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Minneapolis Riverfront News

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


Today - Cake Eater Cupcakes with Sheela Namakkal at Mill City Museum 

Location: Mill City Museum, 704 South Second Street

Times: Noon and 2:00pm

Fee: Programs included with museum admission of $10 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free for MHS members.

Baker Sheela Namakkal of Cake Eater Bakery will share her genius for unique cupcakes in the museum’s Baking Lab, talk about where she gets her inspiration, give advice on the skills it takes to create the perfect cupcake and offer of her tasty treats.


Plan for 35w Bridge Memorial Approved by Minneapolis City Council

The I-35W bridge memorial has overcome its final hurdle, construction could begin next month.  The Minneapolis City Council gave the green light to the $1.5 million project last Friday. The project will not involve city funds, but instead will be paid for with money from a legal settlement.


Mill City Museum's "Arts on the River Day Camp" Part of Minnesota Historical Society's Summer 2011 Camp Lineup

The Minnesota Historical Societyoffers a wide variety of summer camps, including the popular "Little House in the Big Fort" and "Huck Finn" camps at Historic Fort Snelling, named "Best Camps for Kids" by in 2008.

This years line up includes "Arts on the River Day Camp" for ages 9 - 11 at Mill City Museum. This camp runs July 5 – 8 from 9:00am to 3:00pm each day. 

Participants will play music, get creative, bake bread and construct books while exploring the rich culture along the Minneapolis riverfront district.  They'll enjoy a new experience each day at four top arts centers, including Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater, Minnesota Center for Book Arts and MacPhail Center for Music. Campers will start each day at Mill City Museum and walk with camp leaders less than three blocks to each art organization. 

This camp is limited to 22 participants.  Click here for online registration.


City of Minneapolis Announces Historic Resources Survey

Brian Schaffer, Senior City Planner for the City of Minneapolis, recently announced the schedule of locations, dates and times for public meetings to introduce the Historic Resources Survey project.

The purpose of the survey is to:

- Identify unknown historic properties.
- Recommend properties for further study.
- Make informed decisions about the significance and protection of historic resources.
- Develop goals and strategies for preservation as well as neighborhood planning.

The city is divided into several Survey Areas, and the Mill District is part of the Central Core Survey.   The meeting for our neighborhood will be held Thursday, February 17, from 6:00pm-7:30pm at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

Residents can also tell the City what's historical in their neighborhoods by completing an online survey.

The City was first surveyed for historic resources in the 1970s, and many of todays designated landmarks and historic districts are a result of the original survey.  Since 2001, CPED has conducted a re-survey of historic resources in Minneapolis that has been funded by grants from the Minnesota Historical Society and matched by City dollars. The City has undertaken the re-survey because the aging of properties, changing attitudes about which types of historic resources need to be identified, e.g. historic landscapes, cultural and ethnic group resources. The survey will help achieve the Citys goal of documenting historic resources throughout the entire city over a ten-year period, which is scheduled for completion in 2011.


Tonight - Something Like a Bird - Jazz Thursdays at MacPhail Center for Music 

Something Like a Bird

Featuring: Adam Linz, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; Michael Lewis, saxophones; Chris Thomson, saxophones; Greg Lewis, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Stefan Kac, tuba; Dave Karr, baritone saxophone.

Tickets $10 Adult, $5 Youth

Come and see why Charles Mingus has been called a modern day extension to Duke Ellington as we explore the large ensemble side of his life. Whether writing for a trio or a 38 piece large ensemble, his voice is so recognizable that it echoes throughout the history of American music.

More info...


This Friday Night - Idea Local Party at CorAzoN

Join the party from 5:00pm-9:00pm at CorAzoN, 1026 Washington Avenue South, to celebrate Idea Local: Minnesota's Finest Creatives!

Guests for the evening include:

Andrea Bidelman introduces her new line of Hobo inspired products.

Penny Larsen - Penny Larsen Jewelry - One of the areas best know jewelry designers introduces her new line of Minnesota jewelry and silver zip code charms...and just in time for Valentines day a new take on her most recognized designs a series of heart pendents - hand crafted, handcut and cast by Penny.

