I need to raise?

A:  We ask for a minimum fundraising commitment of $500 per person.  There are plenty of ways to get to your goal and we are happy to help you! A great place to start is with a buy-in from your company to support your efforts.

Q: Do matching gifts count toward my goal?

A: Yes! Click here to see local employers that may match your donation. If you don't see your employer on the list, make sure to check with them. Please let us know if you need our tax information to complete a match.

Q: What if I don't meet my goal?

A: It is our goal to help you meet your goal. Your participation is important to us, so please let us know if you are having trouble meeting your goal, and we can offer some fundraising tips.

Q: What do I need to bring to the sleep out?

A: Everything you need will be provided, including: meals, transportation, new sleeping bags, and other “sleep out” essentials. You may want to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, and other personal items. There will be a safe place to keep your belongings, and access to restrooms. There will also be hospitality suites available on Monday morning for those who need to head straight to work from the Sleep Out. 

Q: What should I not bring to the sleep out?

A: Participants are welcome to bring toiletries and other personal items, extra clothes, and phones. While there will be a secure area to store belongings and small bags, we encourage you to leave large items (briefcases, laptops, luggage) at home.

Q. Who do I need to contact to get access to one of the hospitality suites?

A: We will contact all participants prior to the Sleep Out regarding the hospitality suites, or you may contact Erika LaDousa, Event Coordinator, at 612-412-8894 or

Q: Will there be security at the sleep out?

A: Yes, we are working closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to ensure a safe event, and there will be security on hand throughout the entire Sleep Out.

Q: What if there is inclement weather?

A: All events will go on as planned (but will be moved indoors) in case of inclement weather. Participants will sleep inside if the weather does not permit us to be outdoors.

Q: Will I have access to wi-fi during the event?

A: Yes, participants will be able to access wi-fi and have access to electrical outlets. In fact, we encourage you to post on social media or tweet about your experience and participation using the hashtag #NOHsleep.

Q: Tell me more about the bus tour.

A: The Sleep Out event will include tours of YouthLink and other local shelters and agencies. Buses will leave from and bring the participants back to the Sleep Out location.

Q: What if I need to arrive later in the evening?

A: You are encouraged to arrive prior to 5:00pm and participate in the various tours. However, if you need to arrive late simply let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Q: Can I bring my children with me to sleep out?

A: For security purposes, we ask that only registered participants attend the event. If you'd like to introduce your children to YouthLink, we'd be happy to schedule a tour at another time.

Q: I have a co-worker who is interested in participating. Am I able to invite him/her to participate?

A: Yes, we encourage you to recruit others to participate (see our suggested participant list, above). Please direct interested individuals to Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283 or

Q: My company is interested in sponsoring or partnering with YouthLink for the sleep out. Who should we contact?

A: Sponsorships and partnerships are still available. Please contact Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283 or

Q: Will meals be provided?

A: Yes, dinner and snacks will be provided throughout the evening and throughout the Sleep Out. 

Q: What should I wear?

A: Comfortable and weather appropriate dress encouraged. Please consider layers if the weather is chilly. We will have cold weather supplies (extra socks, gloves) on-hand if you forget yours.

Q. Where should I park? Will my car be safe?

A: There will be complimentary street parking. We are working closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to ensure a safe event, and there will be security on hand throughout the entire Sleep Out.

Q. Will we be able to meet any YouthLink participants?

A: Yes, YouthLink clients and staff will be participating in the event.

Q. What time can we expect to be done in the morning?

A: The sleep out will conclude with a closing and “grab and go” breakfast at 6am on Monday morning.

Q. Will there be press/photographers on hand?

A: Yes, there will be press and photographers on hand. Participants will be asked to sign a release where they can opt out of photographs and filming.

Q: Can I take photos at the event?

A: Yes, but we ask that you do not take photos during the tours at shelters and other agencies. The majority of YouthLink clients participating in the event have given permission to be photographed, but please ask everyone (staff, youth, or fellow sleepers) for their permission before snapping a photo. YouthLink will be posting photos throughout the evening with permission and we encourage you to retweet and repost these on social media.

Registration can be done online. Please join the Friends of the Mill District at this important event for the youth of YouthLink and for our community.

