July 2016 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

JULY 2016



Hennepin County is a great place to work!

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Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2


Tina Sanz
Principal Aide


Roshonda Royston
Administrative Secretary

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District 2 serves the cities of Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, north and northeast Minneapolis, southeast Plymouth and St. Anthony.

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I hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day weekend! There are many activities this weekend, including fireworks on the MIssissippi River choreographed to Prince music, the Riverfront Fest on Friday evening, Plymouth's big music event on Wednesday, June 29 at the Hilde Center (more info at musicinplymouth.org), the Twin Cities half marathon, even the Fort Snelling Independence Day celebration. Find something fun, or relax at home with friends and relatives! 

Be sure to check out all the great upcoming events this month, and think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.

Wishing everyone a happy 4th of July!

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Top stories


Hennepin County to help preserve existing affordable housing


The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, voting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, agreed to invest $3 million in a fund that will be used to finance the purchase of about 530 units of existing affordable housing in the county.

The county's investment is part of a $25 million metro-area initiative by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, to acquire these units to keep them affordable. The program will target rental properties that are at risk of being converted to higher rents, and where low- and moderate-income residents are at risk of being displaced. 

Affordable housing fund





Affordable housing at risk


In Hennepin County, housing costs for 150,000 families consume more than 30 percent of their gross incomes; for about 60,000 households, rent is in excess of 50 percent of their incomes. 


In this housing market, nonprofit and socially minded developers cannot compete with investors who are ready to purchase properties with cash on hand, ready to renovate and raise the rent. Their eagerness to buy up housing has further constricted an already tight rental market. More limited use of Federal Section 8 housing choice vouchers and state Group Residential Housing also has hurt county social service clients, who rely heavily on those programs for safe, stable housing.


Preservation makes sense


From an economic standpoint, it's more efficient to maintain Hennepin County's existing housing than to look for opportunities to create new housing. 


Currently, Hennepin County has approximately 82,000 units of unsubsidized multifamily rental housing, with rents affordable to households with incomes at or below 60 percent of the county's average median income, which is $51,480 for a family of four. Rents in these “naturally occurring affordable housing” units average between $550 and $1,200 per month. The properties range in size, age, location, and ownership. 


About half of the metro area's naturally occurring affordable housing rental units are located in Hennepin County. 


Making a difference in people's lives


The balance of the initial $25 million invested in this project is expected to come from institutional, philanthropic and socially conscious investors. The county's $3 million investment  will leverage $22 million in private investment to preserve affordable housing.The fund will provide 30 percent of the equity needed to finance housing purchases; the remainder will come from traditional mortgage financing. 


“Hennepin County is leading the way to preserve naturally affordable, unsubsidized rental housing before it is lost to market forces,” said Warren Hanson, president and CEO of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF). “The County’s commitment to the NOAH Impact Fund is a social impact investment that will prevent the displacement of low-income renters in Hennepin County.”



HCMC named medical services provider for U.S. Bank Stadium


A partnership announced with U.S. Bank Stadium and Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) means that guests will be in good hands when the new stadium opens next month. Guest experience, including the health and wellness of guests, is a top priority for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), SMG and the Minnesota Vikings.  


For HCMC, the new partnership is a natural extension of its health and wellness services into a venue that will bring millions of people from across the state, region, and world to downtown Minneapolis every year.


“Our services span the spectrum of health, from primary and specialty care in our clinics, to emergency medicine, EMS, and disaster preparedness, so it’s a natural partnership for us to support the health and wellbeing of the guests who will attend events in the new stadium,” said Jon L. Pryor, MD, MBA, CEO.


Paramedics and emergency medical response teams will provide care to event participants and fans with EMS coverage or first aid support for Vikings games and other major events at U.S. Bank Stadium.


If ambulance transport is needed to the hospital, HCMC’s main campus, including Level l adult and pediatric trauma care, is just one block away. HCMC serves the healthcare needs of downtown residents, workers, and visitors today and is currently building a new, 377,000 square foot clinic and specialty center close to the new stadium. More information at hcmc.org.





Public Hearing-Plymouth and Penn Aves. N


NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center expansion


A public hearing to obtain comment on the proposed transfer of land related to the NorthPoint expansion will be held before the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 1:30 p.m., or soon after, in Room A-2400 of the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis. The proposed plan is to use the parcels for a mixed use development that will include an expansion of the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, and related parking facilities on the southeast corner, and a relocated Estes Funeral Chapel on the southwest corner.


