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

Sunday
Oct282018

A Haunting on Maple Hill

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

This is a spooky time of year. People are making last-minute changes to their Halloween costumes, jack-o-lanterns are popping up on doorsteps, and leaves have gave way, so the moonlight can reach the damp ground. There’s a lot of fanfare during this holiday season, and it’s easy to glance over the mysteries that seem to reappear ever year in this city like a midnight fog. Don’t let festive lawn displays and all the candy you can eat distract you from Minneapolis’ eerie past. Turn off the lights, snuggle up in your flannel blanket, light a candle, and feast your eyes on one of Minneapolis’ most ghostly destinations.

Photo of the abandoned cemetery taken in 1900, facing the southwest corner of the park with the intersection of Polk and Summer streets in the background.

Photo taken October 28, 2018 with a similar vantage point. Photo credit Michael Rainville, Jr.

The year is 1857. Minneapolis had a population of roughly 3,400 and its rival across the falls, Old St. Anthony, had about 5,000 residents. As the first generation of settlers began to age, the need for a cemetery became quite apparent. Thus, in 1857, the city’s first cemetery was established in a part of town, near the outskirts, that was known as Maple Hill. This cemetery narrowly beat out Layman’s Cemetery, which officially was recognized as a cemetery one year later in 1858. From its opening to its closing in 1890, Maple Hill Cemetery saw roughly 5,000 burials, some of which were Civil War veterans. Maple Hill was a popular place to lay loved ones to rest on the east side of the river because of its easy access, beautiful and peaceful scenery, and cheap costs. However, cheap costs also meant cheap labor. Not all the departed were buried six feet under. In fact, many were resting merely two feet under the surface. This would lead to problems that some might say are still lingering atop that hill to this day.

Minneapolis grew at an astronomical rate, absorbing Old St. Anthony on the way, and the Maple Hill Cemetery eventually became too full and unkempt. From 1890 to 1916, the cemetery was left for Mother Nature to reclaim. During the first few years of its closure, 1,300 caskets were moved by families of the dead to either Hillside Cemetery or Lakewood Cemetery. That still leaves 3,700 unclaimed bodies. At first, it was still a nice and calm cemetery, but as rain began to erode parts of the hill, those two-foot graves began to peek out of the ground. Grave robbers would frequent the old cemetery, and do you know what resting souls hate more than hooligans from Nordeast who are stealing their belongings? Absolutely nothing. The neighbors had their complaints heard about this dilapidated cemetery that would attract an unsavory crowd, and in 1908, the Minneapolis Park Board bought the land and turned it into Maple Hill Park. Unfortunately, the park board did not pump a lot of money into the park, and for the first few years, the only thing that changed was its name. This angered the neighborhood even more, and soon a few of the residents would take matters into their own hands.

In 1916, a group of men moved many of the remaining tombstones and visible caskets, and threw them into a ditch nearby. The city acted quickly yet only found two of the culprits, and the park board began to take the “park” more seriously. Soon after, the park board removed the rest of the tombstones except for a couple grave markers and a monument for the 46 Civil War veterans who were laid to rest there. As the park board began to install many nice features in the park, it became a very popular destination in Northeast Minneapolis. In 1948, the now largely Italian neighborhood petitioned to change the park’s name, and soon after, the park was renamed Beltrami Park after Giacomo Costantino Beltrami, who is credited with being the first European to discover the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Photo taken October 28, 2018 of Louis LeDuc's tombstone. Photo credit Michael Rainville, Jr.

The surface may be almost free of signs that it once was a cemetery, but thousands of burials have still not been touched. Those souls still roam the park, some of them looking for their tombstone. One of those spirits goes by the name of Louis LeDuc. How do I know this? His tombstone is in my family’s possession. My great grandfather received it many decades ago from his neighbor who was redoing his front steps, and the first step was poor old Louie’s tombstone. Was Louie a victim of the irritated neighbors who threw tombstones into a ditch, or did the park board carefully remove his? We will never know, and it seems that only he knows that answer. If you hear a faint whisper in your ear when you enjoy the bocce ball courts or feel a tap on your shoulder during your next picnic, tell Louie LeDuc that his friend Michael Rainville Jr. is keeping his tombstone nice and safe. Well…let’s at least hope that whisper or tap is Louie and not one of the angrier residents of Maple Hill.

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About Michael Rainville, Jr.

A 6th generation Minneapolitan, Michael Rainville Jr. received his B.A. in History from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently enrolled in their M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Museum Studies programs.

Michael is also a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 5+ years.

He can be reached at mrainvillejr@comcast.net.

Friday
Oct262018

Celebrate ‘Day of the Dead’ and Preview Northeast Minneapolis Arts District Event During the ‘First Thursdays’ Event at Minneapolis Visitor Information

On November 1, celebrate “Day of the Dead” with the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District and preview their upcoming Open District event at Minneapolis Visitor Information (MVI) at Nicollet and 5th Street (505 Nicollet Mall), directly across from the METRO Nicollet station. As part of the monthly “First Thursdays” event, visitors will be able to sample free pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and view an ofrenda (offerings on a ritual altar) by Northeast Minneapolis artist Gustavo Lira. In addition, there will be live art demonstrations and guests can purchase original art and meet local artists between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Pan de muerto, by Ecuadorian bakery Charito, located on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis, will be available while supplies last. This “bread of the dead” is a traditional sweet roll that is eaten on Day of the Dead. The ofrenda will be unique to Minneapolis Visitor Information. A typical ofrenda display is a collection of objects set up to honor one’s ancestors on Day of the Dead in the Mexican tradition. Ofrenda means “offering” in Spanish.

