April Newsletter: Hennepin Commissioner Debbie Goettel

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debbie goettel

Hennepin Happening

Welcome to the District 5 April newsletter and Happy Easter!
You can stay up to speed with news from our office by following us on Facebook. Scroll down to read more about

Growth and progress at Hennepin History Museum

Hennepin History Museum
The Mu-So Choral Club, a Minneapolis-based choir of approximately 40 African American singers, circa 1920s.

On every street and in every home across the county, there is an echo of the past that can help us understand who we are today. That's why I've been excited and proud to serve on the Hennepin History Museum board. We've taken big steps to make the museum a relevant, sustainable asset to our whole community.

  • Staff has worked tirelessly to catalogue and organize the extensive collection, which was previously in shambles.
  • We're building out our donor base to fund new and innovative programming.
  • The museum has collaborated more and more with other museums and organizations in the area
  • The board and staff have worked to portray the many different perspectives and experiences in our county's history. Women, people of color, and many other minorities have experienced Hennepin County in drastically different ways than the white majority. We strive to tell a more complex story that includes many different perspectives.

We are currently accepting applications for new board members, and I'm particularly encouraging women and people of color to step up. If you or someone you know is passionate about our history, have them reach out to us! The phone number for my office is 612-348-7885.

Board meeting highlights

Better Futures Minnesota
  • Approved a $9,000 grant to the City of Eden Prairie for aquatic invasive species prevention efforts
  • Authorized $6.4 million in spending for the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit project in conjunction with the 35W-Lake Street project.
  • We approved a pilot program of about $300,000 to provide stable housing and services for young adults (18-24) who are aging out of the foster care system. Often times our most vulnerable kids aren't prepared for adult life, and this is one method we're exploring to give them a launch pad for a brighter future.
  • The board also agreed to a contract with Better Futures Minnesota for services that will focus on employment placement, retention, increased wages, and criminal recidivism reduction services for inmates who have been chronically unemployed, fighting drug addiction, and/or dealing with mental health issues. By addressing the underlying issues that led to their incarceration, we hope to make Hennepin County a stronger, safer community for us all.

Penn Central Facade Improvement Grant

Facade improvement grant

The County Board approved a grant to the City of Richfield for building facade improvements in the Penn Central business district. Eligible building owners or business owners may apply for grant assistance for 50% of the cost of improvements - up to $7,500 per property.

Grants will pay for 50% of the total project costs, up to a maximum grant amount of $7,500 per property. Grant funds must be matched 1:1 with private dollars. For more information, visit Richfield's website or contact Matt Brillhart (mbrillhart@richfieldmn.gov; 612-861-9776)

Debbie around the district

Since our last newsletter in March, here are a few highlights from my work...

66th Street Open House

Attended the 66th Street Open House in Richfield. We got lots of great participation and feedback from residents and local businesses. Our government can be more responsive when people have the opportunity to share their ideas.

Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce

Joined St. Louis Park council member and Minnesota Housing Partnership Executive Director Anne Mavity and Aeon President/CEO Alan Arthur for a panel discussing housing in the Twin Cities. The event was hosted by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Veterans home

Attended the grand opening of the new Veterans Home Building in Minneapolis. Taking care of veterans is a top priority for me and the District 5 office.

Senator Klobuchar

Traveled to Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Counties Conference. We were able to meet with our legislative delegation to discuss key policy initiatives and connected with local leaders around the country to share innovative ideas.

Hennepin County Library events

Teen Tech Workshop

Teen Tech Workshop

Eden Prairie Library | April 12 and 26 (4:00 PM – 6:00 PM)

Get creative and make music, videos, animation and other projects using both high- and low-tech tools, everything from LEGO® Robotics, Raspberry Pi, iPads and 3D printers to sewing machines. Led by the library's Teen Tech Squad. Sponsor: Friends of the Hennepin County Library, Friends of the Eden Prairie Library.

Performance Event

Latino Lens: Frida

Augsburg Park Library | April 14 (1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Latino Lens celebrates the work of Latinx directors and actors.

"Frida" chronicles the life Frida Kahlo shared unflinchingly and openly with Diego Rivera, as the young couple took the art world by storm. From her complex and enduring relationship with her mentor and husband to her illicit and controversial affair with Leon Trotsky, to her provocative and romantic entanglements with women, Kahlo lived a bold and uncompromising life as a political, artistic and sexual revolutionary. Sponsor: Friends of the Augsburg Park Library.

Live Show: Jack and Kitty

Eden Prairie Library | April 4 (10:00 AM – 11:00 AM)

Enjoy fun, interactive acoustic/folk music by Jack and Kitty, an Emmy Award-winning acoustic duo. Dance along to music performed on a variety of instruments, such as banjo, washboard, harmonica, whizbang and ukulele. Sponsor: Friends of the Eden Prairie Library.

Andrea Swensson

Author Talk: Andrea Swensson

Eden Prairie Library | April 9 (7:00 PM – 8:30 PM)

Author Swensson will discuss her new book and stories about the Minneapolis Sound. Beginning in the year of Prince's birth in 1958, with the recording of Minnesota's first R&B record by a North Minneapolis band called the Big Ms, "Got to Be Something Here: The Rise of the Minneapolis Sound" traces the rise of that distinctive sound through two generations of political upheaval, rebellion and artistic passion. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Sponsor: Friends of the Eden Prairie Library.

Afro-Modern Dance

Afro-Modern Dance

Oxboro Library | April 10 (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM)

Explore how the traditional and cultural dance of the African Diaspora influenced Afro-Modern dance through energetic rhythms, and leave feeling uplifted in body, mind and spirit! Collaborator: The Cowles Center. Funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Road construction

66th Street in Richfield and Bloomington's Normandale Boulevard are in the midst of major construction projects. Skip the traffic jams and sign up for updates on the projects impacting your commute.

You can also visit the Hennepin County website for updates on road maintenance projects and all other road construction.

Constituent services

Housing crises, energy assistance, child protection, emergency situations; we are here to advocate for you when it comes to navigating local and county services, and we want to help. Please call our office at 612-348-7885 with any questions or for assistance.


Commissioner Debbie Goettel
Hennepin County District 5
Bloomington | Eden Prairie | Richfield
612-348-7885 | debbie.goettel@hennepin.us

Casey Krolczyk
Principal Aide
612-596-7078 | casey.krolczyk@hennepin.us

Michael Ohama
Policy Director
612-348-7885 | michael.ohama@hennepin.us


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