The property on the southwest corner of Penn and Plymouth Avenues North would then be transferred to Estes Funeral Chapel. The property on the southeast corner would then be transferred to Thor Development. These transfers will allow the consolidation of property on the north side of Plymouth Avenue North for the expansion of the NorthPoint campus (see notice for further information).


NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center is a comprehensive health and human services agency located in the heart of North Minneapolis. The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners shares governance of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. Funding for the NorthPoint expansion project had previously been approved through the Hennepin County Capital Budget.


Absentee voting


Absentee voting has begun


Absentee balloting is now open for the state primary. Voters can choose to submit an absentee ballot in person or by mail. Most cities in Hennepin County offer in-person absentee voting at city hall or other locations (see Minneapolis); call your city clerk’s office for more information. Also, any Hennepin County resident can vote by in-person absentee ballot at the Hennepin County Government Center elections office in downtown Minneapolis from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Additional Hennepin County absentee voting hours are posted at hennepin.us/elections. You can request to have your absentee ballot mailed to you at mnvotes.org. For any questions, contact the Hennepin County Elections office at hc.vote@hennepin.us or call (612) 348-5151.

Plymouth water ski



Plymouth water ski show July 12


The City of Plymouth will hold a water ski show featuring the Shockwaves Shakopee-Prior Lake Water Ski Association at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at Parkers Lake Park, County Road 6 and Niagara Lane.


The beach-front show will feature music, colorful costumes and a variety of water ski entertainment, including jumps, pyramids and other choreographed moves. Viewers are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner. Cold Stone Creamery will sell ice cream at the event.

Sponsored by the Plymouth Parks and Recreation Department, the event is free and open to the public. Staff recommends viewers arrive early to claim a good seat, as beach-front space and event parking is limited.

A second water ski show is set for Aug. 9. For more information, call 763-509-5200. To check for cancellations in the event of inclement weather, call the weather hotline at 763-509-5205.

Night to Unite Plymouth



Get ready for Night to Unite


Amid potlucks and food, fire engines bearing excitement for kids, barks from a K9 or laughs from a neighbor – people, first responders and organizations unite together in home towns across Hennepin County for Night to Unite.


Night to Unite, also known as National Night Out, is Tuesday, August 2 and is an annual event that encourages residents to hold block parties and get to know their neighbors as a way to encourage crime prevention. Each year, the Hennepin County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s Offices visits more than 100 community gatherings. Sheriffs, prosecutors, victim advocates and other staff members are available to answer your questions about the justice system and provide crime prevention information regarding how you can protect your family and your property.


National Night Out is a great opportunity to promote community-police partnerships and enjoy a Minnesota summer evening surrounded by friends and family. You may contact your city to register (some requests have early deadlines) or for more information. See these links for Golden Valley, Minneapolis, Plymouth, and St. Anthony.


If you are hosting a block party and would like someone from the County Attorney’s Office to visit, please contact Jean Heyer: jean.heyer@hennepin.us. To make a request for the Sheriff’s Office to attend your neighborhood National Night Out event, contact the Sheriff’s office at (612) 348-3744 or email: sheriff@hennepin.us.  Requests should be made soon.



Summer meals for kids


Partner news: Summer meals for kids


The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.


Here are some ways that providers serving families can help:






Learn more about nutrition programs by visiting the USDA Food and Nutrition Service web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov.




Hennepin County Career Connections – Hennepin employee recognition awards


This past week, the Hennepin County Board recognized employee achievements as the board does annually. The employees at Hennepin County always make me proud for their incredible work, but I would like to point out a few in particular related to their work with our district.

Bottineau for diversity and inclusion


Diversity and Inclusion in Action


The award for Diversity and Inclusion in Action went to the Bottineau Community Works Team which includes employees from the Communications, Health and Public Works departments. The award recognizes employees who promote diversity within the organization, encourage a climate of inclusion and exhibit a positive attitude toward providing services. The Bottineau team was recognized for their work during the Bottineau Light Rail (LRT) planning process for bringing diverse faces and voices into the process. The video about this team is here.


Hennepin Gives - Nancy Anderson



Hennepin Gives award


Nancy Anderson, a Plymouth resident and Trainer in Health and Human Services, was recognized with the Hennepin Gives award for her work volunteering in the various communities she serves. Whether working at the local food shelf, planting flowers with the city of Plymouth, or singing for terminal patients at Methodist Hospital, Nancy truly embodies the spirit of public service.


The video of the entire awards program (during the June 21 Board meeting) is available here for viewing.