Also preview the upcoming Open District event held November 2-4 in the Northeast Arts District. Members of the arts organization will highlight such events and buildings as Art Attack at Northrup King building, Open Casket at Casket Arts building, California Dreamin’ at the California building and Art This Way at Solar Arts building. Open District is an annual event that allows visitors to explore studio buildings, acquire original art as well as meet with local artist. 

Guests may also register to win a pair of tickets to Theater Latte Da (need not be present to win).

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 www.minneapolis.org/visitor-information/

Thursday
Oct252018

Event Parkway Closures for October 27 Halloween Half Marathon, 5K & 10K

Please note the following October 27 Event Parkway Closures for the Halloween Half Marathon, 5K & 10K, from approximately 7:30am-12:00pm:
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- West River Parkway: Plymouth Avenue to E 42nd Street
- Main Street SE
- Stone Arch Bridge
Thursday
Oct252018

YES! Hennepin County board action: Directing people in crisis away from criminal justice system

The Hennepin County board accepted funding to direct people in crisis away from the criminal justice system, accepted funding to support student success inside and outside of school, appointed the executive director of Hennepin Health and more.

Funding will direct people toward services and away from criminal justice system

The board accepted $1 million of federal funding to establish medical services and social supports for people facing mental health and addiction crises.

U.S. departments of Justice and Health and Human Services granted the county funding to expand the Behavioral Health Center in Downtown Minneapolis. The center links people in crisis to health, human services and community resources and provides another option for people who might otherwise go to jail or the hospital.

Funding will also expand a program that embeds mental health social workers with law enforcement. Social workers help de-escalate crises and connect people with follow-up services. The police department piloted this model in September 2017 in south Minneapolis and is expanding it to downtown Minneapolis.

View more about the Department of Justice grant.

View more about the Department Health and Human Services grant.

Grant will support academic, social and emotional outcomes for students

The board accepted a $500,000 federal grant to implement the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) model at four Hennepin County high schools with a high proportion of county-involved youth. As part of the BARR model, teachers build relationships with students to increase success and wellness inside and outside of school. The county-involved youth population includes teens in the foster care or juvenile justice systems; teens experiencing homelessness; and teens who are pregnant or parenting.

Find out more about this grant.

Board appoints Hennepin Health executive director

The board appointed Anne Kanyusik Yoakum as executive director of Hennepin Health, the organization that provides health-care coverage to county residents enrolled in a Minnesota health-care program. Kanyusik Yoakum is currently serving as acting executive director and most recently served as chief compliance and privacy officer for Hennepin Health.

Read more about this appointment.

Public hearing – draft 2040 comprehensive plan

The board will host a public hearing to receive comments on the county’s draft comprehensive plan, an overarching policy framework required by state statute that will help the county meet its stated mission. The hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, November 15, in the Hennepin County Government Center Board Room (A-2400).

View the related board action.

Learn more about the comprehensive plan.

Thursday
Oct252018

Minneapolis Big Build wins IDA Downtown Achievement Award Recognizing Excellence in Urban Place Management

During its 64th Annual Conference and Tradeshow in San Antonio, Texas, the International Downtown Association recognized Mpls Downtown Improvement District (DID) with the Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence for its work and initiatives related to the Minneapolis Big Build initiative. 

The Award of Excellence acknowledges an excellent response to an industry challenge and exceeds the jury criteria. The Minneapolis Big Build, created in partnership with the Mpls Downtown Improvement District, mpls downtown council (mdc) and Meet Minneapolis, raised awareness about more than $2 billion worth of construction projects in downtown Minneapolis and was among 18 qualified entries in the category of Marketing and Communication. This category features strategies that use print, electronic media, social media or multimedia efforts to promote downtown. The Big Build was launched and its marketing was executed in collaboration by mdc, DID and Meet Minneapolis, and DID worked to enhance the reach and voice of the initiative through stakeholder outreach, on-street signage and other tactics to magnify the message.

“Downtown Minneapolis has undergone an incredible amount of public and private development over the past several years,” said Steve Cramer, president & CEO of the mpls downtown council and Mpls Downtown Improvement District. “Construction often creates temporary frustration for the public, so the Big Build focused on not only communicating what was happening at two dozen projects but also showcasing how these projects will work together to create a stronger and more vibrant downtown.”

“The Downtown Improvement District’s project received the IDA Award of Excellence for uniquely implementing best practice in urban place management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The Minneapolis Big Build is a shining example of excellent urban place management delivering real value to the city and an exemplary response to a community challenge.”

The Minneapolis Big Build aimed at raising awareness about downtown Minneapolis’ intense development transformation over the past several years. With major new facilities and infrastructure, along with national events coming through town, the initiative seized the opportunity to make sure local residents, downtown employees and visitors all know everything that’s new and exciting in our city.

The Minneapolis Big Build featured on-street signage, construction wraps, rendering boards and other forms of on-site tools and technology that will help you visualize and see what these areas and projects will look like once construction is complete. It also featured www.mplsbuild.com, which highlighted more than two dozen projects totaling more than $2 billion worth of construction.

Washington, DC-based IDA is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. The Downtown Improvement District is the urban place management organization representing the interests of property owners in Minneapolis and is a member of IDA.