Kristin Knych - Doodle Bird Designs Hip, stylish, stationary!

Charlie Hanson - New Valentine cards, original art work and of course Charlie's book - When Words Get in the Way

Judy Grasamke - Urban lunch bags for him and her

Robert Cohanim - Historical Remedies Line

Barry Rubin & Ruthie Steller - 12 1/2 Steps Drink Coasters

Ginnie Peterson - New Encaustic work from Ginnie

The lovely Sophia and Noel will provide music - come dance and enjoy with us!


Announcing the Mill District Media Wire "The Wire"

Last night we launched the latest update to Mill City Times - The Wire - to bring you the best of an ever growing stream of video and cool photos relating to the Mill District of Minneapolis.

Each day we'll be posting the best of the web - things we find or that you send us - for your viewing pleasure.  With such a target rich environment, we have more to choose from than we can handle.  Help us out with your suggestions.


Snow Emergency Declared for Minneapolis

Parking restrictions begin at 9 p.m. tonight.

During the Snow Emergency, Winter Parking Restrictions are not in effect beginning at 4 p.m. today (Monday). They will resume again at 8 a.m. Thursday, February 3, 2011.

Go to the City's snow information web site, or call the Snow Emergency Hotline: (612) 348-SNOW (7669). 

Crews can only plow the full width of the street if cars are out of the way. Please follow Snow emergency parking rules or your vehicle will be tagged and/or towed to the Minneapolis Impound Lot.


People Serving People - So Much More Than Emergency Housing

I remember noticing the neatly painted People Serving People(PSP) building while standing on the Light Rail platform at the Dome, and wondering what is was.  Well, now I know.

Amy Jenkins, Director of Development, and Lauren Rimestad, Development Coordinator, recently gave Dave and me an in-depth tour. We were amazed at what an incredible facility it is, and I'm almost at a loss as to where to begin sharing all the positive programs they have in place.

PSP has come a long way since 1982, when it began as a temporary homeless shelter for men with chemical dependencies. The first location was the former Francis Drake Hotel at 416 South 10th Street. 

Over the years homelessness changed from affecting mostly men with chemical and mental health problems, to affecting families with children.  Now located at 614 South 3rd Street, PSP has evolved to address that change.  It is a family-only shelter, which last year averaged 318 guests per night, with an average family size of three.  While there's no time limit on how long a family can live there, the average stay is 38 days. Click here for additional statistics.

Because it's so much more than emergency housing, extensive planning went into the current 10-floor facility.  This assured PSP could fulfull their mission to serve homeless children and their families, providing new opportunities for a healthy, stable family life, as well as self-sufficiency.

In addition to the 99 hotel-size rooms and 10 two-bedroom apartments, PSP houses:

22 Collaborative agencies, such as Minneapolis Public Schools, At Home Group Partnerships for Independence, and University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development.   The full list can be viewed on their website.

There is both an Infant Center and Early Childhood Development Center.  The schedule maintained at the ECD center provides daily structure to help children feel safe and ease anxieties.  There are 52 available spaces for children under 5, and PSP partners with Head Start when the demand is higher than spaces available.


The full service dining hall serves 1,000 meals every day, all prepared in the industrial kitchen.  In addition, the Culinary Arts Training Program takes place here.  This progressive program offers specific skills to those interested in culinary arts.  Students train for 13 weeks in areas of sanitation, food preparation, equipment, soups and more. Each graduate is given a uniform, cookbook, a set of industrial kitchen knives and a certificate.  More importantly, they are given an opportunity to earn a livable wage.



In the Technology Center, parents learn how to navigate the Internet for help with job searches and creating resumes.  Each family is assigned a Employment Counselor.  There are also classrooms for tutoring and after school activities, as well as a children's library.  Upon leaving PSP, children can take books with them.  Donations of children's books are always welcome, along with both children's clothes and items for the Career Ware Closet for adults.


The onsite health clinic is staffed by a Nurse Practioner, RN's and Public Health Nurse.  Hennepin County works with residents on health insurance matters.