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Board news


June 21




Increased funding will support 54 additional staff to meet new state requirements for Medical Assistance



The Hennepin County Board approved a Human Services staff increase to manage new state-imposed Medical Assistance eligibility review requirements and the transfer of 41,000 clients’ records to a new management system. The county does not control and cannot modify the state imposed system and processes. Human Services estimates that the additional workload eventually could require 110 to 120 additional full-time positions. The positions will increase the department’s labor costs by $2.7 million annually; the federal government is expected to reimburse $1.5 million through Medicaid, and state Department of Human Services has allocated $352,000 toward the county’s additional staff costs. Human Services leadership will assess operations in the second half of 2016 to determine if more staffing is needed in 2017. Learn more about the additional staffing need




Gap funding approved for Southwest Light Rail project


Voting as the Regional Railroad Authority, the board voted to continue funding project development on the Southwest Light Rail from downtown to Eden Prairie, also known as the Green Line Extension. Initially, funding was set to end July 1; the funding now is extended through September. The measure was necessary because expected state funding for the project was not approved during the state legislature's 2016 session. The measure was approved in the hope that Southwest Light Rail funding is approved in a special session. No new funds were allocated. Learn more about the extension




Fund will help preserve existing affordable housing


The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, under the authority of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, agreed to invest $3 million in a fund that will be used to finance the purchase of existing affordable housing in the county. See story above.



Sheriff's office to collaborate with other agencies on national conference



The board approved a plan to work with several regional sheriff’s offices to provide resources during the National Sheriff’s Association Annual Conference and Major County Sheriff’s Association summer meeting, for the conference scheduled in Minneapolis June 22-29. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency for all operational and security planning. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association have been in contact with all 87 Minnesota sheriffs’ offices to solicit assistance. Several agencies have offered to help.




Washington Avenue Bridge will be repaired after fire


The board approved a $98,000 plan to repair damage on the Washington Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River, from a fire last January. The fire occurred under the Minneapolis bridge in an area for maintaining utility facilities. The fire and subsequent abatement operation resulted in distortion of bridge structural steel beams. Transportation department staff has inspected the structure and verified that the bridge may remain open to traffic; however, it is necessary to repair the damage.




Funding okayed to add East Bush Lake Road on-ramp to westbound 494


The board approved the county’s $8.5 million share of a five-year plan to make improvements to East Bush Lake Road at Interstate 494 in Bloomington. The project will result in a new entrance ramp to westbound I-494, to relieve traffic on Normandale Boulevard/84th Street at Bush Lake Road. Bloomington is responsible for delivery of the project and anticipates construction may begin as early as 2017.




Public hearing: Proposed property transfer at Penn and Plymouth 


The board voted to establish a hearing on the proposed transfer of property at the southeast and southwest corners of Penn and Plymouth avenues north in Minneapolis. The hearing will be held Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. See story above.




Carl Michaud appointed to lead Public Works


The board appointed Carl Michaud as assistant county administrator for Public Works. Michaud has been serving in an interim role for the past several months. Before his interim appointment, he was director of the Environment and Energy Department since 2007. In 29 years at Hennepin County, including 9 years as director of the Environmental Services Department, he worked on municipal solid waste management, hazardous waste management, energy issues and natural resources protection.




Budget hearings and other dates set


The board scheduled public hearings for adoption of the 2017 budget and levy, and set a schedule for the Budget and Capital Investment Committee to consider the proposed 2017 budget. The meetings will proceed as follows (note: Dates are subject to change. To subscribe to updates, visit the Hennepin County Budget page):


County administrator presents proposed 2017 budget to County Board


Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 1:30 p.m.


County Board vote on 2017 maximum tax levy and budget


Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 1:30 p.m.


Public safety


Thursday, September 22, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.




Monday, September 26, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 9 a.m. – noon


Human Services and Public Health


Thursday, September 29, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.


Public Works


Friday, September 30, 2016, 1 – 4 p.m.


Human Services and Public Health


Thursday, October 6, 2016, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (follow-up, if needed)


Capital Budgeting Task Force and fees


Thursday, October 20, 2016, 9 a.m. – noon


Truth-in-Taxation public meeting


Tuesday, November 29, 2016, 6 p.m. Participants can park for free after 5 p.m. in the Government Center ramp. Enter on 3rd Avenue.


Administrator amendments


Wednesday, December 7, 2016, during Budget and Capital Investment Committee meeting


Commissioner amendments


Monday, December 12, 2016, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.


County Board vote on 2017 budget and levy


Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 1:30 p.m.