About The Minneapolis Big Build 

The Minneapolis Big Build is a $2 billion collection of major projects that are transforming Minneapolis, adding new facilities, new green space, and new public amenities that will enhance Minneapolis for everyone who lives, works, visits, and plays here. To learn more, visit www.MplsBuild.com.

About the Mpls Downtown Improvement District

Founded in early 2009 by the downtown business community, the Mpls DID delivers higher levels of service to make downtown cleaner, greener, safer and more vibrant throughout a 120-block area. It is funded almost exclusively by the commercial property owners of downtown Mpls, and it is the largest Business Improvement District in the state of Minnesota. For more information, visit www.mplsdid.com.                     

About IDA

The International Downtown Association is the premier organization for urban place professionals who are shaping and activating dynamic city center districts. Our members are city builders and downtown champions who bring urban centers to life, bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. We represent an industry of more than 2,500 place management organizations, employing 100,000 people throughout North America and growing rapidly around the world. Founded in 1954, IDA is a resource center for ideas and innovative best practices in urban place management. For more information, visit www.ida-downtown.org

Thursday
Oct252018

Updates from the Metropolitan Council, Including Affordable Housing and Transportation 

Via October 24 and 25 e-announcements from the Metropolitan Council:

Metropolitan Council awards $4.5 million in grants to support affordable housing development
Grants expected to support creation of more than 650 units of affordable housing

 

The Metropolitan Council has approved nearly $4.5 million in Livable Communities grants to supportaffordable housing near existing and planned transit service. The grants are expected to support the creation of more than 650 housing units affordable to low- and very low-income residents and important connections to jobs and services. 

“The Livable Communities program goes a long way toward supporting and promoting economic growth and prosperity in the region,” said Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “A critical component to achieving prosperity is the availability of affordable housing. These grants all support the creation of affordable housing that’s close to transit and other types of transportation. Each project focuses on a different group of people in need of affordable housing.

“The region faces a critical shortage of housing and housing that residents can afford,” said Tchourumoff. “These grants make important strides, but our region’s success at achieving livability, affordability and economic prosperity rely heavily on making sure we have more homes for more people and more options for getting to school and work.”

Tchourumoff says the four grant awards are expected to create 674 affordable homes, more than 900 permanent and temporary construction jobs, increase the net tax capacity by $740,000 and leverage $187 million in other public and private investment. 

Grants include:

  • $2 million for “Legends of Minnetonka,” to support redevelopment of an existing office building into nearly 500 affordable housing units across from the future Opus LRT station along the Green Line Extension. Housing choices will be available for families, individuals, and seniors.
  • $1.2 million for “Lake Street Apartments,” in Minneapolis to support construction of workforce housing, including housing for homeless veterans, in the Lyn-Lake area near frequent bus service and the Midtown Greenway. The project will include 111 affordable housing units, commercial/retail space, indoor bike storage, a green roof, and solar panels.
  • $350,000 for “The Peris,” in Minneapolis to support new affordable housing for young people who are transitioning out of the foster care system. The development includes 41 housing units for low- and very low-income residents.
  • $949,250 for “Northwest University & Dale” in Saint Paul to support mixed-use redevelopment in the Dale Street LRT Station area to create a “Main Street” that serves the daily needs of residents and small businesses. Plans call for 32,000 square feet of office and commercial space and 40 affordable housing units near a plaza and green space.

These grants fall under the category of Livable Communities funds for transit-oriented development. They are grants that provide incentive for creating connections between housing, jobs and transit; promote efficient use of land and increased transit ridership; as well as access to services that meet daily needs.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and reviewed and recommended by the Livable Communities Advisory Committee. Applicants are local units of government that commit to affordable housing goals and participate in the Livable Communities program. Proposed projects must meet criteria that the Council has vetted and approved.

Since the Livable Communities program became law in 1995, the Council has approved grants totaling nearly $375 million to assist projects that have created or retained more than 52,000 jobs, cleaned up 2,300 acres of polluted property for redevelopment, created or preserved nearly 22,000 affordable housing units, and leveraged billions in additional public and private funds.

Council adopts update to region’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan

The Metropolitan Council has approved an update to the region’s 2040 Transportation Policy Plan, which provides a framework for how our region will support the movement of people as we plan for growth into the future. The 2018 update to the plan addresses trends that have emerged since the 2040 plan was first adopted in 2015 and includes new information.

“This update will help guide thoughtful, coordinated decision-making between local units of government, the state and the Council,” said Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “Good planning doesn’t end after creating a plan – it includes checking in with government and community partners to ensure the long-term plans are on track, adjusting where necessary, and accounting for new trends and information. This update is the result of thoughtful collaboration with partners across the region.”

Wednesday’s approval marks the end of a nearly two-year-long process, involving many stakeholders and meetings, including technical staff, policymakers, and people in the region. In addition, another 150 people and organizations submitted public comments that are reflected in the final version of the plan.

The Transportation Policy Plan contains detailed information about the region’s transportation system, including highways, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The plan also addresses regional freight movement and airports. It identifies policies for maintaining, managing, and improving the region’s transportation system. Those policies guide the investment plans for each aspect of the system. The plan is required by the federal government and must be updated every five years.

Highlights of the 2018 update

  • Updated fiscal projections for highway and transit system investment
  • Funding commitment for new major highway and transit investments
  • The creation of performance measures to guide investment
  • Addressing key challenges and opportunities in transportation over the long-term, including autonomous vehicles and shared mobility systems
  • Results from recent transportation planning studies, such as the Regional Truck Freight Corridor study

Two funding scenarios

The 2040 Transportation Policy Plan identifies two funding scenarios: one based on anticipated revenues, and a second scenario based on the availability of additional funding, if it were to become available. Anticipated revenues are based on current local, state and federal laws and programs – including growth rates consistent with historical trends.

