Focusing the CIty's COVID-19 Assistance to Fill the Gaps -- The Heart of Minneapolis -- March 28, 2019

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Steve.Fletcher@MinneapolisMN.gov

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In This Newsletter:


Focusing the City's COVID-19 Assistance Efforts to Fill the Gaps

This historic pandemic has taken center stage in the work of the city, and rightfully so. We have the opportunity, right now, to save thousands of lives by creating distance between each other and slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

We’re all together in this, but we’re not all experiencing the same hardships. We’re all experiencing loneliness and fear that can be hard to manage. Some of us are sitting in isolation in homes for which we don’t know how we’re going to pay the rent or mortgage. Some of us are workers who have been laid off and are navigating unemployment insurance for partial relief, while some of us are freelancers whose contracts have all been cancelled and who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance, waiting to learn what if any support will be available. Some of us are struggling to shelter in place for lack of shelter. Some of us are business owners scrambling to figure out how to recover from being forced to close, and sadly, some are deciding that recovery is not within reach.

We’re all one community, and we need to do whatever we can to help each other through this. The city obviously has limited resources compared to the magnitude of people's needs in this time, and we need to be smart about how and where we step up with solutions. Luckily, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota, and the US Congress have all taken steps to help people through this disruption.

So I have two asks for you. First, please take full advantage of the state and federal programs that are designed to help you. Second, please get in touch with me to let me know if you’re not finding the help you need. We need to know where the gaps are in the other safety nets, so we can target our local work to the people who most need it. Below, you’ll find links to information that will help you find resources and support. Stay home, stay connected, and stay positive. 

En avant,

Steve

 


My Previous COVID-19 Updates:


State Legislature and U.S. Congress Pass COVID-19 Response Bills

On Thursday, the Minnesota legislature passed a $200 million COVID-19 response package, and on Friday the U.S. House passed a $2.2 trillion national response package that had previously passed the Senate.

The state package includes:

  • $31 million in emergency shelter and housing supports;
  • $30 million in child care grants;
  • $11 million in grants to tribal nations
  • $9 million to food shelf programs; and a
  • $200 million COVID-19 Minnesota response fund that can be used to protect Minnesotans and maintain state agencies' operations.

You can read much more detail in this document from the MN House Research Department (PDF) and in this story from Minnesota Public Radio.

The federal package includes:

  • $500 billion in loans and guarantees to businesses, state and local governments, including about $1.2 billion for Minnesota’s general fund;
  • $377 billion in federally guaranteed loans for companies with less than 500 employees;
  • $260 billion in emergency unemployment insurance, which extends coverage to four months, raises the weekly benefit by $600 (on top of the state benefit), and covers self-employed and part-time workers
  • $150 billion for health care providers, including direct grants to hospitals;
  • $300 billion in direct, one-time payments to individuals capped at $1,200 per person, (less for those who earned above $75,000 in 2019) and $500 per child for some families;
  • and billions for disaster relief, schools, transportation systems, veterans, food stamp beneficiaries and others.

You can find answers to many Frequently Asked Questions from the New York Times here, and from Minnesota Public Radio here.

As we learn more about the details of these aid packages, and as the state and federal governments continue to respond to this public health crisis and its effects on everyone's lives, I am looking for gaps that the City can fill.

Please contact me with your ideas and input for how the City can focus our resources on those in our community who fall through the cracks in the federal and state assistance programs. Email me at Steve.Fletcher@minneapolismn.gov or contact my office at 612-673-2203.

 


10th Avenue Bridge Closing to All Traffic on Monday, March 30

10th Avenue Bridge

The historic 10th Avenue Bridge will be closed to all traffic beginning Monday, March 30 for repairs. It is currently expected to reopen next summer (2021) by August 1.

Note: Beginning Monday, March 30, West River Parkway will also close between 13th Ave South and 22nd Ave South for up to five days due to 10th Ave Bridge construction activities. The closures will be in place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

When this project was first announced in early 2019, Public Works staff estimated the project closure duration to be approximately 12 months.