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St. Anthony

  • June 29 through July 8
    Park activities. For a list of activities, times and cost, visit mynortheaster.com.
    Silverwood Park
    2500 County Road E, St. Anthony
  • Saturdays, July 16, 23 and 30, 10am-noon
    Puppet shows. Free but there is a suggested donation of $5 per person. 
    Silverwood Park
    2500 County Road E, St. Anthony
  • Silverwood OnStage. Live music, film and art performances. For dates and times, visit silverwoodonstage.org.
    Silverwood Park
    2500 County Road E, St. Anthony


  • June 29 through September 1 
    Activities for Seniors. For a list of activities, days and times, visit mynortheaster.com.
    Bottineau Park
    2000 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Wednesday, June 29, 5-6:30pm
    Northeast Networking Night. Enjoy complimentary beverage and appetizers. Open to members and non-members $15 members/$20 non-members. To register visit minneapolischamber.org or contact Christine Levens at 612-378-0050.
    Red Stag Supperclub
    509 1st Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Thursdays, June 30 through September 29, 4-7pm
    Mini Farmers Market
    Audubon Park
    27th Avenue NE and Johnson Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, July 7 and Friday, July 8, 8am-5pm and Saturday, July 9, 8am-noon
    Rummage sale. Clothes, dishes, kitchen ware, home decor, books, electronics, kids games, toys and much more.
    Grace Lutheran Church
    1500 6th Street NE, Minneapolis
  • July 11 through July 29
    Summer day camps. Low-cost. Fees based on family size, income, and the number of children registered. To register and for more information, visit mynortheaster.com.
    Grace Lutheran Church
    1500 6th Street NE, Minneapolis
  • July 12 through August 20
    Library events. For a list of free summer activities, visit mynortheaster.com or call 612-543-6850.
    Bottineau Library
    55 Broadway Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, July 12 and 19, 9:30am
    Employment Orientation meeting. For low-income seniors in Hennepin County who are interested in paid on-the-job training in a variety of community based settings. Positions include janitors, warehouse worker, security, care givers, and office workers, to name a few. For more information, visit esns.org or call Macey at 612-787-4090.
  • Wednesday, July 13, 6-7:30pm
    Water Wednesday workshop. Free event to learn about eco-friendly yard care.
    Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
    2522 Marshal Avenue NE, Minneapolis




  • Thursday, July 7 through Saturday, July 9, 9am-4pm
    Hazardous waste collection event. Drop off unwanted household materials. For a list of acceptable materials, visit hennepin.us.
    Jenny Lind School
    5025 Bryant Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Monday, July 11 through Friday, August 12, 9am-4pm
    Camp Capri. Summer arts camp for middle school students. Theater, dance, drumming, music, and visual arts, culminating in the performance of Greta Oglesby’s original play, “A Rhythm Runs Through It.” To register, visit thecapritheater.org or contact Kiana Batteau at kbatteau@pcyc-mpls.org or 612-643-2061.
    Capri Theater
    2027 Broadway Avenue W, Minneapolis
  • July 11 through August 26, 11:30am-1pm
    Free summer food program. For ages 18 and under. For more information, call 612-521-1749.
    1729 Lyndale Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Wednesday, July 13, 1-3pm
    Ice Cream social.
    Harrison Park
    503 N Irving Avenue, Minneapolis
  • Thursdays, starting July 14, 3-7pm
    Camden Farmers Market
    The Warren
    4400 Osseo Road, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, July 14, 6-8pm
    Live on the Drive featuring the group, Mpls. For more information, visit liveonthedrive.org.
    Victory Memorial Parkway
    34th Avenue N and Victory Memorial Parkway, Minneapolis
  • July 16 and August 20
    Food program. Food distribution 8-9:30am and hot meals program 3-5pm. For more information, call 612-521-1749
    1729 Lyndale Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30
    FLOW Northside Arts Crawl. For highlights and event information, visit westbroadway.org.



North Loop

  • Sunday, July 10, 11am-5pm
    Open Streets. Explore downtown Minneapolis by bike, foot or skate on car-free streets. Get a map at openstreetsmpls.org.
  • Thursday, July 21, 7pm
    Movie night. Watch “Overboard.”
    Target Field Station
    335 N 5th Street, Minneapolis
  • Friday, July 22, 9pm
    Movie night. Watch “Rocky.”
    Target Field Station
    335 N 5th Street, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, July 23, 6-10pm
    Block party. Live music, food and viewing of the Aquatennial fireworks. Free. Wristbands available for beer and wine.
    Our Lady of Lourdes
    1 Lourdes Place, Minneapolis


