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Minneapolis Riverfront News

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


Interstate 335: Lower Northeast’s Ghost Highway

Article by Michael Rainville, Jr.

The next time you take a stroll through James I. Rice Parkway on West River Road or watch the Fourth of July fireworks from Boom Island Park, imagine a six-lane highway right in front of you. The Twin Cites has a history of splitting communities in half, like with I-94 in St. Paul, and I-35W in South Minneapolis, but there was almost one more. This is the story of how a neighborhood was shaped by a project that was never built.

Map from 1975 of the plan for I-335

Interstate 335 was first proposed in the 1940’s to connect I-94, at Plymouth Avenue N, to I-35W, between East Hennepin Avenue and Broadway Street NE, which would complete a highway loop around Minneapolis. Since this “North Ring” section would go right through a big chunk of lower Northeast, it took a few decades for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to carefully choose the most fitting design for the area. In 1970, the project started to pick up steam when a federal highway bill granted money to the project to buy right-of-way land and prepare the route for construction. In fact, if you head southbound on I-35W, you can still see the beginnings of an on ramp as you approach the East Hennepin Avenue overpass.

Google Maps picture of I-35W near the East Hennepin Ave overpass showing an unused on-ramp

I-335 was planned to start at Plymouth Avenue N with its first on/off ramps at Washington Avenue N. It crossed the Mississippi River just south of the Plymouth Avenue bridge, curved its way through Boom Island and B.F. Nelson parks, and its first on/off ramps on the Northeast side would have been at Main Street, where Marshall Street breaks off, roughly where the Pioneer monument currently stands. I-335 would have then continued east, with on/off ramps at University Avenue NE and 4th Street NE. Its last on/off ramp before it that would have connected to I-35W was planned to be at Monroe Street NE.

It’s hard to comprehend a six-lane highway going right through my favorite riverfront park, but it was very close to happening. Understandably, the residents of the St. Anthony West neighborhood were not happy about a highway going through their backyard. Led by their president, Patrick Rainville, Sr., the grandfather of yours truly, the St. Anthony West neighborhood board fought tooth and nail to stop this project. This was a daunting task, as no neighborhood organization has ever shut down a federal government project. Well do I have good news for you! History was made on July 25, 1975 when the Minneapolis City Council listened to one of their oldest neighborhoods and passed a resolution opposing the I-335 project.

When the weather warms up and you find yourself at Boom Island Park, take a moment to look at the Minneapolis skyline, smell the wildflowers in the fields, wave hello to the canoers and kayakers, and appreciate the natural beauty of the Minneapolis riverfront.

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About Michael Rainville, Jr.

A 6th generation Minneapolitan, Michael Rainville Jr. received his B.A. in History from the University of St. Thomas, and is currently enrolled in their M.A. in Art History and Certificate in Museum Studies programs.

Michael is also a lead guide at Mobile Entertainment LLC, giving Segway tours of the Minneapolis riverfront for 5+ years.

He can be reached at


North Loop's The Bar Method Opens a Second Location

The Bar Method, located in the T3 building at 323 N Washington Ave, today announced that its second Twin Cities location is now open at Centennial Lakes in Edina.

Kayla O'RourkeThe 2,100-square foot studio, located at 7509 France Avenue South, becomes the 115th in the country. The Edina location is the second studio owned and operated by instructor Kayla O’Rourke, a longtime runner who started taking Bar Method classes four years ago. “After the first class, I was hooked," said O’Rourke. “Not only was the exercise a body-changing experience, it was also life changing.”  

Centennial Lakes features a studio with an urban-chic feel offering amenities that include a bright lobby, locker room, shower amenities and childcare services. O’Rourke’s first studio opened in the Minneapolis North Loop’s T3 office building in Oct. 2016; a third studio is planned for St. Paul in 2019.

“The Bar Method is the pioneer in growing barre-based exercise programs that provide intense, safe and fun, hour-long workouts incorporating ‘shake strengthening’ isometric exercises to strengthen and tone all major muscle groups and elongate, lengthen and align the body,” said O’Rourke. “It was developed under the guidance of physical therapists to reshape muscles, burn body fat and improve posture.”

