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


Met Council Chair says transit system ready for busiest day of the year (Today!)

With home games by the Twins, the Saints, the Gophers and the Vikings while the State Fair continues, the region’s roads are going to be busy on Thursday, August 31. Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff says that is the best time to leave your car at home and let Metro Transit do the driving.

“We are making it easier than ever to take transit to major events like the Fair and sporting events. For the Fair you can find park and ride facilities across the region, so you don’t have to worry about traffic.  We’ve also created a new smartphone app so you can plan your trip, see when buses are arriving and even pay your fares,” said Tchourumoff. 

Chair Tchourumoff spent Wednesday afternoon talking with people at the fair about their experience taking transit. You can download the Metro Transit app here.

Metro Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, and SouthWest Transit provide express bus service to the fairgrounds from 20 Park and Ride locations across the Twin Cities, with most trips running every 15 to 30 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnightthroughout the duration of the fair. Select Park and Rides are open only on weekends and Labor Day.

This is the 25th year Metro Transit has provided Express Bus service to the State Fair. The service began in 1992, after experimenting with a similar service the previous fall when the Twins won the World Series. This is also the 25th anniversary of the U of M transitway, which is what allows buses to get to and from the fairgrounds without getting stuck in traffic.

”It’s remarkable just how many people transit is able to move, especially when there are multiple major events happening in the region,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “Last year, the highest single-day ridership was during the State Fair – nearly 370,000 rides were taken systemwide on September 1, as the Twin, Vikings, Gophers and Saints each hosted home games. We’re likely to see another record day this Thursday, August 31st, when the same line-up of events is also scheduled to be happening at the same time as the State Fair.”

In addition to express buses, Route 960 provides service from downtown Minneapolis to the Transit Hub. Fairgoers also can reach the fairgrounds on Route 3, and the A Line BRT and Route 84, which connect with the METRO Green Line at University and Snelling avenues. The A Line BRT also connects with the METRO Blue Line at 46th Street and Snelling Avenue. There will be connecting Express Bus service at Fridley Station for Northstar customers each weekend of the fair. New this year is the Metro Transit app, which allows riders to buy tickets for Metro Transit park and rides, and avoid wasting time in the lines for bus tickets.

In 2016, Metro Transit provided 632,500 rides to and from last year’s State Fair. That was a nearly 10 percent increase in ridership from 2016 and the highest ridership on State Fair Express Bus and regular route services ever. For more information on State Fair transit service visit For complete information about transportation options to the State Fair visit

Metro Transit is not just a convenient choice during the Minnesota State Fair. Throughout the year, transit riders can choose from 131 routes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Metro Transit serves a 907 square mile service area, including 7 metro counties, and 90 cities. Last year, Metro Transit riders took more than 82 million transit trips. To learn more about how to ride Metro Transit all year round, click here.


Filing Period for November 7 Election is Closed - List of Candidates Available Online

The candidate filing period for this November’s municipal election is closed, and all of the candidates who filed to run for Mayor, City Council, the Board of Estimate and Taxation, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRC) will be on ballot Election Day, Tuesday, November 7. The list of candidates is available at online.

Minneapolis voters will use ranked-choice voting to elect a Mayor and members of the City Council, Board of Estimate and Taxation, and Park and Recreation Board. Ranked-choice voting is a way of voting that eliminates the need for separate primary elections. Voters rank up to three candidates for each office. The ballot has three columns, and choices are made from left to right in those columns. Ranked-choice voting is used only for municipal elections in Minneapolis.

The City has an elections-focused website: This website is a central place to go for accurate, timely information about this year’s election and ranked-choice voting. The fresh, intuitive design is focused on the user, with content on the site arranged according to specific audiences including voters, candidates, volunteers and students.


Fingers Crossed: Eastbound I-94 at Lowry Tunnel Opens 5am Thursday!

  Fingers crossed: Eastbound I-94 at Lowry Tunnel opens 5 a.m. Thursday!

Weather permitting, MnDOT plans to reopen all six lanes of the Lowry Tunnel by 5 a.m. Thursday, August 31. This is about 10 days ahead of schedule.

To get the tunnel back to its three-lanes in each direction configuration by 5 a.m. Thu, Aug. 31, we will need some overnight closures on I-94 near the tunnel:

• Both directions of I-94 will close at the tunnel from 10 p.m. Tue, Aug. 29 until 5 a.m. Wed, Aug. 30. Motorists should take Hennepin and Lyndale Ave. as the detour. Note: When the lanes reopen Wednesday, three lanes will be open in the eastbound tunnel and two in the westbound tunnel.
• Then at 10 p.m. Wed, Aug. 30, westbound I-94 will close until 5 a.m. Thu, Aug. 31. When this closure ends, all the traffic will be back to normal in the tunnel with three lanes traveling in each direction, including truck traffic. There will be no more restriction on trucks going through the tunnel. The speed limit of 40 mph will also be lifted and traffic will be able to resume the posted speed limit.

One additional closure of I-94 at the Lowry Tunnel will be required this week:
• Westbound I-94 will close at the Lowry Tunnel at 10 p.m. Thu, Aug. 31 until 5 a.m. Fri, Sept. 1, for some work inside the tunnel.
In September, additional lane closures will be needed inside the tunnel so crews can finish some work.
The following ramps will also reopen Thursday morning (8/31):
• Northbound I-35W to westbound I-94
• Hwy 55 to eastbound I-94
• Fourth Ave. to westbound I-94

Reminder: The ramp from eastbound I-394 to eastbound I-94 reopened today with one lane going through the tunnel. That will remain open during the overnight closure Tuesday.