To assure the facility is a safe environment for residents, staff, volunteers and collaborative partners, everyone entering PSP must first go through the security station (including metal detector). Just beyond security is the service center.  There are 5 Case Manager/Advocates on staff, and each family is assigned their own Case Manager. 


Thanks to funding from Cummins Power Generation and anonymous donors, PSP will be adding a rooftop vegetable garden this year.  Ecological Gardens of Minneapolis is designing and installing the project.  Their rooftop designs include features such as earthboxes, SIPs (sub-irrigated planters), raised beds, light weight soil mixes, trellising and shade and hail netting.  Although designed to be low-maintenance, PSP will be looking to volunteers to help make the vegetable garden a success. 

Each family's situation and challenges are unique, and the transition from being homeless to having a home is not easy.  PSP tries to stay in touch with families, but lack of a phone number and frequent address changes makes follow up communication difficult to maintain.  A new initiative being discussed is basic life skills training, such as personal finances.

In addition to a full time staff of 60 and the collaborative agencies, PSP operates with the help of numerous volunteers.   Last year, 1,000 volunteers performed 30,000 hours of service! Lindsey Tiede is PSP's Volunteer Coordinator.  She can be reached at 612-277-0256 or

I've really only touched the surface, but luckily PSP maintains an informative website where you can learn more.

Mill City Times looks forward to partnering with PSP to assist with visibility, fundraising, and promoting volunteer activities.


City, Shamrock Still Sparring Over Parcel Next to Pending Park Vista Condo Project

From the Star Tribune:

Shamrock Development Inc. and Minneapolis city planners are sparring over a patch of land that the city owns near the Guthrie Theater.

The Coon Rapids-based developer in October submitted the sole proposal for developing 1100 2nd St. S. in the Mill District, a 9,730-square-foot plot, or less than a quarter of an acre, that the city owns. But the two still haven't struck a deal.

The city is asking $437,850 for the spot, which sits across the street from Gold Medal Park near the river and Interstate 35W. It's one of the last Mill District properties to be developed.

Price is the main sticking point but not the only one, said Miles Mercer, a project coordinator handling the sale with Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development. Mercer wouldn't describe the other issues.

Jim Stanton, the veteran developer who heads Shamrock, is tight-lipped. He won't say how important the land is to his plans for a new condo project next to the site. He would only say he wants the matter resolved.

Shamrock has proposed building a 150-unit condo building next to the parcel tentatively called Park Vista, and bought two bank-owned parcels on 12th Avenue S. and one at 1102 2nd St. S. for the project. The parcels had gone back to the bank after developer Steve Frenz tried unsuccessfully to develop a large upscale apartment complex there called the Marmont.

Stanton said he has no idea when he might break ground on Park Vista. Last fall he tangled with the city over the allowable number of parking spaces for the project.

Read the full article...


Fitness Professional Benefits from Using a Personal Trainer

Meet Carol - high-energy, exercise-loving spin instructor. 

Why on earth would Carol seek out a personal trainer?  She took time after her 75-minute Friday Night Happy Hour RealRyder spin class with Andrea at 501SP1N to explain why:

Email Andrea Austin at if you'd like to try a complimentary RealRyder spin class at 501SP1N, or if you have a fitness or nutrition question. 


501F1T Included in Star Trib's January 27 Special Publication "balance"

The Star Tribune has an ongoing series, Specialty Publications.  501F1T, a work out destination in the Mill District, and staff member Diana Broschka, were included in the most recent Specialty Publication, "balance". 


Mill District City Apartment Open House Held January 25

Earlier this week Mill District City Apartments held their Open House, showcasing the gorgeous features that weren't yet installed during our last visit for the November 2010 Ribbon Cutting ceremony.  Attendees were greeted by the lovely music of PR Con Brio.


Now 65% leased, residents enjoy a lengthy list of first class amenities.  Here are a few:

Below, the comfy lounge area just off the main entry includes reading material, flat screen TV and simulated fireplace.


Next, a top notch party room. Although not shown in this picture, there's a beautiful fireplace opposite the bar.


A cedar sauna is just outside the work out facility, which is equipped with top of the line equipment, flat screen TV's and enough weights, etc., to keep any hardbody from getting bored.


Along side the sauna and work out area is an indoor pool and jacuzzi. 




