GrowingMinneapolis: News from Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development

Growing Minneapolis: News and information from Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development

October 2014

Upcoming Events

Explore the Loop

When: Saturday, Oct. 11, 2:00 - 6:00 p.m.

  • North/West 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • South/East 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Where: North Loop Area

Cost: $15 (in advance) and $20 (at the door)

Come explore what it is like to live and to work in a building in the North Loop Area. 

More information

Northeast Farmers Market 3rd Annual Harvest Gala

When: Thursday, October 16, 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Cost: $15

In a celebration of the strength and bounty of the local food movement, the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market is excited to announce the third annual Harvest Gala.  Proceeds from the event will be used to fund the activities and mission o the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market.

More Information

Minneapolis RiverFront Summit Featuring the Mississippi Minute Film Festival

When: Monday, October 20, 5:30 p.m. Registration, 6:00 p.m. Start

Where: Mill City Museum, 704 South Second Street, Minneapolis, MN

This centerpiece of this year’s Riverfront Summit is the Mississippi Minute Film Festival. We’ve asked the public to create 60-second videos that would inspire, inform and engage audiences about the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. And boy did they respond, with seventeen unique views of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. 

More information

SAVE THE DATE! Statewide Tour of Manufacturing

When: October 23-25, 2014

Where: At manufacturers in your community. To find a participating manufacturer please click here.

Cost: FREE

See science, technology, engineering, and math in action.

Learn about in-demand & high-paying jobs in a stable industry.

New & Expanding Businesses





New Website Helps Students See How to Make College Pay

With high tuition costs and a competitive job market, choosing a college program is tough. But a new DEED Graduate Employment Outcomes tool gives students and parents more power. By using the tool, they can see which industries are hiring and how much new graduates are getting paid. Check out the website here

Update on 800 West Broadway North Minneapolis WorkForce Education and Career Center

On Tuesday, September 30, a community meeting was held at the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis to provide a project update and request community feedback on needed employment and training programming and services for the proposed North Minneapolis Education and Career Center to be located 800 West Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis.

Starting on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 and continuing until the center opens, there will be a meeting about the North Minneapolis Education and Career Center project every second Tuesday of the month at the current North Minneapolis WorkForce Center from 8:00-9:00 a.m. hosted by the State of Minnesota (1200 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis). Everyone is welcome to attend whether you have a question about a project, comment, or want to get an update. The feedback from these meetings will be used to help shape the final programming that is provided at the career and education center as well as the feedback received from all other community engagement activities.

Read full INSIGHT NEWS article

Transgender Equity Summit

On September 25, the City of Minneapolis hosted the City’s first Transgender Equity Summit to introduce the City’s Transgender Issues Work Group and the work that’s been done so far. The work group, made up of members of City departments, City Council Offices, the Mayor’s Office, and community members, is focusing on issues that affect transgender people that could be improved including police relations, employment, health, civic participation and public spaces.

The half-day event featured nationally recognized speaker Anjelica Ross, co-founder of the “Trans 100” annual recognition celebration. There were several issue-specific breakout sessions, including one that focused on employment and training issues related to the transgender community. City of Minneapolis Employment and Training staff facilitated the employment and training breakout session and participated in the resource fair.

Contact CPED

612-673-5001 or 311
Staff Directory

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

Public Service Center
Development Services'
Customer Service Center
250 South Fourth Street
(Room 300)
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Map and Parking

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

Commons at Penn Brings 47 Units of Affordable Housing and Health and Wellness Services to North Minneapolis

Commons at Penn Collage

Above Top: Rendering by Building Blocks of Commons at Penn; Below: Ceremonial Ground breaking on Tuesday, October 30.

On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, locally based nonprofit Building Blocks broke ground on the Commons at Penn, a new 47-unit affordable housing apartment complex located at 2201 Golden Valley Road. Once completed, the Commons will offer office and program space for Building Blocks, the nonprofit founded by former NBA player and North Minneapolis native Devean George in 2011 and the lead developer of the project. Building Blocks supports the development of youth and families by focusing on a combination of housing, mentoring, and educational programming. The first floor of the building will also include space for an outreach clinic operated by NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center where community members will have access to health education classes, events, and health care services.