More about this project:


Artworks "Illuminate the Lock" at Upper St. Anthony Falls Four Nights in September

Via an August 28 News Release:


Lock Wall Reawakened During Two-Part Series September 15-16 and 29-30

The 49-foot tall chamber of Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will become a canvas for experimental artworks this fall. Illuminate the Lock will take place from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m. on September 15-16 and September 29-30 at the Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. The two-part series is free and open to the public, and is presented in partnership with Northern, Mississippi Park Connection, and the National Park Service along with support from St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

“A goal of the series is to demonstrate artistic uses for this unique infrastructure no longer used for river navigation”, said Steve Dietz, President and Artistic Director, Northern “How might artists re-imagine this space? What other stories can be told there?”

Surface by artist Aaron Dysart kicks off the series on September 15 and 16, using years of handwritten data recorded by Army Corps of Engineers staff at the Lock as the basis for a light show. Daily pool heights will translate into shifting colors projected on atmospheric effects created in the lock chamber. The spectacle will display the 52-year operating history of this iconic Minneapolis space through near daily observations by the people who tended it. Dysart’s presentation is also part of Here and There presented by The Soap Factory.

The second part takes place September 29 and 30 and features The Uncompromising Hand by Andrea Carlson. This projection engages Spirit Island, a limestone island and Dakota sacred site that was once in the Mississippi River near the current Lock and Dam. The lock wall will come alive with a hand drawn animation based on six photographs of the island from the MN Historical Society’s collection, which plot the island’s lengthy dismantle between the 1890’s and 1960’s. Text in Dakota and Ojibwe will accompany the animation. 

“This series of nighttime artworks will provide a very special way to experience our already spectacular national park”, said Katie Nyberg, executive director, Mississippi Park Connection. “The lock remains an incredible marvel with a dynamic history and we are eager to see it in a new light.”

For more information on Illuminate the Lock, visit

Mississippi Park Connection is the proud nonprofit partner of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a national park in the Twin Cities.  Its mission it to strengthen the enduring connection between people and the Mississippi River by enriching the life of the river and the lives of all who experience our national park. Through education, stewardship and community engagement, Mississippi Park Connection provides opportunities for people to have a national park experience right in the Twin Cities. (

In 1988, a National Park was created to enhance the significant values of the waters and land of the Mississippi River corridor within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Known as the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, the park extends for more than 70 miles along the river, running directly through metropolitan area (the park corridor begins in Ramsey and Dayton and ends just south of Hastings). The park provides leadership, acting as a facilitator and coordinator, in promoting a common vision for river corridor management among 25 municipalities and numerous partner agencies and organizations, whose responsibilities intersect. Learn more at

Northern supports artists in the creation and presentation of art in the public sphere, focusing on innovative uses of technology to imagine new interactions between audience, artwork and place and to explore expanded possibilities for civic engagement. (

The Soap Factory is a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation, dedicated to supporting artists and engaging audiences through the production and presentation of contemporary art in a unique and historic environment. Based in the historic National Purity Soap Factory in downtown Minneapolis, The Soap Factory is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. (


The Mill City Youth Players Give a Winning Debut Performance at the Guthrie

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock and Ryan Ojard 

Crystal shines in a scene depicting a scared young person on the outside of a forest of waving branches, only to discovered it's really a family of open arms waiting to accept her as a friend.  Photo by Ryan Ojard

Imagine a theater group of young people who have never acted and are strangers. Imagine bringing them together at the world-famous Guthrie theater, taught by a teaching artist from the Guthrie Theater, writing their own production, and performing it on the Dowling stage after 8 days of rehearsals. Sounds impossible? It was, and it happened, and the results were nothing short of magical.

The Friends of the Mill District charity went to the Guthrie with an idea to begin building community with the younger people in our neighborhood. The first contact there was Dr. Carra Martinez, Community Outreach Director. She was enthusiastic and wanted the next meeting to include Jason Brown, the Education Director.  Our idea was to start an acting group of people from YouthLink, the Mill District, and the Cedar Riverside communities. When asked to be part of this crazy idea, Carra and Jason said, "Yes! We can do that!” That was the beginning of this adventure.

We also knew that there may be barriers for some of the young people and we did our best to plan around those barriers. Each actor received a Go-To Card to help with transportation. We asked members of the community to provide food, and each rehearsal began with snacks and ended with a dinner contributed by neighbors. It was spectacular. Feeding 20 young actors after a 2-hour rehearsal was daunting, but the sense of community that comes from sharing food is priceless.

On August 14th we started rehearsals with 12 young actors, and by August 24, there were 22 performers.  Led by Jessica Finney with assistance by Arion Friday (AJ), the actors began to explore what it meant to act.  As Jessica wrote, “For the past week and a half, we have gathered together to create art. We have explored the basics of acting and theater production, but we have also explored our strengths, our weaknesses, and how to build community where everyone feels like they can be themselves, be seen, and belong. We have taken many risks, some of which we left in the rehearsal room downstairs, some of which the artists will share onstage tonight, but all of which we have done together. We live in a collaborative world where we need each other: to learn from each other, to laugh together, to comfort each other. As you watch the show this evening, I invite you to see the artists as they want to be seen and to help them feel welcome here tonight as well as wherever you may see them next.”

