Kim Eslinger

David Tinjum

Susan Schaefer

Julie Craven

Joan Bennett

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits 

Doug Verdier

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

Cultural Cornerstones
Search Mill City
Recent News

Minneapolis Riverfront News

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


Star Tribune Celebrates 150th Anniversary with Free Printing Facility Tours

The Star Tribune is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and they invite you to join them for a free tour of their Heritage Printing Facility. Learn the production story, including robots and giant rolls of paper.

Click here to reserve a date and time.

- Reservations are required. 
- All members of the party must be 10 years old or older. 
- Maximum group size is 20. 
- Building is fully accessible. 
- Guests must wear closed toe shoes. 
- Each tour lasts about 90 minutes.


Night of Hope Sleep Out

Article by Claudia Kittock

I have written about YouthLink many times.  The work that goes on every day is life changing for the young people.  I work with a young woman, Jordan, who has been homeless since she was 10.  She has finished 75% of her GED exam and has big plans for the rest of her life. Her story, like so many others, is powerful and happened with the support and assistance from the people who work at YouthLink.  However, it is also important to look at the impact that YouthLink has on our city.  The work done there benefits an entire community, not just the youth who find YouthLink.

In a study conducted by Steven Foldes, Ph.D., an Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, and Andrea Lubov, Ph.D., the annual fiscal and social costs of YouthLink 2011 cohort, per person and as a cohort is shown in the following graph:

Not only is the experience of homelessness devastating on the lives of young people, it costs each and every one of us. 

The Night of Hope Sleep Out is an annual event. Funds from this year’s Sleep Out will support transformational programming that helps young people reconnect with pathways of education and employment - giving them opportunity to live their dreams.

Photos taken by Danae Hudson at last year's Night of Hope

Bring your sleeping bag for a night you’ll remember! Join over 100 other professionals on Sunday, September 24, for an inspirational, one-of-a-kind fundraiser and event - YouthLink’s Night of Hope: Sleep Out.  Here are some questions and answers about this event:

Q: How much do I need to raise?

A:  We ask for a minimum fundraising commitment of $500 per person.  There are plenty of ways to get to your goal and we are happy to help you! A great place to start is with a buy-in from your company to support your efforts.

Q: Do matching gifts count toward my goal?

A: Yes! Click here to see local employers that may match your donation. If you don't see your employer on the list, make sure to check with them. Please let us know if you need our tax information to complete a match.

Q: What if I don't meet my goal?

A: It is our goal to help you meet your goal. Your participation is important to us, so please let us know if you are having trouble meeting your goal, and we can offer some fundraising tips.

Q: What do I need to bring to the sleep out?

A: Everything you need will be provided, including: meals, transportation, new sleeping bags, and other “sleep out” essentials. You may want to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, and other personal items. There will be a safe place to keep your belongings, and access to restrooms. There will also be hospitality suites available on Monday morning for those who need to head straight to work from the Sleep Out. 

Q: What should I not bring to the sleep out?

A: Participants are welcome to bring toiletries and other personal items, extra clothes, and phones. While there will be a secure area to store belongings and small bags, we encourage you to leave large items (briefcases, laptops, luggage) at home.

Q. Who do I need to contact to get access to one of the hospitality suites?

A: We will contact all participants prior to the Sleep Out regarding the hospitality suites, or you may contact Erika LaDousa, Event Coordinator, at 612-412-8894 or

Q: Will there be security at the sleep out?

A: Yes, we are working closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to ensure a safe event, and there will be security on hand throughout the entire Sleep Out.

Q: What if there is inclement weather?

A: All events will go on as planned (but will be moved indoors) in case of inclement weather. Participants will sleep inside if the weather does not permit us to be outdoors.

Q: Will I have access to wi-fi during the event?

A: Yes, participants will be able to access wi-fi and have access to electrical outlets. In fact, we encourage you to post on social media or tweet about your experience and participation using the hashtag #NOHsleep.

Q: Tell me more about the bus tour.

A: The Sleep Out event will include tours of YouthLink and other local shelters and agencies. Buses will leave from and bring the participants back to the Sleep Out location.

Q: What if I need to arrive later in the evening?

A: You are encouraged to arrive prior to 5:00pm and participate in the various tours. However, if you need to arrive late simply let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Q: Can I bring my children with me to sleep out?

A: For security purposes, we ask that only registered participants attend the event. If you'd like to introduce your children to YouthLink, we'd be happy to schedule a tour at another time.

Q: I have a co-worker who is interested in participating. Am I able to invite him/her to participate?

A: Yes, we encourage you to recruit others to participate (see our suggested participant list, above). Please direct interested individuals to Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283 or

Q: My company is interested in sponsoring or partnering with YouthLink for the sleep out. Who should we contact?

A: Sponsorships and partnerships are still available. Please contact Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283 or

Q: Will meals be provided?

A: Yes, dinner and snacks will be provided throughout the evening and throughout the Sleep Out. 

