GrowingMinneapolis: News from City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development

Growing MPLS

February 2016


Fix-It Tech Clinic

Saturday, February 13,
Waite Park Rec. Center
1810 34th Avenue Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Get free, guided assistance from handy volunteers on disassembling, troubleshooting and repairing small household appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and more.
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Made in Minnesota Solar Workshop

Tuesday, February 16, 7pm
Applied Energy Innovations
4000 Minnehaha Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Come learn more about the current start of solar affairs in MN and participate in the Made in MN (MIM) lottery for your chance to win solar on your roof. Event is free and open to the public. To register, please email AEI, respond to the Facebook page, or call 612-532-0384.
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Tech Cities 2016

Friday, February 26, 12:30pm-5:30pm
University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management
321 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

$10 per current U of M students
$60 per U of M Alumni & Staff/Faculty
$80 per other personals

Join industry professionals, digital thought leaders, and educators who want to learn from one another, network, and strengthen the Minnesota tech community.
Purchase a ticket
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Food Forest Workshop

Saturday, February 27,
Lake Nokomis Community Center, Art Room
2401 East Minnehaha Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55417

Interested in helping design a food forest at Lake Hiawatha? Attend the Participatory Design Workshop to help. All are welcome. Please bring a dish or snack/beverage to share. To register, email Ryan Seibold.
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Surly Brewing MSP Design Tours

Sunday, February 28,
Surly Brewing
520 Malcolm Avenue Southeast
Minneapolis, MN 55414

$15 per person

Love good beer and good design? Join Architecture MN at the award-winning Surly Brewing MSP for tours led by the brewery’s lead designer, Steven Dwyer, AIA, of HGA Architects and Engineers.
Purchase a ticket
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Taco Throwdown 2016

Sunday, February 28,
Midtown Global Market
920 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407

$20 per person (without beer)
$25 per person (with beer)

Come down for the first-ever Taco Throwdown! Manny's Tortas, Taco Cat and Hot Indian Foods will compete for the title of best taco.
Purchase a ticket

4th Annual Community Connections Conference
Big Ideas: Your Mineapolis

Saturday, April 2nd, from 8:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The conference theme: Big Ideas: Your Minneapolis invites you to join neighbors, community members, non-profit organizations, business leaders, members of Minneapolis’ design community, developers, and City and elected officials to think BIG about the future of Minneapolis. Registration opens February 29.


Owner of Afro Deli Attends State of the Union Address

Abdirahman Kahin, owner of Afro Deli, was scheduled to visit family in native Djibouti when he received an invitation from Senator Al Franken’s office asking if he would join him at President Obama’s final State of the Union address in Washington D.C.
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Minneapolis makes Top 10 for “Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs”

It’s a new year and young entrepreneurs are looking to launch their dream business. To help, NerdWallet examined 181 cities across the country focusing on access to funding, percentage of the local population aged 25 to 34, the local economy, and cost of living, and came up with the top 10 best cities for young entrepreneurs.

Minneapolis placed fifth place with Austin-Round Rock, Texas in first and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California in second.
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Nominations Sought for New "Indie Business Awards"

The inaugural Twin Cities Indie Business Awards are seeking nominations to honor five local, independent businesses for their impact on the community. Nominations are accepted thru February 22 and forms are available here.
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Minnesota, the Top State on the Job Creation Index

Edging out Georgia and Utah by two points, Minnesota takes first place in the 2015 Job Creation Index report released by the Gallup Inc. polling company. This is the third time Minnesota has placed in the top 10 states since Gallup began tracking the Job Creation Index in 2008.
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Five Redevelopment Projects to Transform Minneapolis

Time doesn’t stand still for the Twin Cities skyline or for our distinctive neighborhoods. With a redevelopment boom, 5 new projects are scheduled to transform Minneapolis this year.
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South Minneapolis Business Moving to West Broadway

Aisha Wadud and Crystal Larson, veteran massage therapists who live in north Minneapolis, plan to move their Nura Holistic Massage & Bodywork this spring from the south side to the just-opened Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) business incubator at 1011 West Broadway Avenue.
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City of Minneapolis Trends Report

You can now find the Minneapolis Trends Report for the Third Quarter of 2015 on the City of Minneapolis website. Click here to view the report. 

New & Expanding Businesses






Contact CPED

612-673-5001 or 311
Staff Directory

Crown Roller Mill
Executive Administration
105 Fifth Avenue South
Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Public Service Center
Development Review
Customer Service Center
250 South Fourth Street
Room 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Map and Parking

City Hall
Business Licensing
350 South 5th Street
Room 1C
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Partner Profile: The Lake Street Council

Lake Street Photo Collage
Left: Patio painting of Le Town Talk Diner, Upper Right: Lake Street Council Staff, Lower Right: Osman Ali, winner of the Lake Street Council's Community Impact Award

Lake Street Council, a tight-knit team of 4 employees, works to attract customers and visitors, recruit new businesses, and support existing businesses along Lake Street, the longest commercial corridor in Minneapolis. LSC programs support branding and marketing campaigns and small business advocacy. After becoming a nonprofit a decade ago, Lake Street Council began working with the City to connect Lake Street businesses to the City’s business assistance programs, such as the Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) and Great Streets programs. For example, the organization helped the restaurant Le Town Talk Diner restore its historic sign and brought in matching funds from the McKnight Foundation to hire artists Seitu Jones and Jordan Hamilton to design a patio seating area with a loan and small grant from the City’s Two-Percent Loan and Great Streets Façade Improvement programs.

