Ward 6 Newsletter ~ February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

Greetings and thank you for connecting with us through our bi-weekly newsletter. The new year brings a new commitment to getting the word out from my office. Alondra Cano, my newest aide, brings a strong communications background. She’ll be a great asset for our Ward. Nimco, Alondra, and I are committed to keeping you informed about all of the neighborhood improvement projects and initiatives that you have elected me to lead. We look forward to keeping you posted on all the latest and greatest projects in our city!

We are halfway through this four year term. At our midterm council meeting on January 13th, I was unanimously reelected to the office of Council Vice President. I thank my council colleagues for their ongoing confidence and point us to engage with some of the biggest development opportunities for our communities. Within the next two years, major decisions about significant investments like a centerline bus rapid transit (BRT) at 35W and Lake Street, the reopening of Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street, introducing streetcars to the Midtown Greenway and on Nicollet, pedestrian realm improvements along East Franklin Avenue and others will be made. We will need your help in steering these important projects. My commitment is to strive to work with you to create maximum and meaningful participation in these initiatives by all our communities.
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Mondays with Robert

Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for regular people to have access to government. Robert is still committed to that value today. For that reason, Robert makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.

You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or alondra.cano@minneapolismn.gov to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.

NOTE: There will be no Community Office Hours when the Monday lands on a City holiday or conflicts with another City Council‐related meeting. Translation is available by appointment.

First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am

Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, LSS Bldng (2400 Park Ave.)
9:30am - 11:30am

Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am

Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 1508 E. Franklin Ave.
**At the Many Rivers East Building (AICDC)
9:30am - 11:30am
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Above, from left to right, your 6th Ward staff and representative - Nimco Ahmed, Council Vice President Robert Lilligren, and Alondra Espejel-Cano.

Community Highlight

The Ventura Village Neighborhood Association got new offices this year, but getting them wasn’t easy. In 2008, when the Boys and Girls Club announced to the Minneapolis Park Board that they would not be renewing their 20 year lease, the Ventura Village leaders and community residents began to organize rigorously to repurpose the use of the building. Council Member Lilligren actively participated in many of the gatherings aimed at securing the resources and support needed to keep the Phillips Community Center (PCC) accessible to the very community the building is located in. According to Bob Albee, Chair of the Ventura Village Neighborhood Association, his group began a decisive campaign that involved “strong political efforts, along with many letters, phone calls and emails to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board commissioners” to save the building’s pool and overall use. Some of the partners in the PCC are now beginning to occupy their renovated space and the Minneapolis Park and Rec Board are also ramping up their programming there. Albee explains that this community effort to repurpose the use of the building led to a state bonding request currently before the legislature with strong bipartisan support. Ventura Village Neighborhood Association was instrumental in beginning these actions that could see major funding support this year and a reopening of the pool sometime in 2013. If you are interested in getting involved with this campaign or would like to connect with the Ventura Village neighborhood folks, please visit them at their new offices located in the Phillips Community Center (2323 11th Ave. S.) on the second floor. The Ventura Village Neighborhood Association holds public meetings for the neighborhood and residents on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm.

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Above, Ventura Village residents come together to steer the use of the Phillips Community Center in the right direction.

We want to hear about your highlights!

We know lots of stuff is happening in the wonderful world of the 6th Ward so help us share the news. If you have a meaningful project that you are helping to lead, are a part of, or know about please tell us know so we can include it in our regular newsletters. Getting featured in our highlights section is as easy as one, two, three! Send us an email at Ward06CouncilOffice@minneapolismn.gov with 1) a 250 word or less description of what's happening, 2) a photo that we could use to depict the highlight, and 3) your full name, title (if applicable), and contact information. We look forward to hearing from you!


No Powerlines Over the Greenway

On January 12 the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ordered Xcel Energy to bury their proposed high voltage power line, that will run from Hiawatha to Oakland Avenue, along 28th St and not above ground along the Midtown Greenway. The engagement and activism of concerned and empowered residents of the 6th Ward residents, their neighboring communities and allies had a hand in influencing this decision. Good Work! The City of Minneapolis’ position mirrored that of many neighborhoods and organizations. It was authored by Council Members Lilligren, Schiff and Gordon. As the City’s lead on this project Council Member Lilligren helped the City establish a position, a PUC strategy and was the point person during possible settlement negations that involved the City, Hennepin County and Xcel. Robert continues to support meeting increasing demand for electricity by exploring alternative energy generation, onsite storage and conservation.


New Office Staff

Hola! Hi there - my name is Alondra Cano and I'm the newest addition to the 6th Ward office. I'm truly honored to be able to serve the residents of the ward and work under Robert's leadership. He's truly an amazing elected official. Before my days in City Hall I led the statewide campaign to pass the Mn Dream Act, promoting equal access to education for immigrant youth. Before my campaign days I also had the opportunity to work for both the American Indian and Chicano Studies Departments at the University of Minnesota where I went to school. I have a deep passion for creative and culturally specific communications so I hope to help our Ward and the City of Minneapolisl reach more of our diverse constituents. Hasta pronto!