Q: What should I wear?

A: Comfortable and weather appropriate dress encouraged. Please consider layers if the weather is chilly. We will have cold weather supplies (extra socks, gloves) on-hand if you forget yours.

Q. Where should I park? Will my car be safe?

A: There will be complimentary street parking. We are working closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to ensure a safe event, and there will be security on hand throughout the entire Sleep Out.

Q. Will we be able to meet any YouthLink participants?

A: Yes, YouthLink clients and staff will be participating in the event.

Q. What time can we expect to be done in the morning?

A: The sleep out will conclude with a closing and “grab and go” breakfast at 6am on Monday morning.

Q. Will there be press/photographers on hand?

A: Yes, there will be press and photographers on hand. Participants will be asked to sign a release where they can opt out of photographs and filming.

Q: Can I take photos at the event?

A: Yes, but we ask that you do not take photos during the tours at shelters and other agencies. The majority of YouthLink clients participating in the event have given permission to be photographed, but please ask everyone (staff, youth, or fellow sleepers) for their permission before snapping a photo. YouthLink will be posting photos throughout the evening with permission and we encourage you to retweet and repost these on social media.

Registration can be done online. Please join the Friends of the Mill District at this important event for the youth of YouthLink and for our community.

Claudia can be reached at


Washington Avenue Reconstruction Update

Via a May 5 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

3rd Avenue lane reduction begins Monday

Starting early Monday, May 8, crews will be reducing traffic on 3rd Avenue South to one lane in each direction at Washington Avenue.

The lane reduction is necessary for crews to replace utilities, sidewalk, concrete, and pavement on the west half of that intersection. This work is anticipated to last approximately two weeks, weather permitting. If 3rd Avenue is part of your commute across the Mississippi River, you may want to consider other nearby crossings for the duration of this lane reduction.

2nd Ave pipeCrews installing storm sewer pipe at the corner of 2nd Avenue South and Washington Avenue
Westbound Washington Avenue traffic to shift slightly Monday
Also, starting early Monday, motorists travelling west will still able to use Washington Avenue. However, westbound traffic on Washington Avenue will return to westbound lanes between 5th Avenue South and 2nd Avenue South. Crews recently completed work on the westbound lanes and now need to work on pavement removal and utility replacements in the eastbound lanes in the area.
Eastbound lanes work continues
Finally, crews will begin paving eastbound Washington Avenue between Hennepin Avenue and 2nd Avenue South. The eastbound lanes remain closed and traffic continues to be detoured via Hennepin Avenue, 4th Street, and 5th Avenue.
Project progress
Crews have been very busy, and the project is currently ahead of schedule. While some of that time could be lost to weather and unforeseen challenges, the project has good momentum.
Staying safe
It is important to stay alert in the entire construction area, including during the evenings and weekends. Motorists should obey speed limits and limit distractions. Traffic changes, construction crews, equipment and work areas near the roadway can create unexpected situations.
Also allow for extra time when travelling through the area. While there is still pedestrian access, people should be ready for occasional changes in access.
Please be aware that there will be large construction equipment, and noise, vibrations and dust will be associated with this work. The county appreciates residents’ patience and understanding during these projects and activities.
Talk with us
You're invited to come and talk with a project representative. Join us at Dunn Brothers Coffee - Freight House at 201 3rd Avenue South next week:
- Tuesday, May 9: 10:30am - 11:30am  
- Thursday, May 11: 10:30am - 11:30am 
Anyone with questions or concerns are encouraged to stop in during this time.
Get more information
- Learn more and sign up for project updates at
- Contact the project at or 612-543-3722.

2017 Music & Movies in the Park Series - Compliments of MPRB! 

The Minneapolis Park and Rec Board (MPRB) summer concert season fills the air daily with music at six concert venues running Memorial Day through Labor Day:

•Nicollet Island Park - Mondays, 7pm
•Father Hennepin Bluffs Park - Tuesdays, 7pm

•Minnehaha Park - Wednesday-Friday, 7pm
•Bryant Square Park - Tuesday and Thursday, 6:30 pm
•Loring Park - Wednesdays, Noon
•Lake Harriet Band Shell - Monday-Saturday, 7:30pm AND Sundays, 2pm & 5:30pm

Don't forget - there will be movies, too!


Minneapolis International Festival set for May 20 at Boom Island Park

Join community members from across the city to learn about the many amazing cultures that make Minneapolis such a wonderful place to live.

Saturday, May 20, Noon-4:00pm at Boom Island Park

The Minneapolis International Festival is FREE and open to the public.

Some of the groups to be featured include:

•Chinese Heritage Foundation
•Hoka Hey
•Latin-American Folklore
•MN Scandinavian Ensemble
•Rince na Chroi Irish Dancers
•Somali Museum of MN
•Little Earth Dance Troupe

This is an outdoor event. To learn more, visit the event page or Facebook.