At the end of the show, Jessica Finney (middle) asked members to discuss their Mill City Youth Players experience. Left to right: Jasmine, Fartun, Jessica, Mahamed and Anthony. Photo: Rick Kittock

The evening of August 24th was extraordinary. Every word of the production, “Be You, Be Seen, Belong” was written and performed by these amazing young people.  It was a show of vignettes, ranging from the silly to the profound. Actors shared poems they had written during the rehearsals, sang songs, and entertained the audience with skits. What was undeniable was the energy, the talent, and the heart of these young actors.  The pictures tell more than 1000 words!

"Powerful, poised and proud! So many words I could use to describe Mr. Mahamed. Taught me more everyday over the last 8 years than I ever imparted to him." Video and quote by Coach Jennifer Wigchers Weber of the Cedar Riverside Community School.

The Game Show  Photo: Rick Kittock

"Be You, Be Seen, Belong" Mill City Youth PlayersJackie gives a gripping performance of Rihanna's "Diamonds"   Photo by Ryan Ojard

"Be You, Be Seen, Belong" Mill City Youth Players Rival basketball teams learn they have more in common than they could have imagined. Photo: Ryan Ojard

"Be You, Be Seen, Belong" Mill City Youth Players Elijah was one of the cast members to give a Spoken Word. Photo: Ryan Ojard

Dr. Heather Huseby, executive director of YouthLink wrote, “This is another innovative, caring and absolutely unequivocal way Mill City is demonstrating their call to action to make a difference in the lives of the young people we serve at YouthLink. Giving young people experiencing homelessness an opportunity to ignite the flame of talent and creativity within them, including being exposed to the Guthrie Theater will be life-changing... Thank you Mill City - your friendship and support is cherished.”

Andrew, who played the part of Lizzy Kissinger said, “It was a pleasure acting with you and thank you for showing me some new skills I can take with me forever."

"Be You, Be Seen, Belong" Mill City Youth PlayersAndrew as Lizzy Kissinger, Photo: Ryan Ojard

What happens next? At the after-party, the actors were clamoring to know when they could rehearse again, and where they could perform again. We want this to become a part of the fabric of our community. We want this class to continue to be offered year-round. The actors built a sense of community within that group and to help it spread to the rest of our neighborhood would be fabulous. We know we are stronger together.

Well deserved post-show celebration.  Photo: Rick Kittock

The Friends of the Mill District charity will make sure it continues, but we need the money to do that. Please consider contributing to this exciting and vibrant neighborhood initiative. There are two ways to help us:

- Send a check made out to “Friends of the Mill District” in care of Claudia Kittock, 212 10th Avenue S, Apt 102, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

- Go to GiveMN at All contributions are tax deductible as Friends of the Mill District is a 501©3 charity.

Click here for additional photos.

Claudia can be reached at

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Editors Note: We continue to be inspired and deeply thankful for the tireless work Claudia does to create community thru kindness and inclusion. She shows us time and again how the simple act of asking a question (and following up, which isn't quite as simple!) can lead to something wonderful.

"Be You, Be Seen, Belong" Mill City Youth Players Claudia gives an inspirational post-show speech.  Photo: Ryan Ojard


Street Closings Near US Bank Stadium for Sunday's Vikings game

The City of Minneapolis will close/change streets around US Bank Stadium for Sunday’s Minnesota Vikings game, which starts at 7:00pm.

Beginning at 1:00pm Sunday, August 27 the City will close:
- Chicago Avenue, from Fourth Street to Sixth Street.
- Norm McGrew Place from Third Street to Fourth Street.

Beginning at 4:00pm Sunday, the City will close the following streets:
- Fourth Street from Park Avenue to Interstate 35W.

These street closings are for traffic safety and security needs related to a large stadium event. All streets will reopen about one hour after the completion of the game.


Volunteer for Countywide Bicyclist and Pedestrian Count – Sept 12-14

A volunteer counts a bicycle as it passes by

Via an August 24 e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

Hennepin County is teaming up with Minneapolis Public Works again in 2017 for the second annual countywide bicyclist and pedestrian count, and you can help!

Last year, volunteers helped us collect data in eight cities outside of Minneapolis. This year, we hope to have enough volunteers to cover more than 20 locations across 13 first and second ring suburban cities.

Count shifts will run from 4 pm to 6 pm on the these dates:
• Tuesday, September 12
• Wednesday, September 13
• Thursday, September 14

Register online or by contacting Emily Kettell at or 612-543-1963.

Pedestrian and bicycle counts help county and city public works departments better understand how our streets, sidewalks and trails serve people walking and biking. Accurate counts help us better understand what is working and what could be improved.

Thanks for making Hennepin County your place to ride!


I-94 Project Road/Ramp Closure Updates

 MnDOT logo

August 25 Update!  Postponed: Weekend westbound I-94 road closure
The weekend closure of westbound I-94 scheduled to start tonight through 5 a.m. Monday has been postponed.