Claudia can be reached at


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Via a May 5 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

3rd Avenue lane reduction begins Monday

Starting early Monday, May 8, crews will be reducing traffic on 3rd Avenue South to one lane in each direction at Washington Avenue.

The lane reduction is necessary for crews to replace utilities, sidewalk, concrete, and pavement on the west half of that intersection. This work is anticipated to last approximately two weeks, weather permitting. If 3rd Avenue is part of your commute across the Mississippi River, you may want to consider other nearby crossings for the duration of this lane reduction.

2nd Ave pipeCrews installing storm sewer pipe at the corner of 2nd Avenue South and Washington Avenue
Westbound Washington Avenue traffic to shift slightly Monday
Also, starting early Monday, motorists travelling west will still able to use Washington Avenue. However, westbound traffic on Washington Avenue will return to westbound lanes between 5th Avenue South and 2nd Avenue South. Crews recently completed work on the westbound lanes and now need to work on pavement removal and utility replacements in the eastbound lanes in the area.
Eastbound lanes work continues
Finally, crews will begin paving eastbound Washington Avenue between Hennepin Avenue and 2nd Avenue South. The eastbound lanes remain closed and traffic continues to be detoured via Hennepin Avenue, 4th Street, and 5th Avenue.
Project progress
Crews have been very busy, and the project is currently ahead of schedule. While some of that time could be lost to weather and unforeseen challenges, the project has good momentum.
Staying safe
It is important to stay alert in the entire construction area, including during the evenings and weekends. Motorists should obey speed limits and limit distractions. Traffic changes, construction crews, equipment and work areas near the roadway can create unexpected situations.
Also allow for extra time when travelling through the area. While there is still pedestrian access, people should be ready for occasional changes in access.
Please be aware that there will be large construction equipment, and noise, vibrations and dust will be associated with this work. The county appreciates residents’ patience and understanding during these projects and activities.
Talk with us
You're invited to come and talk with a project representative. Join us at Dunn Brothers Coffee - Freight House at 201 3rd Avenue South next week:
- Tuesday, May 9: 10:30am - 11:30am  
- Thursday, May 11: 10:30am - 11:30am 
Anyone with questions or concerns are encouraged to stop in during this time.
Get more information
- Learn more and sign up for project updates at
- Contact the project at or 612-543-3722.

2017 Music & Movies in the Park Series - Compliments of MPRB! 

The Minneapolis Park and Rec Board (MPRB) summer concert season fills the air daily with music at six concert venues running Memorial Day through Labor Day:

•Nicollet Island Park - Mondays, 7pm
•Father Hennepin Bluffs Park - Tuesdays, 7pm

•Minnehaha Park - Wednesday-Friday, 7pm
•Bryant Square Park - Tuesday and Thursday, 6:30 pm
•Loring Park - Wednesdays, Noon
•Lake Harriet Band Shell - Monday-Saturday, 7:30pm AND Sundays, 2pm & 5:30pm

Don't forget - there will be movies, too!


Minneapolis International Festival set for May 20 at Boom Island Park

Join community members from across the city to learn about the many amazing cultures that make Minneapolis such a wonderful place to live.

Saturday, May 20, Noon-4:00pm at Boom Island Park

The Minneapolis International Festival is FREE and open to the public.

Some of the groups to be featured include:

•Chinese Heritage Foundation
•Hoka Hey
•Latin-American Folklore
•MN Scandinavian Ensemble
•Rince na Chroi Irish Dancers
•Somali Museum of MN
•Little Earth Dance Troupe

This is an outdoor event. To learn more, visit the event page or Facebook.

The Minneapolis International Festival is presented by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Event Contact
Tom Godfrey
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6484


Learn About the July 13-16 X Games Events at the May 25 DMNA Meeting

The X Games are coming to US Bank this summer, July 13-16.

Representatives from the X Games team will be attending an upcoming Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) meeting to speak more in-depth about the X Games, as well as answer any questions from local residents and businesses.

The meeting will be held Thursday, May 25, at Mill City Museum, 704 S 2nd Street, in the ADM room from 5:45pm-8:00pm. Topics include street/road closures, how local businesses may be effected, concert hours and curfews and ticket information.