The Minneapolis International Festival is presented by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Event Contact
Tom Godfrey
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6484


Learn About the July 13-16 X Games Events at the May 25 DMNA Meeting

The X Games are coming to US Bank this summer, July 13-16.

Representatives from the X Games team will be attending an upcoming Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) meeting to speak more in-depth about the X Games, as well as answer any questions from local residents and businesses.

The meeting will be held Thursday, May 25, at Mill City Museum, 704 S 2nd Street, in the ADM room from 5:45pm-8:00pm. Topics include street/road closures, how local businesses may be effected, concert hours and curfews and ticket information.

Additional X Games info


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


Exciting Design Update for Water Works Park Unveiled

Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Minneapolis Park Board seek community input on evolved Water Works design concept

On Monday, May 1, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation presented to the public an evolved concept for Water Works at the first of two community meetings. Water Works is a transformative park development project overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge that will bring significant new historic, cultural, and recreational amenities to the most iconic location in Minneapolis and the region. The updated concept embeds a new park pavilion into the historic ruins of the Bassett and Columbia mills, as well as expands naturalized gathering spaces with direct access to public amenities.

Following the approval of the original Water Works concept in 2015, the Park Board and the Parks Foundation retained a multi-disciplinary design team headed by Damon Farber Landscape Architects and HGA Architects. The design team is completing schematic design through construction administration for phase one of the Water Works project, known as the Mezzanine Phase, which is slated to begin construction in 2018.

The design team evolved the Water Works concept while addressing anticipated site-specific intricacies, such as the condition of buried ruins, service access to the pavilion, and cultural significance to diverse peoples. Further investigation during the schematic design process revealed the remnants of the Bassett Sawmill and Columbia flour mill to be so rich that the best course of action was to inhabit and activate them, rather than leave them largely buried, as originally proposed. The design team also chose to uphold the site’s potential as a place to reveal untold stories, in acknowledgement of St. Anthony Falls as both the birthplace of the city’s milling history and a spiritual place that has shaped cultural and economic connections for indigenous people and immigrants.

“Living cities need to respect places of power by both honoring the past stories that unfolded before and making room for new stories to emerge, giving voice to communities that may often be left unheard. This is true for Water Works,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. “With this transformative design, we are striving to ensure that Water Works continues to be a place for people and peoples to share stories, be heard, and create new connections with each other and the most dramatic point on the Mississippi River.”

A natural venue for stories and storytelling

Water Works features that conduct the storytelling theme include the mill-embedded pavilion, tree-sheltered city steps, a naturalized playspace, and the potential for revealed mill-era ruins and artifacts.

“Today, the St. Anthony Falls and Stone Arch Bridge landscape is one of the most popular public spaces in the region, with 2.5 million visits annually and climbing,” says Evers. “Water Works is conceived as a place to express embedded histories, tell important stories, and make new memories.”

With this new round of community engagement, the Park Board is also seeking deeper input on the proposed program for Water Works, which exemplifies the theme of storytelling. Park visitors will be able to experience the landscape’s layered stories through the park design itself. Over time, visitors will also add their own stories through art, play, performance, food, and social media.

The process to the planned 2019 grand opening

Throughout May, the Minneapolis Park Board and the Parks Foundation will be engaging the public about the new concept. The engagement includes the two open houses, several focus groups with underrepresented communities, meetings with individual and organizational stakeholders, and an online survey. In June, Park Board staff intends to present the revised design concept, together with community input, to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board of Commissioners. Should the community embrace the new concept, and the Park Board approve it, the design team will continue schematic design and construction documents ahead of the planned 2018 construction start.

Through the Parks Foundation, the majority of Mezzanine Phase funding will be provided by philanthropic investment. In 2015, the Parks Foundation launched the RiverFirst Capital Campaign, which has to-date raised $12.3M in philanthropic gifts and commitments. It is anticipated that private funding will accommodate any additional expense incurred during the Water Works Mezzanine Phase because of the updated concept.

Click on images below for full size versions:



First Thursdays at Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet: Celebrate Farmers Market Season May 4th

Via a May 1 e-newsletter from Meet Minneapolis:

May is the month of consistently warmer weather and sunnier days – meaning it’s the perfect month for farmers market openings across Minneapolis. In celebration of the upcoming season, Minneapolis Visitor Information on Nicollet will be hosting a farmers markets kickoff event Thursday, May 4 from Noon – 2 p.m. as part of its new First Thursdays program. The First Thursday each month, Minneapolis Visitor Information will host a variety of in-store events at our convenient location at 505 Nicollet, Suite 100, directly across from the METRO Nicollet stop at 5th Street.

Special deals and sneak peaks of products will be available during the event. Participating vendors include Leprechaun Dreamcycle, Soderberg’s Floral & Gifts, Minnesota Nice Spice, Bare Honey, Scrappy Bags and Moxi Malas. Representatives of the Minneapolis Farmers Market will be on hand to answer any questions about this year’s farmers markets, including where to find them, when they’re available and what you might find when you shop all season long.

