Kim Eslinger
Editor
612-321-8040
kim@millcitymedia.org

David Tinjum
Publisher
612-321-8020
dave@millcitymedia.org

Susan Schaefer
Reporter/Photographer
susan@millcitymedia.org

Julie Craven
Reporter/Photographer
julie@millcitymedia.org

Joan Bennett
Reporter/Columnist
joan@millcitymedia.org 

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits
claudia@millcitymedia.org 

Doug Verdier
Contributor 

Mill City Times is a not-for-profit community service.  We do not sell advertising on this site.

Cultural Cornerstones
Search Mill City
Recent News

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.

Friday
Jan202017

Mill City Farmers Market Hiring Interns

The Mill City Farmers Market hires a new “crop” of Meet Your Vegetables interns every year in February/March. We encourage Nutrition and Public Health graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in the impacts food and nutrition have on our health to apply! Get experience creating and testing recipes, working and networking with health care professionals, writing nutrition articles for our website, and educating the public on how to eat healthier!

Click here to view the 2017 MYV Job Description!

Please email a cover letter and resume to jenny@millcityfarmersmarket.org by Monday, February 13th to be considered for the 2017 internship.

Friday
Jan202017

16th Annual Kite Festival Announced

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board present’s the 16th Annual Kite Festival.  Kites of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes will fly over frozen Lake Harriet! Fun family festival activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing and ice fishing on the lake, and a marshmallow roast. Minnesota Kite Society experts will demonstrate maneuvering spectacular kites throughout the day, offer their expertise to kite flying enthusiasts and to those who are new to the pastime. Bring your own kite, or buy an inexpensive one at the lake.

The Kite Festival is a FREE family oriented, outdoor event which takes place on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 from noon to 4 pm.  The Kite Festival is great for all ages and abilities.  Held at the north end of Lake Harriet near the Bandshell (4135 West Lake Harriet Parkway).  Free lot parking is available on site, please keep in mind lots fill quickly, however free, on-street parking is available throughout the neighborhood.  West Lake Harriet Parkway delays are expected. Allow ample time to find a spot and walk to the venue.

Friday
Jan202017

Draft of Downtown Service Area Master Plan Available for Public Review and Comment

Review and comment on long-term plan for Downtown Minneapolis parks!

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is seeking comments on a draft of the Downtown Service Area Master Plan (DSAMP). This document will guide outdoor improvements at all non-riverfront downtown parks (Elliot Park, Franklin Steele Square, Gateway Park, Loring Park, Park Avenue Triangle) for the next 20-30 years, as well as the potential acquisition and development of new parkland within downtown Minneapolis.

The draft DSAMP is the result of more than two years of community-based planning and design. Public comments will be accepted until March 4, 2017.

At the conclusion of the open comment period, MPRB staff will compile all comments, modify the plan and present the revised plan to the Board of Commissioners for possible adoption. A public hearing will take place at that time.

Review and Comment

The plan is available online on the DSAMP project page. Printed copies are available at Elliot Recreation Center, Loring Community Arts Center and MPRB headquarters. Community members may comment by filling out a brief online survey, filling out a printed survey at one of the locations listed above or by emailing or phoning the contact listed below.

Take Online Survey

View Plan on Project Page

Thursday
Jan192017

The Commons 2017 Debut Event: Midwinter Light

The Commons is pleased to announce its 2017 debut event Midwinter Light: creating art with ice and light, an installation by artist Jennifer Hedberg of Wintercraft. The five-day event is free and open to the public.

Midwinter Light: creating art with ice and light

January 27 - 31
Dusk - 10pm
Stroll through The Commons and view artistic luminary creations. The candlelit and LED ice installations make for a magical midwinter night. Sculptures by Jennifer Hedberg of Wintercraft. Weather permitting.

January 29
4 - 8pm
A family-friendly event!
Warm up by a fire, enjoy some light music, and sip on free hot chocolate provided by Radisson RED Minneapolis.