Under the current revenue scenario, the region is estimated to receive $92 billion in transportation funds from all sources through 2040. Of that, $41 billion would be for local transportation, nearly $16 billion for state highways and $35 billion for transit.

The 2018 update also more clearly acknowledges local funding sources for regional transportation, including property taxes, sales taxes, and wheelage taxes.

A majority of funds for state highways would pay for maintenance, management and repair of the existing metropolitan highway system. Another priority is investments that improve mobility on the existing highway system. For transit, funds will support the existing system and the build-out of the arterial rapid bus network and other regional transitway corridors:

  • METRO Orange Line (I-35W south bus rapid transit)
  • METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest light rail)
  • METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau light rail)
  • METRO Gold Line (Gateway dedicated bus rapid transit)
  • Rush Line dedicated bus rapid transit
  • C Line bus rapid transit on Penn Avenue North

A number of other corridors are identified in the plan as still being studied and primed for future implementation, including BRT lines on Chicago-Emerson-Fremont Avenues in Minneapolis, Lake Street and Marshall Avenue in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.

Challenges and opportunities

The plan identifies key regional transportation challenges and opportunities. These areas provide the framework for policy discussion in the next several years in anticipation of the next plan update.

“Emerging technologies in transportation have the potential to significantly impact our approach to planning and providing services,” Chair Tchourumoff said. “We’re particularly anxious to see how vehicle technologies evolve and how we might integrate more electric vehicles into our fleet. But we’re also mindful of the amount of electric power we consume and ways to use renewable sources to address our overall climate impact.”

Identified issues include:

  • Balancing funding for the aging highway system and the emerging transit system
  • Changing travel patterns
  • Addressing highway congestion
  • Technology and its influence on travel
  • Addressing equity in transportation planning and investment
  • Sustainable environmental practices, related to emissions, environmental health, and electric vehicles (both personal and transit)
  • Assuring connections between transportation and land use to foster regional prosperity

2019-22 Transportation Improvement Program Amendment

The Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) is receiving public comment on a proposed, regionally-significant amendment to the 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) requests an amendment to add a project reconstructing and expanding I-94 in Wright County.

An amendment is required because the project expands capacity and is, therefore, regionally significant. The project would be programmed for state fiscal year 2019 (between July 2018 and June 2019). This project was awarded funding through the Corridors of Commerce solicitation in 2018.

Find the TIP amendment and information about federally funded regional transportation improvements on the Transportation Improvement Program web page

The draft 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program is also available online.

This TIP Amendment was released for public comment by TAB on October 17, 2018.

The Council will receive comments on the proposed TIP amendment from Thursday, Oct. 25 through 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov.14, 2018 as follows:

  • Mail: Metropolitan Council, 390 Robert St. N., St. Paul, MN 55101
  • E-mail: info@metc.state.mn.us
  • Public Comment Line: 651-602-1500

For more information, email Joe Barbeau, senior planner at the Metropolitan Council or call 651-602-1705. 

Wednesday
Oct242018

MSP Film Society honors Native American Heritage Month with Nov 4 Anne Makepeace Triple Feature

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, MSP Film Society presents three documentaries by award-winning writer-director Anne Makepeace: TRIBAL JUSTICE,  COMING TO LIGHT, and WE STILL LIVE HERE-AS NUTAYUNEAN. The event takes place Sunday, November 4 beginning at 1 pm and includes a spotlight on pioneering portrait photographer Edward Curtis, in collaboration with Cardozo Fine Art.

TRIBAL JUSTICE is a documentary feature about a little known, underreported but effective criminal justice reform movement in America: the efforts of tribal courts to create alternative systems of justice. There are more than 300 tribal courts across the country. In California, two formidable women lead the way. Abby Abinanti, Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribe on the north coast, and Claudette White, Chief Judge of the Quechan Tribe in the southern desert, are creating innovative systems that focus on restoring rather than punishing offenders in order to keep tribal members out of prison, prevent children from being taken from their communities, and stop the school-to-prison pipeline that plagues their young people.
Director: Anne Makepeace Country: Turtle Island (USA) Language: English Year: 2017 
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/196530073 - Showtime: Sun Nov 4  1pm
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COMING TO LIGHT: Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) was a driven, charismatic, obsessive artist, a pioneer photographer who set out in 1900 to document traditional Indian life. He rose from obscurity to become the most famous photographer of his time, created an enormous body of work -- 10,000 recordings, 40,000 photographs, and a full length ethnographic motion picture -- and died poor and forgotten. His work was rediscovered in the 1970s and is now synonymous with photography of Indians. Coming to Light tells the dramatic story of Curtis' life, the creation of his monumental work, and his changing views of the people he set out to document. The film also gives Indian people a voice in the discussion of Curtis' images. Hopi, Navajo, Eskimo, Blackfeet, Crow, Blood, Piegan, Suquamish, and Kwakiutl people who are descended from Curtis subjects or who are using his photographs for cultural preservation respond to the pictures, tell stories about the people in the photographs, and discuss the meaning of the images.
Director: Anne Makepeace Country: Turtle Island (USA) Language: English Year: 2017 
Trailer:https://vimeo.com/156332913 - Showtime: Sun Nov 4  3:15 pm
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WE STILL LIVE HERE-AS NUTAYUNEAN tells the amazing story of the return of the Wampanoag language, a language that was silenced for more than a century. The Wampanoag Indians’ forebears ensured the survival of the first English settlers in America – the ‘Pilgrims,’ and lived to regret it. A century ago, after nearly 300 years of contact, their language virtually disappeared. Now, spurred on by an indomitable Wampanoag woman named Jessie Littledoe Baird, recent winner of a MacArthur genius award for her unprecedented linguistic work, the Wampanoag are bringing their language and their culture back to life.
Director: Anne Makepeace Country: Turtle Island (USA) Language: Wampanoag & English Year: 2010 
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/156332916 - Showtime: Sun Nov 4  5:45pm 
Wednesday
Oct242018

Vote early October 30-November 5

Voters can place ballots directly into counting machines one week before election

Eligible voters will place their ballots directly into a ballot counter when voting in person October 30-November 5.

Voting machines will record votes as they are turned in, but will not report results until after polls close on Election Day, November 6.

Voters who cast their in-person absentee ballot before October 30 place their ballot into a series of envelopes to be counted on or before Election Day, rather than placing their ballot directly into the ballot counter.

In-person absentee voting is available now at city halls across Hennepin County and at the Early Vote Center in downtown Minneapolis. Each city location can accommodate voters who live in that particular city.

Check available locations to vote early.

View a sample ballot.

For more information about elections in Hennepin County, visit hennepin.us/elections.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at hennepin.us/news.

Discover how we're making a difference in our communities at hennepin.us/stories.

Tuesday
Oct232018

Volunteers Assist with Nicollet Island Restoration Work

Photo credit Will Stock

Over 25 volunteers recently dug in to help restore habitat on Nicollet Island.

As part of a new multi-year restoration of natural areas on the islands northern half, the volunteers planted 90 trees and shrubs and over 400 wildflowers, sedges and grasses on Saturday, October 13.

Tim Lynch, who works at DeLaSalle High School on the island and serves as a moderator with the school's GREEN team, said, "We're making the island a more vibrant and sustainable place for everyone. It's been fun seeing the whole process — pulling out the invasive species this spring and seeing the plan coming to fruition."

Tim Lynch on left, Alex Roth on right

Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) Ecologist Alex Roth led the event, noting that each plant was specially selected for its high value to bees, birds, and other pollinators and wildlife. He also noted that the installation of a new trail will allow visitors and community members to enjoy a walk through the prairie in the heart of the city.

FMR ecologist Alex Roth

In total, 2 acres of native prairie habitat are being created, plus a pocket of maple forest historically present on the island.

While professional crews will be used for some work, volunteers will be needed to assist at each step in this long-term process. Events are two hours long and no experience is required. Contact volunteer@fmr.org to learn more.

FMR is leading the restoration in partnership with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Other partners include Nicollet Island/East Bank Neighborhood Association and Friends of the Riverfront.

Young Nicollet Island habitat restorers Sylvia and Oliver Case

Volunteer Oliver Case leaves a wish for a tree he helped to plant with his family.

Oliver's note around the tree reads, "I wish for this tree to stand tall forever."

Volunteers Grace and Brett Edgar mulch a newly planted tree.

Monday
Oct222018

Open House for Parade Park Parking Lot Reconstruction Project Scheduled November 5

Parking lot scheduled to be torn up and rebuilt in 2019

The pay parking lot at Parade Park is scheduled to be fully reconstructed in 2019. Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Planning and Customer Service staff are hosting a project open house on Monday, Nov. 5, 4-6 pm in the lobby of Parade Ice Garden, 600 Kenwood Parkway. 

Open House attendees will have a chance to learn about the project and give feedback on the project and anticipated parking impacts due to construction.

This project is subject to Board adoption of the draft MPRB Capital Improvement Program (CIP), a six-year plan that directs spending on park improvement projects. It must be approved by MPRB Commissioners each year as part of the annual budget process.

Parade Parking Lot Reconstruction Open House
Date: Monday, Nov. 5, 2018
Time: 4-6 pm
Location: Parade Ice Arena, 600 Kenwood Parkway
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Contact
Dan Elias
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6435
Email: delias@minneapolisparks.org
Friday
Oct192018

Public Invited to the Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements October 25 Groundbreaking

A new picnic shelter is part of a major park improvement project at Sheridan Memorial Park

Major park improvement project includes new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art

Please join the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Northeast Minneapolis neighbors and park users at 11 am on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 for a special groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the beginning of construction on a host of new park amenities coming to Sheridan Memorial Park.

The Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements project features a new playground, picnic shelter, basketball court and playable art, along with benches, a drinking fountain, portable toilets and path connections. The $1.5 million project began with soil cleanup earlier this year. This fall construction crews will perform site work like grading and paving to set the stage for installation of all the new park structures in 2019.

The MPRB would like to thank the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization, which has committed thousands of dollars in funds and many volunteers to help plan and construct past improvements in the park.

An illustration showing part of the new areas

Project History

In April 2015 the MPRB received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership project to develop recreation facilities at Sheridan Memorial Park. The grant was matched with $1 million from Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy Funding, administered by the Metropolitan Council.

Community engagement in 2016 and 2017 helped decide which improvements were chosen for the park and how those improvements were designed. Project work was first bid in 2017 but the bids received exceeded the project budget, so the design was adjusted and bid again in 2018. Construction will occur fall 2018-summer 2019.