• Free ice cream treats to the first 50 people, compliments of Leprechaun Dreamcycle (one per customer)
• 20% off all in-store Mother’s Day flower orders from Soderberg’s Floral & Gifts. Local delivery only.
  o Fresh Spring Tulip Bunches available for in-store purchase. $10 each, 2 for $15 or 3 for $20.

Along with all this farmers market frivolity, we’ll have Minneapolis Visitor Information’s usual fabulous selection of Minneapolis and Minnesota-made products, art and more, along with transit and bicycle info from Move Minneapolis an help with your questions about the city!

Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area.


Wanted! Up and Coming Artists to Design/Paint the Pianos for June's Pianos on Parade

Pianos on Parade In partnership with Keys 4/4 Kids

The Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District (DID) invite you to help advance music downtown with Pianos on Parade. The program will place 25 pianos throughout downtown Minneapolis during the month of June. The pianos will be open for impromptu concerts as well as for programming with local musical talent. Each piano will be painted to evoke a Summer in Downtown Minneapolis theme.

Wanted! Up and coming artists to design and paint the pianos for the program. By supporting Pianos on Parade, you will help to add more vibrancy to downtown Minneapolis and engage all who work, live and play here.

Thursday, May 11 Submission deadline of artist application and design description/rendering
Friday, May 12 Acceptance of application and design
Monday, May 15 Payment Installment One Sent
Wednesday, May 17 - May 19 First Shift Painting (up to 13 Pianos)
Tuesday, May 23 - May 25 Second Shift Painting (up to 13 Pianos)
Friday, May 26 Final Payment Installment Sent
Wednesday, May 31 Installation of Pianos
Thursday, June 1 Installation of Pianos Pianos on Parade kick-off

Artists are provided a $350 stipend per piano, with 50 percent paid upon acceptance and final 50 percent paid upon completion of work. In addition to a payment to support the artist, recognition through Pianos on Parade web page and name inclusion on the piano are provided. The Minneapolis Downtown Council will retain unlimited usage rights for the artwork.

Painting Dates
All pianos are stored at the St. Paul Keys 4/4 Kids Warehouse and schedule times will be available for prep and painting at the warehouse. Due to the scale of the project, painting will need to occur over 3 days between 10am - 6pm on either May 17 - 19 or May 23 - 25. Dates will be assigned upon acceptance. All pianos must be painted during this time and remain on-site.

Artists are able to design, prep and paint up to two pianos.

Pianos will be a standard upright piano, traditionally 60” wide x 24” deep x 49” high and will be covered with a custom tarp during non-operational hours.

The design must be family-friendly and evoke a Summer in Downtown Minneapolis theme. Pianos may only be painted and any design cannot impede the musical functions of the piano. Designs may not contain advertisement or promotion of products, religion, controversial topics or personal beliefs. Artists must guarantee the design submitted does not violate the copyright of any other entity.

Artists are encouraged to submit unique and vibrant design concepts based on themes surrounding Summer in Downtown Minneapolis.

Pre-Approved Minneapolis Design Themes Downtown Districts: Downtown East , Warehouse District, North Loop, etc. Iconic Buildings: IDS Center, Foshay Towers, U.S. Bank Stadium, Target Center, First Avenue, Target Field etc.

Aquatennial - Downtown Murals - Downtown Minneapolis Skyline - Boom Island - Spoonbridge & Cherry -   Loring Park - Mississippi River - Pillsbury Sign - Stone Arch Bridge - Hennepin Avenue - Mill City Ruins - WeDO - Nicollet Mall - Downtown Farmers Market - Maps/Streets of Downtown - Peavey Plaza

*Other design themes are welcome to apply but all themes must be pre-approved before painting.

Applicants are selected based on the following criteria:
• Artistic quality of past work; experience
• Originality of proposal; creative use of theme
• Ability to complete the work in given time and budget
• Ability to create a fully playable, safe, and maintainable work appropriate for the public realm

If interested in designing a piano please email Cat Beltmann with the Minneapolis Downtown Council the below information at Questions - call Cat at 952-994-8503.

• Short biography or links to portfolio
• Links or photos of past work
• Brief description of your design concept for piano or rendering
• Applicants are reviewed and accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

More Info


Remembering History, Looking Forward

By Meg Forney, Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner-At-Large

I recently returned from observing a 30 foot deep excavation on the San Andreas Fault. I could see back of thousands of years and the strata shifts of eight major earthquakes.

We in Minneapolis are walking on our own history.  Excavations are about to begin in our own backyard at St. Anthony Falls by the Stone Arch Bridge.  The old Fuji Ya restaurant will be demolished and we will see the heart of our civic past beating before our eyes.  You can see an Open House preview Monday, May 1, 5:30-8pm at the Mill City Museum.  Another Open House is Tuesday, May 2, 11:30 am-1:30 pm at the Mill Ruins Park where a new Water Works Project is being developed on the site of the Fuji Ya.