Lake Street Council maintains strong relationships with minority-owned businesses in the corridor to ensure that their voices are heard in policy decisions. The organization is making Lake Street more sustainable by providing energy coaching, promoting transit and bike access, and teaching business owners about recycling and composting.    

On top of all this, Lake Street Council runs the website Visit Lake Street, which contains a directory of all of the businesses on Lake Street, giving businesses that do not have the means for their own website an online presence. In 2012, they also started Museum in the Streets, helping keep the history of Lake Street alive with informational plaques that highlight Lake Street’s history and traditions.  

100 Companies Pledge to Hire 626 Minneapolis Youth at STEP-UP Employer Recruitment Breakfast

STEP-UP Breakfast Gov. Dayton
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton told attendees at the STEP-UP breakfast, "It's not enough to have one or two young people succeed, we need everyone."

On February 2, Mayor Betsy Hodges and Governor Mark Dayton joined over 250 Twin Cities business leaders at the Target Field Metropolitan Club to kick off the employer recruitment season for the summer 2016 STEP-UP Achieve youth employment program (a part of the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP program). At the event, 100 Twin Cities employers pledged 626 paid summer internships toward a goal of 750 internships. STEP-UP is seeking businesses, public agencies and nonprofits interested in employing interns in 2016. Employers can sign up here to hire interns until April 15 for the summer 2016 session.

STEP-UP Achieve in partnership with Twin Cities’ corporations, small businesses, public agencies, and nonprofits, serves Minneapolis youth ages 16-21 through internships, mentors, industry-recognized certifications, and work readiness training certified by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Targeted at youth who face great barriers to employment (particularly those from low income families, youth of color, and youth with disabilities), STEP-UP Achieve is helping develop a new generation of skilled workers in Minneapolis. 

STEP-UP Breakfast collage
Top: STEP-UP alumna Bizrat Fekadu accepting the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from STEP-UP Achieve Manager of Employer Engagement, Matt Norris; (Bottom Left): STEP-UP aluma Fatima Ahmad telling attendees, "We are capable of extraordinary things. You help us step up and we will achieve." (Bottom Right:) Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges committing the City of Minneapolis to hire 50 interns this year.

Commons at Penn Brings 47 More Units of Affordable Housing and New Food Co-Op to North

Common at Penn
Grand opening of Commons at Penn located at 2205 Golden Valley Road in North Minneapolis.

January 28th marked the grand opening of Commons at Penn, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development led by Building Blocks, Inc. With goals to “rebuild the community, one block at a time,” Commons at Penn targets households at or below 50% of median income.

The complex contains 47 one to three bedroom affordable housing units, an on-site fitness center, tot lot, picnic area, bike storage, and a community space. In addition, the Wirth Co-op will occupy the building’s first floor by late spring, giving Northsiders a new outlet for healthy food. Its location has key access to public transportation, including the future Bottineau Boulevard Light Rail Transitway, running from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park.

The City of Minneapolis has supported the Commons at Penn since the beginning due to its potential to achieve city goals, from providing more access to affordable housing to increasing commercial activity and services. The City helped fund this project through Affordable Housing Trust Fund and other tools. The Minnesota Equity Fund, Minnesota Housing, and Hennepin County were also among funders for the Commons at Penn.  Currently, all 1-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments are reserved, but there are a limited number of 2-bedroom apartments still available for $895 a month. 

Applications Open for Minneapolis Community Gardens

Community Gardens in Minneapolis

Calling all gardeners! It may seem like winter has a long way to go, but it is already garden planning time. The City of Minneapolis owns around 60 vacant parcels currently available for lease for the 2016 gardening season, and starting this year, City parcels will be available to market gardeners and urban farmers as well as community gardeners. In addition, insurance liability for these parcels has decreased to $1 million for community gardens from changes brought about by the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council’s 2015 policy recommendations.

The City’s Community Garden Program began in 2010 to increase access to healthy food, grow the local economy and build community. Around 50 City lots have already been leased, but the City will be accepting a garden request forms from interested groups to lease the currently available parcels until February 19th. (Parcels still available after the request process is complete will be available on a first come, first served basis.) Currently, there are 275 community gardens throughout the city, promoting access to good nutrition, improving their ecological footprint, and encouraging active and healthy living. Start planning your garden today!

Free Tech Certification Class for Women in Minneapolis Starts April 11

Tech Women
IT-Ready students get hands-on with technology, learning the ins and outs of desktops, as well as mobile and networking equipment.