And what pool area would be complete without a movie screen?  Avatar was playing the during the Open House.


The movie screen is viewable simultaneously in the pool area and outside.  No doubt the patio area will see plenty of entertaining this summer.


This sculpture gives promise of the courtyard to come.  We look forward to visiting again when the courtyard is completed.


The living wall is doing well, too!


Stay tuned for information on who will be filling Mill District City Apartments' street-level retail space at the corner of Washington Avenue South and Portal Avenue! 


Live Tonight - Minneapolis Riverfront Design Presentations

Tonight at 7:00 PM.  If you don't have tickets, you can view the presentation webcast live on the Walker's MR|DC, where it will also be archived.

Two-hundred and fifty free tickets became available on Tuesday, January 4, and by Thursday afternoon all available seats had been reserved.  The Walker will have an in-person wait list starting at 6:00pm prior to the lecture for those who check in at the box office.  Luckily, the event will be webcast live and archived at

The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition finalists are:

Ken Smith Workshop | New York City
Stoss Landscape Urbanism | Boston
Tom Leader Studio | Berkeley
Turenscape | Beijing

The teams' collective work includes award-winning riverfront and industrial reclamation park projects, in places such as Shanghai, Memphis, Toronto, New York City, Dubai, Milwaukee and London.  Fifty-five design teams responded to the RFQ.


Paying Tribute to Betsy Doermann, Champion for the Mill District

Dave and I did not have the honor of meeting Betsy Doermann, nor were we familiar with the influence she had on the Mill District as it stands today.  However, when we were notified of Betsy's recent passing by Mill City Museum Director, Laura Salveson, we felt Betsy deserved a tribute in Mill City Times. 

Per Laura, "Betsy was a force of life, and will be remembered for her passion and for her work on many projects for the Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Board and the  Minnesota Historical Society, but perhaps most of all for her tireless work in coordination with many others to open the Stone Arch Bridge, opening the James J. Hill House to the public, Mill City Museum and engaging people in the story of the Saint Anthony Falls Heritage Zone and the redevelopment of the Minneapolis riverfront."

Betsy's obituary is available online.


Thoughtful Responses to Minneapolis Riverfront Design Survey

The Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition conducted a survey of Minneapolis residents on their thoughts and hopes for the Minneapolis Riverfront.  It was a rather long survey (I participated) covering a wide range of topics.  The survey results have been posted, and what struck me while reading the report was the time people spent giving detailed, meaningful answers.  There is passion for the future of our river, and I hope the jury for the design competition takes the time to thoroughly review what the respondents had to say.  The people behind the scenes of this competition are doing a great job so far.

Here's a small sample of questions and answers:

What recreational activities do you think are missing or are too far away from you?

"As mentioned, the northside is isolated unless one gets in a car or on a bus from the rest of the city trails and parks. The river front design should not be just linear as it currently appears to be. It needs to be designed to draw people to the river, to offer all that connection, especially those neighborhoods that are only a couple of miles from the river."

"We need a better canoe and kayak system, either private or public or both. We need better trail connections, completing the Mississippi River trail through N and NE, and between Main Street and the University of MN."

What kind of cultural activities do you think are missing or are not well represented in your community?

"Minneapolis has good cultural opportunities including excellent art museums, theaters, and orchestras. It is one of the reasons that I decided to move here. The idea of a bandshell on the Mississippi with the Minnesota Symphony performing on a warm summer night (with no planes flying overhead like Lake Harriet) is very attractive to me."

"Minneapolis has great immigrant communities from east Africa and Latin America, and would love to see more celebrations involving their culture. Also celebrate the past immigrant cultures who are still present today."

What excites you about this portion of the Mississippi and its banks?

"The potential of the river, if properly developed, to have a positive influence on the surrounding neighborhoods. This includes the well-to-do residents in condos near downtown and the poorer people who live within a stone's throw of the river but hardly ever experience it."

"The beauty of the rushing water and of the green shady trees along the river's banks make me feel a deep inner happiness, a sense of peace and of faith. I grew up near creeks and trees, and spent countless afternoons alone in the dappled sunlight, watching the water ripple over the rocks and fallen branches. Now as an adult, when I look out of my condo window at the Mississippi River, framed by the cottonwoods on the banks, I feel at home in my heart and so grateful to be alive--here."