Additional X Games info


Now Showing & Coming Soon to the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul’s St. Anthony Main Theatre


Exciting Design Update for Water Works Park Unveiled

Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Minneapolis Park Board seek community input on evolved Water Works design concept

On Monday, May 1, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation presented to the public an evolved concept for Water Works at the first of two community meetings. Water Works is a transformative park development project overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge that will bring significant new historic, cultural, and recreational amenities to the most iconic location in Minneapolis and the region. The updated concept embeds a new park pavilion into the historic ruins of the Bassett and Columbia mills, as well as expands naturalized gathering spaces with direct access to public amenities.

Following the approval of the original Water Works concept in 2015, the Park Board and the Parks Foundation retained a multi-disciplinary design team headed by Damon Farber Landscape Architects and HGA Architects. The design team is completing schematic design through construction administration for phase one of the Water Works project, known as the Mezzanine Phase, which is slated to begin construction in 2018.

The design team evolved the Water Works concept while addressing anticipated site-specific intricacies, such as the condition of buried ruins, service access to the pavilion, and cultural significance to diverse peoples. Further investigation during the schematic design process revealed the remnants of the Bassett Sawmill and Columbia flour mill to be so rich that the best course of action was to inhabit and activate them, rather than leave them largely buried, as originally proposed. The design team also chose to uphold the site’s potential as a place to reveal untold stories, in acknowledgement of St. Anthony Falls as both the birthplace of the city’s milling history and a spiritual place that has shaped cultural and economic connections for indigenous people and immigrants.

“Living cities need to respect places of power by both honoring the past stories that unfolded before and making room for new stories to emerge, giving voice to communities that may often be left unheard. This is true for Water Works,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. “With this transformative design, we are striving to ensure that Water Works continues to be a place for people and peoples to share stories, be heard, and create new connections with each other and the most dramatic point on the Mississippi River.”

A natural venue for stories and storytelling

Water Works features that conduct the storytelling theme include the mill-embedded pavilion, tree-sheltered city steps, a naturalized playspace, and the potential for revealed mill-era ruins and artifacts.

“Today, the St. Anthony Falls and Stone Arch Bridge landscape is one of the most popular public spaces in the region, with 2.5 million visits annually and climbing,” says Evers. “Water Works is conceived as a place to express embedded histories, tell important stories, and make new memories.”

With this new round of community engagement, the Park Board is also seeking deeper input on the proposed program for Water Works, which exemplifies the theme of storytelling. Park visitors will be able to experience the landscape’s layered stories through the park design itself. Over time, visitors will also add their own stories through art, play, performance, food, and social media.

The process to the planned 2019 grand opening

Throughout May, the Minneapolis Park Board and the Parks Foundation will be engaging the public about the new concept. The engagement includes the two open houses, several focus groups with underrepresented communities, meetings with individual and organizational stakeholders, and an online survey. In June, Park Board staff intends to present the revised design concept, together with community input, to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners. Should the community embrace the new concept, and the Park Board approve it, the design team will continue schematic design and construction documents ahead of the planned 2018 construction start.

Through the Parks Foundation, the majority of Mezzanine Phase funding will be provided by philanthropic investment. In 2015, the Parks Foundation launched the RiverFirst Capital Campaign, which has to-date raised $12.3M in philanthropic gifts and commitments. It is anticipated that private funding will accommodate any additional expense incurred during the Water Works Mezzanine Phase because of the updated concept.

Click on images below for full size versions:



First Thursdays at Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet: Celebrate Farmers Market Season May 4th

Via a May 1 e-newsletter from Meet Minneapolis:

May is the month of consistently warmer weather and sunnier days – meaning it’s the perfect month for farmers market openings across Minneapolis. In celebration of the upcoming season, Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet will be hosting a farmers markets kickoff event Thursday, May 4 from Noon – 2 p.m. as part of its new First Thursdays program. The First Thursday each month, Minneapolis Visitor Information will host a variety of in-store events at our convenient location at 505 Nicollet, Suite 100, directly across from the METRO Nicollet stop at 5th Street.