In celebration of the opening, O’Rourke is offering a limited-time Founder’s Membership Rate of $129 per month, with no contract required. During February, clients are invited to try the workout for a week, free-of-charge.

A formal grand opening event will occur in March to include a ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by the Edina Chamber of Commerce.

About The Bar Method
Founded in 2001, The Bar Method is the pioneer in barre fitness. Hundreds of thousands of students have experienced The Bar Method as the optimal workout for developing a strong, sculpted body. It strengthens and tones all major muscle groups, burns fat, and improves posture and flexibility.  Classes are led by highly-trained instructors who provide personal attention and ensure that exercises are safe and effective. For more information, visit: or via Facebook and Instagram


Free Minneapolis Event in February: Wells Fargo's WinterSkate at Loring Park

Enjoy free skating and fun programming at Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate throughout February
Tuesday skating lessons, Friday movie skates and more in Loring Park

The Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink is located in Loring Park near Willow Street and Grant Street. Through March 4 you can enjoy fun programming, including:

Free Skating Lessons: Join the Figure Skating Club of Minneapolis for free skating lessons
   o Tuesdays, February 13 & 20, 4:15-5:15 pm
Friday Movie Nights: Stop by to skate and watch classic movies on the ice
   o Friday, February 16: “The Mighty Ducks”, 6-8 pm
   o Friday, February 23: “Miracle”, 6-8 pm
Collegiate Day: Wear your favorite school’s colors! Saturday, February 17, 9 am-9 pm
Gold Medal Skate Weekend: Join us and skate during the medal rounds
   o Saturday, February 24, 9 am-9 pm
   o Sunday, February 25, 10 am-6 pm
Drag Queen Skate: Friday, March 2, 7-9 pm

The rink is open daily and offers free skating during Loring Park’s hours through March 4. The Warming House presented by CenterPoint Energy is open 3 – 9 p.m. on Mondays - Fridays, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays. On February 4, the rink will be open until 10 pm. There are special hours on select holidays. The rink is also open from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Minneapolis Public School release dates. Complimentary skates are available for use during all Warming House hours. A full schedule can be found at

Wells Fargo is giving away FREE WILD TICKETS to sit in Wells Fargo’s center-ice suite as part of a special social media campaign at the Mpls WinterSkate. Skaters are encouraged to take photos on the rink and post them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, tagging @WellsFargo and using the hashtag #mplswinterskate. There are cutout social media frames for use as well. Each month from November through March, one individual who posts from the Wells Fargo Mpls WinterSkate and uses the @WellsFargo and #mplswinterskate hashtag will be selected to receive two (2) tickets to sit in Wells Fargo’s center-ice suite at Xcel Energy Center for the March 25 game between the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins. A total of 10 tickets will be awarded (5 winners + 1 guest each) during the promotion. For more information on Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate, visit

About the Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate:
The Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate is an open-air ice rink with a chilled sheet of ice located inside Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis. It is produced in partnership with the mpls downtown council, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and A Vibrant and Safe Downtown. The Wells Fargo Minneapolis WinterSkate is sponsored by Wells Fargo, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, Power Partner MN, Egan, VEIT, Kraus-Anderson, Xcel Energy, Love Your Melon, BUZ’N 102.9 FM, 104.1 JACK FM and 830 WCCO-AM. The rink is free and open to the community and has a heated warming house available for use during operating hours. Complimentary skates are available for use during warming house hours. For hours and programming information visit:


Announcing Northern Spark 2018: June 15 and 16 


The first ever two-night version of the free public art festival explores participatory projects in Downtown Minneapolis with the theme Commonality

Northern announces plans for the eighth annual Northern Spark, the free annual arts festival illuminating public spaces in the Twin Cities. Known for continually experimenting with size, location, and theme, this year’s Northern Spark will shift from a one night dusk to dawn event to two nights of art and connection with community—Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16—starting at dusk (9:02 pm) and ending at 2 am. Artists will explore the theme Commonality, with projects located in walkable and bikeable areas of Downtown Minneapolis, including The Commons, the Minneapolis Central Library, and Nicollet Mall.