"It creates a space for reflection in the heart of the city, a place where people meet nature every day, and a place that is constantly changing. It provides a wide open view that showcases our downtown and our historic milling district. Some days it is mysteriously misty with vapor, and the next it is a jjigsaw puzzle with jagged ice chunks. It provides a natural, linear feature for people to exercise and watch nature, and to understand how central water and nature are to our health. It is a vivid connector, while it appears to divide our community."

What brings you to the river?

"Many things. The need to commute to work, the desire for exercise and fresh air, the opportunity to be in a crowd of people, the chance to take a nice walk to a play at the Guthrie or to the downtown library without getting on a bus or driving a car."

"My nose, I usually end up there when out on walks - its a lovely destination and my best option from my house - do I go south the busy street and White Castle? North to the railroad tracks and industrial buildins? west through endless residential? or east to the gorgeous always changing infamous Mississipp? Its a pretty easy call."

What is the greatest impediment to your getting to the river?

On the west bank near downtown, the development along the river has been done in such a way that it forms a Great Wall between the city and the river. In sequence there are Gold Medal Park, the Guthrie, the old mill area, the RiverWest condos, the US Post Office, and the Federal Reserve. Each of these buildings/developments is at least two city blocks in length. This dead ends many of the streets that would otherwise terminate at the river. Granted, because of the elevation change it would have been difficult for these streets to end right at the river and the train tracks (now removed) made access historically difficult, but some better planning (Gold Medal Park, the Guthrie, RiverWest and the Federal Reserve aren't that old) could have made the path from the city to the river much more obvious and inviting. The Post Office doesn't have to be there any more (at least not as an industrial site with heavy trucks coming and going) and the Federal Reserve is mostly empty space these days because we use credit cards instead of paper checks and money (Take a tour in the summer and check it out. They are going out of business.).

What would compel you to go there (river or parkland above St. Anthony Falls) more often?

"I personally would like to see a series of unique experiences at different locations consistent with the fact that the river is flowing through a developed area and not a meandering across the wide open spaces. I live in the city because I want activity and I welcome development at the river that will draw more people to this area."

"Continuous trails and paths along both sides of the river with a natural shoreline, wetlands and trees. Residential communities along the river would add to the draw because it would bring additional people and activities. There should be places to stop for coffee, snacks and meals. Canoe and kayak rentals similar to bike rentals would be a nice feature so everyone does not have to bring their own canoe if they want to go for a short paddle on the river. There should be wildlife areas along the river that provide habitat but also enhance the opportunity to see and enjoy the beauty of nature."


Wines of France - Seminar Tonight at Sorella Wines & Spirits

Time: 5:30pm-7:00pm

Location: 1010 Washington Avenue South

Presented by Stephen Gaucher, President of Wine Adventures, De Moines, Iowa.

Stephen specializes in small, traditional French producers from both the prestige appellations and lesser-known regions. He has been a perrenial favorite at tastings and seminars both at Sorella and Liquor Depot. This seminar will feature selections from Champagne, the Loire, the Rhone, Lanquedoc and Bordeaux.

Please call the store, 612-339-4040, to reserve your space; space is limited to the first 22 people to respond for each event.


City Gardens Flower Mill - The Place to go for Unique Valentine's Arrangements and More

City Gardens Flower Mill is a wonderful floral and gift shop in the Mill District, located at 231 10th Avenue South in the Bridgewater Lofts retail section.  They serve the greater Minneapolis & Saint Paul areas and surrounding communities.

Dan and Kaia Seefelt opened the store in 2008, with the philosophy of offering only the finest floral arrangements and gifts, backed by friendly and prompt service.   Think 'unique' and envision fresh and bold.

City Gardens Flower Mill carries a large inventory of fresh flowers and tropicals, along with an extensive gift line and greeting cards.  They create contemporary and traditional arrangements, European/dish gardens, high-style floral arrangements and silk arrangements, along with gourmet, fruit and gift baskets.

