January 14, 2014
Congratulations to Mayor Betsy Hodges and the City Council as we embark on a new leadership term. On Saturday January 11, Mayor Hodges invited the City Council and community to celebrate with her under the theme of the One Minneapolis Inaugural Ball; with attendance at just under 3,000 people, and art and food representing the City at large, the event set the tone of inclusive leadership.
Thank you to the amazing Ward 8 artist, Camille Gage, who had a major role in organizing the Inaugural Ball, and to Andrea Jenkins, Ward 8 Senior Policy Aide, who wrote and performed a portion of the sectional poem titled, “One Minneapolis: A City In Verse,” commissioned for the City’s inaugural ceremonies. Here is Andrea’s section:
First we begin with history –
Twenty years ago almost to the day a determined young black woman was elected
To the Minneapolis City Council, eventually becoming Mayor.
Time lapse to the future, the inequities have deepened
And plunged us like the I-35W Bridge into a river of despair.
Today we gather at the town square to install the second woman Mayor
Hope reigns supreme that she is one who cares.
Let’s start something …
I am proud to have been elected Vice President of the City Council by my peers at our first meeting of the year, as well as Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and Vice Chair of the Ways & Means Committee. Thank you to so many residents who have encouraged me to take leadership on issues affecting us all, particularly racial equity and income inequality, as part of my work for the Minneapolis City Council. I promise to use my new role to move the City’s work forward in these critical areas, continuing to work with neighbors and community leaders to make creative change.
In addition, I am proud to announce that I have been selected as a Bush Fellow for 2014, to assist Minneapolis elected leaders in implementing a race equity agenda. This honor will help us with leadership tools to ensure that local elected leaders are conscious about how racial equity plays into every decision we make. Thank you to the Bush Foundation for investing in the City of Minneapolis and our ability to close the racial divide that so many in our city must face every day.
Starting in 2014, Ward 8 now includes the new areas of Lyndale Neighborhood and the full Kingfield Neighborhood. I want to thank former Council Member Meg Tuthill for her strong leadership in Lyndale neighborhood and partnership with me on so many issues including Nicollet Avenue reconstruction, engaging with Lyndale Community School, and more. I look forward to continuing to meet neighbors from areas new to Ward 8 and ensuring that your interests are represented well.
Ward 8 continues to include Bryant, Bancroft, Regina and Field neighborhoods, and Central neighborhood is now shared by representation from Ward 9 with Council Member Alondra Cano and Ward 8 (36th Street to 38th Streets remain in Ward 8). I am excited to continue to partner with Powderhorn Neighborhood and Central through strong partnership with Council Member Cano, in particular continuing to support the 38 and Chicago business intersection.
For a map of Ward 8 with its new boundaries, please go here.
Pillsbury House + Theater’s Breaking Ice program created a play about Bryant and Central neighborhoods and the conversations brought to the forefront by the community surrounding the Seward Friendship Co-op, food access and jobs.
Join your neighbors on January 30, 31 or February 1 at 7:00 pm, at Pillsbury House Theater, 3501 Chicago Ave S and check it out. Admission is FREE.
Production is sponsored by the Bryant Neighborhood Organization, the Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization, and the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department of the City of Minneapolis.
Bees are critical to our environment, and their pollinating activities help ensure a majority our flowering crops can survive (which produce about a third of everything we eat). In September of 2013, a legal pesticide application killed thousands of honey bees in a Minneapolis neighborhood, including all the foraging bees from one of our hives. What is the importance of bees to our lives and how will we respond to these challenges?
Please join Dr. Marla Spivak, the University of MN Bee Squad, Homegrown Minneapolis, local politicians, beekeepers and more this Thursday, January 16th from 6:30-8:30 at Ghandi Mahal for a very important night of reflection and action. Ghandi Mahal is at 3009 27th Ave South, 55406. A facebook invitation is available here.
The City of Minneapolis is once again surveying residents for perspectives about how they use computers, mobile devices and the Internet to better their daily lives. Surveys are mailed and include instructions on how to receive the survey in languages other than English.
Results from the 2013 survey showed that overall 84 percent of city households have computers with Internet access, yet differences in access at home and comfort level varied, sometimes considerably, across Minneapolis neighborhoods and different socio-demographic characteristics. The survey also showed that ownership of Internet-enabled mobile phones was higher in 2013 than 2012 – even among those households least likely to own a computer.
The City of Minneapolis will use the results to better understand technology use in the City and to help guide the City’s efforts in closing the digital divide. More information about the City’s efforts to close the digital divide, along with the reports from the 2012 and 2013 surveys are at www.minneapolismn.gov/it/inclusion.
STEP-UP trains and matches Minneapolis youths ages 14-21 in summer paid internships at local businesses. STEP-UP is focused on serving young people from low-income families or young people that have risk factors making it challenging to find employment on their own.
Minneapolis youths ages 14-21 can apply for a summer internship with STEP-UP until Feb. 21. All applications must be completed online and include a work readiness training through the program.
Internships are generally 20-40 hours per week for 6-10 weeks from mid-June to August. To apply and for more information on the City’s STEP-UP program, go to www.minneapolismn.gov/cped/metp/cped_stepup. Anyone needing help with the application process can contact Tammy Dickinson at 612-673-5041.
If your organization would like to host a STEP-UP intern, please complete the STEP-UP pledge form no later than Feb. 1.