The closure of westbound I-94 from I-394 to I-694 will instead happen from 10 p.m. Fri, Sept. 8 to 5 a.m. Mon, Sept. 11, weather permitting.

The ramp closure from eastbound I-94 to Seventh St. will still close before rush hour this Monday through Thu, Sept. 7.

Also, on Mon, Aug. 28,  the ramp from eastbound I-394 (and HOV) to eastbound I-94 will reopen and the left lane of the ramp from eastbound I-94 to 4th St. will reopen.

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Weekend road closure details

Reminder: I-94 between Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center will have a full closure of Westbound I-94 this weekend.

Beginning Fri, Aug. 25, westbound I-94 will close between I-394 to I-694. Motorists will be detoured to westbound I-394 to northbound Hwy 169 to I-94/I-694. The westbound lane will reopen by Mon, Aug. 28.

This closure is weather dependent. There is a potential for rain this weekend. A decision will be made by noon Fri, Aug. 25 as to whether to go forward with the full closure. If it is postponed, it will be moved to the weekend of Sept. 8-11.

Upcoming ramp closure
Beginning Mon, Aug. 28, the ramp from eastbound I-94 to Seventh St. will be closed through Thu, Sept. 7

Ramp reopenings
The ramp from eastbound I-394 (and HOV) to eastbound I-94 will reopen Mon, Aug. 28
The left lane of the ramp from eastbound I-94 to 4th St. will reopen Thu, Aug. 31

More about this project
For more details on project work, visit:


Voting for 8th Annual Greening & Public Realm Awards Opens Today

Via an August 24 News Release from Minneapolis Downtown Council:

The Mpls Downtown Improvement District(MDID) today announced the public voting for the 8th annual Greening & Public Realm Awards is now open.

The Greening Awards, an MDID initiative since 2010, celebrate outstanding examples of greening and placemaking that improve public space in Downtown Minneapolis. Winners will be selected by public vote at The vote will be open Aug. 24 through Sept. 15.

This year, 40 unique finalists were selected through an interactive public nomination process were divided into 12 categories based on the project’s characteristics and size. Among the finalists selected were 18 unique new nominees—a continued sign of the growing diversity of greening in the downtown area—as well as 14 past winners. Eight of last year’s 12 winners are nominated again this year, including seven-time winner Loring Greenway and six-time winner Target Plaza South Entry.

“We once again have an incredible group of finalists highlighting the vast array of public and private greening initiatives we enjoy here in our downtown,” said Steve Cramer, Mpls Downtown Improvement District President & CEO. “We thank all who enhance our public realm through their efforts and vision, and we look forward to celebrating this year’s winners once our public vote is complete.”

Winners will receive a commemorative Greening Award created by Wood from the Hood, a Minneapolis-based company that reclaims discarded trees from urban neighborhoods and creates high-quality wood products. Each award will display the year the award was issued.

The MDID Greening Awards are intended to inspire all to work toward making downtown greener and more vibrant. The MDID’s mission through the Greening Awards is to encourage all downtown businesses and organizations to participate in the greening effort.

The public is encouraged to vote by visiting and clicking on the interactive vote link. Each category will showcase the finalists along with a photo of each location for easy viewing and identification. This year’s 12 categories include the following finalists:

Small Activated Space

  • 100 Washington Square*
  • Gethsemane Episcopal Church
  • North Loop Parklet*

Small Green Space

  • 20 Washington Square
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • Target Corp – South Entry

Large Activated Space

  • Hennepin County Government Center North & South Plazas
  • Target Field Station
  • The Commons

Large Green Space

  • Cancer Survivors Park
  • Loring Greenway
  • Mill Ruins Park*
  • Triangle Park

Façade Greening

  • Capella Tower*
  • JB Hudson Jewelers
  • The Local

Public Art

  • 1010 Currie Mural by Bianca Pettis and Erin Sayer*
  • Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch*
  • Inside Out Project*
  • Orbicles by MINN_LAB*

Outdoor Café

  • Brit’s Pub
  • HopCat*
  • McKinney Roe*
  • Monte Carlo*

Streetscape Greening

  • Maverick Apartments*
  • Rock Island Lofts
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Target Commons

Streetscape Green Infrastructure

  • Hennepin & Lyndale Renovation*
  • Machine Shop*
  • Millwright*
  • Walker Art Center*

Entryway Greening

  • City Hall
  • Haskell’s*
  • Textile Building*
  • Zenith Condos*

Public Realm Improvement

  • 100 Washington Square Renovation*
  • 1010 Currie Mural by Bianca Pettis & Erin Sayer*
  • Government Center North Plaza Fountain Restoration*
  • Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch*
  • Hennepin/Lyndale Renovation*
  • HopCat Outdoor Café*
  • Inside Out Park*
  • Maverick Apartments Streetscape*
  • McKinney Roe Outdoor Café*
  • Millwright Building Streetscape*
  • Orbicles by MINN_LAB*
  • Walker Art Center Grounds Renovation*

Best Neighborhood

  • Elliot Park
  • Loring Park
  • Mill District
  • North Loop

*New Nominee in this category

The public is encouraged to not only vote on a winner for each category but to also celebrate greening on social media year-round. Send your greening photos to @MinneapolisDID on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GreenAwardsMpls.