Northern Spark 2018 theme: Commonality

The theme of this year’s festival takes its cue from its venues: The Commons, the Minneapolis Central Library, and Nicollet Mall. What is a 21st century commons? A 21st century library that serves everyone? A pedestrian avenue that is open to anyone?

At a time when the darkest parts of our collective identity surface daily in public forms — overt racism, everyday sexism, challenges to our rights to free speech, policies that fly in the face of climate science — Northern is committed to providing platforms that resist discriminatory ideas, open dialogue and create relationships. What do we have in common? In the context of Northern Spark, what do we share when we gather together in physical space?

The theme of commonality also grounds this year’s Creative City Challenge, a competition for artists, architects and designers in Minnesota to create an interactive work sited at The Commons through the end of July. Opening on the night of Northern Spark and supported by the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program of the City of Minneapolis, the competition winner will be announced in March.  

Artists are currently submitting proposals for this year’s festival and will also be announced in March.

“The theme of commonality emerged organically from this moment in time. As everything from politics to family relationships can feel divisive, there is a call to look at what connects us, but to do so critically. We’re interested in the ways that artists will celebrate and complicate the idea of commonality,” says Steve Dietz, co-director of Northern Spark.

The shift to two nights is both experimental and practical. In the words of Sarah Peters, co-director of Northern Spark, “A two night event gives us a built in rain date, but it also gives attendees more opportunity to experience the festival. So many people tell us they can’t see everything in one night. Now there are two!”

Programming and art will be the same each night.


The venues for Northern Spark 2018 are in downtown Minneapolis:

Dates and Times

In 2018, Northern Spark will take place over two nights, the third weekend in June until 2 am:

  • Friday, June 15, from 9:02 pm to 2 am

  • Saturday, June 16, 7 - 9 pm: Festival Launch Party

  • Saturday, June 16, from 9:02 pm to 2 am

Northern Spark Venue Partners

Northern Spark has always been a collaborative effort. Northern is grateful for the generous involvement of several organizations in the support and programming of Northern Spark 2018. Hennepin County Library at Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DiD) along Nicollet, Green Minneapolis at The Commons, and The Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program of the City of Minneapolis. We are also excited to continue a programmatic partnership with African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) to support an artist at project at Northern Spark that will be re-presented at AEDS’ Little Africa Fest in August 2018. Northern Spark 2018 festival offerings will also include a project co-commissioned with Native American Community Development Initiative. Additional Programming Partners will be announced in March.

Northern Spark Background

Since 2011 thousands of Minnesotans and visitors have enjoyed Northern Spark, an annual arts festival illuminating public spaces in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In early June, tens of thousands of people gather to explore giant video projections, play in temporary installations in the streets, and enjoy experimental performances in green spaces. Late into the night the city surprises you: friendly crowds, glowing groups of cyclists, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, the magic of sunrise after a night of amazing art and experiences.

Northern Spark is known as a dusk-to-dawn event. In 2018 we are experimenting with a two-night model for attendees to experience the artful magic of Northern Spark for two nights in a row until 2 am.

Memorable projects from past Northern Spark festivals include Chris Larson’s Celebration/Love/Loss, Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light, Luke Savisky’s Ex-MN, Pramila Vasudevan’s Census, and countless other projects from artists such as: Ananya Dance Theater, Marina Zurkow, HOTTEA, and Million Artist Movement.

Northern Spark is produced by Northern, a Twin Cities non-profit arts organization whose work ranges from large-scale public art platforms like Northern Spark to Art(ists) On the Verge, a year­long mentorship program for 5 emerging artists working with digital culture. We support artists in the creation and presentation of art in the public sphere, such as at St. Paul's Union Depot (Amateur Intelligence Radio), "choir karaoke" at the Minnesota State Fair (Giant Sing Along) and most recently Illuminate South Loop, a mini outdoor festival of nine interactive projects in Bloomington, MN’s South Loop in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Through projects such as Ruination: City of Dust, a location-­based environmental mystery game, and large scale festivals themed around social issues, our work helps audiences explore expanded possibilities for civic engagement through art.


City Pages Best of the Twin Cities Readers' Poll: Vote for Your Favorites

Each year, the annual Best of the Twin Cities issue highlights all the best things our metro has to offer, from the tastiest bars and restaurants, to the coolest people, parks, museums, and music.