Prior to opening City Gardens Flower Mill, Dan and Kaia worked at Flowers by Reuven in New York, where Dan was Head Floral Designer on contracts with shows such as All My Children, One Life to Live, Ryan's Hope and Regis and Kathy Lee.  (Married 16 years, Dan and Kaia shared their first kiss in the flower cooler at Flowers by Reuven - just a sweet side note since we're nearing Valentine's.) 

Valentine's Day Ideas and Tips

Dan and Kaia can help you make this a memorable year for your Valentine. 

If you're looking for traditional roses, you'll find ultra fresh roses that arrive at the store the day after they're cut, with multiple colors to choose from.  Looking for something non-traditional?  City Gardens Flower Mill is your place for exotic orchids from the Philippines.  How about something between roses and exotic?  Consider a French country centerpiece, which is a tightly packed, low arrangement.  For more ideas, please call the shop at 612-332-7377 or email them at   They recommend placing your Valentine's order a week in advance, and consider delivery a day or two prior to the 14th. 

We've been extremely pleased with the arrangements from City Gardens Flower Mill.  When Dave and I stopped in the shop this past weekend, they were in the process of decorating for the Valentine's holiday.  Below are a few shots:







Mill City Times Welcomes Victoria Rico as a New Contributor

We are excited to have Victoria Rico as a new contributor to Mill City Times.  Her ongoing yoga-related series will include a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Success Stories
  • Upcoming Workshops
  • Yoga Philosophy
  • Yoga Playlists
  • Bio's of Minneapolis Yogis
  • Yoga sequencing
  • Videos

With over 400 hours of teacher's training through CorePower Yoga and the Green Lotus Yoga and Healing Center, Victoria is certified to teach Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Hot Yoga, Hot Power Fusion, and Yoga Sculpt. Combining her love of healthy living with yoga and life long learning, Victoria creates yoga classes and workshops to refresh, stimulate and challenge the yoga practitioner.

Victoria says: "Yoga is a several thousand-year-old practice of physical, mental and spiritual discipline. I am honored to be a part of this great chain of wisdom. I invite you to join me in a class to share yoga traditions and asana training."

Victoria worked in the health food industry for 5 years managing health food stores throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. She has studied and attended conferences and workshops including: holistic healing and homeopathy, vitamin and mineral supplements, vegan diets, gluten-free diets, hormone imbalances, menopause symptoms and cures, probiotics, herbal medicines, the beauty industry and mind, body spirit integration.

Free yoga workshops through January and February!
If you are new to yoga or just want to have some fun you can take a beginners yoga class with Victoria at the Zenith Condominiums.  Victoria is hosting a beginner’s yoga class in the penthouse #904 on Thursday January 27, at 6:30 pm.  Space is limited - the first 15 folks to call text or email Victoria will enjoy a yoga class with beverages and snacks after class. 

To make a reservation for a free yoga class at the Zenith Condominiums contact Victoria at 612-554-7755 or

Victoria teaches at CorePower Yoga and wants to remind everyone that at Corepower Yoga (CPY) the first week is free.  Seven days of free yoga – what a treat?   Even if you do not want to join CPY – it is worth it just to take a couple classes in the heat – although there are classes without heated studios.   Not only are some of the classes heated but the humidity is cranked as well.  As you tap into your breath you will stretch, bend, twist, bind, sweat & detoxify.  In your yoga bliss (blissed –out) you will laugh at the wind-chill, snow and slush:   “Ah ha Ol’ Man Winter – you are not sending me to the Electric Beach; hot yoga is my new muse.”

CorePower Yoga, 501 Washington Avenue, is located on the 2nd floor.  With 3 studios, there are a variety of classes throughout the day.  For additional information regarding the various classes at CPY – go to


MacPhail announces Spring 2011 Classes

MacPhail Center for Music has published their Spring 2011 Class schedule.

MacPhail offers a wide variety of classes for young children, teens and adults.  Examples are Early Childhood Music (starting as young as 6 weeks old), Individual and Group Lessons, Voice, and the Certificate Program. 

They also offer tuition assistance and incentives, such as a sibling discount.  Click on this link for full details.