Wednesday
Jan182017

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul presents Minnesota 13

The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul presents Minnesota 13

Minnesota craft brewing is not just a 21st century story of taprooms and food trucks. During Prohibition one of the best and most popular moonshines in the country, known as Minnesota 13, came from Stearns County, Minnesota. Local directors Norah Shapiro and Kelly Nathe pull the curtain back on this little-known story in Minnesota history. Widely regarded as the only branded moonshine of its day, Minnesota 13 was created by church-going farmers with the support of everyone in their community. Double-distilled and aged in oak barrels, Minnesota 13 was far from the bathtub booze the era was famous for.

More info

Tuesday
Jan172017

A Deal From The Guthrie to Help Melt Away the Winter Doldrums

See 4 plays for as little as $80!

Enjoy huge savings on tickets and the most flexibility for your busy schedule. Choose the plays you want to see, put the dates on your calendar and exchange your tickets into another performance if something pops up. It's that easy!

PICK FOUR PLAYS:

The Royal Family
A comedic valentine to the theater
January 28 – March 19

King Lear
Shakespeare’s epic tragedy
February 11 – April 2

The Bluest Eye
A moving adaptation of a powerful novel
April 15 – May 21

Refugia
A relevant and evocative world premiere
May 13 – June 11

Sunday in the Park with George
Stephen Sondheim’s artistic masterpiece
June 17 – August 20

Native Gardens
A hilarious hot button comedy
July 15 – August 20

Buy online or call the Season Ticket Office at 612.225.6238, Mon - Sat: 11am - 5pm for info.

NOTE: Must order by January 31!

Saturday
Jan142017

Free Admission to National Parks on These Dates in 2017

The National Park Foundation invites you to kick off the National Park Service's second century by exploring your national inheritance! For these ten days in 2017, all national parks across the country will waive admission fees, so grab your calendar and start making plans.

The 2017 free entrance days will fall on:
January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 20: Presidents Day
April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 30: National Public Lands Day
November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
.
There are more than 400 natural, cultural, and historical gems across the National Park System. No matter what your passions or interests are, there’s a park that will speak to you! Just get out there , explore as many as possible, and find your park
Thursday
Jan122017

Sign up for Citizens Academy, a behind-the-scenes look at Hennepin County

Via a January 11 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Sign up for Citizens Academy, a behind-the-scenes look at Hennepin County

 

Learn how county government works to serve its residents by enrolling in Hennepin County Citizens Academy, a free, eight-week series that takes you up close to the people, places and processes that make our county a great place to live.

Participants visit various county facilities, meet county leaders and get a peek behind the scenes. Find out how many miles a snowplow operator plows during an average winter, who answers 911 calls and what a typical day looks like for a county commissioner.

Session schedule

The series will run from March 16 to May 17. Sessions will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in Brooklyn Center, Medina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka and Plymouth.

  • Week 1, March 16: Hennepin County Board, budget, property assessing 
  • Week 2, March 22: Community works, environment and energy 
  • Week 3, March 29: Health and medical services 
  • No session April 5 or April 12
  • Week 4, April 19: Public Defender’s Office, County Attorney's Office, 4th Judicial District Court 
  • Week 5, April 26: Human services 
  • Week 6, May 3: Corrections and Hennepin County Sheriff's Office 
  • Week 7, May 10: Transportation and emergency management 
  • Week 8, May 17: Information technology, facility services, elections, workforce development, volunteering 

Learn more and register

Find registration information, session topics, materials, locations and more by visiting http://www.hennepin.us/your-government/get-involved/citizens-academy

Tuesday
Jan102017

2019 NCAA Final Four Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee Officially Launches

Via a January 10 Press Release from Meet Minneapolis:

The 2019 NCAA Final Four Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee (MLOC) officially “tipped off” the 28-month planning period in their specially designed office space at U.S. Bank Plaza today. MLOC President and CEO Kate Mortenson was joined by NCAA Managing Director of Men’s Basketball Championships JoAn Scott, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Minnesota Lynx star Lindsay Whalen to share more information about the committee’s plans and community impact focus for the April 2019 event.

Preparation for one of the largest events in sports will take place in a 2,200 square-foot space in the specially designed space built by donations from more than 30 local vendors and businesses featuring NCAA and Final Four branding, actual court flooring, a full-sized backboard, HD screens, commissioned art elements, offices, conference and breakout areas. Rent has been waived as a donation to support the local organizing committee. Additionally, leading local companies, plus some national corporate champions and partners of the NCAA contributed their products and services to the office buildout, preserving resources for the committee’s impact initiatives.