I have a personal connection to this site because two of my great grandfathers worked on these mills--one a miller, the other millwright.  I also have a great, great uncle who perished in the Washburn Mill explosion in 1878.  You can see his name, William Leslie, on the memorial in Lakewood Cemetery overlooking Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska.

However, we all have connections to the Water Works project.  It is the history of our city, the history of where we live, of who we are.

Meg Forney can be reached at or on Facebook.


The Task Force to End Street Homelessness

Article by Claudia Kittock, photo by Rick Kittock

The enormity of ending street homelessness seems impossible. There are too many issues, too many barriers, too many things that must be dealt with to provide that hand up. However, since joining this task force, I have learned that a small group of involved people CAN change the world, or at least our part of the word. The cliché is true!

The Minneapolis Downtown Council (MDC) is a membership-based business organization that focuses on creating an extraordinary downtown for all who live, work, play and explore our city. Goals include collaborating with public, private and non-profit organizations to create a vibrant atmosphere in our city’s core, advocating for initiatives that promote growth and stability, and aiming to help create a strong, inclusive 21st Century City.

This group of businesses has focused their energies in several areas including downtown developing, greening and the public realm, the downtown experience, ending street homelessness, transportation, and launching a festival of ideas. I have been involved with the task force to end street homelessness for several years and will explain the work being done to reach that goal. The most exciting part of this work is to know that not only is it possible to end street homelessness in our city, but to know it can happen quickly with the right resources.

Here is part of that plan to end street homelessness:

Ending street homelessness is defined as providing shelter for all who sleep on the streets or in other unsuitable places. It means chemical dependency and mental health treatment, job training and “meaningful activities” to occupy those who are unemployable and hang out aimlessly on the streets. It also means continuing the impressive and ongoing efforts by police, the city attorney’s office and the Minneapolis DID to target Downtown’s top 100 street offenders, people who are arrested repeatedly for lifestyle crimes such as public intoxication, public urination and aggressive panhandling. Nearly all of these chronic offenders are homeless.

This problem is solvable, however, if resources can be assembled. The solution is smart, cost-effective and doable. Minneapolis intends to become the first major U.S. city to end street homelessness. The estimated cost (presumably through public and private sources) will be about $4 million for the first year, with declining amounts needed in subsequent years.

The result will improve the lives of homeless people. And it will save public money. A 2005 study found that just 37 chronic offenders cost the city and county $3.7 million a year. That’s an average of $100,000 per offender for jail, detox, hospitalization and shelter.

Ending street homeless will also decrease the negative behaviors (loitering, panhandling, public intoxication, etc.) that damage livability and deter investment in Downtown. Eliminating street homelessness will be a huge force in moving forward the other major goals of this report.

                                                Intersections, 2025 Plan, Downtown Council

When I joined the task force as a representative of downtown residents, I was impressed with the array of experts who took time out of their busy lives to work on this project. There are representatives from the non-profit sector, including people from Catholic Charities, Simpson Housing, and the DID Block By Block program. The City Council is represented, the library, Hippy Feet, and many other businesses. Some of the highlights from the work of this group include:

·  Members of our committee attended the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless “Day on the Hill” event at the State Capital to participate in the advocacy efforts and raise awareness for the street homeless population.

·  We met with the Minneapolis Foundation to begin our process of developing a Grant Review Committee who will oversee the RFP process, distribution, and post-grant evaluations of donations that we have received to end street homelessness.

·  Our two sub-committees have implemented logic models to define, measure, track their projected goals.

·  We met with a new start-up company that is working on developing an app for individuals experiencing homelessness.

·  Presentations: St. Stephen's Veteran’s Outreach Program, House of Charity, and Shane Zahn from Minneapolis SafeZone regarding the ISS Command 24/7 communication app for street outreach programs.

Every one of these people brings considerable expertise to solving the complexities of street homelessness. The diversity of the membership brings ‘answers’ from all sectors. Each of these answers adds a small piece of the puzzle to this difficult issue.

Joseph DesenclosLed by Joseph Desenclos, the group has two primary subcommittees; daytime activities and education/public relations. The education group is working to find a way to educate the public about this issue. People experiencing homelessness are often children, are usually working (sometimes 2 jobs), have experienced serious medical issues, etc. I learned ALL of that, and this subcommittee is working to make sure the general public learns it, too.

The education/public relations committee is working on or has completed the following:

·  Are in the process of working with the staff at MDC to develop a website to assist in PR/Education efforts. The targeted date of completion is August, 2017.

·  Create opportunities (host) gatherings that educate the public on issues revolving around street homelessness.

·  Establish the Grant Review Subcommittee, focusing on drafting the grant committee description/purpose statement with the Minneapolis Foundation staff. Our desire is to have the composition of this sub-committee (5-7 members) to include private sector internal committee members and a couple members MDC Executive Board.

·  Reach out to large employers for street homeless education opportunities.