Public Hearing on Upcoming Sheridan Memorial Park Improvements is Sept 6

Proposed improvements include new playgrounds, paths, art, shelter, restrooms, basketball and volleyball courts
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is holding a public hearing on proposed improvements for Sheridan Memorial Park on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, 6:30 pm at MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road.
Sheridan Memorial Park will receive more than $1 million in park improvements in 2018. After evaluating feedback from three public meetings and an online survey, a preferred concept for the park improvements has been created.
Click the link below to view a detailed depiction of the proposed improvements, which include new playgrounds, paths, public art, picnic shelter, restrooms, a basketball court and volleyball court.

During the hearing, interested members of the public have a chance to weigh in the proposed improvements before the Board of Commissioners. After the hearing is closed, commissioners will consider its approval.
If approved, construction bids will be awarded over winter 2017-2018 and the park improvements will be built during spring-summer 2018.
In 2015 the MPRB was awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership project. The federal grant is matched by $1 million in Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy Funding (administered by Met Council).

Public Hearing
Date: September 6, 2017
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters
Address: 2117 West River Road
Topic: Proposed improvements for Sheridan Memorial Park

New Video from MWMO Highlights Innovative Stormwater System at Towerside

Via an August 23 News Release from Mississippi Watershed Management Organization:

The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) has released a video highlighting a new sustainable, cost-effective approach to urban redevelopment. Using computer animation and drone footage, the video explores the stormwater reuse system at Towerside, The MSP Innovation District.

The video is available online via YouTube:

The Towerside District Stormwater System protects the Mississippi River from pollution by capturing and treating stormwater runoff from a group of properties near the University of Minnesota. Runoff from the area flows into a pair of plant-filled basins, where it is filtered and then stored in an underground tank for reuse. The main basin also serves as a “stormwater park” — a privately owned green space open to the public.

In this way, Towerside’s stormwater features serve many public purposes simultaneously. It is an example of a concept called “shared, stacked-use green infrastructure,” in which utilities and public spaces are designed in such a way that they serve multiple purposes.

“We believe this type of system represents the future of sustainable, restorative urban redevelopment. Instead of planning our infrastructure systems separately, we can plan them in such a way that they work together to fill multiple needs. Not only is this more cost effective, but it also allows us to create new public amenities,” said MWMO Executive Director Doug Snyder.

Towerside, The MSP Innovation District, encompasses a 370-acre area located in and around the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis. The MWMO and Towerside worked together with four private developers to create the stormwater system, which is a first of its kind in Minnesota.

The MWMO provided $1.3 million for the project and facilitated an agreement between the developers — Aeon, Harlem Irving, the Cornerstone Group, and Prospect Park Properties — to manage their stormwater jointly rather than separately. The developers paid $400,000 for stormwater infrastructure and are also using cost savings from the system to establish a grant fund of up to $250,000 for future stormwater reuse projects.

The stormwater system is the first plank in a more extensive “district system” envisioned throughout Towerside. The district system design integrates infrastructure to facilitate sustainability and resilience for the community while adding new public amenities like green space. Future district systems envisioned at Towerside include district energy, district parking, and other restorative infrastructure.

“The District Stormwater System at Towerside proves that innovation is possible when we forge strong partnerships between government, community organizations and the private sector,” said MWMO Board Chair Kevin Reich. “Sustainability and water quality are issues that cross all jurisdictional boundaries, and we should work together across those boundaries to address them.”

In addition to removing water pollutants, the stormwater system will create opportunities for reusing captured stormwater for purposes like irrigation and possible industrial use. The video, which is available on the MWMO’s YouTube channel, highlights the economic and social benefits of this type of development.


Preservation Alliance of Minnesota to Host Transit Tour Series

Via an August 21 e-newsletter from Preservation Alliance of Minnesota:

Throughout 2017, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is hosting three tours along transit lines in the Twin Cities. The tours are cultural and social explorations of major train or bus routes - Blue Line, A Line, and Green Line – and their immediate surroundings.

Led by Augsburg professor of art and architecture Kristin Anderson, tours focus on the architecture, history, and development along each corridor. Tour groups will hop on and off the train or bus to explore nearby buildings and neighborhoods.

PAM kicked off the series with a Blue Line tour in April. On September 16, we’re riding the A Line. Beginning and ending at Macalester College, the tour passes several educational institutions, the State Fair Grounds, and crosses two major Twin Cities street: Summit and University Avenues. The third and final installment of the series is along the Green Line on October 14. From one transit hub to another, this tour starts at Target Field Station and ends at the restored Union Depot in St. Paul.

Registration is available online through the Preservation Alliance of MN website, Tickets are sold individually for each tour, not as a package. Sustaining Donors to PAM receive free admission to these tours. Students receive 50% off these tours; simply use the promo code “STUDENT” when registering.

Transit Tour #2: A Line $20
Macalester College – Snelling & Grand Aves.
Saturday, September 16th, 9am-12pm
Transit Tour #3: Green Line $20
Target Field Station
Saturday, October 14th, 9am-12pm

These classes are hosted by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM), a statewide nonprofit organization that leads and inspires people to connect to valued places in their communities. Whether it’s an old home or storefront on the corner, a rural community’s old high school, or an urban neighborhood’s long-retired factory, PAM works to preserve and protect the bond felt by community members toward these places, the memories such places represent, and the distinct characteristics they display. 

