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Minutes from January 24, 2017

2020 Partners Membership Meeting

HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners Steering Committee on February 16, 2017

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Tim Bildsoe, Dan Collison, Thomas Dodds, Alice Eichholz, Jamil Ford, David Frank, Brad Henry, George Holden, Tricia Holden, Denise Holt, Matt Hoy, Joanne Kaufman, Dan Kenney, Brian Kimmes, Nick Koch, Rick Kreuser, David Loehr, Ra’eesa Motala, Kelly Nelson, Tod Norgren, Robert Pfefferle, Peter Roos, Bob Salmen, Max Salmen, Mark Stenglein, Gordy Stofer, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner, Marcell Walker

1. Call to Order and Introductions – Nick Koch, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:10 pm.

2. Approval of Meeting Notes
Meeting Notes from September 27 and November 29, 2016, Membership Meetings were approved and are posted on our website.

3. Introduction of Dan Collison as Executive Director
Nick announced that the Steering Committee entered into a one-year contract (January 1 – December 31, 2017) with Dan Collison to be the Executive Director of the 2020 Partners. Dan is also serving as Executive Director for the East Town Business Partnership and Director of Downtown Partnerships for the Minneapolis Downtown Council-Downtown Improvement District.

Dan acknowledged that the 2020 Partners is comprised of a deeply invested group of landowners, institutional leaders and neighborhood leaders who have acted together to advance their “enlightened self-interests.” Dan has met with Steering Committee members David Frank, Bob Pfefferle and Nick Koch to get a sense of the institutional memory of the group, and has reviewed all of the content posted on our website. Leveraging his experience and strong relationships with Minneapolis Council Members and area business leaders, Dan’s goal in this one year pilot is to be a navigator between the interests of the 2020 Partners and other people and happenings around Downtown, representing our group and making connections with others. He will serve the interests of the Steering Committee and Task Forces in a way that brings vibrancy, energy and a sense of direction in achieving our goals.

Dave Albersman commented that with all of the time and energy Mark Oyaas has put into the 2020 Partners since its inception, he does not understand why Mark was not given a chance by the Steering Committee to apply for this position and he wondered what the reasoning was behind that decision. He added that it would be nice if membership got a say in decisions like this; many members have volunteered their time and efforts to the organization and that is worth money, too. Nick responded that Ralph Strangis and Dave St. Peter had some thoughts and opinions on this decision but unfortunately were not present at this meeting to articulate them. Joanne Kaufman said she was not aware of or included in any conversations that were taking place or decisions being made until after it was a done deal. David Frank said that he has worked from the beginning with Mark, Mary deLaittre and Chuck Leer and this decision is not intended to be disrespectful towards Mark. The Steering Committee looked at the great energy and success of East Town and wanted to work with Dan. There is precedence for the Steering Committee to enter into contracts for outside help as they did with Mary deLaittre and Vincent James (VJAA).

Joanne Kaufman said the Board of Directors of the Warehouse District Business Association has concerns that Dan’s work in East Town might conflict with some of the goals and objectives of their organization and the 2020 Partners. Max Salmen also expressed two concerns that had been expressed to him by others: the potential for conflicts of interest between East Town and the North Loop, and the lack of transparency in the process of contracting with Dan to act as 2020’s Executive Director. Nick invited anyone who has additional feedback and thoughts on this to email them to Marsha. He added that the 2020 Partners has always operated by consensus, granting authority and responsibility to the Steering Committee to make decisions and take action on behalf of the group.

Dan Collison thanked everyone for their questions and concerns. He said that while the structure of the arrangement does not involve a lot of money he acknowledges that the investment needs to be fully realized and valued and said he will provide detailed reports of his activity to the Steering Committee. His challenge is to leverage the development muscle and vision in all of Downtown, integrating resources and assets rather than entering into competition. 

4. MnDOT Resurfacing Project (I-94 Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center) – Dave Aeikens, Communications and Engagement, MnDOT Metro District Public Affairs; Marcell Walker, Project Manager for the 2017-2018 I-94 Resurfacing and Bridge Project [PPT]

Marcell Walker said the project, which stretches from Minneapolis to Shingle Creek Parkway in Brooklyn Center, will run from March 2017 through July 2018. From May through October, 2017, I-94 will be reduced to 2 lanes in each direction between Nicollet Avenue and Highway 55 for under-bridge repairs, and it will be reduced to 2 (possibly 3) lanes in each direction north of Highway 55. In August it is anticipated that there will be four weekend directional closures of I-94 (one direction closed, the other remains open) required for asphalt overlay. Some of the parking under the freeway bridges in the Glenwood-Lyndale area will be restricted for bridge repair. Ramp closures throughout the project area will be required for pavement repair. Closures are expected to last two weeks, and the goal is to have no two consecutive freeway ramps closed at the same time. Intermittent lane closures will be required throughout the project.