I serve on the daytime activities subcommittee. Every morning, people living in shelters are required to leave and cannot check back in until late in the afternoon. How do you occupy your day? If you are working, it often means that you have to take all your worldly possessions to work with you every day. It is a difficult issue. We are working to build lists of activities and resources. Finding safe and warm places to just ‘be’ and to make plans for what comes next is a high priority for us.

Here are a few more highlights of some of the work that has been accomplished:

·  Actively engaging with three cities that have implemented a day labor program for individuals who engage in panhandling.

·  Advocating for expanded access to bicycles for transportation needs for individuals experiencing homelessness.

·  Develop case studies for inclusive non-social service daytime activities.

·  In 2016 we completed an evaluation of available storage units for individuals experiencing homelessness within drop-in centers and emergency shelters. Currently there is a need for an additional 600 lockers to address the gap between number of lockers and emergency shelter population.

·  We have completed and are implementing a mapping tool for social service employment programs, job fairs, employment agencies, etc.

This work is real and is already changing lives every single day. But there is still great need and help is needed to both continue this work, and to be the first major city to eliminate street homelessness. You can help by:

·  Learning about the 2025 Plan and ways to be involved.

·  Donate to the Minneapolis Downtown Council and designate the check to go for ending street homelessness

·  Contact Joseph Desenclos at

Claudia can be reached at


Make your dog a star! Submit a video to Candid Canines Film Fest at the 2017 Aquatennial

From the Minneapolis Aquatennial website...

Sample clip showing the great video your dogs could be part of this year!

One of Aquatennial’s new events this year is the Candid Canines Film Fest! The event will feature videos of dogs—YOUR dogs, submitted by YOU—and compiled into a 40-minute video to be shown at Aquatennial on Thursday, July 20 (4-9 pm, multiple showings) at Target Field Station.

Don’t miss out on this fun opportunity to show the funny, silly, super sweet, smart and/or talented ways your dog interacts with you! Submit your videos by visiting the Candid Canines Film Fest website. Submissions are due by Thursday, June 15, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to take part. This event is produced by the Can Do Canines, a local organization dedicated to connecting people with disabilities to specially-trained dogs.


Parkway Closures for April 29 Races

Godfrey Parkway
West River Parkway (from Godfrey to Portland Ave S)
Click above link to view a course map and read additional information on the event.
Saturday, April 29 - Heart Walk
West River Parkway (from Plymouth Ave N. to N. 4th Ave)
Click above link to view a course map and read additional information on the event.



You're invited! Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Grand Reopening is June 3

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden main alleeRendering shows the garden's main allee looking toward the iconic "Spoonbridge and Cherry." Courtesy oslund.and.assoc.

Join us for the unveiling of
a completely reconstructed garden
and new artworks.

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) and Walker Art Center announced the reopening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on June 3, 2017, with a series of celebratory events and activities including a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12 noon. 

First created through the vision of late Walker director emeritus Martin Friedman nearly 30 years ago as a partnership between the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was among the first major public/private urban sculpture parks of its kind in the United States and has served as a model for such parks nationwide. The collaboration between Friedman and then Park Board Superintendent David Fisher produced a remarkable artistic destination. Today the Sculpture Garden is one of the crown jewels of the award-winning Minneapolis park system, uniting two of Minnesota’s most cherished resources—its parks and its cultural life—and home to the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

“The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the best public spaces in America and a prime example of the potential of innovative, effective partnerships,” said MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller.

“This is a once-in-a-generation moment for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and our pioneering civic partnership, and a recommitment to the Walker’s mission of cross-disciplinary programming and community engagement,” said Walker Executive Director Olga Viso.

After nearly three decades and more than nine million visitors, the Sculpture Garden’s infrastructure needed to be reconstructed in a sustainable manner to serve visitors now and for generations to come. Thanks to the support of citizens of Minnesota, the state legislature, and Governor Mark Dayton, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board received $8.5 million in public bonding support to fund the much-needed reconstruction of the park, which includes new infrastructure, irrigation, walkways, retaining walls, and other physical assets. In addition, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization provided $1.5 million for innovative stormwater management systems in the project. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Reconstruction Project launched in tandem with updates to the Walker’s campus, both physical and digital, including a new website launching May 25, a new plaza and entrance, an expanded front lobby, the destination restaurant Esker Grove, a more pedestrian-friendly Vineland Place, improved accessibility, and a landscaped, art-filled hillside.

View of Cowles PavilionRendering shows a view through the renovated Cowles Pavilion toward the garden's four "outdoor galleries." Courtesy oslund.and.assoc.

These projects allowed the Walker to build on the 40-plus artworks already located in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and on the Walker hillside with new commissions, green spaces, a new entry, and enhanced city streetscapes. Favorite artworks will return along with the addition of 18 new pieces by artists from Minnesota and around the globe. In total, there will be 60 artworks selected by Olga Viso and her team of visual arts curators, installed across the 19-acres of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Walker. More than 40 individuals, families, and existing acquisition funds provided generous support to enable the Walker to commission and acquire the new art works.