After hiring a contractor last summer and working through a detailed analysis and scheduling with utilities, the staging requirements to build a 50-year fix made schedule changes necessary. The utility work also took more effort than originally anticipated. And, finally, there is some work that cannot be done during the winter, so the closure was moved to this spring so that we did not have two winters of full closure.

This closure will now overlap with the 3rd Avenue Bridge closure. I am disappointed that the project schedule has slipped, but I am hopeful that we can make up time in the winter if the weather cooperates, and minimize how long both bridges are closed at the same time.

Public Works will continue to monitor the schedule and leverage opportunity to improve on this schedule, and will be supporting people’s travel needs throughout. For the 10th Avenue project, drivers will be detoured to the I-35W bridge. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be detoured to Bridge #9.

Contractors will be replacing the bridge deck and other deteriorating concrete components. The City remains in close communication with contractors if adjustments need to be made as a result of impacts from COVID-19. Once construction work is completed, the bridge will feature two-way vehicle traffic with protected bike lanes and wider sidewalks. 

The 90-year-old bridge was last rehabilitated four decades ago and is a key connection over the Mississippi River, carrying about 10,000 vehicles and hundreds of pedestrians every day. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

In addition to the bridge rehabilitation work, the City is also installing a new water main underneath the river. It replaces a 1949-era water main that was suspended from the bridge structure. Learn more about the 10th Avenue Bridge Rehabilitation and Water Main Project and sign up for project updates by visiting the project’s website.

 


West River Parkway and Main Street SE Opening to Trail Users, Closing to Cars to Help Maintain Social Distancing

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will close sections of West River Parkway and Main Street Southeast during Minnesota’s stay at home order to allow more space for trail users to follow social distancing practices and limit the spread of COVID-19.

The riverfront parkway closures will begin by 5 p.m. Friday, March 27, and remain in place until 5 p.m. Friday, April 10.

  • West River Parkway will close between Plymouth Avenue N and 11th Avenue S. One lane will remain open to provide access to the Stone Arch Bridge Parking Lot and parking serving 200 2nd St. S. 
  • Main Street SE will fully close between Hennepin Avenue and 3rd Avenue SE. Merriam Street will also be closed. The eastbound lane of Main Street will close between 3rd and 6th Avenues SE. The southbound lane of 6th Avenue SE will also close between Main Street SE and the Stone Arch Bridge. 

Once the closures go into effect:

  • Parkway roads will be dedicated to two-way pedestrian traffic.
  • Walking paths will be dedicated to two-way pedestrian traffic.
  • Bike paths will remain bike paths in their current direction if applicable.
  • Modifications may occur during the closure.

Find more information here.

 


Hennepin Avenue Downtown Project Starting Spring Work Early

With the early warm spring weather and with social distancing due to COVID-19 leaving downtown quieter than usual, road and sidewalk construction on Hennepin Avenue downtown will begin next week from 7th St. to 12th St. 

Utility work including Xcel, fiber, water, and storm sewer work will be going on in all areas of the project, and is nearing completion on the south end of the project from 7th to 12th streets.  The utility and development work is now ramping up on the north end of the project.

Sign up for email updates and see the latest project updates on the project website here.

 


Property Tax Assessments Coming Next Week

Next week, the City Assessor’s office will start mailing this year’s property tax assessments.  These always generate some questions, and I thought especially at a moment of heightened financial anxiety for many, I wanted to remind everyone what those assessments mean.

By state law, your 2020 Property Tax Assessment is backward-looking, based on comparable property sales from October 2018 through September 2019. It is not an attempt to guess what this week’s economic volatility might mean for your property value. It’s also important to remember that your 2020 assessment does not tell you how much your property tax will go up or down. Your property tax assessment impacts the share of the city’s total property tax levy that you’ll eventually pay.