This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society


The Foundry Home Goods – Unique, Delightful Home Products

Article and photos by Merle Minda

The Foundry Home Goods – Unique, Delightful Home Products
Shop to Expand to be Five Times Larger by Labor Day

Minnesota girl Anna Hillegass skipped college, going right from high school to New York City where she landed a plum styling job in the fabled Holly Hunt Design Showroom. She loved New York and her job but had a hankering to come home to Minneapolis. And that she did, making her mark by creating The Foundry Home Goods five years ago in the North Loop.


Anna HillegassAnna Hillegass

Located almost kitty-corner from the Bachelor Farmer on North 1st Street, The Foundry Home Goods has made its mark with a steady base of admirers and customers.

Anna’s carefully selected choices of home products, finishes and fabrics are unique in the Twin Cities. From natural wood products to Swedish brushes, from Spanish glassware to Japanese towels, the array makes it almost impossible to leave without a purchase.

Vegetable and other brushes

Glassware Display

More Displays

Product Display

Many products are sourced from Scandinavia; others stem from travels to Japan, France and elsewhere. Some are one-of-a-kind; when they’re gone, they’re gone.

“I look for products that are useful for every day, around your sink for example, but are also products that last and are nice to look at,” says Anna. Anna stays away from trade shows but continually adds products that are well-made and of natural materials. Prices are reasonable as well.

Discussing how she landed in the North Loop is interesting, because her father actually owned the Foundry Building at one time. (The building was a working foundry much earlier.) So it seemed like a natural spot for her to begin her vision of putting together useful products made by other artists and designers.

The shop includes products and ideas for Bed/Bath, Kitchens; Tableware/Dining; Beds and Utilities. I also saw a number of colorfully designed toys and puzzles during my visits. Many are exclusive to The Foundry Home Goods. In truth, as you keep walking about, many and more things catch your eye that you would love to own.

“I am a very visual person;” Anna continues, “visuals are important to me in putting together these offerings. In our new space we will have more room to expand and add.”

Yes, you read that right. The store is soon making a short-term move and will be open down their block for a few weeks while their current space on the corner is remodeled and enlarged to literally five times their current square footage. They will be adding product indeed, such as furniture to start; still working with Anna’s vision of items that are “simple, useful and beautiful.”

Meanwhile Anna and her key helpers are there daily; often with Anna’s beloved chocolate lab dogs, Tulip and Ruby, on site. Anna herself lives in the building above the shop. 

Anna Photo

The new and enlarged The Foundry Home Goods will be open from Labor Day forward.

The Foundry Home Goods is located at 125 North 1st Street Minneapolis, MN 55401, 612-333-8484.

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About Merle Minda

Journalist and free-lance writer Merle Minda writes about travel, business, people profiles and other subjects for a number of national and regional publications, including Delta SKY, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business, Star Tribune, Twin Cities Statement, Minnesota Monthly, and now Mill City Times. She can be reached at or on the web.


Mill City Youth Players Debut at the Guthrie Theater on August 24 with a Free Performance

Article by Claudia Kittock, Photos by Rick Kittock

There is an exciting program at the Guthrie. It started last week and will culminate on Thursday, August 24th. Join us for a one-night, one-hour performance titled Be You, Be Seen, Belong, created by young adults from YouthLink and youth residents of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

Through a two-week intensive class on acting and theater craft, the participants formed the Mill City Youth Players and have written and developed an original theater piece inspired by their personal stories, featuring music dance, spoken word and more. As the culmination of their efforts, they will perform for an audience for the first time. Stay for a discussion after the performance to learn about the players and the creation of this special event.

Jessica Finney, teaching artist at the Guthrie, provides direction to the young actors.

The Mill City Youth Players is a pilot program established by the Friends of the Mill District, YouthLink MN and the Guthrie Theater.  It was begun as a way to build community within the younger population in our city.  We know that bringing people together to make art seems to make all barriers disappear.

Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Call the Guthrie Box Office at 612-377-2224 to reserve tickets today. The performance will be held in the Dowling Studio, so seating is limited and tickets are going fast.  We want to show these young actors a full house.  Please get your tickets now.

Claudia can be reached at


Submissions for the 2025 Plan Leadership Awards due by August 22

Each year, the mpls downtown council recognizes and honors leadership by individuals, organizations and initiatives alike through their 2025 Plan Leadership Awards. This year’s awards will be given out on Wednesday, October 11, at the mpls downtown council gala. Nominations for 2025 Plan Leadership Awards focus on the areas of development, greening & public realm, downtown experience, transportation, ending street homelessness, festival of ideas (MiX) and 2025 Plan Impact Award (given to an individual, organization or initiative that greatly impacted multiple areas of the 2025 Plan) are now open.

Click here for more information on the 2025 Plan. Submissions are due by Tuesday, August 22 at 5 p.m.


Minnesota Twins Introduce Somali Youth to Baseball

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock

Most of you know about Webster Elementary, the first public elementary school for the downtown attendance area. How many of you know about another school that was here far earlier? The Cedar Riverside Community School, the 5th charter school in the country, is in its 23rd year.

Beginning in 1986, a large scale housing development project in much of the neighborhood brought a large population of families with young children to the neighborhood. As many of the units in this development were scheduled for Section Eight Housing, the number of children remained large in the immediate future. Approximately half the Cedar Riverside neighborhood resided in the Riverside Plaza Housing Project and the large number of Section Eight units guaranteed a continued population of children.