Bryn Mawr

  • Saturday, July 16, 9am-1pm
    Garden tour. See and learn about the amazing urban gardens of Bryn Mawr. $10 before July 15 and $15 after. To purchase tickets visit, bmna.org.
    Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church
    420 Cedar Lake Road S, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, July 21, 3-5pm
    Ice Cream Scoop off.
    Downtown Bryn Mawr
    2823 Wayzata Boulevard, Minneapolis

Golden Valley

  • July 7, July 14 and July 28, 2:30pm
    Police and Fire in the park. Police and firefighters visit city parks and spend time with the children from the neighborhood. For park locations, visit goldenvalleymn.gov.
  • Friday, July 8, 9-11am
    Open to Business. Golden Valley residents, small business owners or entrepreneurs can get free, one-on-one business consultation services and other assistance.
    Golden Valley City Hall
    7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley
  • Monday, July 11, 7pm
    Ice Cream Social. Free.
    Brookview Park 
    Hwy 55 and Winnetka, Golden Valley
  • Monday, July 11, 6:45-7:45pm
    Gazebo grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony.
    Brookview Park
    Hwy 55 and Winnetka, Golden Valley
  • Friday, July 15, 12:30-2:30pm 
    Water day. Water slides, music and puppet shows. Drinks provided at the park shelter.
    Scheid Park
    1856 Toledo Avenue N, Golden Valley
  • Friday, July 29, 8:30-10:30am
    Coffee with a Cop. Neighbors are invited to drop in to chat with an officer and other staff.
    7802 Olson Memorial Highway, Golden Valley
  • Friday, July 29, 10:30am-12:30pm
    Penny Carnival. Carnival games, dunk tank, puppet shows, hay rides, popcorn and more. Ages 4 and up. 3-5 cents per activity. Just bring pennies!
    Brookview Park
    Hwy 55 and Winnetka, Golden Valley

Medicine Lake


  • Tuesday, July 5, 7pm
    Free music. Zachary Scott Johnson band performs.
    Parkers Lake Park
    15205 County Road 6, Plymouth
  • Wednesday, July 6, 11am
    Free kids' theater performance. “Tortoise and the Hare.”
    Hilde Small Stage
    3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
  • Monday, July 11, 7pm
    Firefighter recruitment open house. The Plymouth Fire Service is looking to hire paid-on-call firefighters. 
    Fire Station III
    3300 Dunkirk Lane, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, July 12, 6-7pm
    Walk with a Doc. Residents are invited to take a 45-minute walk with a local doctor, who will share information on a health-related topic and answer questions during the event.
    Plymouth Creek Center
    14800 34th Avenue N, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, July 12, 7pm
    Water ski show. See the Shockwaves Shakopee-Prior Lake Water Ski team perform. 
    Parkers Lake Park
    15205 County Road 6, Plymouth 
  • Thursday, July 14, 7pm
    Free music. Jeff Dayton Band performs.
    Hilde Amphitheater
    3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
  • Sunday, July 17, 4:30-6pm
    Log rolling. Learn to stay atop of the log. For ages 7 to adults. $27 residents/$33 non-residents. To register, visit plymouthmn.gov
    Parkers Lake Beach
    County Road 6 and Niagara Lane, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, July 19, 7pm
    Free music. Gypsy Mania Hot Club Quartet performs.
    Parkers Lake Stage
    15205 County Road 6, Plymouth
  • Friday, July 22, 7pm and Saturday, July 23, 2pm
    Free kids' theater performance. “Sleeping Beauty.”
    Hilde Amphitheater
    3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
  • Thursday, July 28, 6pm
    Kidfest. Live music, food trucks, games, inflatables and more.
    Hilde Small Stage
    3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
  • Saturday, July 30, 5pm
    Live at the Hilde. ZZ Ward with special guest Eric Hutchinson performs. For tickets, visit plymouthmn.gov.
    Hilde Performance Center
    3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
  • Applications are now being accepted for Public Safety Citizens' Academy through Thursday, September 1. Free 12-week course which meets Thursdays, 6:30-9:30pm, beginning September 8. The Public Safety Citizens' Academy is for 12 weeks and is geared toward expanding public knowledge of the Plymouth Police and Fire Departments. To apply and for more information, visit plymouthmn.gov.




Multiple communities

  • July 4, 6-9:30pm
    Fourth of July celebration. Live music, food, activities and fireworks.
    Father Hennepin Bluff Park
    420 SE Main Street, Minneapolis
  • July 13 through September 25 
    Preserve Minneapolis walking tour. Over 20 summer tours of Minneapolis’ historic neighborhoods. Most tours are $9. For a list of tours and to register, visit preserveminneapolis.org.
  • Music and movies in the park. For dates, times and locations, visit minneapolisparks.org.

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