Snow Emergencies are declared whenever there’s enough snowfall to warrant a complete plowing of city streets. To get that done, people need to follow the parking rules and move their vehicles so crews can plow full width. When the snow flies, City Public Works crews have enormous jobs to do, with more than 1,500 miles of streets, parkways and alleys that need to be cleared. It’s important for drivers to follow the Snow Emergency parking rules so plows can do the best job possible clearing snow. Vehicles parked on the street in violation of Snow Emergency rules can be ticketed or towed.
Go to www.minneapolismn.gov/snow to find out whether a Snow Emergency has been declared and for a wealth of information on Snow Emergencies in many languages. On this page you can check out the street lookup, which lets you put in an address or a neighborhood to see where you can park during a Snow Emergency, as well as sign up for updates by phone or e-mail and get the new Snow Emergency App.
How to and resources
Minneapolis is working with residents and businesses to prioritize shoveled sidewalks this winter. Without a clear path, it is difficult to impossible for those who walk and those who have mobility challenges to move in this city.
What are the rules? Minneapolis ordinance requires that property owners clear sidewalks after a snowfall within 24 hours for houses and duplexes; apartment and commercial property owners must clear sidewalks within four daytime hours after snowfall. Please shovel the full width of the sidewalk down to the bare pavement. You can report unshoveled snow by calling 311 or using the 311 app.
Here are some tips:
- Reduce salt use – it is bad for the environment
- Shovel first. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it can be. Then, break up ice with an ice scraper and decide if a de-icer (to melt ice) or sand (for traction) is even necessary.
- 15 degrees is too cold for most de-icers to work. Most stop doing their job when the temperature is below 15 degrees.
- Don’t forget your garbage and recycling carts. Make sure to clear a path three feet wide from your garbage and recycling containers to the alley or street, so that crews can access your carts.
It may be impossible to remove bonded ice when the temperatures remain very low for extended periods. Shovel the best you can, and sprinkle a little sand to provide traction until you can remove the ice. Minneapolis provides free sand to residents in cases like this. Click here to learn how you can pick up free sand.
For more information on healthier sidewalk snow and ice removal, visit here.
Help your neighbors! Want to lend seniors a hand this winter? The City is working with the Neighborhood Involvement Program to find volunteers to commit to shoveling for at least one client for one month or for the entire winter. For more information, go to www.neighborhoodinvolve.org and click on “volunteer opportunities” link under the “seniors programs” tab. To sign up, contact Jeanne Rasumssen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get help repairing or altering your clothing and other soft goods from volunteers with sewing skills at the Mend-It Clinic, noon-3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave. NE.
Volunteers will be available to work on hems, seams, buttons, belt loops, rips, patches, stuffed toys, help with zippers and more. Bring items including clothes, bags, linens, curtains or your own sewing project. For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/fixitclinic.
In Minneapolis and across the country, mattress disposal is difficult. Incinerating mattresses is inefficient and needs extensive monitoring; even after being incinerated, 40 percent of a mattress remains. Landfilling is not a good solution either because mattresses do not compress well.
That’s why Minneapolis now collects mattresses for recycling. Since the City’s Award-winning program began in July 2012, more than 36,000 mattresses have been collected. About 80 percent of each mattress can be recycled. Minneapolis is the only city in the nation to regularly collect mattresses for recycling.
In a partnership with Hennepin County Environmental Services and Project for Pride in Living, Minneapolis picks up mattresses for recycling from all Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling customers at the resident’s recycling collection point (at the curb or alley) at no additional charge. The program supports 15 year-round, full-time positions through Project for Pride in Living’s Self Sufficiency program, which provides job training to immigrants, men and women leaving prisons, and other people living with economic disadvantages.
Check the “what to do” list for how to dispose of everyday things or call Solid Waste & Recycling at 612-673-2917 for more information.
In December, the City Council unanimously passed a 2014 City budget that provides a one-percent cut to the property-tax levy. It’s the first decrease in the levy in 30 years. It’s also the third City budget in a row in which nearly 70 percent of residential taxpayers will see a decrease, or no increase, in their property taxes. In 2014, 67 percent of Minneapolis taxpayers will see a decrease in their property taxes.
What else is part of the 2014 budget? A major addition to the Police and Fire budgets is intended to help prepare for a “silver tsunami” of impending retirements by hiring and training a diverse new workforce for the City of Minneapolis. As well, improving public infrastructure was a focus of the budget, including significant road, transit, bike and pedestrian improvements, and $4 million for preliminary engineering for the Nicollet–Central modern streetcar project.
Thank you to Gov. Mark Dayton and the State Legislature, who restored some of the decade-long cuts to local governments and provided Minneapolis $12 million towards its lost Local Government Aid revenues. This, in addition to utilization by the City Council of a Property Tax Relief Fund that had 2012 budget savings, allowed a property tax decrease of 1% for 2014.
In December of 2013, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the Downtown East project, a development proposed by Ryan companies for a five block area of downtown. The project anticipates a large office development, housing, and the future development of a two-block green space as a park. The project is estimated to generate a $1.1 million increase in annual property taxes to the City in year one, or a total of $42 million increase in property taxes over the first 30 years. Other property taxing bodies will also see a large increase, with Hennepin County receiving $50 million in property taxes and Minneapolis Public Schools about $35 million over a 30 year period.
The City’s role will be to sell bonds that will finance $18 million for the park, $33 million for a parking ramp, and $4 million for limited site preparation. The bonds will be repaid with parking revenue. The City will also receive the proceeds for selling air and liner rights on the new proposed parking ramp.
This is an exciting project for downtown Minneapolis, with important work yet to be done to raise funds and prepare a plan for building and operating a park. Look forward to future updates on progress for Downtown East.