July 8, 2014
I have been part of the process to try to bring resolution and recommended action on the Southwest Light Rail Transit project for the City of Minneapolis, participating in mediated discussions with Met Council leadership. I am recommending to my City Council colleagues that municipal consent be granted on SWLRT, based on the agreements we have achieved. You can read the full press release here. You can read the proposed agreements that will be presented to the City Council and to the Met Council here and here.
As I said in the linked press release:
“Southwest Light Rail is a critical part of our regional transit system that connects people to economic opportunity. The City of Minneapolis believes Southwest LRT will be a transit spine from which we can maximize access and connections for residents by bus, car, bicycle, walking and streetcar. For these reasons, Mayor Hodges, Council Member Reich, and I will recommend this proposal to our City Council colleagues. The City will also keep pushing for a comprehensive transportation finance bill in 2015 to make this vision a reality,” said Glidden.
As well, there are still critical commitments sought and still needed to ensure that Southwest LRT and related improvements serve our communities equitably. A coalition of organizations that are part of a transit equity roundtable, convened by Congressman Ellison, has proposed a number of ideas to the Met Council and other public jurisdictions including the City. We are waiting for the Met Council’s proposed response to these recommendations; in particular, for North Minneapolis and other areas of concentrated race and poverty, the City agrees with advocates that additional investments beyond Southwest LRT must be made.
What is included in the proposed agreements? At the City’s request, one memorandum of understanding calls for the Metropolitan Council to: redesign the Minneapolis portion of the Southwest Light Rail Corridor to remove the light rail tunnel north of the water channel connecting Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles; add back the 21st Street Station; and add City-requested pedestrian-access, noise mitigation, landscape restoration and other improvements along the portion of the corridor in Minneapolis.
Separately, the parties tentatively agreed to a second memorandum of understanding that commits the Met Council to work closely with the City and the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority to ensure that the Kenilworth freight corridor remains in public ownership, which the parties agree will decrease the chances that freight trains will increase in frequency or carry more dangerous cargo through the corridor.
If approved by both sides, the Met Council’s revised budget for Southwest Light Rail will be reduced by $30 million, from $1.683 billion to $1.653 billion, as a result of these changes to the preliminary design of the project.
I look forward to hearing from you about Southwest Light Rail in the coming weeks.
In June 2013, the Seward Coop announced a proposed grocery store and contingent land purchase from the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, for the church’s property across from Sabathani Community Center on E 38th Street between Clinton and 3rd Avenue. As of today, the Coop has obtained important City and neighbor approvals and is on track to finalize all approvals within the next few weeks. You can find out more about Seward’s project, including hiring plans, construction goals, and design of the new store here.
Council Vice President Glidden encourages the Council to support final City approvals
In June 2014, the Minneapolis Planning Commission approved land use requests for the Seward Coop's Friendship store design and site plan, including variances, conditional land use permits, and a rezoning request. Prior to submission to the Planning Commission, the Seward Coop obtained the approval of more than two-thirds of property owners within 100 feet of the project boundary, a major accomplishment signifying the support of those nearest neighbors for the store. Due to rules governing quasi-judicial decisions, Council Member Glidden was unable to comment on the land use applications until it was determined that the Planning Commission approvals would not be appealed to the City Council.
What remains is for the City Council to approve sale of a small parcel of City land to Seward Coop (at 3800 Clinton), approve the rezoning of land from residential to commercial, and to vacate an alley between Clinton and 3rd Avenue that is needed as part of the development project. Council Vice President Glidden enthusiastically encourages her colleagues to finalize these approvals.
Since day one, Elizabeth has promoted Seward’s proposal as a once in a lifetime opportunity for our neighborhoods, a proposal that will bring jobs, a vital business and fresh healthy food to the Central-Bryant neighborhoods and greater community. Seward Coop is part of a local food movement promoting community ownership of our food resources. It has continually proven its willingness to listen to neighbors and adjust its business practices to respond to community questions and concerns, including by committing to a long-term hiring strategy to ensure its workforce reflects the diversity of the communities it serves and by setting goals for hiring people of color and contractors for construction-related jobs. You can view Seward’s hiring plans for construction here and permanent jobs here.
Congratulations on reaching this point are in order to Seward Coop, to the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (which chose to sell its property to Seward Coop for the purpose of a grocery store), and to the many neighbors who have focused on healthy food needs of our area for decades. To those from the Bryant-Central-Kingfield area who organized to bring a community food coop to 38th Street and 4th Avenue more than a decade ago, to the many active gardeners, farmers, and food justice activists including those at Sabathani's Community Garden plots, to the Carrot Initiative, a group of neighbors who introduced Seward to the idea of a grocery store at 38th St and 3rd Avenue, we salute and thank you!