Creating the list is a two part process. First, we vote in the 2018 Best of the Twin Cities Readers' Choice Poll. During the first round of voting (February 6 until midnight on February 27), nominate your favorite people, places, and things in 100 select categories.

Next, City Pages tallies the nominations, and from March 6 until midnight on March 27, we vote on the top five nominees in each category. The Readers' Choice Poll results will be revealed in the annual Best of the Twin Cities issue, online and hitting newsstands April 18.

Participants in the Readers' Choice Poll will automatically be entered to win four V.I.P. tickets to the Best of the Twin Cities party in April at Orchestra Hall.


From the mpls downtown council: 2017 by the Numbers

Downtown Minneapolis 2017 Year in Review

The mpls downtown council hosted its 62nd annual meeting on Monday, February 12 at the Hilton Minneapolis in front of a record crowd. More than 1,300 people registered for the event, which featured a comprehensive year in review. The annual meeting was emceed by WCCO-TV’s Amelia Santaniello, and the in-audience reporter was WCCO-TV’s Mike Augustyniak. 

Top 15 downtown employers:

  1. Target (8,333 Employees)
  2. Hennepin County Medical Center (7,105 )
  3. Wells Fargo (7,000)
  4. Hennepin County (6,595)
  5. Ameriprise Financial (4,893)
  6. U.S. Bank (4,651)
  7. Xcel Energy ( 2,351 )
  8. City of Minneapolis (2,060)
  9. RBC Wealth Management (1,475)
10. Thrivent Financial (1,352)
11. Capella Education (1,258)
12. Star Tribune (1,096)
13. SPS Commerce (1,002)
14. Federal Reserve Bank (970)
15. ABM (910)

2017 by the numbers:

- Current Downtown Population: 43,456

- Since 2006, downtown has gained 11,552 residents, a 36.2% increase

- Minneapolis topped $1 billion in construction permits for the 6th straight year. Of the $1.497 billion in permits, $777 million were from downtown wards 3 and 7 alone

- A combined 1,203 rented units and 374 owned residential units are currently under construction downtown

- Metro Transit ridership topped 81.9 million on buses and trains.

- Green Line LRT ridership reached 13.1 million rides, and Blue Line LRT’s 10.6 million rides

- Downtown’s Central Business District = 36.67% of all Twin Cities office space

- There was a 77% reduction in crime by Downtown 100 Offenders within the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District Boundaries, the 8th straight year of 65% + reduction

- Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theatre ranked 8th worldwide in Pollstar tickets sold

- Minneapolis DID picked up 21,965 bags of trash, 2,394 recycling bags, removed 32,084 gum spots and issued 89,615 pedestrian assists

- The mpls downtown council added 86 members, bringing it s total membership to 440 organizations. The mdc had a 19% memb ership growth in 2017

- The 2025 Plan committees include 358 volunteers from the downtown community


Two Dates Left: Winter at the Walker

Celebrate Winter at the Walker with myriad activities both indoors and out during Target Free Thursday Nights. Trek out into the cold or thaw out inside with a warm drink. The Main Lobby transforms into a hygge haven in the Walker Warming House with art-making, music, and more.


Moonlight Snowshoe Tours, 6 & 7:30 pm

Bundle up in your winter best and join us for moonlight snowshoe tours of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Meet your guide in the Main Lobby, then venture out to see the snow-covered sculptures. Snowshoes are available free of charge, courtesy the University of Minnesota Center for Outdoor Adventure.

Little Box Sauna, 5–9 pm

Not into the cold? Sweat it out in the portable Little Box Sauna! Check it out for free on Thursdays in February and meet the architect. Book a proper sauna experience on weekends (Fridays–Sundays) through March 4 at (fee applies).

February 15: Snowshoe Showcase

Art Demonstration, 5–9 pm

John Beltman of the North House Folk Art School makes the snowy trek down from Grand Marais to share his decades of expertise about the crafting and history of snowshoes. Available all night in the Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab.