Moving north to the Brooklyn Center area, there will be impacts to the Highway 252 / I-94 area. Both Southbound Highway 252 to Eastbound I-94 and Westbound I-694 to Eastbound I-94 will be closed for approximately two months to resurface roads and repair bridges. Traffic will be detoured to Highway 100.

On the south end of the project area, work done on the Lowry Tunnel will be staged construction. When work begins in the eastbound Lowry Tunnel, traffic will be shifted to westbound lanes; two reduced (10-foot wide) lanes in each direction separated by a concrete barrier. When that is completed, the traffic will be shifted to the eastbound lanes while work is down on the westbound lanes. This phase is expected to take about 14 weeks, and truck traffic will be restricted. To reduce traffic in this area the Northbound I-35W to Westbound I‑94 ramp will be closed during Lowry Tunnel work for about 70 days. Traffic will be detoured to Highway 62 to northbound Highway 100.

This project is only for maintenance and preservation of the roads and bridges. Additional capacity or sound barriers are not included, but there will be new highway lighting. The estimated cost of the project is $57 million; MnDOT will be opening bids on February 1. As far as mitigation plans during road closures, Marcell said MnDOT can only detour traffic onto roads they maintain, and they cannot restrict traffic from using other roads.

Individuals interested in updates can check the project website for I-94 Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center, and sign up for email alerts. They can also check Facebook, Twitter or 511 (real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota). Marcell also provided project contact information: Dave Aeikens, Communications & Engagement: david.aeikens@state.mn.us; 651-234-7511; and Marcell Walker, Project Manager, marcell.walker@state.mn.us; 651-234-7712.

5. Neighborhood Updates
David Frank invited everyone to attend the Annual Meeting of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, Wednesday, January 25, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm at T3, 323 North Washington Avenue.

6. Property Development Update: 729 Washington – Gordy Stofer, Vice President of Office Development, United Properties [PPT]
United Properties has developed several properties in the North Loop, including Ford Center and the Loose Wiles project where Freehouse is located. This new development – which they are calling Nordic House – is on the surface parking lot next to Freehouse and is being built as a modern interpretation of a historic warehouse-type building with Scandinavian-inspired design. It will include primarily office space with some retail and up to three restaurants, including an outdoor restaurant adjacent to a 50,000 square foot plaza which will be activated year-round by the Musicant Group. From December 1 through March 31 underground cooling coils will be used for winter sports like curling. The office building will have a rooftop terrace. The design and height of the building compliments adjacent historic buildings. United Properties has been working with a neighborhood group and will be making contributions to the neighborhood for historic preservation and public art.

An adjacent structure, connected to the office building by a canopy over the alley, will provide 270 above-grade and 130 below-grade parking spaces. There will also be 59 micro‑units (400-square-foot efficiency apartments) along the Third Street side of the building, and retail on the street level. They plan to break ground this summer and complete the project by Fall of 2018. Restaurants and major tenants will be announced within the next 30-45 days.

7. Parking Task Force Report – Max Salmen, Task Force Chair; Dan Collison
Max said that the Parking Task Force has been collecting funds to replicate a study that was done ten years ago. That included requesting funds from the Steering Committee, but primarily due to some confusion in communication that was not granted. The Task Force has assembled a massive amount of information about what people – retailers, office workers, tenants – are upset about with the current parking situation, but they lack a clear vision of what they want to accomplish. In the next four to six weeks the Task Force will work to develop a vision of where they want Minneapolis to be and how it will be perceived by people who are coming to this area to work, shop and recreate. The Task Force will then determine how they can make it happen by tying into the user experience and the future of transportation, integrating more people into mass transit by broadening the scope of mass transit users. They will then ask for a commitment of money, time and connections to achieve their vision.

Dan said he has an appointment set with Tim Drew, a senior engineer with the City of Minneapolis and Director of Parking and Traffic in the downtown sector. They will look at the City’s basic data and information on the City’s assets and commercial lots. At the Steering Committee meeting there was a discussion on accessory lots, and the conclusion was that changing the policy on accessory lots would not be a fruitful conversation largely because there are not enough lots that would be impacted in the North Loop. Also, effecting the planning process and the City Council’s understanding of surface parking lots would involve a five-year effort and the buy-in does not currently exist for this undertaking.

