Fourth Ward Report: February 2016

4th Ward Report from Council President Barbara Johnson

February, 2016

Contact Information

Council President Barbara Johnson
350 S. 5th St.
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Jennifer White, Senior Policy Aide

Dawn Snow, Associate



Shingle Creek
Willard Hay

42nd Ave Reconstruction

The Minneapolis City Council is proposing a street reconstruction project on 42nd Avenue North between Xerxes Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue North.

The scope of the project will encompass the entire right-of-way and include full removal of the existing street, subgrade correction, new pavement, curb and gutter, driveways, sidewalk as needed, streetscape elements as needed, utility work as needed, pavement markings, signals, and signage. The reconstruction will impact local parking, bike lanes, and pedestrian paths. The project limits are shown on the attached map, with construction proposed to begin in 2018.

The Department of Public Works will hold an informational meeting to address any questions that you may have about the 42nd Avenue North Reconstruction project.

Additional information can be found on the project website.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact:

Project Planner: Nathan Koster at 612-673-3638 or

Project Engineer: Chris Engelmann at 612-673-3274 or

Leasing Now Open for 2016 Vacant Lot Gardens


Gardeners know that wintertime is garden-planning time. Community gardeners and market gardeners can apply by Feb. 19 to lease vacant City lots for the 2016 gardening season. About 55 parcels are available. Interested groups should submit a garden request form for each parcel they intend to request. (Any lots still available after the current application process is complete would be available first-come, first-served until the next application process in the fall or winter.) Access to these lots will help improve food equity and access to healthy food, and grow the local food economy.

More information       

Starting this year, besides community gardeners, eligible leaseholders also include urban farmers and market gardeners. Other changes to the rules include:

  • Insurance liability requirement for community gardens decreased to $1 million.
  • Lease agreements will require pollinator-friendly practices.

These changes came about through the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council’s 2015 policy recommendations following increasing demand from residents for both community and commercial gardening space in the city.

For more information go to

Save the Date! Minneapolis Tree Sales Begin March 9


The Minneapolis Tree Sale begins March 9 at 8am for Wards 3, 4, 5 & 6.  This is a special opportunity for specific wards to purchase trees before other neighborhoods of the city (citywide sales begin March 27).  Trees are $25 each and there are several varieties available. Tree Distribution will be May 16 – 19 at the Minneapolis Impound Lot.  Visit for more information or call 952-767-3886.

Free Radon Test Kits

The City of Minneapolis is giving away radon test kits to increase awareness of the cancer risks of radon and to encourage people to test their homes for it. Testing is the only way to know if your home contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing gas. The test kits are easy to use, and postage and testing instructions are included in the kit.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils and can enter homes primarily through cracks and openings in basement or foundation floors and walls. Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. More than 21,000 deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S.

Free kits will be available while supplies last at the City of Minneapolis Development Review, 250 S. Fourth St., Room 300. Minneapolis Development Review’s hours of operation are: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Once the supply of free radon test kits runs out, kits will still be available at the same location for $9 each.

For more information on radon testing and mitigation visit or call the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050.

Tobacco-Related Flavor and Price Requirements Now in Effect


As of Jan. 1, all stores in Minneapolis except tobacco product shops (smoke shops) are prohibited from selling flavored tobacco products such as cigarillos, smokeless tobacco and e-juice. If you see flavored tobacco products in convenience stores or gas stations in Minneapolis, please call 311. (Mint and menthol products may still be sold in all outlets.)

Price requirements also went into effect Jan. 1. The minimum price of all cigar products is now $2.60 after any coupons or discounts and before tax.

The City changed these laws to reduce the availability and affordability of cheap, flavored tobacco products that appeal to young people. Find out more here.

Keep Sidewalks Clear During Snow Season


Sidewalks are a critical part of our city’s transportation system. That’s why Minneapolis ordinance requires that property owners clear sidewalks after a snowfall within 24 hours for houses and duplexes and four daytime hours for apartment and commercial buildings. For your own benefit and to help your neighbors who are walking, pushing strollers and using wheelchairs please do your part. When you shovel snow and clear ice, shovel the sidewalks on all sides of your property, the full width of the sidewalk down to the bare pavement. Ice can be more of a barrier and more dangerous than snow. If you use salt or other chemical de-icers, use as little as possible. When they dissolve, they release harmful chlorides that may find their way into the closest lake, river or stream.  Also please try to be courteous to neighbors and avoid parking in front of carriage walks if possible. 

To report a sidewalk that is not shoveled, you can file an online complaint, call 311 or use the 311 mobile app. If the City of Minneapolis gets a report or discovers that a sidewalk is not properly cleared, Public Works will send a warning letter and give the property owners a chance to clear it. If the sidewalk does not get cleared, the property owner may be issued a citation with a fine and crews will remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk. The property owner will be billed for this work, and unpaid bills will be added to the owner’s property tax.

Free Women-Only Information Technology Program Offered to Minneapolis Residents

Women interested in careers in information technology can take a free class as part of the Minneapolis TechHire initiative. IT-Ready trains and certifies information technology workers and helps place them in their first paid IT positions. Applications are due March 25. Only women who are Minneapolis residents are eligible. Learn more at

The eight-week class runs from 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. every weekday from April 11 to June 3.

The students will receive:

  • Free tuition, books and learning materials.
  • More than 200 hours of classroom and hands-on training.
  • Qualification for a local, six-month, paid, on-the-job work experience.
  • Certification vouchers 

IT-Ready is offered free of charge to help unemployed and under-employed women enter the IT field. Run by the Creating IT Futures Foundation, IT-Ready is hosted by EMERGE Career & Technology Center on the North Side of Minneapolis and funded by the City of Minneapolis Employment and Training, The Minneapolis Foundation Community Action Funds, North Star Fund, the Paul and Mary Reyelts Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation, and the Women’s Endowment Fund, a designated fund of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation.