At our 5th Annual Neighborhood Summit, we celebrated our partnerships with focus on our Riverfront with RiverFirst Project, the riverfront design competition, spotlighting the Hawthorne Eco Village and our participation in World Habitat Day - with the visit of former president Jimmy Carter to our community for the Habitat for Humanity World Habitat day in the Hawthorne Neighborhood. Twenty-six homes were built or had improvements in the week-long celebration of our collaboration with Habitat for Humanity recognizing the need of affordable housing for our community. Over 300 people from across the Metro area came to work on homes. I learned how to use power tools and to apply siding during the week long project, and worked with President Jimmy Carter, and Mrs. Carter, and Vice President Walter Mondale cutting and applying siding and discussing the Hawthorne Neighborhood and the City of Minneapolis.
The Southeast Strategic Compliance Team was created to solve ongoing issues related to noisy and unruly properties in Southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods and the Dinkytown riots of 2009, using public education and enforcement as a key method of resources to reach out into the community. My office, along with City of Minneapolis Regulatory Services, 2nd Police Precinct, Fire Department, Dinkytown Businesses, the University of Minnesota and neighborhoods came together and implemented the team to coordinate resources and efforts to effectively work with landlords, tenants, residents, businesses and homeowners encourage a culture of responsible party activities. Our goal is to improve neighborhood livability by engaging property owners and residents to achieve positive results with our partners is our goal. University students are actively engaged in the activities and giving input for solutions.
- On September 3, the Minneapolis City Council accepted $60,000 from the University of Minnesota to provide enhanced police enforcement for neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota campus, Marcy Holmes in the Ward.
- A long-term problem property was demolished at 2220 Marshall St NE. It is now parkland along our Riverfront.
- The Hawthorne Eco-Village is truly a showpiece of green housing. It received national attention in 2010 when former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn visited as part of the Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity, a weeklong rehabbing and building tour that was hosted in the Twin Cities. Carter called the Hawthorne neighborhood “the nicest neighborhood I ever worked in.”
- St. Maron’s Senior Housing project was completed this year – a project that is a complement to the community, and replaced deterring housing in the community. It is one of many housing efforts I have worked on here in the Third Ward to promote quality housing for our residents.
- As a strong advocate for green housing development, I helped to to see the 1st LEED Certified housing completed on the North Side in Hawthorne Eco-Village. The Project Pride for Living home demonstrated sustainability and affordability in the neighborhood. The total cost of heating and cooling the home during one of the coldest winters and hottest summers was $400 for the year.
- The Minneapolis Advantage plan, one of many initiatives I was involved in, for homeownership expanded to the Sheridan neighborhood. The program assists with down payment, closing costs and renovation costs and offers a $10,000 zero-percent interest loan that is forgivable over five years to anyone buying a home in one of the eligible neighborhoods.
- The City established a new Audit Committee, on which I serve as chair with three members. This committee is responsible for oversight of the City’s internal audit function, financial reporting practices, internal controls, compliance with applicable law, and regulation relating to financial controls and other related matters to ensure strong fiscal responsibility.
On December 30, 2009 Scherer Brothers Lumber closed its Minneapolis Lumber yard, and sold the property to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. The purchase added 8 acres of Riverfront Park to Northeast Minneapolis, and ignited the idea of the RiverFirst Project! This business was the first business that I visited as the Council Member and began the discussion of their plans for their location. The property lies within the area of the Above the Falls Master Plan, adopted by the Metropolitan Council, City Council, and the Park Board. At the December 16, 2009 meeting the Minneapolis Park Board approved an agreement with Scherer Brothers Lumber to purchase Mississippi riverfront land. Our new Riverfront Park in Northeast was born!
The University District Alliance
I was instrumental in the formation of this historic partnership, working with our legislative leaders, the University of Minnesota and Southeast Neighborhoods to establish, for the first time, formal ties between the University and the community and City within which it exists. The Alliance will work to define a vision for the future development of the District that recognizes the advantages of living close to a major urban university and the need for a livable environment. I serve on the steering committee for the University District Alliance.
Environmental Stewardship & Green Space
- I serve on the new Homegrown Minneapolis Implementation Task Force which seeks to make healthy, locally grown food available to Minneapolis residents. The Task Force identified 24 city-owned parcels on which community gardens could be created, and 30 community kitchens that could be used for food-related businesses. On April 20th the City held a ground-breaking ceremony for the 1st Community Garden of the city’s community garden pilot program, which is located at 1213 Spring Street NE in the Beltrami Neighborhood.
- The Parkland Dedication Ordinance was signed in September to improve the ability of the City and the Park Board to preserve and develop parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities, wetlands, trails and open space areas within the City, which are essential to maintaining a healthy and desirable environment for residents and persons employed within the city. This is another example of my strong action-oriented approach to improve the quality of life of all stakeholders in our community.
I remain heavily involved in transit issues in Third Ward neighborhoods and on projects throughout the city. In 2010, we developed new bike paths and boulevards in my area along 18th Avenue, 5th Street NE/22nd Avenue NE, and Fillmore St NE/6th Ave SE.
Business & Economic Development
The 13th Avenue Business District has become a lively commercial corridor that includes art galleries, shops, unique restaurants and the renovated Historic Ritz Theater and Ballet of the Dolls. As a result of our collaborative approach, it received national recognition in the New York Times Sunday paper as a destination. Together we have added new businesses and created a fun, safe atmosphere.