In 1989, the West Bank Community Development Corporation (CDC) developed a network of day-care houses, using community resources in housing opportunities to respond to the needs of the families. Local service agencies, the Currie Center and the People’s Center, had also increased their programming for children. In the winter of 1991, parents and school teachers in the community began discussing the need for a local school. In May of 1991, the West Bank CDC continued its history of supporting family services and agreed to act as the fiscal agent for the proposed school. With CDC backing, a series of community meetings had been held to access the needs of neighborhood families in regards to a school, and a proposal for a charter school was written.

Cedar Riverside Community School began in 1993. It is located in the heart of the Cedar Riverside Plaza housing complex. This location has had a powerful impact upon the school’s evolution. The school serves a population overwhelmingly from immigrant families who come from homes where English is not the first language. Some of the more prevalent issues many of the students have to overcome in addition to learning English when they come to CRCS include interrupted schooling, immigration, culture shock, separation from family members, poverty, and trauma caused by war. These are significant obstacles to students, families, and staff when providing for each child’s education and growth.

I learned about the school and its powerful mission from Jennifer Wigchers Weber, the school outreach director. Jennifer is also the originator and coach for the sports program. I found out about the Sports Check It Out program from Jennifer, and learned that while she has successfully launched many sports programs, baseball was still difficult. So, I contacted my favorite member of the Minnesota Twins organization, my husband, Rick.

The Minnesota Twins are an interesting organization, and while fielding a competitive team is the central theme of their business, there is much more that goes on at the field. Did you know there is a tour department and a Learning Through Baseball education department? The Twins give tours throughout the ballpark, and offer classes to students about the science of baseball, the language of baseball, the history of baseball, and many more.

This week, a group of students from the Cedar Riverside Community School were given a tour of Target Field by Rick. Baseball is not a familiar sport for people from Somalia. With the generous support of Josh Ortiz of Community Programs, along with Forrest Brandt of the Tour Department, the students were taken to the Target Station. The tour guides taught the children baseball fundamentals using wiffle ball equipment donated by the Twins. As you can see from the pictures, it didn’t take long before they were playing with all the zest of kids everywhere.

This group took that equipment back to the Community School and to the Sports Check It Out library so that a whole new generation of neighborhood kids can learn and play together. It was an amazing day!

What can you do? Read the following invitation, and if interested in being part of it, please RSVP to Jennifer Weber (Coach Weber) at

         We are starting a new tradition this year at Cedar Riverside Community School by hosting a Back To School Kick Off with all our students, families, staff, community members and partners.
        Our first day of school is Monday, August 28th and our kick off celebration will begin at 7:00 am with a meet and greet as all our students gather on the plaza.
        At 7:30 am our students and teachers will be be off to class for day one of the 2017-18 school year. Our hope is to fill the plaza with cheers, posters, hand shakes, high fives and hugs as they take the first steps towards the amazing year of learning that awaits them at CRCS.
        Our school will be hosting a breakfast and community gathering in our lunchroom starting at 7:45 am. As a community school we look forward to hosting this event for everyone that has invested time, talents and care into our school and students. We hope that it will be a big step towards creating dialogue between the parents, community members and partners that all mean so much to our day to day work.
        We look forward to sharing this time and experience with you and sincerely hope you can attend.

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Claudia can be reached at


Coming in September: "Illuminate The Lock" at the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

Here's something to add to your September calendar! Enjoy two weekends of art with Illuminate The Lock at the Upper Saint Anthony Lock & Dam, 1 Portland Avenue, on September 15, 16, 29 and 30. These free events are organized by the Mississippi Park ConnectionNorthern, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, with support from St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

WEEKEND ONE: Illuminate the Lock: Aaron Dysart, Surface
Date: September 15 & 16 
Time: 8:00pm-10:30pm

The 49-foot tall chamber of Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will become a canvas for experimental artworks during this two-part series. Surface by artist Aaron Dysart kicks off the series, using years of handwritten data recorded by Army Corps of Engineers staff at the Lock as the basis for a light show. Daily pool heights and lockages will translate into shifting colors projected on atmospheric effects created in the lock chamber. The spectacle will display the 52-year operating history of this iconic Minneapolis space through near daily observations by the people who tended it. Dysart’s presentation is also part of Here and There presented by The Soap Factory.

WEEKEND TWO: Illuminate the Lock: Andrea Carlson, The Uncompromising Hand
Date: September 29 & 30
Time: 8:00pm-10:30pm

The 49-foot tall chamber of Upper Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will become a canvas for experimental artworks during this two-part series. Part two features The Uncompromising Hand by Andrea Carlson and engages Spirit Island, a limestone island and Dakota sacred site that was once in the Mississippi River near the current Lock and Dam. The lock wall will come alive with a hand drawn animation based on six photographs of the island from the MN Historical Society’s collection, which plot the island’s lengthy dismantle between the 1890’s and 1960’s. Text in Dakota and Ojibwe will accompany the animation. 
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Questions? Contact Katie Nyberg at 651-293-0200 or


Marcy-Holmes' First Congregational Church of Minnesota Preservation Project Completed

Via an August 17 News Release:

First Congregational Church of Minnesota Celebrates the Completion of its Building Preservation Project, Made Possible by one of the Largest Historic Preservation Grants Ever Given by the Minnesota Historical Society.

