NeighborhoodFest® and Summit
I hosted the 6th Annual NeighborhoodFest® and Summit. The University of Minnesota’s Metropolitan Design Center and world famous experts on sustainable development from Stockholm, Sweden, who developed the Hammarby Sjöstad Sustainable City Development, joined us in a special symposium.
The University's symposium shared ideas that demonstrate increased sustainability in housing due to design and sustainability principles that attract people to live in a community that re-uses and recycles 90% of their waste on site, utilizes passive solar energy and the reuse of waste to generate heating and cooling mechanisms for the entire community in Hammarby Sjostad.
- When I first took office in 2006, I initiated monthly Community CARE Meetings in order to improve public safety and housing in the Third Ward. These meetings continue to identify solutions to housing, safety and livability problems. I have held over 160 communities meeting to effectively deal with public safety and communicate with our ward.
- The City Council passed stronger rental property licensing which I authored, and noise ordinances which I supported.
- I initiated the SE Strategic Task Force in conjunction with the 2nd Police Precinct and the University of Minnesota in order to identify solutions to challenges that became apparent after the 2009 Dinkytown riots. Working in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, we focused on top offenders and achieved an 18% reduction in complaints from neighbors.
- In the 4th Precinct, we saw burglaries go down 12% and 238 guns were taken off the street. In the 2nd Precinct, we saw a 60% crime reduction in focus zones, violent crime down by 80%, property crimes down by 68% and livability crimes down 23%.
- I initiated the Entertainment District Management Work Group, collaboration between police, my office, regulatory services and liquor-serving businesses whose goal it is to identify and address bar-closing problems and livability issues.
- I collaborated with city departments and neighborhoods to shut down long-term problem businesses that had been havens for illegal activity, resulting in double-digit crime reduction in the ward and revitalization of West Broadway and the North Side.
- I continued to work on issues of predatory lending and home foreclosure.
- I initiated the approvals for a new senior housing project with St. Marion’s, which was completed this year. The Catholic Eldercare Senior Housing addition on 2nd Street was approved.
- I worked with Public Works and business to reduce traffic congestion in the Plymouth-Marshall-Broadway area. Through joint work with the business community and our public works traffic department we were able to make adjustments to the traffic pattern in order to increase the overall traffic flow in the neighborhood.
- In my role on the City Council, I work to ensure our infrastructure is safe and adequate. Plymouth Avenue Bridge reopened for foot traffic and bikes in 2011. I made sure it stayed a top priority for funding by the State of Minnesota. The traffic lanes will be reduced in order to accommodate lanes for bikers and pedestrians. The RiverFirst project is also working with me to add additional lighting and other pathways to make the Bridge more pedestrian-friendly and connect our three great parks on the riverfront in this are: Boom Island, BF Nelson, and our newest Park the Scherer Brothers Park. The restoration of Hall’s Island as a natural island along the Mississippi fly-over zone will be included in our plans.
- I continued to promote mass transit options and worked with groups examining feasibility and implementation of mass transit along the Bottineau Corridor, the North Star Commuter Rail and the Central Corridor LRT.
Environmental Stewardship and Green
- After seeing how green design could improve a community, I facilitated a Sustainable Neighborhood Design Conference & Symposium at the University of Minnesota, sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Building Research and the Metropolitan Design Center. Participants included an international group from the Hammarby Sjöstad Project in Stockholm. Other featured developments included UMORE Park in Rosemount, the University District Alliance, The Ford Plant Site in St. Paul, and Eco-Village in North Minneapolis.
- In the Sheridan Neighborhood, Veterans Memorial Park moved forward to become another new park in the Northeast neighborhood. The Sheridan neighborhood did not have a park in their community. The project has been a multiyear project with community fundraising & joint collaboration with the Minneapolis Parks Board, staff, my Third Ward office and the City of Minneapolis departments.
- I serve on the Homegrown Minneapolis-Implementation Task Force which continues to advocate for the expansion of healthy food options in Minneapolis. In 2011, approximately 18 acres of land was growing food in the city and 18 new community gardens became available. An inventory of community kitchens identified 30 kitchens that could be used for food processing. Homegrown Minneapolis developed small business training and financial opportunities and provided resources to get 21 mini-farmers-markets off the ground. The South Hawthorne community garden was installed. The first community garden was in the Beltrami Neighborhood, in Northeast and continues to grow. The site was a problem property which I worked with the community to demolish and turn into the successful garden.
The University-District Alliance
- The Alliance is historic new initiative between the University of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis and the Second and Third Wards, created to foster community relationships and encourage economic growth by working to make the University District an area where people of all ages want to live, work, learn, do business and visit. In 2011, we initiated three new action programs: the Live Near Your Work initiative, the Homeownership Preservation Program and the Homebuyer Incentive Program.
- On your behalf, I serve on key organizations involved with development of the Mississippi Riverfront. In 2011, I served on the design completion steering committee for Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board and the Parks Board Foundation Board which participated in the biggest competition in the state’s history – a riverfront design competition called RiverFirst. Fifty-five teams competed to design 220 acres of parkland along both sides of the Mississippi from the Stone Arch Bridge to the City of Minneapolis limits. Out of this process we chose the four finalists.
Business & Economic Development
Much of the work I do on the City Council clears the way for new businesses to take root in our community. In 2011, several new businesses began, or are being built, in the Third Ward, including:
- Psycho Suzie’s, the first Riverfront restaurant in the City of Minneapolis.
- Red Stag Supper Club, Minneapolis’ first LEED-certified restaurant in the City of Minneapolis. This restaurant uses locally organic food with a creative twist.