The $10.7M project is being supported by the City of Minneapolis through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Tax Exempt Housing Revenue Bonds, Hennepin County through its Environmental Response Fund, Transit-Oriented Development program and Affordable Housing Incentive Fund (AHIF), Metropolitan Council through its Livable Communities Demonstration Account program, Minnesota Housing through its Economic Development and Housing Challenge program, the Pohlad Foundation, the Family Housing Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Sunrise Bank who is providing the first mortgage.

Construction of Commons at Penn is expected to wrap up by mid-2015 with the first residents moving in by the fall. 

Parklets Foster Interaction and Engagement

Parklets Foster

Parklet in North Minneapolis on Emerson Avenue North

On September 16th, Council Members Yang, Bender and Frey announced the launch of parklets, a new City of Minneapolis initiative reimagining public space. Parklets, temporary structures placed in the parking lane of City streets, offer a new type of public space for people to linger and enjoy the outdoors. The parklet program fulfills several City goals by creating more livable communities through the creation of great places for neighbors to gather and relax. Parklets foster community interaction and social engagement, while supporting local business communities by activating community corridors. 

Three sites were selected for pilot installation; Spyhouse Coffee in Ward 10 on Nicollet Avenue; Juxtaposition Arts in Ward 5 on Emerson Ave. N.; and outside Martin Patrick 3 in Ward 3 on 3rd Ave. N. Please check the City of Minneapolis website later this fall for information on eligibility requirements and applying to the Parklet program.

Business Spotlight

The Nicollet Diner Goes 24/7

Diner Inside Edit

Sam Turner is not new to the Minneapolis restaurant scene.  He’s helped run some of the Twin Cities’ most beloved restaurants including Tailgate, Cintias, and Bobino.  Now, after a few years of dreaming and planning, he’s running his own concept: The Nicollet Diner.  Opened on September 8, 2014 at 1428 Nicollet Avenue, the diner is focused on making the best burgers, fries and shakes you have ever tasted in a casual, neighborhood setting.  Sam says originally he was considering either a coffee shop or a diner, but when he did the market research and realized there was not a burger or breakfast place in the area, which happens to be the most highly densely populated square mile in Minneapolis, he quickly saw the opportunity to fill the gap. 

On September 23, several impassioned and supportive community members spoke on behalf of granting The Nicollet Dinner the 24/7 business license they'd requested from the City at a public hearing including Sister Girtha Rotunda and Christmas Morningwood of The Ladies of the Lake and Jana Metge of Citizens for a Loring Community. The expressions of support for Sam and the diner memorable. With full Council approval passing October 3, the diner is now able to serve customers 24/7.  As part of their commitment to providing good customer service and being responsible neighbors, Sam plans to continually make sharing safety reminders and being respectful to area residents a priority with staff and customers.

The Nicollet Diner Online

Business Spotlight

Olu's Home: A New Adult and Child Day Center to Add 25 Jobs in North 

Olu's Home Groundbreak

Olu's Home Owner Gloria Freeman (center) celebrates ground breaking with project partners and Mayor Betsy Hodges

Already the provider of in-home services for senior residents living in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties and the owner and operator of seven residential homes in the Metro Area, Gloria Freeman felt that it was the right time to do something that would directly benefit North Minneapolis. So, she started to look for a building to serve as a child and adult day center. When her agent proposed the old City Inc. building located at 1315 12th Avenue North, at 18,000 square feet, it was over twice the space she had imagined. However, with the support of her family, Gloria decided to proceed, and on Thursday, October 2, along with the City, MEDA, CRF USA and other supporters, she celebrated the ground breaking of Olu’s Home.

The Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) was the business development agency that connected Gloria to Community Reinvestment Fund USA (CRF), a national nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis that supports businesses that have the potential to make a large impact on their community. After reviewing Gloria’s 16-year history of successfully starting and managing her business as well as dedication to giving back to the communities she operates within, CRF approved a $1.2 million SBA 7(a) loan to buy and renovate the building.  Over the next nine weeks the building is going to get a complete uplift including paint inside and out, new windows, floor work, removing some walls, and adding a playground and fencing among other items.

Olu’s Home is expected to bring at least 25 new jobs to North, and Gloria is committed to hiring locally. She estimates that the center will be able to serve 100 children ages infant through school age and 70 seniors with some unique opportunities for structured, cross-over programming between the children and adults. The opening is planned for January 2015.