Six commissioned works—by artists Nairy Baghramian (Iran), Frank Big Bear (US), Theaster Gates (US), Mark Manders (The Netherlands), Philippe Parreno (France), and Aaron Spangler (US)—will be joined by works from Tony Cragg, Sam Durant, Katharina Fritsch, Gary Hume, Robert Indiana, Kcho, Liz Larner, Sol LeWitt, Matthew Monahan, Eva Rothschild, Kiki Smith, and Monika Sosnowska. The selection of artists brings a range of diverse voices from nine different countries, increases the number of women artists represented, and includes many notable career firsts. These selections bring new generational perspectives on several genres of work that distinguished the garden when it first opened, including figurative bronze statuary, modern abstraction, and site-specific sculptures that invite public interaction or have a utilitarian purpose. A highlight in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is Katharina Fritsch’s ultramarine blue rooster Hahn/Cock (2013/2017) standing more than 20 feet tall.

Katharina Fritsch, rendering of "Hahn/Cock"Katharina Fritsch, rendering of Hahn/Cock, 2015 © Katharina Fritsch / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery Photo credit: Andrei Dureika Collection Walker Art Center; Purchased with funds provided by the Pohlad Family Foundation, the Frederick R. Weisman Collection of Art, the Wilf Family Foundation, the Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Foundation, and the T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2017

The project also allowed the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to build on the great architecture and landscape designs of Edward Larrabee Barnes, Peter Rothschild, Michael Van Valkenburgh, and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon with the contemporary visions of Tom Oslund and Julie Snow. Designs for the Sculpture Garden and Walker take advantage of the latest sustainable technologies. Within the Sculpture Garden, more than 300 new trees have been planted, and a new water reuse system, centered around an 80,000-gallon underground cistern, will irrigate the Sculpture Garden site, keeping more than four million gallons of runoff out of storm sewers each year. The Sculpture Garden’s north end will also feature a meadow with native plants that help absorb runoff. The Walker’s main entrance now features a green roof, a green streetscape along Hennepin Avenue and additional trees planted along the hillside. These infrastructure and landscape updates install sustainable, eco-friendly features that will improve the space’s aesthetics, accessibility, and long-term stability.

This project, the largest and most comprehensive work initiated in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden since it opened in 1988, required the full closure of the park to the public until the reopening celebration on June 3. The Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board kick off the festivities from June 1-10 with free Walker gallery admission and a variety of programs and events in the Sculpture Garden and across the Walker, and continues throughout the summer.


Police Asking for the Public’s Help in Locating Missing Person

Via an April 26 e-alert from the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Officers from Minneapolis Park Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing person.

Chris Stanley, a 22-year-old adult male, was last seen near the Mississippi River in Water Power Park (204 Main St. SE, Minneapolis), at approximately 8 pm Tuesday, April 25. He was accompanied by a friend, who fell into the Mississippi River but was able to pull himself to shore. Once ashore, he was unable to locate Mr.Stanley.

The Minneapolis Park Police Department is asking that anyone with information about his whereabouts call 911 immediately.

Missing Person Information

Christopher Charles Stanley, DOB/04-01-1995, is a white male, clean-shaven with medium length brown hair, approximately 6' tall. Stanley was last seen wearing a plaid shirt and blue rain jacket. 

Robin Smothers
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
Phone: 612-230-6410

New Mill City Museum Exhibit on the Confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers

Luke Erickson explores these two important rivers through his landscape photography

The exhibit "Confluence: Geography, History & Culture at the Intersection of the Mississippi & Minnesota Rivers" examines the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers through the lens of photographer Luke Erickson.

Erickson’s black-and-white landscape photography showcases images along the rivers from Pike Island to bridges to nature shots. Through his work, Erickson explores the rivers’ historical, economic and social importance and reflects on topics like the exploitation of natural resources and the mythology of the American West.

Mill City Museum will celebrate the exhibit’s opening with a public reception on Wednesday, May 10 from 6pm-8pm. Erickson will give a gallery talk about his work at 7 p.m. followed by a Q&A session. A cash bar will be available for purchase at the reception. 

“Confluence: Geography, History & Culture at the Intersection of the Mississippi & Minnesota Rivers” is located in the museum’s Mill Commons, and is free and open to the public during regular museum hours. It will be on view May 10 - September 24, 2017

Erickson’s work is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge Repairs Update

Boom Island-Nicollet Island BridgeOriginally built as a railroad bridge in 1890, the Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge was acquired by the MPRB in the 1970s and installed in its current location in the early 1980s.

Revised design presented to Heritage Preservation Commission on April 18

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board(MPRB) presented a revised design for the Boom Island-Nicollet Island Bridge Repairsproject to the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) on April 18, 2017. The presentation was not part of a public hearing and no HPC approval was requested.