Special deals and sneak peaks of products will be available during the event. Participating vendors include Leprechaun Dreamcycle, Soderberg’s Floral & Gifts, Minnesota Nice Spice, Bare Honey, Scrappy Bags and Moxi Malas. Representatives of the Minneapolis Farmers Market will be on hand to answer any questions about this year’s farmers markets, including where to find them, when they’re available and what you might find when you shop all season long.

• Free ice cream treats to the first 50 people, compliments of Leprechaun Dreamcycle (one per customer)
• 20% off all in-store Mother’s Day flower orders from Soderberg’s Floral & Gifts. Local delivery only.
  o Fresh Spring Tulip Bunches available for in-store purchase. $10 each, 2 for $15 or 3 for $20.

Along with all this farmers market frivolity, we’ll have Minneapolis Visitor Information’s usual fabulous selection of Minneapolis and Minnesota-made products, art and more, along with transit and bicycle info from Move Minneapolis an help with your questions about the city!

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.


Wanted! Up and Coming Artists to Design/Paint the Pianos for June's Pianos on Parade

Pianos on Parade In partnership with Keys 4/4 Kids

The Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District (DID) invite you to help advance music downtown with Pianos on Parade. The program will place 25 pianos throughout downtown Minneapolis during the month of June. The pianos will be open for impromptu concerts as well as for programming with local musical talent. Each piano will be painted to evoke a Summer in Downtown Minneapolis theme.

Wanted! Up and coming artists to design and paint the pianos for the program. By supporting Pianos on Parade, you will help to add more vibrancy to downtown Minneapolis and engage all who work, live and play here.

Thursday, May 11 Submission deadline of artist application and design description/rendering
Friday, May 12 Acceptance of application and design
Monday, May 15 Payment Installment One Sent
Wednesday, May 17 - May 19 First Shift Painting (up to 13 Pianos)
Tuesday, May 23 - May 25 Second Shift Painting (up to 13 Pianos)
Friday, May 26 Final Payment Installment Sent
Wednesday, May 31 Installation of Pianos
Thursday, June 1 Installation of Pianos Pianos on Parade kick-off

Artists are provided a $350 stipend per piano, with 50 percent paid upon acceptance and final 50 percent paid upon completion of work. In addition to a payment to support the artist, recognition through Pianos on Parade web page and name inclusion on the piano are provided. The Minneapolis Downtown Council will retain unlimited usage rights for the artwork.

Painting Dates
All pianos are stored at the St. Paul Keys 4/4 Kids Warehouse and schedule times will be available for prep and painting at the warehouse. Due to the scale of the project, painting will need to occur over 3 days between 10am - 6pm on either May 17 - 19 or May 23 - 25. Dates will be assigned upon acceptance. All pianos must be painted during this time and remain on-site.

Artists are able to design, prep and paint up to two pianos.

Pianos will be a standard upright piano, traditionally 60” wide x 24” deep x 49” high and will be covered with a custom tarp during non-operational hours.

The design must be family-friendly and evoke a Summer in Downtown Minneapolis theme. Pianos may only be painted and any design cannot impede the musical functions of the piano. Designs may not contain advertisement or promotion of products, religion, controversial topics or personal beliefs. Artists must guarantee the design submitted does not violate the copyright of any other entity.

Artists are encouraged to submit unique and vibrant design concepts based on themes surrounding Summer in Downtown Minneapolis.

Pre-Approved Minneapolis Design Themes Downtown Districts: Downtown East , Warehouse District, North Loop, etc. Iconic Buildings: IDS Center, Foshay Towers, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center, First Avenue, Target Field etc.

Aquatennial - Downtown Murals - Downtown Minneapolis Skyline - Boom Island - Spoonbridge & Cherry -   Loring Park - Mississippi River - Pillsbury Sign - Stone Arch Bridge - Hennepin Avenue - Mill City Ruins - WeDO - Nicollet Mall - Downtown Farmers Market - Maps/Streets of Downtown - Peavey Plaza

*Other design themes are welcome to apply but all themes must be pre-approved before painting.

Applicants are selected based on the following criteria:
• Artistic quality of past work; experience
• Originality of proposal; creative use of theme
• Ability to complete the work in given time and budget
• Ability to create a fully playable, safe, and maintainable work appropriate for the public realm

If interested in designing a piano please email Cat Beltmann with the Minneapolis Downtown Council the below information at Questions - call Cat at 952-994-8503.