Videos Explain the Business Licensing Process in Spanish, Hmong, and Somali 

Navigating the City’s business licensing process can seem intimidating, especially if English is not your first language. To help entrepreneurs who speak Spanish, Hmong and Somali, the City created a “Business Licensing 101” video in each of these languages. The videos provide entrepreneurs helpful tips like not to sign a lease before verifying that the business is zoned properly and the value of working with the business association in the area. 

Business Licensing Video

The videos also show entrepreneurs what happens during an inspection and the best place to park when coming Downtown to talk with City staff. Overall, they cover 25 quick resources to make doing business in the City of Minneapolis easier.

The videos are available on the City’s Business Licensing web pages under the “BLIP” Business Licensing Information resources. Spoiler Alert! If you feel like you recognize the actors, you probably do as they are all City employees.

More multilingual videos are available on the City’s YouTube Channel. Also, CPED is in the process of developing four new multilingual videos focused on increasing access and awareness on the Development Services division and the programs and services offered by Housing, Business Development and Employment and Training. For questions about these tools, please contact Rose Lindsay.

Play on Penn

Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis and Metro Transit are working together with the community to make positive changes for those who live, work, and play along Penn Avenue North in Minneapolis. The project includes re-envisioning Penn Avenue as a complete street, promoting economic opportunity and stimulating private investment along Penn and enhancing livability. 

Play on Penn

To raise awareness of the project and to generate some early results, a series of activities were launched along Penn Avenue this summer called “Play on Penn." The activities ranged from new streetscape elements to community events such as BBQs to live music. The activities and spaces were created by West Broadway Business and Area Coalition and the Musicant Group.

Specifically, the Musicant Group focused on a vacant lot located at Penn and Plymouth. They wanted to create a place where people wanted to be so, they started by asking the employees at nearby NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center what they wanted in the area and learned that seating during lunch and increased food options were main priorities. With this information, they set to work creating an engaging space with physical installations that included colorful seating, tree swings, and a ping pong table.  Next, they recruited Harvest Grill Food Truck to visit every Monday.

Feedback has been very positive about “Play on Penn.” At present, data is being gathered on the outcomes of the various activities to share with Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis to use as part of the larger Community Works on Penn Avenue Project. One known outcome is that an opportunity exists for a permanent food establishment near Penn and Plymouth.

More information 

Minneapolis Employment and Training Recognizes Outstanding Partners


Left to Right: Ibrahim Noor, new Minneapolis WorkForce Center manager, Steve Chirpich, Abdi Isse, Heidi Stay, Catherine Christian, Deb Bahr-Helgen, Christine Schaerf, and Laura Keiser

Each year, City of Minneapolis Employment and Training, and the Minneapolis Workforce Council present awards to agencies that have provided outstanding employment services to Minneapolis youth and adults.

On September 23, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s dislocated worker team was recognized as the outstanding Adult Service Partner of the Year for excellent service to their Minneapolis customers. A quote from a recent client best describes their attention to customer service, “Being able to step away from that crippling anxiety and fear, develop a sense of direction, set goals, then have the support to move forward has meant more to me than anyone could understand. I will always be grateful to you.”


Left to Right: Sterling Adams, Lashonda Stone, Renisha Gray, Linda Bryant, Ramadan Campbell-bey, and Mike Wynne 

EMERGE was selected as Youth Service Partner of the Year for providing Minneapolis youth, ages 14-21, with comprehensive, individualized education, employment and training services to ensure that they are better prepared to enter the workforce and/or attain their educational goals.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a five-year initiative designed to update the nation’s workforce development system.

WIOA creates a streamlined workforce development system by:

  • Applying a single set of outcome metrics to workforce programs.
  • Integrating case management and reporting systems while strengthening evaluations.

Greater value by:

  • Empowering state and local boards to tailor services to their region’s needs.
  • Supporting access to real world education and workforce development.

Better coordination by:

  • Aligning workforce programs with economic development and education initiatives.
  • Ensuring individuals with disabilities the skills to be successful in employment.

Improved outreach to disconnected youth by:

  • Focusing services on out-of-school youth, drop-out recovery, and attainment of post-secondary credentials.
  • Providing youth with disabilities services and support to be successful in employment.

The Minnesota Workforce Council Association (the City of Minneapolis is a member) will work with state and federal agencies to ensure that the local system is heard in the implementation of the new legislation.  

Learn more