The revised project design was created after an MPRB application for a certificate of appropriateness to allow rehabilitation and alterations to the bridge was denied by the HPC on Jan. 31, 2017. The new design includes additional steel repairs to restore the structural integrity of the existing exterior stringers and in-kind replacement of the existing timber ties and wood decking – largely retaining the bridge’s original structural design and avoiding the introduction of new materials. The significantly deteriorated interior stingers will be removed with possible restoration at a later date.

The MPRB is seeking additional funding through various sources because the cost of the revised proposed design is beyond the original project budget. Construction will be delayed until additional funding is secured.


Exploring the Upper River – Mississippi Mushrooms

A look at hidden gems along the Minneapolis Riverfront

There has been a tremendous amount of discussion about the revitalization of the Upper Harbor Terminal area, and the attention is deserved. But there are already businesses at work in that area, bringing new life to the former industrial center.

One site worth visiting is Mississippi Mushrooms. This is a certified organic mushroom farm located in the Upper Harbor Terminal alongside the river in North Minneapolis at 3800 First Street North.

The farm is run by Ian Silver-Ramp, a 2010 University of Minnesota graduate who is applying his degree in Applied Plant Science in creating an ecologically friendly growing process. He began the business five years ago, moving to the Upper Harbor Terminal site a year and a half back.

Mississippi Mushrooms is really a grounds-up operations, literally. The growth process for these specific mushrooms, Grey Oyster, King Oyster, Nameko, and Pink Oyster varieties, involves taking the discards from other businesses to make the base material. These are wood-eating mushrooms, and the base material includes scrap lumber, locally sourced and turned into sawdust, as well as the spent grain from a local brewery. That base material gets sterilized and is then injected with fungus, allowing it to grow and blossom into a mushroom.

After the mushrooms are harvested, the base material is turned into compost, and that is something which can be sold to plant stores and other outlets. The compost smelled just like spring and made me want to go home and start spring planting.

But a mushroom farm of this type doesn’t really resemble a farm as you and I would know it, or even your garden, window box or greenhouse. The facility is indoors, of course, with rooms walled off for each growing stage. Each of those stages requires different levels of light, humidity and temperature, as well as carbon dioxide levels. And Silver-Ramp can monitor all of that from his mobile device.

The climate controlled operation also means mushrooms can be grown and sold fresh, year-round.

The farm is in a part of North Minneapolis which is still dominated by heavy industrial work, so during the week, the area is teeming with construction vehicles. However, Mississippi Mushrooms is only open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11-2, and on those days, the roads are much more quiet. To get to the site, drive onto the property from Dowling, stay to the right of the domes and drive back to the big warehouse. Look for the Mississippi Mushrooms sign on the door, on the side of the warehouse which faces the river.

This is a great opportunity to see a farming operation in the city, while also see a little bit of the Upper Harbor Terminal site. It’s also a chance to get a sense of what could become of this mile of the Minneapolis riverfront, with a great view of downtown.

If you’re looking for a place to eat to pair with this visit, of course, you can check out one of the many fine restaurants that locally source their mushrooms from Mississippi Mushrooms. But for a choice that’s a little closer by, check out Serendripity Spot, which is at 33rd and Lyndale Ave. No. It’s open six days a week (close on Fridays) and was recently rated as having the Top Waffle in the Twin Cities. But in addition to waffles and coffee, Serendripity is committed to eliminating waste, with no landfill waste or even recycling. (If you want coffee to go, bring your own reusable travel mug, or buy one on site.)

Kathleen Boe is Executive Director of the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership. She can be reached at via email, or on the web.


A-Mill Artist Lofts Will Again be Open for the 2017 Art-A-Whirl

A-Mill Artist Lofts will open their live/work spaces during Art-A-Whirl 2017.

Over 70 artists, including residents and their guests, will display throughout the building with a special exhibition by Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) students in the gallery. In addition, there will be over 20 performing artists live in 3 separate spaces throughout the 3 day event May 19-21.

Patrons are encouraged to explore the open lofts, gallery spaces, dance studio, performance hall and more using A-Mill's "Come Get Lost In Creative Space" interactive guide. Food and drink will be for sale by Eli's Food and Cocktail on Friday May 19 and Saturday May 20. A special creative children's workshop will be hosted from 12-3pm on Sunday May 21 in the performance hall.

About the A-Mill building 
Charles Alfred Pillsbury was known as a visionary leader in his industry, constantly rethinking and reinventing processes to become one of the foremost businessmen of his age. One of his great innovations: the idea that an industrial building should be architecturally pleasing.

Designed by prominent Minneapolis architect LeRoy S. Buffington, the Pillsbury A-Mill, located at 315 Main Street SE Minneapolis, is a masterpiece of industrial design that served as the largest flour mill in the world for 40 years. It is one of only three Minneapolis structures designated as a National Historic Landmark (one of only 26 in Minnesota). In fact, the Mississippi River was diverted through the building to provide power during its flour milling days, and water continues to flow underfoot today.