The Creating IT Futures Foundation, EMERGE Community Development, Mayor Betsy Hodges, and the City of Minneapolis are accepting applications for a free, women-only class of the foundation’s IT-Ready career program until March 25th. The class is part of the Minneapolis TechHire initiative, funded in part by the City of Minneapolis, with a mission of closing the workforce skills gap in the high tech economy by building a path for diverse workers to access training, support and tech jobs across the Greater Minneapolis region.

The eight-week course runs from 9:15am to 3:45pm on weekdays until June 3rd at the EMERGE Career & Technology Center in North Minneapolis. Students will receive hands-on experience building computers, learning about other technological components (memory, motherboards, and mobile devices), setting up computer networks and displays, and configuring operating systems and hardware. Students also will learn about soft skills, such as team work, critical thinking, and professional communication. Upon completion, IT-Ready students will be prepared for the CompTIA A+ certification exam which covers desktop and help-desk technical support duties and skills.

In 2015, 179 trainees completed accelerated programs through the Minneapolis TechHire initiative. Graduates placed in full-time positions received annual salaries averaging $45,802.  For more information on MinneapolisTechHire and to learn about all the training programs available visit the website.

Organics Recycling Goes Citywide

The City of Minneapolis’ organics recycling program is about to go citywide. Right now, the City collects food scraps, coffee grounds, meat trimmings, eggshells and many other items from about 12,000 residences for composting. Starting this spring, the rest of the city will be able to recycle organics too. Residents living in the second phase areas of this program will need to sign up by February 1 to get their recycling carts during the spring rollout. Those who sign up after that date will get their carts in the summer. Residents in the first phase rollout area who aren’t already in the organics recycling program can sign up now to receive a cart within a couple weeks.

To be part of the program, email Solid Waste & Recycling or call 612-673-2917 between 8am and 4:30pm, Monday-Friday. There is no additional cost to participate.

Organics recycling includes:

  • All food scraps including fruits, vegetables, bones, meat, breads, pasta, nut shells, eggshells and dairy products.
  • Non-recyclable and food-soiled paper products including paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, waxed paper, egg cartons and pizza boxes.
  • Certified compostable paper cups, plates, bowls, utensils, bags and takeout containers.
  • Other compostable items including coffee grounds; tea bags; wood chopsticks, Popsicle sticks and toothpicks; hair; and houseplant trimmings.

Do not include: yard waste, pet waste litter or bedding, milk cartons, ice cream tubs, Chinese food containers, dryer lint, dryer sheets, diapers and sanitary products, cleaning and baby wipes, grease, oil, Styrofoam, foil-lined products, non-certified compostable bags and food service items, or products labeled “biodegradable.”
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City of Minneapolis Seeking Exhibitors for the Minneapolis Teen Job and Opportunity Fair

The tenth annual Minneapolis Teen Job and Opportunity Fair is a great, free way to connect with hundreds of promising candidates (14-19 years of age) for job, internship, employment training, and volunteer opportunities at your business or organization.

The fair is on Saturday, April 30th, 2016 from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the Minneapolis Central Library located on 300 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
Become an exhibitor today!
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Call for Interactive Exhibits for the Community Connections Conference - Now Open

Images from the 2015 Community Connections Conference

The 2016 Community Connections Conference Planning Committee is seeking proposals for interactive exhibits from community and neighborhood organizations, planning agencies and firms and organizations involved in community planning or engagement.

Proposals will be chosen through a jury process by the conference planning team based on their applicability to the conference theme and level of interactive nature. Space in the Village Square is limited to 50 exhibitors. There will be no charge for selected exhibitors.

Deadline: Proposals are due by Wednesday, March 2nd.

Full proposal criteria can be found by downloading the Call for Interactive Exhibitor form. Click here to submit proposals electronically.

Check out the 2015 STEP-UP Final Report!

In 2015, STEP-UP prepared nearly 2,000 Minneapolis youth – over 90% youth of color – with the skills needed to be successful in a job. Of those, 1,563 were matched with internships for the summer at one of 230 partner employers. The interns earned a combined $2.6 million in wages, $1.1 of which was paid directly by the private sector.

To see 2015 STEP-UP intern demographics, click on STEP-UP at a Glance.

To read the entire report, click here

US Citizen and Immigration Services to Move to Downtown Minneapolis

In the spring of 2017, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), which offers 30,000 immigrants per year support in obtaining legal status to reside, study or work in the U.S., will relocate from its current office in Bloomington to 250 Marquette Avenue, in the heart of Minneapolis’ central business district.

The downtown location was chosen mainly because of its accessibility by both bus and light-rail, but wasn’t the first consideration for USCIS’s new offices. A 10-year, $14.3 million contract from the U.S. General Services (GSA) set the original relocation to a building in Bloomington near the Eden Prairie border, around 3 miles from the nearest bus stop. This plan drew criticism from immigration advocates and officials, including Congressman Keith Ellison and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, who were concerned that the location would be inaccessible to immigrants that rely on public transportation.

USCIS’s move to Minneapolis will bring more activity to the City and make it easier for new Americans to complete the path to citizenship. Along with helping new immigrants, 60+ employees will work in the new 37,000 sq. ft. space in downtown.