“Our office buildout project really demonstrates our excitement to have one of the biggest events in sports back in Minneapolis,” said Mortenson. “We want our NCAA partners to know that ‘winning happens here.’ Our community will put on a great event, be highly inclusive and also have a positive impact on our youth, who are uniquely inspired by the student-athletes who make it to the Final Four.”                                                

The MLOC sees an opportunity via the Final Four to have a lasting, positive impact in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. The vision for this impact includes a yearlong outreach to students in the region and leveraging the unique excitement of a Final Four to inspire students around the health, wellness and achievement objectives that are the priorities of school partners. In addition to providing programming that supports educational goals, the MLOC will celebrate student achievements with special access to Final Four-related events during the championship weekend, making Final Four events inclusive and accessible for youth. Additionally, the MLOC’s operations will reflect the increasing diversity that is a strength in our region.

“I’m truly pleased that the Final Four in Minneapolis will leave a lasting legacy focused on youth and inclusion,” said Mayor Hodges. “Showcasing our growing diversity and the talented professionals of color in our region are big opportunities this event affords us.”

Many events during Final Four, which will be held April 5 – 8, 2019, are family friendly and free or low cost.  

“On behalf of the NCAA, Dan Gavitt and the Division I men’s basketball committee, we are thrilled to stage our 81st championship in this beautiful city in 2019,” said Scott. “Minneapolis is a three-time Final Four host, but obviously this will be the first time we will crown our national champion in U.S. Bank Stadium. We are excited to bring the NCAA’s premier event to this great facility located in a vibrant downtown that our teams and fans will love. We can’t thank enough our hosts from the Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee, as well as our host institution, the University of Minnesota, for the work they’ve already done, and everything they will do over the course of the next two years.

“The Final Four is so much bigger than three basketball games. There are a number of activities that will take place leading up to and during the Final Four, and the NCAA is committed to leaving a legacy of community engagement in each host city that extends far beyond championship weekend. For that reason, the planning is underway to make this the best event it can be.”

2019 NCAA Final Four Event Overview

In 2014, Minneapolis was named by the NCAA to host the 2019 Men’s Final Four. Millions of fans from around the globe will track this signature celebration of collegiate athletic competition by following “the road to Minneapolis™.” Events that comprise the Final Four include:

· Semifinal and Championship games played in U.S. Bank Stadium
· A three-day Music Festival with national acts that is free and open to the public
· A family-friendly Fan Fest, which celebrates all things college basketball 
· A special lunch celebration welcoming player families
· Myriad other events and activities during the year leading up to the event to engage youth, promote student athletic competition and build excitement throughout the host region

About the Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee
The Minneapolis Local Organizing Committee (MLOC) was formed to plan and deliver the Men’s Final Four in Minneapolis as a local partner to the NCAA. The committee includes the University of Minnesota as the host institution, Sports Minneapolis and Meet Minneapolis as liaisons to the city and hospitality community and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, representing the game venue, U.S. Bank Stadium.
Wednesday
Jan042017

Statement from the Minneapolis Downtown Council Re: Macy's

January 4, 2017

The Minneapolis Downtown Council has released the following Statement regarding the sale of the Macy’s building in Downtown Minneapolis and the store closing by Steve Cramer, President & CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council:

The news that Macy’s is closing its Minneapolis store is not surprising in the light of changes affecting downtown retailing across the nation. For many years the former Dayton’s building has been an underutilized asset at the center of our business district, with hundreds of thousands of vacant square feet. With the sale of the building to an experienced, well capitalized developer with urban retail experience – 601 W Companies – we have an opportunity to revitalize this iconic structure in the heart of downtown. Combined with the soon to be completed new Nicollet Mall, continued growth of our residential population, and the in-migration of businesses from across the region, a revitalized Dayton’s building will add to the positive momentum downtown is experiencing. I look forward to meeting with 601 W Companies and City officials early next week to begin discussing plans for a new future for an old building that holds a warm spot in the hearts of people throughout Minnesota.

