February 2015 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

February 2015



Hennepin County is a great place to work!

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Over the next several weeks, property valuation notices will be mailed to the property owners/taxpayers. 

If you have questions, you should contact your local assessor with questions on the value and/or classification of the property. Contact information for your local assessor is on the valuation notice on the left side, towards the top of the notice.

Visit our website for more information.


Linda Higgins
Commissioner, 2nd District

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Roshonda Royston
Administrative Secretary


The 2nd District serves the cities of Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, north and northeast Minneapolis, southeast Plymouth and St. Anthony.

2nd District Hennepin County

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It's an honor to serve the people of District 2. I'm ready to work with you, steering the kinds of smart public investments that make us all stronger.

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Top stories

Commissioner Jan Callison elected Hennepin County Board chair; Commissioner Linda Higgins elected vice-chair

This is the first time that the board’s chair and vice chair have both been women. Linda has also been elected chair of the County's Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).

On January 6, Commissioners Linda Higgins, Marion Greene and Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Sheriff Rich Stanek were administered their oaths of office following their respective reelections.


Commissioner Jan Callison, District 6, was unanimously elected chair. She has served on the board since 2009. Her district includes Deephaven, northern Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, northern Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata, and Woodland. She is only the second woman to serve as chair. 

The board also unanimously elected Linda Higgins to serve as vice-chair. District 2 includes the cities of Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, southeast Plymouth, St. Anthony and north and northeast Minneapolis, including the North Loop and Bryn Mawr neighborhoods. This is the first time that the board’s chair and vice chair have both been women. 

The board also established committees and selected chairs:

  • Budget and Capital Investment: Randy Johnson
  • Public Works, Energy and Environment: Mike Opat
  • Health and Human Services: Marion Greene
  • Public Safety and Judiciary: Jeff Johnson
  • Libraries, Technology and General Government: Peter McLaughlin
  • Intergovernmental: Linda Higgins (co-chair with McLaughlin)

The board, acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), unanimously re-elected Commissioner McLaughlin as chair, Commissioner Callison as vice chair, and Commissioner Higgins as secretary of the HCRRA.

On January 13, the board, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), unanimously elected Commissioner Higgins as chair, Commissioner Randy Johnson as vice chair, and Commissioner Greene as secretary.  

Environmental education grants

Green Partners Environmental Education grants awarded

The board approved 11 Green Partners Environmental Education grants on January 27. The Green Partners Environmental Education Program provides support and funding to organizations that engage and empower residents to take actions that protect and improve the environment. Since 2012, the program has awarded $525,977 to 57 projects.

The $107,000 in grants awarded this cycle will engage more than 3,800 residents in taking action to protect the environment by reducing waste, toxicity and greenhouse gas emissions; increasing recycling; and protecting water. Eight projects will engage underserved and hard-to-reach communities, and eight of the projects will engage youth. Among this round's winners were:

  • Project Sweetie Pie, Inc., north Minneapolis: $15,000 to train Compost Captains to use the network of community gardens in north Minneapolis to engage more than 200 community members in composting in their backyards and community gardens, and prepare to collect organic waste for curbside collection when it begins in Minneapolis.
  • Project for Pride in Living, Inc., north Minneapolis: $8,000 to engage 150 residents in the Hawthorne EcoVillage through workshops and community outreach to reduce waste and increase recycling in the neighborhood.
  • Urban Strategies, Minneapolis: $15,000 to engage 150 youth and more than 200 residents in waste reduction and recycling activities through its “Extreme Makeover: Green Neighborhood Edition” project in the Heritage Park community.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis: $15,000 to engage 400 youth from Minneapolis in recycling and waste reduction, including backyard composting at the Voyageur Environmental Center in Mound and at the Little Earth Boys and Girls Club Extension in Minneapolis.

Hennepin County has the following free environmental education resources available to partners.

Green Partners

Environmental Literature Order Form

Environmental Education Toolkits

Learning Trunks

SWMCB Communication Toolkits

View all of Hennepin County's Environmental Education Resources

draft site image Webber Park Library

Next new Webber Park Library community meeting

Please join Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County staff and LSE Architects to see the initial concept drawings for a new Webber Park Library. 

The community meeting will be held at the Webber Community Center, 4400 Dupont Avenue North, Minneapolis on Saturday, February 28 from 9 to 10:30 am.

We are eager to hear your comments about the first designs. All ages are welcome.  Further information on this project will be updated at the Hennepin County Library Building Projects web page.

Bottineau open house Jan. 29 info

TONIGHT! January 29 Blue Line LRT (Bottineau) community open house

A community open house in North Minneapolis on Thursday, January 29 is the next major opportunity for the public to get involved with preparing local neighborhoods for the METRO Blue Line Extension, also known as Bottineau light rail transit (LRT).

The open house will take place at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, 2001 Plymouth Avenue North. People are welcome to come by anytime between 5:30 and 8 pm and a brief introduction and orientation is scheduled for 6 pm. Parking is available in front of the building and in an overflow lot directly across Plymouth Avenue.