February 22: Weather Cartography

Art-Making: Weather Maps, 5–9 pm

Ever curious about the color patterns in meteorological reports? Join artist Alyssa Baguss and Jenny Undis of Lunalux when they present their specially debossed maps of the state of Minnesota that allow us to track changing weather patterns through colorful cartography. Available all night in the main lobby.

Music from DJ Brian Engle, 5–9 pm

Relax and vibe out to tunes spun on vinyl by DJ Brian Engle.

Don’t forget, you can also escape the cold in the Walker galleries - Gallery admission is free from 5 to 9 pm.


Restaurant Week February 18-23

Celebrate the best of Twin Cities dining with a week's worth of great deals in some of the Twin Cities trendiest and best restaurants during Restaurant Week, February 18-23. Participating restaurants will serve two to three course, prix fixe menus for just $10 to $35 per person. (beverage, tax and gratuity not included)

Sponsored by: Josh Cellars (To learn about the "Glass on Josh" promotion during February Restaurant Week click here!). Non-Profit Partner: Dining Out For Life® facilitated by The Aliveness Project.


Spring 2018 Talk of the Stacks Series Announced

Via a February 8 e-newsletter from Friends of the Hennepin County Library:

We are thrilled to announce our Spring 2018 Talk of the Stacks series, featuring some of today's most compelling literary voices! We hope you'll join us for our series of insightful and thought-provoking conversations.

Talk of the Stacks takes place at Hennepin County Library - Minneapolis Central, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall. Events are free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:15pm, Programs begin at 7:00pm.

Tuesday, February 27: Alicia Eler & Stephanie Glaros in conversation with MPR'S Stephanie Curtis

This dynamic trio will explore identity, authentic storytelling, and how to build a personal brand through the lens of digital media. Alicia Eler is the author of The Selfie Generation: How Our Self-Images Are Changing Our Notions of Privacy, Sex, Consent, and Culture. Stephanie Glaros is a teaching artist, author, and speaker, best known for her blog and book, Humans of Minneapolis. Stephanie Curtis is the Senior Producer for MPR's The Thread and co-host of The Cube Critics, a weekly film review podcast. 

Tuesday, April 24: Alex Wagner, CBS News Anchor & Correspondent

In her narrative nonfiction debut Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging, Alex Wagner takes a journey into her own ancestry and discovers the ways in which race and immigration redefine the American experience.

Wednesday, May 16: Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate & Pulitzer Prize Winner 

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith is the author of The Body's QuestionDuende, and Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her memoir, Ordinary Light, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in nonfiction. Smith's forthcoming collection of poems, Wade in the Water, deftly dissects the nature of citizenship in a time when the American past and present continuously collide. 

Note - The May 3rd and 4th events with Jesmyn Ward are already sold out.


News from Downtown Resource Group (DRG)

The Downtown Resource Group (DRG), located in the North Loop at 700 Washington Ave N, would like to share a few items with our readers.

First, there's the January 2018 Minneapolis Market Report:

Next, throughout the month of February, post your date night photos using the hashtag #DRGDateNight for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Follow them on Facebook for more market updates, offers and related events.


Rewire Segment Delves into the Recycling Dilemma and Possible Solutions

This Rewire video looks at how China's discontinuation of processing US recyclable materials (due to too many contaminants) has forced changes in the recycling industry. Recycling contamination has been an issue for years, and we should all be concerned about it. It makes it difficult for sorting facilities to make a profit, and results in more trash going to landfills.

In this video, experts across the country discuss ideas on how to fix this difficult situation, and explore the solutions that were piloted at the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis.


2017 Statistics from St. Stephen's Human Services

Excerpt from February 8 e-newsletter from St. Stephen's Human Services:

Mission Statement:

The mission of St. Stephen’s Human Services is ending homelessness. We progress toward this goal through a range of effective emergency services, shelter and housing programs for individuals and families. We envision a community in which housing instability is rare, brief and non-recurring, ending homelessness as we know it.


Carnaval Brasileiro's Masquerade Ball will fill the Cedar Cultural Center with Celebration on March 3

Via a February 7 Press Release:

Brazilfest MN's Carnaval Brasileiro celebrates its 16th anniversary with an intimate Masquerade Ball on Saturday, March 3rd!