The City Assessor gave a detailed presentation on this. You can find a link to the report and watch the video of the presentation on the marked agenda for this week’s Ways and Means Committee.


(Virtual) Coffee With Your Council Member

Grab Coffee with Council Member Steve Fletcher

I normally hold regular open community office hours at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, at a rotating neighborhood coffee shop in Ward 3 for constituents to drop by, ask questions, and raise any issues you see in the community. 

While we are keeping social distance, I will hold my community office hours by phone instead. 

Wednesday, April 1, 4:00 - 6:00 P.M.

If you have questions or a topic to discuss, email Aurin.Chowdhury@minneapolismn.gov to schedule a 15-minute phone call this Wednesday between 4-6pm.

Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for all the details on future scheduled events, or contact our office at 612-673-2203.

 


Postponed: Ward 3 Info Meeting & Public Comment Period for Recommended Neighborhoods 2020 Program Guidelines

The public comment period is open for the Neighborhoods 2020 draft program guidelines on neighborhood programming and funding to support the City’s 70 neighborhood organizations in 2021 and beyond. The draft program guidelines follow the vision to preserve Minneapolis’ neighborhood organizations and create equitable communities in which all people are valued, communities are engaged and leadership mirrors the diversity of the city.

The public comment period has now been extended by 90 days, to July 15. 

We had originally worked with a couple of neighborhoods to organize a Ward 3 meeting on April 1st because the deadline for public comment was nearing, and we wanted to make sure there was an event in a convenient location.

Now that the deadline has been delayed, and all meetings are in convenient locations online, we’re encouraging everyone to join NCR’s online meeting on April 2nd

We’ll assess later in the Spring whether a Ward 3 meeting makes sense closer to the new deadline.

Public Meeting on Recommended Neighborhoods 2020 Program Guidelines

Thursday, April 2 from 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.

Teleconference via Skype -- click here to join!

Neighborhood & Community Relations Department staff will post the video from this meeting online afterwards for those unable to attend. Check out the project page here.

I’m still happy to meet (virtually) with anyone who wants to discuss the Neighborhoods 2020 proposal. Contact my office to set up a time, and let’s connect.

 


Transportation Action Plan -- Read and Comment Online by April 22

Transportation Action Plan logo

Our Public Works Department recently released the draft of the City's Transportation Action Plan, and it is now open for public comment through April 22. 

You can read the plan, see maps, and comment online at http://go.minneapolismn.gov

Public Works staff are also planning online open houses to get your input on the plan and interact in real time -- mark your calendar for:

Follow the City of Minneapolis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated! Use #gompls to share your feedback with us. 

The Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan is a 10-year action plan to guide future planning, design, and implementation of transportation projects for all people in all the ways we move around the city. The plan will identify specific actions for the City and our partners to take to implement the transportation vision outlined in Minneapolis 2040.

If you have feedback or ideas about how you walk, bike, bus, drive, scooter, roll, ride, or otherwise get around your neighborhood, I strongly encourage you to comment on this plan in the next month!

 


Rescheduled: Good Morning Ward 3 with Housing Director Andrea Brennan

Kramarczuk's

Good Morning Ward 3

WHEN: (Tentatively) Wednesday, May 20 from 7:30 - 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: Kramarczuk's, 215 E. Hennepin Ave.

WITH: Andrea Brennan, Director of Housing Policy & Development

Rescheduled from March:

Our City recognizes that we have an affordable housing crisis, and we are moving aggressively to adopt policies and direct City funds to address it. On March 18, I'll be joined by Andrea Brennan, Director of Housing Policy and Development in the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED), for a conversation about our City's housing policies and programs. Join us to learn more about how we're working to make affordable housing available to more Minneapolis residents. 

 


Neighborhood Event Calendars

Want to know what's happening around Ward 3? Check out these event calendars!

 


If you need a reasonable accommodation to fully participate or if you need information in an alternative format, please contact 311 (612-673-3000). TTY users call 612-673-2157.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700 · Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800 · Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500

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