A sundial/radial feature will be part of the playground

Park History

A grand opening celebration for the Sheridan Veterans Memorial occurred on June 28, 2014 after nearly 20 years of planning, fundraising and environmental remediation.  Read more of the park’s fascinating backstory on the MPRB website: Sheridan Memorial Park History

Currently the park centers on a large spherical sculpture of protective shields created by local artist Robert Smart. The sculpture is surrounded with quotes about peace engraved into granite and vertical markers describing the ten conflicts in which Minnesotans have served. Smart imbued the steel and granite markers with faces of veterans cast in iron.

In 2016 the Mississippi East Bank Trail opened. The two-way, off-street, lighted riverfront trail runs through the park.

Project Page

Thursday
Oct182018

October News from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Via an October 18 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Parks Foundation:

Making Progress on Water Works

If you’ve been by the Water Works site on the Central Riverfront recently, it’s evident that a great deal of work is being done to prepare the land and mill remnants for the future park's next phase – construction. It's within this context that the Parks Foundation, together with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, recently released a refined design for the project that sets us up for a successful launch. Read More »

Design Team Named for Great Northern Greenway River Link

On October 3, 2018, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved the selection of a design team to advance the 26th Ave N Overlook, a RiverFirst signature project also known as the Great Northern Greenway River Link. The design team is led by two esteemed local firms with ties to the community - TEN X TEN landscape architecture and 4RM+ULA architecture. Design and planning get underway this month, ahead of planned construction and grand opening in 2019. Read More »

"The Nature Fix" with Florence Williams

Join us for opening night of the 2018-2019 Next Generation of Parks Event Series, featuring Florence Williams, renowned author of the best-seller, The Nature Fix. At the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Get your free tickets today! Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30pm • Free Read More »

Three Fall Foliage Superstars

According to the Minnesota DNR, we're at peak leaf-peeping season. Now's the time - with sunshine and more temperate temps - to get out and explore these three sites for maximum color: Wirth Lake (from the boardwalk), West River Parkway near Bassett Creek, and Wabun Park to the Ford Bridge. Read More »

Call for Ideas

In 2018, we introduced small group tours of Minneapolis parks that opened eyes to new places and practices. These events proved so popular last summer that we're expanding the program in 2019. If you have an idea for a location, speaker, or theme that you think we could explore, please share it with Christine Moir at CMoir@MplsParksFoundation.org.

 

Stories and Ideas of Interest and Impact

2018-2019 Next Generation of Parks™ Season

Through the Parks Foundation’s always-free Next Generation of Parks™ events, global design innovators and thought-leaders showcase the most exciting new parks destinations and delve into important issues of place affecting the Twin Cities community today.

Thursday
Oct182018

MNHS Staffer Caps Off Over Year-Long Project to Digitize 700+ Women’s Hats

Via an October 18 e-newsletter from the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS):

While visiting one of the Minnesota Historical Society’s 26 historic sites, you’ll only get a glimpse of a small percentage of the history that MNHS collects for the state of Minnesota. Beneath the Minnesota History Center, MNHS houses hundreds of thousands of items: everything from furniture to maps to historic papers and fashion.

Staff is constantly at work to digitize collections and make them available online to the public. In early 2017, Stephanie Olson, collections associate, noticed a gap in online collections: women’s fashion hats. MNHS has a collection of more than 700 women’s hats, but the public could only explore about 12 percent of that on mnhs.org

So in May 2017, Olson began a project to review and digitize the full collection. In addition to photographing hats as they were worn, she also researched designers, different eras of hat fashion and other information to create robust records documenting the history and style of each hat. 

Olson learned a great deal about women’s fashion history in her work. “The oldest hats we have are from the 1860s, which mirrors women’s fashion trends. Before then, women wore more bonnets,” she said. “The majority of the collection dates from about 1910 to 1950. From the 1960s onward, hats were falling out of fashion, but we do have several from the 21st century.” 

The collection varies from everyday straw and felt hats to more elaborate numbers made of velvet, silk or lace with feathers, beads and even stuffed hummingbirds. The largest one is a Merry Widow-style hat from about 1909 that spans a staggering 22-inches wide. 

Olson completed her work in September 2018, digitizing a total of 717 hats which are now available to view online. 

Her next digitization project? Clothing from national and international designers. “Some people are surprised to learn how fashion forward Minnesotans have always been,” she said. 

Digitization of collections items for online access is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

Thursday
Oct182018

Superintendent Presents Recommended 2019 MPRB Budget, Public Comment Meetings Scheduled

Via an October 17 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

Proposed 2019 MPRB Budget Focuses on Youth Services, Fiscal Responsibility, Environmental Protection and Engaging the Communities' Power

Public comment opportunities scheduled Nov. 7, 14, 28 and Dec. 5

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2019 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) focuses on the four priorities adopted in April by the Board of Commissioners, which this year includes six new commissioners. The budget supports the priorities: invest in youth; be financially sustainable; protect the environment; and engage communities’ power. It also maintains current service levels, continues the use of racial equity tools throughout the budget process, and reflects initiatives to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, including funding to pilot the wrap-around full-service community school/park model.

A wrap-around, full-service site will be the hub in the community where families will have access to resources where all their needs can be met. The Park Board's role in this partnership will be to find where a park and school share the same site and work together to leverage both park and school resources and services in support of young people and their families.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from commissioners, community members, city leaders and state legislators that our city has a critical need for enhanced youth programs and services, and youth violence prevention strategies,” explained Superintendent Mary Merrill. “The Park Board is uniquely positioned to address this need and we appreciate Mayor Frey’s support for the work we do and his down payment towards the ongoing investment needed for youth services. We are very proud to partner with the Mayor and the Minneapolis Public Schools on piloting the new wrap-around, full-service community school/park model for Minneapolis children.”