Leah Wong, Vice President of External Relations
Minneapolis Downtown Council
81 S. 9th Street, Suite 260, Minneapolis, MN 55402
leahw@downtownminneapolis.com
Cell: 612.269.7986
Direct: 612.656.3816

Saturday
Dec312016

Social Exclusion - A Complex Issue

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photo by Rick Kittock

Imagine going through your day without being seen nor acknowledged.  Imagine people looking away from you as you walk down the street or ride the light rail. Imagine women clutching their purses more tightly when they see you, and then refusing to make eye contact.  How would that impact your life? How would you view a community that refuses to even acknowledge that you are there?

I met a man, Donald, who is an actor in zAmya.  He sings, he dances, he is hilariously funny, and he can act. During a question and answer session with the actors in zAmya, an audience member remarked that while homelessness is obviously a problem elsewhere, it certainly wasn’t an issue in the Mill District. Donald asked if we all knew about the Endless Bridge at the Guthrie. He said that he lived just beyond it, for over 16 years. Donald asked if he looked familiar. When no one answered, he said, “I was your neighbor for 16 years, and you never saw me.”

My friend, Jamie, lived through the tornado in North Minneapolis only to find her entire family homeless when the insurance company refused to pay. Her son is schizophrenic, trapped in his own brain, and gentle and kind even in the midst of his delusions. She asked me if I could imagine what it feels like to have people ignore her son as he wanders the city without shoes.

Social exclusion is complex and a multidimensional issue. It affects the quality of life of people experiencing poverty and homelessness and the equity of a community as a whole. Lack of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities available to the majority of people in a society, has a huge impact. Merely being a person experiencing homelessness means that you will be socially invisible, and if no one ‘sees’ you, how can you advocate for yourself?

People experiencing homelessness have lost the protection of a home and their community. They are often marginalized and isolated within the larger society, and may fail to seek out treatment for fear of discrimination or feel unworthy of help. Changing the experience of social exclusion is a key component of recovering from the experience of homelessness.

Social inclusion involves offering opportunities to re-engage with the community and form positive relationships. Peer support creates a sense of belonging for both the individual providing the service and those receiving the support. Just being seen by the people that you meet every day is critical.

The question then becomes how do we do this? How do we, as a community, become more socially inclusive? How do we learn to really see our neighbors? These are not simple questions, and there are no simple answers, but we can all begin to answer each of these questions in small ways.

Here are a few suggestions:

1) Begin by smiling and greeting all the people you encounter. An African-American friend of mine told me that when she and her husband walk along the river in the evening, few if any people smile or greet them.  Change that! Greet everyone. It’s actually fun and quite infectious.

2) Find a neighborhood group that is inclusive. We started the Friends of the Mill District Singers and Yoga In the Park to find out if we could become those groups! It’s a start! I get asked many times which singers are the ones who have experienced homelessness. My response is always the same, “You tell me.”  No one can...and that is the beginning of inclusion.

3) Volunteer! Get out of your comfort zone and go somewhere and do something you aren’t sure you can do. I have spent my entire life working with teenagers and when I began volunteering at YouthLink, I discovered that those ‘scary’ kids are kids. They are kids like I worked with in colleges and high schools where I spent my career. They aren’t scary. They are teens and they have changed MY life.

4) Show up! Just showing up matters. Last week when I walked into the drop-in center at YouthLink, with two bags of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, a young woman broke into a huge smile and pointed at me. I immediately offered her a cookie, but she declined, and then explained, “I just love to see you here EVERY Tuesday. You have a big grin and bring your cookies. I don’t eat cookies, but seeing you here with your smile makes me happy.” Me too!

Will doing these things end social exclusion? I only know that it is a start and something I can do every day. No harm comes from being kind and no one is hurt by a smile and an acknowledgement. It matters.

Claudia can be reached at claudia@millcitymedia.org

Saturday
Dec312016

Streets Closures Around US Bank Stadium for Sunday’s Vikings Game w/ Da Bears

Several streets will close near US Bank Stadium for the Sunday, January 1, Noon Vikings game.