Max added that the Task Force is looking at areas where the City might be flexible and identifying other players who can add influence to guide this discussion into the future. The Parking Task Force was highly involved in connecting the Farmers Market people with MnDOT when they faced losing 100 percent of their parking during the I-94 resurfacing project. That connection and conversation resulted in MnDOT changing its plans in favor of the Farmers Market.

Bob Salmen, apologizing for being late to the meeting, wanted to make an additional point about transparency of the decisions and actions of the Steering Committee. Several months ago [March 2016] Bob sent by email a letter expressing concern about Ralph Strangis remaining on the Steering Committee due to what he perceived were conflicts of interest. Nick thanked Bob for his comments. While Nick admitted he does not know what the next step would be, expressing these thoughts out loud in this room is a first step.

8. 2017 Work Plan – Nick Koch, Dan Collison
Nick referred to the November 29 membership meeting where ideas for the Work Plan were put forward by members. Other ideas were submitted following the meeting, including one that arrived via email this morning [January 24] from Bruce Lambrecht. Bruce proposed an idea for a soccer stadium in Minneapolis that could be considered if negotiations with Saint Paul for the Midway site fell through. In a spirited exchange, Dan Kenney stated that the parcel of land under consideration in Minneapolis contained in Bruce’s proposal is not controlled by Minneapolis or Hennepin County. It is controlled by the Minnesota Ballpark Authority and leased to the Minnesota Twins, and a soccer stadium on this site will never happen. Bob Salmen averred that it is merely an idea, a perspective that could be considered if siting the soccer stadium in Saint Paul is determined to not be feasible. Nick said the document would be acknowledged as a suggestion without taking further action at this time.

The remaining meeting time was spent discussing the 2017 Work Plan. Maps of the area and a draft document of priorities for the 2020 Partners were provided to aid the discussion. A key point from the discussion included revisiting UrbanWork’s West Loop Plan that included information on publicly and privately owned land in the area of the Farmers Market, and exploring the possibility of leveraging the entire area by expanding the digital footprint of the 2020 Partners.

Dan Kenney suggested that to the degree there are projects currently moving forward that connect the North Side into the North Loop, it would make sense for 2020 Partners to identify those projects and focus on the next steps of connection to expand the improvements so that development happens within an increasingly bigger footprint. A main consideration is pedestrians and connections, investing in amenities that make it a comfortable space for people to be in. A high priority should be moving forward with existing property owners to break up superblocks, making better connections to transit and amenities, and creating opportunities around the Southwest platform. Dan Collison added that the boundaries of our area should be permeable.

In closing, Nick read a text from Peter McLaughlin who was not able to attend the meeting: “Urge people to keep the faith and tell legislators not to impede efforts to solve transit capital problems of LRT and BRT.” Nick said we will keep the faith, and focus on the Farmers Market and development opportunities that tie in with transit.

9. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, from 5:00‑6:30 pm.
2017 Membership Meeting Schedule: May 23, July 18 (pizza party followed by Minnesota Twins vs. Yankees), September 26, November 14

Minutes from November 29, 2016

2020 Partners Membership Meeting

HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners on January 24, 2017

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Kathleen Anderson, Joey Betland, Kathleen Boe, Joan Campbell, Pierce Canser, Dan Collison, Thomas Dodds, John Dukich, Alice Eichholz, Meg Forney, Lucy Galbraith, Daniel Grady, Doug Harvey, Brad Henry, Tom Hoch, Tricia Holden, Denise Holt, Matt Hoy, Joanne Kaufman, Dan Kenney, Brian Kimmes, Nick Koch, Rick Kreuser, Bruce Lambrecht, Peter McLaughlin, Ra’eesa Motala, Cathy Nordin, Mark Oyaas, Robert Pfefferle, Neil Reardon, Robert Rimstad, Peter Roos, Bob Salmen, Max Salmen, Jenai Sele, Erin Sexton, Dave St. Peter, Mark Stenglein, Ralph Strangis, Carletta Sweet, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner, Dale White

1. Call to Order and Introductions – Nick Koch, Chair, called the meeting to order at 5:10 pm.

2. Parking Task Force Report and Discussion – Dave Albersman, Chair; Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. [PPT]
After providing some history and background (see Minutes from July 26 and September 27), Dave said the Parking Task Force has to date held two meetings to discuss parking issues in the North Loop, an area which continues to thrive and grow resulting in surface parking lots being eliminated. The Parking Task Force is recommending that 2020 Partners join with other entities to hire a professional transit/parking consultant to determine the current status of the parking situation in the North Loop and begin to formulate short- and long-term solutions to the problem.