The most attended and longest-running annual Brazilian festival in the Twin Cities teams up with the Cedar Cultural Center for the 16th annual Carnaval Brasileiro on Saturday, March 3rd, at one of the premier live music venues in Minneapolis, internationally respected for top quality world music events. The site brings the focus back to the sound quality of a smaller venue, with hopes for a more enjoyable sonic experience for longtime attendees and newcomers alike. Carnaval will be an all-ages show and will start and end a bit earlier than previous years.

Over 60 singers, musicians, samba dancers, actors and artisans will transform the Cedar Cultural Center into an authentically festive Brazilian cultural experience!

Guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest and his ten-piece group Beira Mar Brasil will host the Carnaval Brasileiro Masquerade Ball from 7pm to 12 midnight. Everest, who also serves as Executive Director, has been joyfully exploring Brazilian music and culture for over 25 years and brings us authentic Brazilian carnival flavor through various musical genres from around the country – Samba, Axé, Frevo, Baião, and other dance-inducing styles. Joining Beira Mar Brasil for the twelfth straight year, direct from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil’s famous party-loving city, will be singer and samba dancer extraordinaire, Dandara Odara, who performs at over 50 carnival celebrations around the world each year in Europe, North America, and of course, Brazil. 

Along with Beira Mar Brasil, Carnaval Brasileiro 2018 will present more performers and performance groups than ever before, including Brazilian percussion ensembles Batucada Do Norte and Drumheart, professional samba dancers/instructors Ginga da Bahia, Leonardo Paixão, Edilson Lima (who has been featured on Ellen DeGeneres) and Vanessa Luiz from São Paulo, Brazil, as well as Brazilian martial arts group Capoeira Floração of Minnesota

Carnaval guests can participate in Brazilian dance lessons, purchase authentic carnival masks created by master Brazilian artisan Goretti Aamot, and have their face and body painted just like they do it in Rio! 

The annual Carnaval, celebrated throughout Brazil, lasts nearly a week and has roots dating back to the 1700s. Like Mardi Gras, Carnaval is an all-out party with music, masks, dancing, food and drink – a final blowout before Lenten traditions kick in for the Easter season. This Minneapolis edition of Carnaval takes place after it is celebrated in Brazil, allowing for many of the special guests to come to Minneapolis.

TICKETS:  $22 in advance, $30 at the door. Available now at the Electric Fetus, Depth of Field, and


A Moment of Zen on a Cold Winter Day

I came across this video on someone's Facebook feed and thought others would enjoy it. It was posted on Vimeo by Kurtis Jackson. (The roughly 3 minute downhill journey and music start at about the 18 second mark.) The beauty of being one with nature in the winter! :)


MPRB to Honor Commissioner Young with Community Comments and Resolution Renaming Park

Via a February 2 e-newsletter from the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board:

Public invited to share remarks honoring Young’s contributions to city and park system at February 7 meeting

At its Feb. 7, 2018 meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) of Commissioners will consider a resolution authorizing Riverside Park to be renamed Annie Young Riverside Park in honor of the recent passing of Annie Young, a dedicated environmental and riverfront advocate during her 28-year tenure on the Park Board. The resolution also calls for the area within the park along West River Parkway, called Lower Riverside Park, to be renamed Annie Young Memorial Meadow. 

A celebration of Young’s legacy is scheduled at 6 pm during the Feb. 7 Board meeting. Board meetings are held at MPRB headquarters, 2117 West River Road. Following comments by public officials and Young’s family, the community is invited to share their thoughts and memories from Young’s career.

Young served seven consecutive terms as an At Large Commissioner, from January 1990 until December 2017, making her one of the two longest-serving commissioners in the MPRB’s 134-year history. She passed away last month at the age of 75.

Young was a lifelong environmentalist who spearheaded solar energy use in parks, clean water initiatives and a 95% reduction in chemical pesticide application on Minneapolis park land. She was also a powerful Mississippi River advocate, instrumental in the creation, development and stewardship of riverfront park land, which includes Riverside Park.