• Short biography or links to portfolio
• Links or photos of past work
• Brief description of your design concept for piano or rendering
• Applicants are reviewed and accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

More Info


Remembering History, Looking Forward

By Meg Forney, Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner-At-Large

I recently returned from observing a 30 foot deep excavation on the San Andreas Fault. I could see back of thousands of years and the strata shifts of eight major earthquakes.

We in Minneapolis are walking on our own history.  Excavations are about to begin in our own backyard at St. Anthony Falls by the Stone Arch Bridge.  The old Fuji Ya restaurant will be demolished and we will see the heart of our civic past beating before our eyes.  You can see an Open House preview Monday, May 1, 5:30-8pm at the Mill City Museum.  Another Open House is Tuesday, May 2, 11:30 am-1:30 pm at the Mill Ruins Park where a new Water Works Project is being developed on the site of the Fuji Ya.

I have a personal connection to this site because two of my great grandfathers worked on these mills--one a miller, the other millwright.  I also have a great, great uncle who perished in the Washburn Mill explosion in 1878.  You can see his name, William Leslie, on the memorial in Lakewood Cemetery overlooking Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska.

However, we all have connections to the Water Works project.  It is the history of our city, the history of where we live, of who we are.

Meg Forney can be reached at or on Facebook.


The Task Force to End Street Homelessness

Article by Claudia Kittock, photo by Rick Kittock

The enormity of ending street homelessness seems impossible. There are too many issues, too many barriers, too many things that must be dealt with to provide that hand up. However, since joining this task force, I have learned that a small group of involved people CAN change the world, or at least our part of the word. The cliché is true!

The Minneapolis Downtown Council (MDC) is a membership-based business organization that focuses on creating an extraordinary downtown for all who live, work, play and explore our city. Goals include collaborating with public, private and non-profit organizations to create a vibrant atmosphere in our city’s core, advocating for initiatives that promote growth and stability, and aiming to help create a strong, inclusive 21st Century City.

This group of businesses has focused their energies in several areas including downtown developing, greening and the public realm, the downtown experience, ending street homelessness, transportation, and launching a festival of ideas. I have been involved with the task force to end street homelessness for several years and will explain the work being done to reach that goal. The most exciting part of this work is to know that not only is it possible to end street homelessness in our city, but to know it can happen quickly with the right resources.

Here is part of that plan to end street homelessness:

Ending street homelessness is defined as providing shelter for all who sleep on the streets or in other unsuitable places. It means chemical dependency and mental health treatment, job training and “meaningful activities” to occupy those who are unemployable and hang out aimlessly on the streets. It also means continuing the impressive and ongoing efforts by police, the city attorney’s office and the Minneapolis DID to target Downtown’s top 100 street offenders, people who are arrested repeatedly for lifestyle crimes such as public intoxication, public urination and aggressive panhandling. Nearly all of these chronic offenders are homeless.

This problem is solvable, however, if resources can be assembled. The solution is smart, cost-effective and doable. Minneapolis intends to become the first major U.S. city to end street homelessness. The estimated cost (presumably through public and private sources) will be about $4 million for the first year, with declining amounts needed in subsequent years.

The result will improve the lives of homeless people. And it will save public money. A 2005 study found that just 37 chronic offenders cost the city and county $3.7 million a year. That’s an average of $100,000 per offender for jail, detox, hospitalization and shelter.

Ending street homeless will also decrease the negative behaviors (loitering, panhandling, public intoxication, etc.) that damage livability and deter investment in Downtown. Eliminating street homelessness will be a huge force in moving forward the other major goals of this report.

                                                Intersections, 2025 Plan, Downtown Council

When I joined the task force as a representative of downtown residents, I was impressed with the array of experts who took time out of their busy lives to work on this project. There are representatives from the non-profit sector, including people from Catholic Charities, Simpson Housing, and the DID Block By Block program. The City Council is represented, the library, Hippy Feet, and many other businesses. Some of the highlights from the work of this group include:

·  Members of our committee attended the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless “Day on the Hill” event at the State Capital to participate in the advocacy efforts and raise awareness for the street homeless population.