The Parking Task Force has developed a draft scope of services that outlines issues they believe should be addressed by the consultant, whose work will be guided by the Parking Task Force. The cost is estimated to be $50,000, and the timeline would be six to nine months. Deliverables would include:

  • Sense of how people come and go from the area, whether it be by private vehicle, transit or other
  • Inventory existing available parking: on-street, off-street, privately- or publicly-owned
  • Management of parking, hours of operation and availability
  • Rates and revenue; where the money goes
  • Impact of proposed future development; parking spaces lost or proposed
  • Public engagement period with stakeholders: developers, businesses, residents and neighborhood groups, city, county and Farmers Market
  • Findings and conclusions, including next steps

In the discussion following Dave’s presentation several points were brought up by 2020 Partners members, some of which had previously been mentioned, including:

  • The politics around parking solutions seems to indicate that providing new parking discourages transit, and that changes in the way of eventually using Uber, Lyft and self-driving cars will determine the way parking is configured. The reality is that businesses in the North Loop are experiencing acute parking problems now which need to be addressed; business owners would like to see common-sense, fact-based discussion around the issue. Hiring a consultant is necessary to take a snapshot of the current parking problems, where people are experiencing these problems, and projecting out where development may occur in the near future. This baseline is needed to have a credible discussion.
  • Parking at meters became a problem after Minneapolis introduced its parking app which allowed people to restart their parking sessions remotely. Efforts to mitigate this problem – i.e. shortening the allowed time from four to two hours, and restricting extension of parking duration at designated meters – have been largely unsuccessful. In an informal survey business owners said that almost 100 percent of their business comes from outside of the neighborhood. Thus losing surface parking to development and ramps that are often full has become problematic and some businesses are actually leaving this area because of it.
  • Parking has been a hot issue at meetings of the North Loop Neighborhood Association (NLNA) this year, especially when apartment buildings were proposed that are taking up surface parking near Eighth Avenue and the Lab Theater. NLNA is concerned about building of parking-only structures, which is something the neighborhood has not wanted. One recent option has been proposed that has parking that is wrapped by micro-units. With proposed transit (light rail and rapid transit bus) terminating in the area it will be important to plan for the future when less parking is needed, while taking steps to relieve the parking situation in the interim. Implementing a circulator bus was one proposed option.
  • The Minneapolis City Council has yet to take action on three proposals for the Farmers Market area that were submitted earlier this year. It will be crucial and important to work with city experts and entities – i.e. Planning Commission, Traffic Division, and others – on policy decisions and changes, rather than working autonomously in moving forward. The City needs to be a partner in planning and involved in the conversation.
  • Hennepin County is not involved in parking, but Southwest LRT is moving forward; the County Board recently passed resolutions on vehicle design and right-of-way acquisition. Bottineau is ready to go but for the state’s ten percent share and negotiations with the railroad. In the eventuality of Uber and driverless cars replacing self-operated vehicles, they will still need road space and there will not be one solution. With the increase in mass transit and LRT in the past ten years, the focus should now be on increasing ridership by facilitating those who want to use LRT but have to do more than just commute to and from work.
  • Any new parking structure should look good and integrate well into the neighborhood.
  • Permitting could be changed to allow for night/weekend parking in existing structures and on surface lots in addition to the current nine-to-five only parking. That would make many more spaces available that are currently not used during certain times of the day.

In closing this discussion, Mark Oyaas suggested that there might be some confusion about the idea of advocating for something versus gathering facts. He compared it to the issue with the reconfiguration of the bike lanes, where the City claimed that First Avenue was the major artery for bike commuting in downtown Minneapolis, which with specific data turned out to be patently false. Eventually the City agreed to revert to having the parking lanes near the curb. Mark clarified that what the Task Force is recommending is finding a baseline of facts rather than dealing with the parking problem anecdotally. It is not recommending advocating for anything in particular – district parking, reconfiguring meters, changing permitting – at this point in time.

Nick invited 2020 Partners members to send their ideas and comments on this issue and others to Marsha Wagner (marsha@castlevisions.com), who will compile them for the Parking Task Force and for consideration by the Steering Committee in creating the 2017 Work Plan.

