Community notebook: Clean energy plan gains traction

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August 17, 2009 // UPDATED 8:50 am - August 17, 2009
By: Michelle Bruch
Michelle Bruch

What if the entire neighborhood was powered by clean energy? That’s the new big idea percolating inside 2010 Partners, which is a group of stakeholders advocating for smart development around the new ballpark.

“It seems to be getting a lot of traction,” said Chuck Leer, a founder of 2010 Partners.

Leer said he wants to bring together four major energy providers located within walking distance of each other — Xcel, Covanta, Centerpoint and the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) — to put together a clean energy strategy for the neighborhood.

Leer said they could take the neighborhood off the grid by either using more energy from the garbage-burning HERC plant or exploring solar energy — many of the Warehouse District’s one-story buildings with large roofs would be perfect candidates for solar panels, he said. Another thought is to start a compost pickup in the neighborhood, and ask the HERC to convert the compost into methane gas that can be used for electricity.

The city’s Planning Commission recently shot down a request from the HERC to burn more garbage to be converted into electricity. The commissioners worried that more burning would be detrimental to public health.

“A lot of people are arguing about emissions, but we should be having a much bigger conversation,” Leer said. “I think this is the right time to think [about these ideas].”

2010 Partners will discuss the concept for a clean energy district at its next meeting on Sept. 15.


Party in the hood

At a North Loop Days block party on Aug. 28, residents can pore through local artwork, listen to a jazz trio or vote on new wines and beers to be featured at North Loop establishments.

The party will run from 6–8 p.m. in the parking lot next to Toast Wine Bar at 415 N. 1st St.

North Loop Days will continue on Aug. 29 with a volleyball tournament from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. on the Herschel Lofts lawn. J.D. Hoyt’s will provide food for the co-ed teams, and a happy hour for the players will follow at The Loop from 4–7 p.m.

To register a volleyball team, visit



A new online face

Elliot Park’s new website went live last month. The site is, and it lists neighborhood events and meetings. The website also overviews the neighborhood’s history and its community development initiatives.



Block Party time

The Red Stag Block Party is Aug. 22, the next in a series of “I love N.E.” events.

Rain or shine, the free party will run from 4–10:30 p.m. at 509 1st Ave. NE, featuring lots of bands and a “boardwalk-style” fashion show earlier in the day from 2–3 p.m.

The Red Stag is famous for its green business mantra, and true to form, this event is dubbed as zero-waste.



Neighborhood Policing Plans highlights

Policing strategies vary a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood — officers are focused on home burglaries in the East Bank, they’re trying to stop thefts from parked cars in the Downtown core, and they’re watching for loitering on Nicollet Avenue in Loring Park.

A series of upcoming community meetings will seek input on where officers should focus their efforts next year.

Here is a snapshot of each neighborhood’s crime trends and prevention strategies, along with the meeting dates and times available for feedback.

Downtown West

Stats: Part I crime increased by 18 percent, driven by a 26 percent increase in larceny. Much of that theft came from parking facilities. (Part I crime is a compilation of eight serious crimes including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, auto theft, larceny and arson.)

Neighborhood priorities: Surveys indicate loitering and panhandling are the biggest concerns, followed by cleanliness.

Strategy: Downtown now has more safety forums and more officer visibility on bikes, horses and segway-style T3s. The Larceny Reduction Project alerts retailers and parking managers of the top 25 larceny offenders in the area, and notifies them when offenders are arrested.

The meeting: 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 at 19 N. 4th St.

Downtown East

Stats: Part I crime declined by 14 percent.

Neighborhood priorities: Residents are bothered by loitering, panhandling and thefts from underground garages.

Strategy: Police targeted outreach to bars and restaurants with the most theft incidents.

Meeting: 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 at the 1st Precinct Community Room, 19 N.4th St.

Elliot Park

Stats: Part I crime increased by 1 percent due to an increase in larceny.

Neighborhood priorities: Residents watch for narcotics activity, loitering, panhandling, robbery, late-night nuisance activity and chronic offenders.

Strategy: Police have stepped up neighborhood patrols, and they meet frequently with residents. The neighborhood also works to submit lots of community impact statements for recent crimes, which judges can then take into consideration while sentencing.

The meeting: 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Teen Challenge, 1619 Portland Ave. S.

Loring Park

Stats: Part I crime decreased 4 percent.

Neighborhood priorities: Top concerns include loitering on Nicollet Avenue, malingering on the Loring Greenway, and drug activity associated with rental property.

Strategy: Police are working to distribute more information on chronic offenders to encourage community impact statement submittals.

The meeting: 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Loring Park Recreation Center, located at 14th and Willow streets in the park.

Nicollet Island/East Bank

Stats: Overall crime dropped 21 percent in 2008, with decreases in burglaries, robberies and thefts.

Neighborhood priorities: Residents said their biggest worries are graffiti and an increase in assault (assaults increased from two to five in 2008).

Strategy: Police are staffing an extra substation on University Avenue and patrolling for curfew violations, loitering and suspicious activity.

The meeting: Not yet scheduled

North Loop

Stats: Part I crime decreased by 14 percent in 2008.

Neighborhood priorities: Residents are concerned about bar noise and the impact of crowds that will come to the new ballpark. Robberies, loitering, public urination and panhandling are other top concerns.

Strategy: The North Loop Safety Committee meets on the third Saturday of the month. The committee is monitoring nighttime noise levels and reaching out to parking facilities that see high incidents of theft and damage to vehicles.

The meeting: 6 p.m. on Aug. 26 at Heritage Landing, 415 N. 1st St.