On Sunday, August 27, 2017, First Congregational Church of Minnesota, United Church of Christ, will celebrate the completion of its most recent historic preservation project, paid for in part by a $387,000 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant administered by the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). The grant is one of the largest historic preservation grants ever awarded by the MHS.

With its dramatic steeple, which can be seen from I-35W and beyond, First Congregational Church has long been a landmark in Southeast Minneapolis. The church was established in 1851 as the First Congregational Church of St. Anthony and the current structure was dedicated in 1888. It was built out of Lake Superior red sandstone quarried from Bayfield, WI, and was designed by noted church architect Warren H. Hayes. 

In addition to the towering spire, notable architectural features of the church include a sliding wall between the sanctuary and the adjoining social hall; a sloping, circular floor plan; many “Richardsonian Romanesque” elements that were popular at the time; and dramatic stained glass windows designed by the art director of the Tiffany Glass Company.

Now nearly 130 years old, the church building has required extensive maintenance over the years, including replacing the steeple after a lightning strike and adding an accessible side entrance. The goal of the most recent project, conducted by Macdonald and Mack Architects, was to make the building water tight. Elements of the project included patching and reinforcing stones, repointing mortar joints, adding new slate shingles on the three minor spires, repairing or replacing roof ridges, and repairing storm windows. One highlight of the project was when workers discovered three beautiful stained glass windows that had been covered up by storm windows.

Penny Petersen, author of Hiding in Plain Sight: Minneapolis’ First Neighborhood, said preserving the church is important for appreciating the history of both the city and the state. “Many prominent city and state leaders attended First Church, including three-term Governor John Pillsbury and University president Cyrus Northrop,” she said. “It’s a beautifully designed, well-loved building that plays an important role in our history and in our visual literacy.” 

Jane McBride, Principal Minister, said the building improvements will allow the congregation to continue its work in the community. “Even as we restore slate, glass and sandstone, we work to integrate our ministry with our building and to cultivate a vision of opening this space more authentically to the wider community,” she said.

The August 27 celebration will begin with a litany of blessing and thanksgiving at the 10:00am worship service and continue at 11:00am with refreshments and tours of the church. All are welcome to attend, explore the building and see firsthand how this historic church is continuing to play a vital role in the present community.

About First Congregational Church of Minnesota

First Congregational Church of Minnesota, United Church of Christ, is a progressive Christian community that gathers to listen, speak and then act, with a spirit of compassion, justice and stewardship. The church is located at 500 8th Avenue SE, Minneapolis, in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.


Better Parks Thanks to the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20)

Via an August e-newsletter from Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board:

NPP20 funds garden care and a range of other maintenance at neighborhood parks

Gateway Park garden maintenanceGateway Park, Downtown

This summer, gardeners have been making the rounds more often at neighborhood parks, thanks to a historic 2016 agreement between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the City of Minneapolis.

The 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20) protects current levels of park funding for 20 years and provides $11 million in additional funds annually. That includes $3 million to increase maintenance at all 160 neighborhood parks, funding care for planted areas, turf and trees; plus more inspections and repairs for playgrounds, pavement, plumbing systems, buildings and more.

While increasing maintenance makes for more appealing parks, it's also good economic sense: A wide range of park facilities can last longer and work better with regular maintenance. Over time, increased maintenance through NPP20 can reduce the need for costlier replacements, improving efficiency and sustainability throughout the neighborhood park system.

Every neighborhood deserves a great park.

NPP20 is a historic agreement between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the City of Minneapolis. It helps address racial and economic equity across 160 neighborhood parks and provides $11 million annually to maintain, repair and replace facilities.


Haunted Basement Tickets Now on Sale - New Location for 2017

Tickets for the 2017 Haunted Basement are now on sale! This will be the 11th year of production, and you'll find them at a new location: Building 9 of 2010 East Hennepin Avenue.

Performances will begain Friday, September 29, and run through Halloween; with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays of each week, and a final show on Tuesday, October 31. All shows begin at 6:30pm, with performances running later into the night on Fridays, Saturdays and Halloween.

They have some new tricks up their sleeves this year, but will still offer some familiar experiences, such at the ‘Fraidy Cat tours and the Blind Invocation. The ‘Fraidy Cat tours are an opportunity to explore the Basement environs in lights-on, no-scare surroundings. These tours are also an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with the set and costume designs of the Haunted Basement.

For those on the opposite end of the fear spectrum who desire a little added oomph to their Haunted Basement visit, the Blind Invocation option will once again provide brave patrons with a one-of-a-kind solo experience, complete with exclusive Easter egg environments and adventures designed only for Blind Invocation ticket holders.

Tickets for the Haunted Basement are $25 for Thursdays and Sundays, and $27 for Fridays, Saturdays, and Halloween. Enhanced experience Blind Invocation tickets are $40. The Haunted Basement is an 18+ with ID event. ‘Fraidy Cat admission is $15, with tours available on Wednesday, October 18 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, and Sundays on October 22 and 29, from 11:00am to 1:00pm. )‘Fraidy Cat tours are open to patrons of all ages, but parental guidance is always suggested.)