3. Welcome new Sponsor Mayo Clinic
Nick welcomed and thanked Mayo Clinic, represented by Erin Sexton, its Director of State Government Relations, for its support of The 2020 Partners. Erin said that Mayo Clinic looks forward to engaging with The 2020 Partners in making this a great neighborhood. Mayo Clinic’s logo has been added to our website.

4. Welcome to the Neighborhood Hewing Hotel
Nick introduced Jenai Sele, Director of Sales with the Hewing Hotel (300 Washington Avenue North), and thanked her for the swag bags of local products she provided for everyone in attendance. Jenai invited us to visit Tullibee, its restaurant and bar that pays tribute to the area’s strong Scandinavian roots with a focus on locally sourced food and beverage. Executive Chef Grae Nonas has been a recent James Beard award nominee and finalist, and in 2015 was named Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef.

The hotel has 124 rooms, 14 of which are suites. It was originally built in 1897, and they retained most of the original brick and timber throughout the building. ESG was the designer. The guest rooms have furniture from Blu Dot and throws from Faribault, both local companies. Later this month they will open a rooftop bar, lounge, sauna for 25, and small pool that will be converted to a hot tub during the winter. The rooftop area will be open to the public.

5. Heywood Campus Projects Update – Robert Rimstad and Cathy Nordin, Project Managers, Metro Transit [PPT]

Cathy began by stating that Metro Transit’s Master Plan looked at the growth of the organization, integration into the neighborhood, and operation needs. Two major projects came out of the Master Plan. Cathy said the police building, which will be attached to the existing office building, is 60,000 square feet on four floors. It is used as a home base for officers, most of whom are deployed on foot to light rail and other areas downtown. The bus/squad entrance/exit will be widened to three lanes. The main entrance will be moved to Sixth Avenue North, and the building and landscaping will be on street level instead of below grade. The exterior will be dark gray metal panels.

Robert reported that the new Minneapolis bus garage, located northwest of the existing Heywood Bus Garage, will have storage space for more than 200 buses. They will do basic maintenance and minor repairs at this facility, which serves as a home base for buses and drivers. There will be two levels, with employee parking on the first level and bus parking and maintenance on the second level. Preliminary design renderings show the street entrance and car parking entrance along Tenth Avenue to enhance that corridor and entrance to the  North Loop. The main level of the bus garage will have bus parking in the middle, maintenance on the south side, and operations on the east side. The bus pull in/pull out will be on Eleventh Avenue. Two future additions are planned for the west side when funding becomes available. The façade facing North Seventh Street will offer views of the interior and with 24/7 operations will shed illumination outside of the building at night.

Both projects are currently in the design phase. Construction on the police building will begin in 2017 and last two years. After demolition of existing buildings on the site the new garage construction will begin in 2018 pending acquisition of additional funding. With that schedule it will be completed in 2019.

6. Target Center Improvements Update – Brian Kimmes, Facilities Project Manager, Minnesota Timberwolves | Lynx [PPT]
Brian reported that the demolition of the exterior at the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street is going very smoothly. Re-skinning the exterior with metal panels will begin this winter, starting at the Target Field corner and working around the building to finish at First Avenue and Sixth Street. Brian spent most of his time talking about the interior updates. The existing executive suites on the premium level have been completely redone with new millwork, seats, carpeting, and ceilings and the restrooms have been refreshed. They also have new furniture and televisions, and have been consulting with David Fhima on new food offerings. Club TI (Treasure Island) has an expanded footprint with a larger bar and new food options. One new product at Target Center are the Chairman’s Suites along one entire side of the building. These suites provide access to the exclusive Chairman’s Club that overlooks center court with floor-to-ceiling glass, and offers all-inclusive food and beverage. Another new product are TCL Theater Boxes which can accommodate four to six people per box. Each box has its own reserved dining room table, larger chairs overlooking the court, and they also offer all-inclusive food and beverage.

7. “Open Mic” Discussion about Neighborhood Issues to Address in 2017
[Note: These are listed in the order in which they occurred to maintain flow of discussion.]

