Community notebook: County seeking money to fight chronic offenders

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August 3, 2009 // UPDATED 8:41 am - August 3, 2009
By: Michelle Bruch
Michelle Bruch

Downtown core

Federal stimulus money could fund a new crime strategy called the Downtown 100 Collaborative.

Hennepin County is requesting $1.3 million to prosecute the top 100 chronic offenders Downtown. Prosecutors say that a handful of people commit most of Downtown’s crimes, and when they keep tabs on those people they are able to secure more effective penalties for them.

Hennepin County has already received $1.2 million in stimulus funding to improve the Cedar Lake trail’s access to transit near the new ballpark.

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North Loop

Planting plan OK’d

The city’s Heritage Preservation Commission has approved the North Loop’s tree planting plan. The approval was necessary because trees have not historically been part of the Warehouse District. City staff recommended that trees should be planted anyway to help enliven the increasingly residential neighborhood. To mitigate the changes that trees will bring to the streets, the commission recommended planting between bays and away from building entrances.

A few trees have already gone up on 1st Street, and the first round of tree plantings will be concentrated along Washington Avenue.

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Plan for a playground

Commissioners from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are interested in building a playground at 4th Avenue North and West River Parkway, according to the North Loop Neighborhood Association. A year-old group called North Loop Kids has advocated for a Downtown playground to serve a growing number of families there. North Loop Kids organizes play dates and playground crawls for families living in the Downtown area. They have a yahoo groups page at dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/northloopkids/.

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Party time

“North Loop Days” will encompass an entire weekend this year with a block party on Friday, Aug. 28 and a volleyball tournament on Saturday, the 29th. The volleyball game will take place on the lawn at Herschel Lofts, and one team will take home a prize for the best uniform. More information is available at northloopdays.com.

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Nicollet Island/East Bank

Time for two-way

According to Victor Grambsch, chair of the Nicollet Island/East Bank Neighborhood Association, some residents of the East Bank would like to look at extending Hennepin and 1st Avenue’s two-way conversion into the East Bank.

The switch is currently limited to Downtown between 1st and 12th streets. City officials decided to convert the one-way streets into two-way roads to provide safer bike lanes and boost retail visibility.  

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Elliot Park

Courting MPS

Elliot Park wants to host a new headquarters for the Minneapolis School District at the empty 1010 Metrodome Square building at 1010 S. 7th St. The property owners said the building was previously occupied by U.S. Bank, but it has been vacant for the past three years.

Staff from DLR Architecture recently told members of Elliot Park Neighborhood Inc. (EPNI) that they are proposing an open plaza adjacent to the building that would feature a berm for natural seating.

The building is one of several competing candidates the school board might choose for its 500-plus employees.

EPNI sent a letter to the school board touting the building’s access to mass transit, parking and proximity to cultural attractions.

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Going for grants

Money is tight for most neighborhood groups at the moment, but EPNI continues to see success with its grant applications. EPNI recently received a two-year grant worth $70,000 from the McKnight Foundation. The money will help the neighborhood plan economic development projects at Centennial Commons, an area located between South 8th Street, 15th Street, Elliot Avenue and Park Avenue.

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Music series finale

Elliot Park’s summer music series will wrap up on Aug. 5, featuring music by Knotty Pine from noon–1:30 p.m.  

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Loring Park

So long, Access Works

Access Works is no longer operating at 11 W. 15th St. The building provided a syringe exchange, HIV testing, counseling and support groups. Staff at Access Works could not be reached for comment.

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Art in the park

The annual Loring Park Art Festival is Aug. 8 and 9, featuring more than 140 artists this year.

Citizens for a Loring Park Community will set up a tent at the fair, and the organization is looking for volunteers to serve coffee and rolls to vendors in the morning and staff the booth throughout the day. For more information, e-mail clpc@visi.com.

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Downtown core

‘Save Canvas’ heads to 10th & Nicollet

Overproof Studio is unveiling a unique art project called “Save Canvas” on Aug. 8 at the site of the proposed Nicollet project at 10th & Nicollet.

Overproof has worked with the developers behind the Nicollet on the art installation. Artists Aaron Bickner and Andrew Shannon worked on the exhibition, which has three elements: In one building, visitors will be able to paint the walls. Another building will feature hand-painted 8-foot-tall pop-up book images. A pop-up gallery will go up in a third building.

The Minnesota Opera shop has contributed old sets and props for the project.

The installation will be revealed Aug. 8 at an event planned for 7–10 p.m. There will be appearances by DJ Rambo Salinias and local artists who will be supplying attendees with paint and squirt guns.

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National Night Out

Minneapolitans host some of the biggest National Night Out parties in the nation, and Downtown will certainly do its part this year for the event on Aug. 4.

One party in Elliot Park expects to host 450 people on the 1600 block of Park Avenue for face painting, softball and karaoke. A barbeque will take place nearby on the 1500 block of Park Avenue.

Also in Elliot Park, Crossroad Ministries from Augustana Lutheran Church will host a free picnic and live music at 704 11th Ave. S.

On the other end of Downtown in Loring Park, the Woman’s Club at 410 Oak Grove will shut down the street for a barbeque and a performance by the Holly Circle Band.

Other Loring Park events will take place on the 10 block of East Grant Street, the 1200 block of Hennepin Avenue, and the 1500 block of LaSalle Avenue. The event on the Loring Greenway will feature music, dancing, karaoke, refreshments and drawings for doggie merchandise.

Events for folks in the Downtown core will be located on the 100 block of Portland Avenue, the 300 block of Hennepin Avenue, the 400 block of South 7th Street and the 10 block of South 1st Street.

Updated information on National Night Out events is available at ci.minneapolis.mn.us/nno/