Riverside Park was one of the first parks established in Minneapolis. It is located at 2820 S Eighth St. and encompasses 28 acres of riverfront land on the west bank of the Mississippi River in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. In 2005, MPRB Commissioner John Erwin nominated that an area within Riverside Park called Lower Riverside Park be renamed after Young. According to current Board President Brad Bourn, there has been strong support among past and current Board members for renaming the park in honor of Young and discussions were underway to do so after she retired from the Board.

Those who would like to give public testimony on the resolution to rename Riverside Park in Young’s honor may do so during the regularly scheduled 5:30 pm Open Time at the Feb. 7 Board meeting. Please sign up to speak in person before Open Time begins or call ahead at 612-230-6400.


My North Series - Last Episodes of the 52 Minnesota Stories Leading up to the 2018 Super Bowl

The count down to Super Bowl 52 is complete! We've reached the end of the weekly video series of 52 love letters to Minnesota from notable Minnesotans. My North is an editorial video series created by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and presented by Explore Minnesota. With their odes to the state they love, we heard from tastemakers and stylemakers; artists and athletes; authors and entertainers. Below are final two episodes, 51 and 52 - click here to see more!



MCBA Announces Dirty Works Classes for Kids!

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) Announces Dirty Works Classes for Kids!

This new series of second-Saturday classes welcomes kids ages 7-12 to get their hands dirty and create their own projects! Inspired by the popular class series for adults, Dirty Works for Kids offers a fun and inspiring lineup of classes that will push kids’ creative boundaries and expand their notions of what a book can be. Classes are held from 1-3 pm monthly, and topics range from making edible books and miniatures to pop-up dragons and paper ornaments. Check out all of our offerings:

Dirty Works for Kids: Edible Books
with Cindy Gipple
Saturday, March 10; class 1-3pm
Dirty Works for Kids: Miniature Books
with Cindy Gipple
Saturday, April 14; class 1-3pm
Dirty Works for Kids: Superhero Pop-up
with Erin Holt
Saturday, May 12; class 1-3pm
with Erin Holt
Saturday, June 9; class 1-3pm
Dirty Works for Kids: Zines
with Jill Weese
Saturday, July 14; class 1-3pm
Dirty Works for Kids: Making Books with Found Materials
with Olli Johnson
Saturday, August 11; class 1-3pm
Dirty Works for Kids: Stamps for Mail Art
with Olli Johnson
Saturday, September 8; class 1-3pm
with Olli Johnson
Saturday, October 13; class 1-3pm
Dirty Works for Kids: Silly "WANTED" Posters
with Erin Holt
Saturday, November 10; class 1-3pm 

Mill City Youth Players Knock it out of the Park with "The M.A.S.K. Project" Performances

Article by Claudia Kittock; Photos and video by Ryan Ojard

What happens when you bring together young people from YouthLink and the Cedar Riverside community to create theater? Pure magic! If you were lucky enough to be in the Guthrie audience on January 25th or 26th, you saw that magic. Young actors with incredible talent and energy, brought their best to The M.A.S.K. Project, a production they wrote, produced, and performed. 

The Friends of the Mill District, a local charity, created the idea of an acting experience for young people from our community. In partnership with the Guthrie Theater, the Mill City Youth Players were formed in August of 2016. After the first production, each and every actor united in their determination to keep the Mill City Youth Players together. The Friends of the Mill District agreed and sought donors to help make it a reality.

While we all know that it takes a village to raise a child, we aren’t trying to raise children, but we are working to provide experiences for neighborhood youth that may not be available to them without some assistance. Thanks to the generosity and heart of this community, the Mill City Youth Players is now a vibrant program, located at the Guthrie.

Friends of the Mill District provide Metro Transit Go-To Cards to assist with transportation back and forth to rehearsals. We also asked for help from the community in providing food both before and after each rehearsal. The response was incredible, with over 25 people providing dinners and snacks. Each person who brought food soon discovered the magic of these young people as they chatted during dinner.

The actors mounted 2 performances with large crowds at each. We were treated to hilarity, ad-libs, audience participation, and poignant moments of poetry and music. Several actors read poems about ripping off our masks, about the ‘bluebird in my heart,’ about feeling invisible, and even a poem written and performed by Mahamed Salad about identity. Jackie Santrelle closed each performance with an incredible song about feeling not seen. The sheer talent level on that stage was staggering.