Beginning at 5:00am Sunday:
· Chicago Avenue, from Fourth Street to Sixth Street will close.

Beginning at 9:00am Sunday:
· Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Interstate 35W.
· Norm McGrew Place from Third Street to Fourth Street.

These street closings are for traffic safety and security needs related to a large stadium event. All streets will reopen about one hour after the completion of the game.

Friday
Dec302016

Spoonriver Has Something Special for You During the Month of January

Fresh food for a fresh start in 2017!

Through the month of January, Spoonriver has a special offer just for their neighbors:  mention "Mill City Times" and receive a complimentary Appetizer & Dessert with the purchase of Dinner for Two.

Happy New Year from the staff at Spoonriver!

Spoon Dips appetizer

Mediteranean Croquette Special

Dessert tray

Thursday
Dec292016

Ride Metro Transit for Free on New Years Eve

Celebrate New Year’s Eve responsibly and get a free ride!

On December 31, customers can ride free from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. on all Metro Transit routes – buses, METRO lines and Northstar. No fare, no coupons – simply hop on and take a seat for free!

Whether you’ll be out celebrating or you’re not interested in driving alongside those who are, riding Metro Transit is an easy, safe alternative.

Free rides will also be available on Minnesota Valley Transit Authority and Anoka Transit routes.

Miller Lite Free Rides is a community service program in partnership with Metro Transit and Miller Lite.

Get more details and a list of late-night routes here!

Tuesday
Dec272016

3rd Ward Council Member Jacob Frey Expected to Announce Run for Mayor

Frey to Join Betsy Hodges, Nekima Levy-Pounds, and State Rep. Raymond Dehn in Mayor’s Race

Council Member Jacob Frey is expected announce his candidacy for Mayor on January 3, 6:00 PM at Dangerous Man Brewing. Here’s the notification from his campaign:

Dear Friends,

The conversation about what kind of Mayor our city needs will take place in 2017. And we want you to join us as we get that conversation underway.

Now more than ever, Minneapolis needs a Mayor with a bright vision to rise together and a proven track record of consistent leadership, even when it's tough. We need a Mayor who is a public champion for job creation and opportunity for every area of our city.

A great city rises when communities unite behind one bold vision. And I am ready to offer my vision for what Minneapolis can be in the coming years. Come join us when we begin sharing this vision on January 3rd.

Together,

Jacob Frey

Sunday
Dec252016

Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness (DCEH) - an Interfaith Collaboration of 14 Downtown Churches, Synagogues and Mosques Working Together

Article by Claudia Kittock

People of faith have long supported people in need and people experiencing homelessness. While government entities have been slower to respond, congregations have always responded. Minneapolis is filled with examples!

The Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness (DCEH) is an interfaith collaboration of 14 downtown Minneapolis churches, synagogues and mosques working together to end homelessness and poverty. They are in the eighth year of existence, and focus on shifting from an immediate needs approach to long-term solutions through a combination of education, advocacy and action.

Photo credit Rick KittockDCEH is committed to impacting the community around us to end homelessness, and has three overall goals: 

The first is organizational. While all the member congregations offer help for people experiencing homelessness, it is helpful to have DCEH coordinate the work and help to avoid duplication of services. 

The second goal is providing information to each congregation involved. That information dissemination assists congregants in becoming more involved. Knowledge is power, and knowing what needs to be done is the first step in doing it. Advocacy work begins with knowing what needs to be done and how it needs to happen.

The third goal is the newest. DCEH has designed a series of talk sessions for people experiencing homelessness called Street Voices of Change. These sessions are to share stories, and to learn how to build community and advocate for the advancement of their circumstances. Homelessness requires tremendous self-advocacy work, and learning to do that at these sessions is expected to be incredibly helpful. Eventually, the hope is that these sessions may also lead to advocating in other arenas in life. People experiencing homelessness are not well represented in advocacy work, and that needs to change.

In 2015, a survey was conducted on one night in October by Wilder Research, which resulted in a count of 9,312 people without a safe and stable home in Minnesota. This is the first decrease (9% from 2012) in the number of people experiencing homelessness since the Great Recession and the Sub-Prime Mortgage collapse.