The event is organized by Hennepin County, the cities of Minneapolis and Golden Valley, and several community organizations, and will focus on the latest information and planning efforts around the four proposed southernmost stations on the Bottineau LRT line. Two are located in Minneapolis, along Highway 55 at Van White Boulevard and at Penn Avenue; and two are in Golden Valley, one at Plymouth Avenue near the Theodore Wirth Park Chalet and one at Golden Valley Road.

Final plans for the four station areas in Minneapolis and Golden Valley should be complete in late April. Meanwhile, planning for station areas along the rest of the Bottineau LRT line in Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park is also underway and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016.

For more information on station area planning, visit www.hennepin.us/bottineau,call 612-348-4454 or email bottineau@hennepin.us.

For information on the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) project, visit BlueLineExt.org.

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Board news

January 27, 2015

County to fund design and studies for three Southwest LRT crossings

Hennepin County and Three Rivers Park District are funding the design and environmental review of three crossings for the Southwest light rail transit project. The crossings are located near Blake Station in Hopkins, and Beltline and Wooddale stations in St. Louis Park. Each of these crossings is a key safety enhancement to eliminate conflict between bicyclists, pedestrians and roadway traffic, and correlating to the county’s bike and pedestrian plans’ goals and objectives.

The county and park district are taking this action because the Metropolitan Council is requiring local governments to identify any local projects now and to commit payment for design and environmental services and administrative fees. Estimated costs for these services and fees are $647,998; Three Rivers Park District has agreed to pay 50 percent. At this point, no commitment is being made by the county for the construction of these crossings. Today's estimated construction costs are $7.2 million and the county and park district will be seeking other funding sources for the construction. A decision will be made later on construction at each of the crossings.

Environmental grants to assist with clean-up of contaminated land

The board awarded nine Environmental Response Fund grants to assess and cleanup contaminated sites. More than $1 million in funding was awarded, including the following projects:

  • Brownfields Gap Financing Program, various municipalities within Hennepin County - $150,000 to Minnesota Brownfields to assist with abatement, investigation and/or cleanup at sites across the county.
  • City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) - $170,000 for asbestos and lead paint abatement during rehabilitation of seven affordable housing properties.
  • Clare Terrace, Robbinsdale - $7,000 to Clare Housing to install a vapor mitigation system at a new affordable and supportive housing building for residents with HIV/AIDS.
  • Hawthorne EcoVillage Apartments, Minneapolis - $227,700 to the City of Minneapolis for contaminated soil cleanup and soil vapor mitigation related to the development of 75 affordable rental housing units.
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) - Northeast Park West Fields, Minneapolis: $173,000 to MPRB. The soil at the park is contaminated and the MPRB plans to improve the fields by excavating and disposing of the upper three feet of contaminated soil, replacing it with clean soil, and adding an additional foot of clean soil to assist with required grading and drainage needs.

These grants are funded through the mortgage registry and deed tax. Since November 2001, 26 semi-annual grant cycles have been completed. Through the program, 328 grants, including 15 emergency grants, have been awarded for a total of $46,289,270. For more details, please visit the Environmental Response Fund webpage.

Public space recycling grants awarded

The board awarded $94,281 in grants for public space recycling to the cities of Brooklyn Center, Champlin, Edina, Excelsior and Minneapolis and to the Three Rivers Park District. The cities and park district will promote, develop or enhance recycling or organics collection programs at public spaces or events.

Projects funded through the Public Space Recycling Grants program will add 106 recycling containers to public spaces, provide education and outreach, and evaluate best practices for recycling service. Six of the eight recommended grant projects will begin collecting recyclable materials for the first time. For more details, visit the public spaces recycling grants webpage.

Natural resources grants awarded

The board awarded $55,920 in natural resources grants to four organizations for projects that will preserve, protect or improve natural resources and water quality in Hennepin County. These grants will leverage $119,060 from local in-kind activities and matching funds.  

The Natural Resources Grant program was established in 2005 to provide financial and technical assistance to landowners and local governments to implement practices that preserve, protect or improve natural resources and water quality in Hennepin County. The Natural Resources program has provided more than $525,000 in county cost-share grants to landowners and local governments for 58 projects. For more details, visit the natural resources funding webpage

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St. Anthony


  • Monday, February 2, noon-7pm
    Book sale hosted by Friends of the St. Anthony Library
    St. Anthony Village Shops
    2941 Pentagon Drive NE, Minneapolis




  • Mondays, February 2, 9 and 23, 2-4pm 
    Get one-to-one assistance with filling out job applications, writing your resume, or finding job leads. This is your opportunity to work with a job counselor and get some help with your job search, connections to community resources and training programs. No appointment necessary.
    Northeast Library
    2200 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, February 14, 10am
    7th Annual We Love Our Presidents In NE Walk and Celebration. Meet at 10am for the walk at Edison High School, 700 22nd Avenue NE, Minneapolis. Meet at noon for the celebration at NE Middle School, 2955 Hayes Street NE, Minneapolis.
  • Tuesdays through June 
    MNSure Application Assistance by appointment only. East Side Neighborhood Services will offer assistance signing up for health coverage through MNSure. For more information or to make an appointment call Angela at 612-302-3145.
    East Side Neighborhood Services
    1700 Second St. NE, Minneapolis