·  We met with the Minneapolis Foundation to begin our process of developing a Grant Review Committee who will oversee the RFP process, distribution, and post-grant evaluations of donations that we have received to end street homelessness.

·  Our two sub-committees have implemented logic models to define, measure, track their projected goals.

·  We met with a new start-up company that is working on developing an app for individuals experiencing homelessness.

·  Presentations: St. Stephen's Veteran’s Outreach Program, House of Charity, and Shane Zahn from Minneapolis SafeZone regarding the ISS Command 24/7 communication app for street outreach programs.

Every one of these people brings considerable expertise to solving the complexities of street homelessness. The diversity of the membership brings ‘answers’ from all sectors. Each of these answers adds a small piece of the puzzle to this difficult issue.

Joseph DesenclosLed by Joseph Desenclos, the group has two primary subcommittees; daytime activities and education/public relations. The education group is working to find a way to educate the public about this issue. People experiencing homelessness are often children, are usually working (sometimes 2 jobs), have experienced serious medical issues, etc. I learned ALL of that, and this subcommittee is working to make sure the general public learns it, too.

The education/public relations committee is working on or has completed the following:

·  Are in the process of working with the staff at MDC to develop a website to assist in PR/Education efforts. The targeted date of completion is August, 2017.

·  Create opportunities (host) gatherings that educate the public on issues revolving around street homelessness.

·  Establish the Grant Review Subcommittee, focusing on drafting the grant committee description/purpose statement with the Minneapolis Foundation staff. Our desire is to have the composition of this sub-committee (5-7 members) to include private sector internal committee members and a couple members MDC Executive Board.

·  Reach out to large employers for street homeless education opportunities.

I serve on the daytime activities subcommittee. Every morning, people living in shelters are required to leave and cannot check back in until late in the afternoon. How do you occupy your day? If you are working, it often means that you have to take all your worldly possessions to work with you every day. It is a difficult issue. We are working to build lists of activities and resources. Finding safe and warm places to just ‘be’ and to make plans for what comes next is a high priority for us.

Here are a few more highlights of some of the work that has been accomplished:

·  Actively engaging with three cities that have implemented a day labor program for individuals who engage in panhandling.

·  Advocating for expanded access to bicycles for transportation needs for individuals experiencing homelessness.

·  Develop case studies for inclusive non-social service daytime activities.

·  In 2016 we completed an evaluation of available storage units for individuals experiencing homelessness within drop-in centers and emergency shelters. Currently there is a need for an additional 600 lockers to address the gap between number of lockers and emergency shelter population.

·  We have completed and are implementing a mapping tool for social service employment programs, job fairs, employment agencies, etc.

This work is real and is already changing lives every single day. But there is still great need and help is needed to both continue this work, and to be the first major city to eliminate street homelessness. You can help by:

·  Learning about the 2025 Plan and ways to be involved.

·  Donate to the Minneapolis Downtown Council and designate the check to go for ending street homelessness

·  Contact Joseph Desenclos at

Claudia can be reached at


Make your dog a star! Submit a video to Candid Canines Film Fest at the 2017 Aquatennial

From the Minneapolis Aquatennial website...

Sample clip showing the great video your dogs could be part of this year!

One of Aquatennial’s new events this year is the Candid Canines Film Fest! The event will feature videos of dogs—YOUR dogs, submitted by YOU—and compiled into a 40-minute video to be shown at Aquatennial on Thursday, July 20 (4-9 pm, multiple showings) at Target Field Station.

Don’t miss out on this fun opportunity to show the funny, silly, super sweet, smart and/or talented ways your dog interacts with you! Submit your videos by visiting the Candid Canines Film Fest website. Submissions are due by Thursday, June 15, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to take part. This event is produced by the Can Do Canines, a local organization dedicated to connecting people with disabilities to specially-trained dogs.


Parkway Closures for April 29 Races

Godfrey Parkway
West River Parkway (from Godfrey to Portland Ave S)
Click above link to view a course map and read additional information on the event.
Saturday, April 29 - Heart Walk
West River Parkway (from Plymouth Ave N. to N. 4th Ave)
Click above link to view a course map and read additional information on the event.


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