  • 3,296 children were counted with their parents on the night of the survey.
  • The average age of children with their parent is 6 and a half.
  • The study counted 992 youth (age 21 and younger) on their own, down from 1,151 in 2012; 213 of the youth were age 17 and younger; 779 age 18 through 21.
  • Collectively, children and youth under the age of 24 make up 52% of the homeless population.
  • 4,108 adults between 21 and 54 were homeless on the night of the count.
  • 843 adults over the age of 54 were counted in the survey, which is the fastest growing population of people experiencing homelessness.
  • The most common reason (66% of the time) adults age 18 or older left their last housing was due to lack of job security or insufficient income.
  • Adults age 18 or older had a median income of $550 during the month of the study, and could afford an average of $387 per month in rent (one in five could not pay anything for rent).

The critical question always comes down to involvement and how to help this group.

1. Please learn about the work DCEH does by visiting the website.
2. Get involved in advocacy work. There is money to address these critical issues, but moneys are allocated based on government decisions, be it city, county, state, or nationally. Get involved and make your voice heard on these issues. Where do you want your tax money spent?
3. If you belong to one of the congregations in DCEH, help with the work.
4. Learn about volunteer opportunities by sending inquiries to the director of DCEH, Joe Kreisman, at joe@dceh.org.

Claudia can be reached at claudia@millcitymedia.org

Saturday
Dec242016

Wishing You a Vintage Betty Crocker Christmas

Recipe for Christmas fun: 3D cookie ornaments - made with Gold Medal Flour, of course! 

Friday
Dec232016

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

Here's what's showing now and coming soon to The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul’s St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main Street.

​December 23 - January 5- THE EAGLE HUNTRESS​ 

​December 30- January 5- EVOLUTION

January 6 - January 12- I AM NOT MADAME BOVARY

January 6 - January 12- RAILROAD TIGERS

January 9 at 7pm + January 14 at 1pm - NTL: NO MAN'S LAND

January 21 at 1pm + January 23 at 7pm - NTL: ANA KARENINA ​

February 20 at 7pm + February 25 at 1pm - NTL: AMADEUS ​​

March 6 at 7pm + March 11 at 1pm - NTL: SAINT JOAN 

March 27 at 7pm + April 1 at 1pm - NTL: HEDDA GABLER​​

Wednesday
Dec212016

Scherer Site 'Parcel D' Developer Feedback and Next Steps

Via a December 21 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board:

MPRB evaluating potential adjustments to strategy for developing Parcel D of Scherer site

Background

On Nov. 17, 2016, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from private development teams interested in working with MPRB and the community to create a concept plan that would lead to development of the “Parcel D” portion of the former Scherer Brothers site. Development of the site, as contemplated in the RiverFirst Initiative and Above the Falls Master Plans, is intended to aid in activating and financially supporting the future park site.

The RFQ followed a 2015 Request for Proposals (RFP) that was issued exclusively to Graco and Ryan Corporation, which was ultimately rejected by the Board of Commissioners due to a lack of alignment with Performance Standards that have been established for the site. The updated RFQ was intended to provide for a more qualitative review of respondents and ideas. The selected team would be awarded an Exclusive Rights Period to create a concept plan for the site. Development of the plan would include community engagement through an appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC), Project Advisory Committee (PAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). Upon Board approval of the recommended concept plan MPRB would then enter into a Contract for Private Development with the developer for final design and construction of the improvements on Parcel D.
 
Prior to releasing the RFQ, MPRB staff met with community stakeholders as well as development teams that expressed potential interest in developing the site. The final RFQ included feedback received from the PAC, TAC, CAC and attendees of a public meeting regarding the process and site.
 
Responses

Responses to the RFQ were due no later than 4:00 PM on Dec. 16, 2016. No responses were received.