Friends of the Mill District is already planning for the next session. We are committed to this project and the people in our community who have become involved are also united in their support. After the last performance, I asked the actors if they wanted the Mill City Youth Players to continue. There was a unanimous roar of “YES!”

Here's what some of the performers had to say about their experience with this program:

Community can be built through art. Be it singing or acting, we discover our commonalities and are able to celebrate our differences when we unite to create art. The very work of creating art requires us to see each other, to know that no matter our differences we can only succeed if we all succeed. That is the essence of this work. We ARE stronger together. The work goes on.

How can you help?
• Be part of the army of neighbors who assist us with every session. 
• Send us your ideas and your thoughts about this project going forward.
• Contribute financially to the Friends of the Mill District.
• Contact Claudia Kittock at for any and all questions.

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).



There is Love - Mill City Singers perform at Bold Hope in the North

Article by Claudia Kittock

There is Love!

The Mill City Singers, created and sponsored by the Friends of the Mill District, have had a fascinating history in the two years of existence. We began as a pilot project sponsored by DMNA and have progressed to a vibrant group of 204 community members, now sponsored by Friends of the Mill District. Today the Singers perform in venues across Minneapolis, led by the magical JD and Fred Steele.

On Sunday, January 28th, the Singers were featured at a Super Bowl LII event at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Bold Hope in the North. The event was designed to help raise money through the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness (DCEH). DCEH piloted a rental assistance program that has proven to be incredibly successful. Six months after families receive assistance, 80% are still in their homes.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program allows DCEH to further its focus on long-term housing solutions by expanding the areas of involvement to include homeless prevention. The DCEH ERA pools together resources, experience, and capacity in the member congregations to have a coordinated impact within the same programmatic structure.

The program supports individuals and families by providing rental assistance in a time of financial crisis. A crucial component of the program is providing relationship and additional services or activities to help clients develop skills and community in their goal of keeping stable housing. By providing financial and personal growth services, DCEH ERA will help people stay in their homes instead of facing an eviction in this crisis, or the next.

With Mayor Jacob Frey as the emcee, the Bold Hope in the North program highlighted both the problem of homelessness and the hope. Mayor Frey repeated his commitment to ending homelessness, hoping to make Minneapolis the first major city in the country to end street homelessness. What an accomplishment that would be!

The Singers were honored to be able to bring a message of community and hope to the event. We sang three songs and left feeling uplifted and excited about the music of the day, the message of hope, and a renewed sense of community. None of this is possible alone. We can only do it as a community with a willingness to do the work.

How can you help?

• Visit to learn more about this program.
• Donate to DCEH at
• Join the Mill City Singers by contacting Claudia Kittock at

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About Claudia Kittock

Claudia is a resident of the Mill District. In addition to writing for Mill City Times, she is a founding Board Member of Friends of the Mill District. Claudia is the author of Health Through Chaos, mentors young adults at YouthLink, and has served on the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA).



7 ½ Foot Brain Ice Sculpture at the American Academy of Neurology 

Photos submitted

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN), 201 Chicago Avenue, is currently home to a 7 ½ foot brain ice sculpture (located at the corner of 2nd Street S and Chicago Avenue, across from the Guthrie). Rob Graham, winner of the 2014 St. Paul Winter Carnival ice sculpture contest, carved the sculpture onsite. Additionaly, 28 windows on the building’s first floor are wrapped with dynamic images representing athletes of all sports, ages, and gender.

Here is a video of how it all came together:

AAN, headquartered in the heart of the Mill District, represents 34,000 neurologists and neuroscientists worldwide. They are the world’s most trusted authority for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines that help neurologists make decisions related to the diagnosis and treatment of neurologic diseases such as sports concussion, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, among many others.

A concussion does not occur only on the football field—it can affect athletes of all sports at any age, gender, or level of sport played. AAN's goal is to educate the public on the importance of “When in Doubt, Check it Out” if someone suspects a concussion. Their AAN guideline summaries serve as educational tools for patients, families, coaches, and the public. In 2015, the AAN released an updated Sports Concussion Guideline to help people recognize the signs of concussion and help doctors manage and treat concussion. For more information, visit

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