The Superintendent’s Recommended 2019 Budget totals $120.1 million, including $84.2 million for the general operating fund, $1.8 million for the special revenue fund, $11.9 million for the enterprise operating fund and $22.2 for capital project funding.

For details about Proposed 2019 Budget, public-comment opportunities and 2019 budget initiatives, read the full news release on the MPRB website.

Thursday
Oct182018

Fall Street Sweeping Begins October 23

Minneapolis Public Works will begin the big task of curb-to-curb sweeping and leaf collection on streets throughout the city on Tuesday, Oct. 23. During the four weeks of the comprehensive fall street sweep, crews will clean about 1,000 miles of city streets. To make sure crews can do the best job possible, temporary “No Parking” signs will be posted at least 24 hours in advance so streets will be clear of cars when they’re swept. The first signs will be posted Monday, Oct. 22, and sweeping will begin the next day. Anyone who parks on the street will need to follow posted parking rules or their cars may be ticketed and towed.

Ways to stay informed of the parking rules:

  • No Parking” signs – City crews will post “No Parking” signs at least 24 hours before sweeping any streets. Parking will be banned from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the day a street is swept. The “No Parking” signs will be removed as soon as possible after a street has been completely swept to allow people to resume parking. Vehicles not in compliance with “No Parking” signs may be ticketed and towed to the Minneapolis Impound Lot.
  • Social media – The City will use Facebook and Twitter to post periodic street sweeping updates and information.
  • Phone calls to residents – In addition to the “No Parking” signs that will be posted the day before sweepers come through, the City will make about 3,000 automated phone calls each evening to let residents know their street will be swept the next day.  There’s no guarantee that the calls will reach everyone, so residents should be sure to check the various ways to be aware of the rules, and watch for signs.
  • Interactive web feature – Folks can use a feature on the City’s website to find out when the sweepers are coming through their neighborhoods. The tool will be available at www.minneapolismn.gov/streetsweeping once we get closer to the start date. The fall street sweep takes four weeks, and visitors to the website will be able to find out which week their street is scheduled to be swept. Then, on the weekend before each of the four weeks, the schedule for the upcoming week will be broken down to show which day of the week streets are scheduled to be swept.
  • Videos – Street sweeping is explained in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish as part of the City’s  “Did you know…” series of short videos that can be viewed at www.YouTube.com/cityofminneapolis and on Minneapolis City TV. Residents who have friends or neighbors who speak these languages are encouraged to share links to the videos.
    • English: See how and why Minneapolis sweeps streets and what you can do to help keep streets and waterways clean in this video from the Minneapolis “Did you know…” series.
    • Spanish: Vea en este video de las series “Sabia Usted” como y porque Minneapolis barre las calles y limpia las vias fluviales.
    • Somali: Ka daawo fiidyowga taxanaha… ee Minneapolis ee loo yaqaan “Ma Ogtahay” siyaabaha iyo sababaha minneapolis jidadka ay u xaaqido oo ogow sidii aad uga caawin lahayd ilaalinta nadaafada jidadka iyo biyo mareenada.
    • Hmong: Yog xav paub ntxiv, sais nroog Minneapolis cov tshooj xov xwm hu, “Koj pos paub.”
Wednesday
Oct172018

Video from Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) Celebrates 25 Years of Progress

To celebrate 25 years, Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) collaborated on a film showcasing their programs, stories and reflections by members and friends, and of course beautiful footage of the Mississippi River. Set aside 10 minutes to learn and enjoy!

Wednesday
Oct172018

Join MnDOT for a Bus and Bike Tour of the 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project October 28

Via an October 17 e-newsletter from MnDOT:

Join us for a bus and bike tour

Join our project team for a bus and bike tour of the 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project. During the tour, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about the project from the 35W@94 team and learn about project benefits including the new Lake St. Transit Station and Midtown Greenway Green Crescent while biking or driving through the project area. This event is free for the public to attend. For more information or to RSVP, please email amy@willow-consulting.com by Oct. 24 to secure your spot for either tour.

October 28, Kingfield Farmers Market, 10 - 11:30am

More About This Project
To learn more, including all current traffic impacts and detour routes, visit the project website at: mndot.gov/35w94.
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Metro Transit bus routes will be impacted as a result of construction. For updated route information, and to sign up for Rider Alerts, visit metrotransit.org/35W.
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Minnesota Valley Transit Authority routes will be impacted as a result of construction. For updated route information, visit mvta.com.
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Stay Connected
- Visit the project website:  mndot.gov/35w94
- Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/mndot and Twitter: @mndotnews
- Email the project team at info@35w94.com
- Call the project hotline at 612-284-6125 
- For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota visit 511mn.org/ or dial 5-1-1. 
Wednesday
Oct172018

Sumunar At The Southern Theater!

Sounds and Sights of Indonesia presented by Sumunar Indonesian Music and Dance this week at The Southern Theater

The cultural of Indonesian art comes alive this weekend as Sumunar Indonesian Music and Dance presents two programs at The Southern Theater. Endang Nawangsih: Thirst for Water, presented as a dance drama, is based on a folk tale of a young woman’s quest to secure fresh water for her village, while encountering a prince and evil ogres along the way. Featured guest dancers Wisnu Wicaksono and Baghawan Ciptoning will join the Sumunar Dance Ensemble to perform contemporary and traditional Indonesian dance in this performance on Thursday and Friday evening at 7:30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2pm.