At least three development teams had expressed initial interest in developing the site. MPRB staff followed up with members of those teams to better understand why they chose not to submit a response at this time. A summary of that feedback follows:

1. Several teams expressed concern over the idea of a land lease as contemplated in the performance standards for the site. While the RFQ gave development teams an opportunity to suggest alternate financial structures, projections of significant future park operating and maintenance costs (created by MPRB consultants during the Riverfirst Initiative) coupled with the land lease structure proved a barrier to some possible teams.
2. The proposed community engagement process was also a deterrent to potential development teams. Developers expressed concern over being selected based on their strengths and then having a community process drive a concept plan that their team may or may not be best suited to implement. This was perceived as having too significant an upfront investment by the development team for a process that was not completely within their control.
3. Challenges of the site, including neighboring industrial uses, the small amount of land available for development, the geography of the site in proximity to streets, a high water table, and high tension electrical lines on the site were also cited as reasons developers did not respond.
4. Developers also pointed to the Performance Standards emphasis on structured parking and a mixture of intended uses as a challenge to creating a financially successful development on the site.
5. Finally, more than one developer stated that their offices are very busy right now and they are being very selective in new work. Therefore they had to weigh the strengths and challenges of this project against other, more straightforward, opportunities.
 
Next Steps

1. Inform the CAC and confirm the date for the next meeting.
2. Reinforce the notion that this approach is intended to deliver a superior project. The MPRB is not intending to back away from that goal.
3. Evaluate assumptions of the Performance Standards, ground lease strategy, and operations cost thresholds to determine necessary adjustments.
4. Strategize other methods of creating a relationship with developers for the site, including holding the land until the concerns noted above are no longer a concern.

Tuesday
Dec202016

R.T. Rybak: I Hope I Never Take This for Granted

From R.T. Ryback of The Minneapolis Foundation:

In just a few minutes last week, I got the best present anyone could possibly give me this year: Coming around a corner in our Minneapolis Foundation offices, I saw five members of our team surrounding a table piled high with checks they were stuffing into envelopes. They had to form this ad hoc assembly line because so many checks are going out before the end of the year to good causes in the community. Those checks go to organizations that make schools better, put people to work and families into homes, protect the environment, cure diseases, nurture the arts… the list goes on.

This is probably old hat to a lot of people who have been at The Minneapolis Foundation for a while—and on some scale this has been going on for the entire 100 years the Foundation has been around. But in this, my first December on the job, it was an awesome moment. This is when it sinks in that we have 1,200 charitable funds that put $60-80 million into the community every year.

I knew all this before I started the job, but being on the inside for my first year-end really brings it to life:

For months, we have been meeting with people who already have a fund, people who want to start one and people who just want to find some way to do something good for the community. Some of them are people with enormous wealth, but the big surprise is how many people of relatively modest means have put together a few thousand dollars because it means a lot to be able to give it away.

This time of year, many of our donors are on the phone with our Philanthropic Advisors, finalizing how much they will put into their funds to give away. Every time someone opens another charitable fund, we play music on the loudspeaker. (It’s usually a really cheesy song, but it sounds great because we know it means more money to give away.)

For months, we have been meeting with people doing some amazing things in the community. On a lot of levels, everything sounds worthy, so much of the work is trying to make really tough choices between very good groups. So for the past few weeks, our Community Impact team has been working late to finish their recommendations for our competitive grants in education, economic vitality and civic engagement. With their help, in January, we’ll send $5 million more out the door.

While our Philanthropic Advisors and Community Impact team work with our donors and the groups that receive grants, a large part of our operation spends most of the time working in less visible ways to get money in and out the door. They do everything from developing marketing campaigns to processing those stacks of checks to managing all the data to developing smart strategies for investing the nearly $700 million in assets that we manage.

This brings it back to those five people sitting around the table as I walk in the door: Colleen, Andrea, Rush, Joyce and Nancy. They are the glue of the office, running the front of the office, as well as managing the systems that get the money from donors to grantees. They are the people closest to my desk, so I see them throughout the day, and it’s really inspirational to watch how much passion they bring to the work.

I don't want to overdo my point. While the Foundation is filled with people doing good every day, this isn't Santa's workshop. This is a sophisticated, complex operation dealing with many millions of dollars and deeply consequential choices about community impact.

But here in my first year-end at the Foundation, seeing it all come together, I'm in awe as I see what it really takes to make Minneapolis the most generous community in the country. And I've already gotten a better present than anyone could give me.

Best,

R.T. Rybak
President and CEO
The Minneapolis Foundation

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 153 Next 20 Entries »