  • February 2-March 11 and April 6-May 14
    All Together Now, Sing! The Capri Theater is offering Capri Glee, a new vocal music program for people of all ages. The program includes four distinct musical experiences for elementary students, high school students, and adults. Capri Glee begins with two six-week sessions, and concludes with a community musical theater production in the summer of 2015. All programs are free, open to the public, and will be held at the theater. Registration forms are available online at www.thecapritheater.org or by calling 612-643-2024. 
    Capri Theater
    2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, February 5, 7pm
    St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Capri Theater. Celebrate the Sounds of the Flute. Free open-seating tickets for this concert are available on a first-come, first-served basis by registering at thecapritheater.org. Tickets for reserved seats are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available at thespco.org or by calling the SPCO ticket office at 651-291-1144.
    Capri Theater
    2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis 
  • Saturday, February 7 and Thursday, February 12
    Homebuyer Workshops. Information will be available about how to manage your credit, choose the best mortgage option, select the right house, understanding the loan closing process, down payment assistance and first-time homebuyers financing. Pre-registration is required. The cost is $35 per family. Sponsored by Northside Residents Redevelopment Council. For more information and class times, call 612-335-5924 or send email to info@nrrc.org.
  • Saturday, February 7, 7pm and Sunday, February 8, 3pm
    "Afro Blue: The Drum, The Journey, The Song," featuring the Bruce Henry Jazz Ensemble. The concert, which is part of the Capri’s The Legends of Jazz Series, will explore African drums, spirituals, jazz and the Great American Songbook. Joining Henry on stage will be Peter Schimke on piano, Jeff Bailey on bass, Kevin Washington on drums and Daryl Boudreaux, percussion. Tickets are $25 or $20 each for groups of 10, and are available online at www.thecapritheater.org or by calling TicketWorks at 612-343-3390.
    Capri Theater
    2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis
  • Sunday, February 8, 4:08-5:08pm
    Peace of Hope’s 8th Amendment Conversation, "Let’s Discuss the United States Constitution 8th Amendment," The conversation will cover: What Does It Say?, How is it Interpreted by the Masses?, What Does it Mean to You?, and What Today’s Criminal Justice System Doesn’t Want You to Know. An $8 donation is requested. Refreshments will be provided. 
    Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC)
    2001 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, now through spring 3-5:30pm
    Plymouth Avenue Art Studio is offering after-school art classes for ages 6-12. Participants will have a moment to catch up on homework followed by self-directed, but guided, art time. The cost is $10 per child per day. Students can participate one or two days a week and are invited to show their work in an art show in May. Registration is requested, by calling Shirley Jones at 612-302-8680, but drop-ins are welcome.
    Plymouth Art Studio
    2404 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • MNSure Application Assistance at the Minneapolis Urban League. Contact Angela Davis at 612-302-3145 or awilliams@mul.org
    2100 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis

Golden Valley

  • Sunday, February 1, 1-4pm
    Winter Family Festival. FREE and open to all. Enjoy sledding, hayrides, hot chocolate, ice skating with costumed characters and bonfire with marshmallow roasting.
    North Wesley Park
    8305 Wesley Drive, Golden Valley



Medicine Lake






  • Tuesday, February 3, 11am-noon
    Walk with a Doc. Each month, a different doctor will lead a 45-minute walk that is open to all Plymouth community members. All ages and fitness levels are encouraged to spend time with their neighbors, talk to an Abbott Northwestern WestHealth doctor and take a step toward better health. Participants will receive a T-shirt and pedometer. No registration is required.
    Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse
    14800 34th Avenue, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, February 3, 4-7pm
    Vicksburg Lane Open House. The project involves reconstructing Vicksburg Lane as a four-lane roadway from Old Rockford Road to the Maple Grove border. The open house will center on the 2015 phase of the project, which includes construction on Vicksburg Lane between Schmidt Lake Road and Old Rockford Road. At the open house, plans for the project will be available for review and city staff will be present to receive public input and answer questions from residents. The project plans can also be viewed at the Engineering Division of Plymouth City Hall, 3400 Plymouth Blvd., between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or online at plymouthmn.gov/vicksburg.
    Plymouth City Hall
    Medicine Lake Room
    3400 Plymouth Boulevard
  • Saturday, February 7, 3-7pm
    Fire and Ice Festival. The event will include hayrides, pony and sled dog rides, recycle bin races, games on ice, youth ice fishing contest, ice skating, goofy hat contest, food vendors and more. Fireworks will begin around 6:30 p.m.
    Parkers Lake Park
    County Road 6 and Niagara Lane, Plymouth
  • Wednesday, February 11, 7:30-9am
    State of the City Address. Join Mayor Kelli Slavik as she shares some of the recent work of the City of Plymouth, touches on the city’s financial situation and highlights a few developments that are in the works.
    Plymouth City Hall
    3400 Plymouth Boulevard

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