Saturday evening’s performance Javanese Classics highlights the traditional music of Java. Again featuring distinguished guest dancers Wicaksono and Ciptoning, this performance also showcases world-renowned Javanese Gamelan musicians I.M. Harjito, Midiyanto, Djoko Walujo, and Darsono Hadiraharjo. Both programs bring the beautiful artistry of Indonesian music and dance to the forefront. Ornate costumes accompany the musical gamelan ensemble, featuring bronze percussion instruments and gongs that echo the sounds of the Islands.

For those wanting to experience a bit of the artistry first hand, Sumunar is offering a free dance workshop with Wisnu Wicaksono on Tuesday, October 16, 5:30-7 p.m., at the Southern Theater.

Show dates and times:
Thursday, October 18 at 7:30pm
Friday, October 19 at 7:30pm
Saturday, October 20 at 2:00pm
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Tickets:
Tickets available at southerntheater.org 
General admission: $20 online, $24 at the door. 
Students and seniors 65+: $12 
ARTshare members: Free
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About Sumunar Indonesian Music and Dance 
In Indonesia, the word sumunar means a glowing, brilliant light-one that is radiant and beautiful, and one that illuminates and warms the soul. Dedicated to teaching, performing and sharing the arts and culture of Indonesia, Sumunar’s mission is to promote understanding and appreciation for Indonesian music dance and culture through education and performance.  Established in 2002, Sumunar offers community classes in Javanese gamelan and dance; school residencies that teach traditional music, dance, and puppetry; and public performances of music dance and wayang kulit (shadow puppets). www.sumunar.org
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About The Southern Theater
A historic Minneapolis theater, The Southern opened its doors in 1910, offering a variety of entertainment.Throughout the 20th century, The Southern played many roles: arts venue, warehouse, antique shop and restaurant, to name a few. The Southern resumed its role as a theater when the Guthrie Theater renovated the space for use as a second stage. With the assistance of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, The Southern Theater Foundation emerged in its present nonprofit structure in 1983.
Today The Southern remains a performing arts venue offering almost 50 weeks of programming to its patrons per year. In 2018, The Southern's signature ARTshare initiative will collaborate with more than 25 artists and companies to present a wide range of performances. Audiences may purchase monthly ARTshare memberships which provides access to all ARTshare shows. Learn more at www.southerntheater.org. 
Monday
Oct152018

Replacement of West River Parkway Wood Plank Trail Continues This Fall

 

85-foot section of wood plank trail will be replaced over 2-3 weeks; parkway remains open

The second phase of a project that will eventually replace all planks on the West River Parkway Wood Plank Trail is scheduled to begin in late October. Construction is expected to take two to three weeks to complete.

Closures and Detours

  • During construction, the east (river) side of West River Parkway Trail will be closed between Portland Avenue and 11th Avenue South. The parkway will remain open.
  • Pedestrians will use a detour to the sidewalk across the parkway. 
  • Bicyclists may choose to use the parkway or travel south one block and use the bike lane on Second Street.
  • Motorists traveling in this area must use caution and share the road with bicycle traffic.

Project Details

  • Last year approximately 100 linear feet of planks were replaced. This work is Phase II, which will replace another 85 linear feet.
  • The new planks are made from Douglas Fir, replacing the old White Oak planks.
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board maintenance and planning staff are evaluating the new plank design before replacing the entire plank trail, which will occur as funding becomes available.

Project History

  • 2003: This section of West River Parkway (between Portland and 11th Aves.) was converted to an oak plank road similar to the original plank road used during the area's milling heyday. 
  • 2010: The parkway planks were replaced by concrete due to deterioration of the wood and noise the planks created under the weight of motorized traffic.
  • 2015: Some of the most-deteriorated trail planks were replaced as part of a project that repaved and realigned more than three miles of West River Parkway Trail.
  • 2016: A report assessing the state of the plank road and alternatives was published: Plank Road/Trail Assessment and Alternatives [PDF]
  • 2017: Approximately 100 linear feet of trail planks were replaced, beginning at Portland Avenue and traveling north.
  • 2018 and beyond: Planks will continue to be replaced as funding becomes available.
About this project
The West River Parkway Wood Plank Trail Replacement project will eventually replace all of the warped wooden planks on West River Parkway Trail near Mill Ruins Park. 
Monday
Oct152018

Discover More Local Flora and Fauna with "A Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities"

Here's a new reference book for anyone who likes to get out and explore our beautiful landscape.

A Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities

By John J. Moriarty
Photography by Siah L. St. Clair
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John J. Moriarty is a congenial expert on the remarkable diversity of plants and animals in the region’s habitats, from prairies and savannas to woods and wetlands, to fens and bogs, lakes and rivers, and urban and suburban spots. Featuring remarkable photographs, maps, and commentary on natural history, this field guide invites readers to investigate the Twin Cities’ wildlife.
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John is senior manager of wildlife for the Three Rivers Park District. He has been a natural resources manager for the park systems of Ramsey and Hennepin counties and has been active in local natural history organizations. He is author of five books on Minnesota natural history, including, with Carol D. Hall, Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota (Minnesota, 2014). 

Siah L. St. Clair was director of Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, Minnesota, for thirty-five years. He serves on the board of directors of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis and has been involved in state and national environmental education and interpretation programs.

More info.

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