  • Ralph Strangis, advisor to the 2020 Partners Steering Committee, addressed the topic of parking by saying that the Work Plan is all about the Farmers Market and North Side, connecting all of these pieces together. Since 2020 Partners has limited resources the Steering Committee has to look at the extent to which resources are available to participate in the parking conversation while at the same time staying true to the Work Plan that has been under development. The Steering Committee is trying to find a better way to be more effective so when they bring items to the collective group there has been more input and opportunity at that level to vet them and bring them in a more complete form. Plans are underway that are not ready to be presented, but look for some interesting and positive information about this at the next meeting.
  • Joan Campbell thought the parking conversation made it sound like the city would be the audience, not a participant. She said there are really good minds at the city and they should be included in the discussion. Parking is considered a revenue source so changing policies could affect that. As a city council member she was always concerned when a group would get way out ahead of policy makers. She added that if someone from the city is participating in the planning or brainstorming effort they have more ownership. There are examples around the city of shared parking which usually happens in neighborhoods, one example being the Seward Co-op which shares space with a church and a bar.
  • Mark Stenglein, lending historical perspective, said Hennepin County has been involved in this neighborhood with Target Field, Northstar Rail, current and future LRT. Every train line has its nexus at this point, so our energy should be put into bringing big attractions to the city. Nick added that at the genesis of this group its purpose was to make this a welcoming neighborhood and be a partner with Hennepin County in developing infrastructure.
  • Bruce Lambrecht said that although there is a high percentage chance Major League Soccer will go to Saint Paul, the deal has not yet been finalized. One thing that is being done around the world is building soccer stadiums so they can appear for game days and disappear when not in use. He wondered about the possibility of building a soccer stadium on a piece of land that would be free and you’re only paying for air rights. He mentioned several options where an 18,000-20,000 seat stadium could be built: between the B and C parking ramps, near the Convention Center by I94, and connecting US Bank Stadium over 35W linking with the University of Minnesota.
  • Brad Henry said that it has been announced that Minneapolis is in the bidding for Expo 2023, a World Fair in the State of Minnesota. [link] Nick said that a bid committee led by Mark Ritchie met with senior officials from the United States Department of Commerce. Last week [November 23] they made an announcement that they were forwarding a recommendation to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who will in turn forward it to President Obama, to hold the 2023 World Fair in Minnesota.
  • Mark Oyaas reiterated a point he made earlier about the parking issue. He said that the Parking Task Force realizes that with the parking problem being so acute there are many stakeholders who could each come up with $2,500 or $5,000 to contribute toward hiring a consultant. It was and is not the intent of the Parking Task Force to ask the 2020 Partners to consider using existing funds. What the Parking Task Force is seeking is for 2020 Partners to endorse and steer this fact-finding mission; they are not at this point considering coming up with a plan or making recommendations. The 2020 Partners offers the perfect forum to have this discussion. Parking Task Force member and North Loop resident Timothy Bildsoe has been actively working with Council Member Jacob Frey on this issue, so that could be a good place to start. Absolutely connections is the fundamental goal, specifically connecting back to the Near North so positive developments in this area push forward in that direction.
  • Alice Eichholz said that the Near North is her interest as well, and that making that connection was the whole reason to place the soccer stadium in the Farmers Market. It would have made Minneapolis a much more cohesive, cultural, and interactive city, which is going to be essential in moving forward with understanding diversity and inclusion of other cultures. She also announced that Great River Landing has been fully funded. Organized by Better Futures, it will offer 72 units of supportive, affordable housing for ex-offenders, most of them family men. Affordable housing is another strong issue for the North Loop as it offers another way to be better connected to Near North.
  • Brian Kimmes said that with the Super bowl and X Games coming to Minneapolis, we should work to make sure that people visit our neighborhood. With the X Games coming next summer (2017) we need to start planning now.
  • Doug Harvey, speaking on behalf of the Minneapolis Farmers Market and Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, requested help with a road construction issue. Last month [October] they were notified that I94 north and south, from Hennepin Avenue to I694, would be resurfaced beginning in May 2017. They will also be making bridge repairs, so parking under the freeway will not be available for use by Farmers Market vendors and customers for the duration of the project, estimated to be one year. Border Avenue will also be closed while the City of Minneapolis reroutes utilities in preparation for Southwest LRT. The Farmers Market will lose between 360 and 600 parking spaces. The City has made it clear they will not provide financial support to secure parking. Doug is seeking advice and input on how the Farmers Market can increase awareness of this issue, raise funds for private parking in the neighborhood, and help lobby the city to provide financial and other assistance.
  • Ending on an upbeat note, Nick thanked everyone for coming, and toasted Fulton Brewing for providing the very well-received and much-enjoyed beer for the meeting. HGA provided other food and beverages.

8. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, from 5:00‑6:30 pm.

 

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