Join Seward Coop for a Groundbreaking Celebration
On Saturday, July 12, 2014, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Seward Community Co-operative will celebrate the groundbreaking of its new South Minneapolis store, to be located at the corner of 38th Street and 3rd Avenue.
The special event will include notable guest speakers, live music, and, of course, delicious food for attendees. The event will begin with a brief ceremony commemorating the history of the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church building and neighborhood, followed by guest speakers, music by local bands, and a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new store.
“We’re excited to celebrate this milestone. It's a strong testimony to community that we're able to start this project,” Seward General Manager Sean Doyle said. In addition to Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, speakers will include Congressman Keith Ellison, Rev Billy Russell of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, and more.
The Seward Co-op Friendship Store will be a full service grocery. It’s slated to open in late summer 2015.
Seward Coop and Bryant Neighborhood Move Homes and Create Affordable Housing
As part of the Seward Coop development project, the Bryant and Central neighborhoods have worked with City staff and the Seward Coop to identify homes that otherwise would be demolished as port of the construction of the Seward Coop’s Friendship store and move those homes to vacant lots needing homes in our neighborhood.
Through a partnership with the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, vacant lots at 3545 Columbus and 3532 Chicago Avenue will be purchased and two homes will be moved from the Seward Coop Friendship store’s footprint to those locations.
The homes, when moved, will be marketed and sold as affordable homeownership opportunities. The Bryant Neighborhood Organization has provided significant time and assistance for this project, and will continue to monitor and document the house moves for the benefit of area residents. Congratulations on the move of two Bryant houses to vacant lots needing single family homes!
Tonight July 10: HIRED hosts Seward Coop Job Fair
HIRED, a workforce development organization with its offices at Sabathani Community Center, has partnered with Seward Co-op to assist with hiring efforts, specifically Seward’s commitment to hire a staff that closely reflects the diversity of the community.
You are invited to an information session on career opportunities, including the hiring process at Seward Co-op. Please join HIRED and Seward Coop staff on:
Thursday, July 10, 6–7:30 p.m.
Sabathani Community Center (Room J), 310 E. 38th St
How to Apply. To apply for a position, please visit www.seward.coop/careers. With Seward Coop, you would join a business with great employee benefits, that upholds equitable, positive and socially responsible practices.
Questions? Contact Barbara Doyle at HIRED at 612-822-9071.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is holding a public hearing for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park Playground concept plan. The hearing will be held on July 16, 2014, at 6:30pm, in the 2nd floor board room of MPRB Headquarters at 2117 West River Road in Minneapolis.
The draft concept plan and play equipment designs are the result of an extensive community engagement process. A guiding design theme for the concept and play equipment is celebrating and honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and African American history. An artist team worked with the community, MPRB staff and design consultants to bring this theme into the playground design. Learn more about the project, view the concept plans or make a donation towards the playground on the project’s web page.
The City has begun accepting absentee ballots for the Aug. 12, 2014 primary. Contests on the ballot in Minneapolis include federal, state, county, school board, and judicial offices. All Minneapolis voters are encouraged to vote in the primary and make their voice heard in selecting who will be on the ballot in the November general election.
This is the first time voters won’t be required to provide a specific reason for not voting on primary day. That makes absentee voting available to all voters.
Absentee voting open to all voters. Voters can choose to vote absentee either by mail or in person. City Hall has transformed into Minneapolis' largest polling place, open to all voters who want to come in to cast their absentee ballot in person. In addition to now being able to request an absentee ballot by mail online with the absentee ballot request tool introduced by the Secretary of State last week, the Absentee Ballot Lookup is an easy and convenient way for voters to check on the status of their absentee ballot.
For information about registering and voting in Minneapolis or to serve as an election judge, residents can visit the website at vote.minneapolismn.gov or call Minneapolis 311 or 612-673-3000.
On July 1, 2014, Council Member Glidden helped to celebrate the 100th birthday of community leader Marionne Robbins, who shares the same birth date as our country, July 4. Ms. Marionne Robbins is a highly involved member of Sabathani Senior Center and inspiration of many senior-friendly activities. Thank you for your many contributions, Ms. Robbins!
Senator Jeff Hayden, Marionne Robbins, and Council Member Glidden