COMMUNITY NOTEBOOK // Marquette Plaza earns LEED Platinum certification

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July 4, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss and Michelle Bruch
Jeremy Zoss and Michelle Bruch
DOWNTOWN WEST — One of Downtown’s most iconic buildings is now one of its greenest.

Marquette Plaza has been awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for sustainability. Marquette Plaza is the first Downtown building to earn the Platinum rating, and is also the first multi-tenant building in Minnesota to achieve the status.

Marquette Plaza earned the certification through a variety of initiatives designed to make the building more environmentally friendly. Water use was reduced by 694,000 annually and landfill waste reduced by 89 tons annually. A green roof was installed that covers 46 percent of the building’s footprint, and building management initiated a green cleaning program, as well as a composting program and locally sourced food for building events. Additionally, all energy costs have been offset through renewable energy sources.

“We could not have earned this prestigious rating without our tenants’ commitment to sustainability,” Gene Rerat, president of Marquette Plaza manager Base Management said in a statement. “We had an overwhelming tenant participation in the certification efforts. For our tenants, this process has brought new awareness to the sustainability options available and the efforts toward making more sustainable choices have increased.”

In April, Downtown’s Capella Tower earned LEED Gold status, the USGBC’s second-highest rating.

Minnesota Idea Open wants your ideas for water conservation

How would you use $15,000 to help your community become aware of and address water issues in Minnesota? That is the question posed by the Minnesota Idea Open, the program designed to get Minnesotans thinking about solutions to problems that touch the lives of everyone in the state.

Now in its second year, the Minnesota Idea Open and corporate partner Pentair will award $15,000 in funding to one idea. Submissions will be accepted through Friday, July 15, and three finalists will be announced on Aug. 6. Voting on the finalists will be held at the State Fair, Aug. 23–Sept. 5, with the winning idea announced on Sept. 6.

“We want to get everyone in Minnesota thinking and talking about something at the same time,” said Jen Ford Reedy, chief of staff at the Minnesota Community Foundation, which curates the Idea Open. “We’re trying to shift the mindset from admiring problems to actually doing something about them.”

After the first Minnesota Idea Open tackled the question of reducing obesity, the public was asked what issue should be taken on next. “Water came in overwhelmingly,” said Ford Reedy.

Downtown Salvation Army wants to move to NE

COLUMBIA PARK — The Salvation Army wants to relocate its adult rehabilitation center from Downtown to Northeast.

The 128-bed facility would move onto 10 acres at 63 St. Anthony Parkway, the former Zip Sort building. It would include a warehouse for Salvation Army donations, as well as space for classrooms, counselors and recreation. About 60 people would arrive to work there each day, and the center would operate about 15 trucks and field one or two larger semi-truck loads each day. The new site would not include a Salvation Army retail store.

Administrator Bill Price said the Salvation Army has operated its current location at 900 N. 4th St. for nearly 50 years.

“The building we’re currently in is very tired,” he said, noting that it has heating and plumbing problems and doesn’t have air conditioning. “The Army has determined it is not cost-effective to renovate the current site.”

The Salvation Army spent 10 years planning the relocation, previously considering locations in
St. Paul and West St. Paul.

“This is not an easy project,” Price said.

The rehab center residences would front St. Anthony Parkway in a new 41,000-square-foot, two-story building. The center admits men dealing with drug addictions, homelessness and criminal records, with the exception of those who have criminal sexual convictions.

Price said there aren’t locks on the doors, and participants are allowed to leave the program at any time — even if that means going back to prison. He said men who leave tend to go back to their old neighborhoods, rather than linger near the rehab center. Actions like fighting, drug dealing or using drugs inside the center are grounds for immediate dismissal.

“They’re desperate for change,” he said. “Most people want it, even if they don’t know what they need.”

Most of the men would participate in 40 hours of work therapy onsite, with a few others aiding the trucking operation or riding the Route 11 bus to work at Salvation Army stores throughout the metro.

The Salvation Army has made an offer to buy the property, and a 90-day due diligence period before closing started in early June. The project awaits a hearing before the city Planning Commission.

The center could open as early as the spring of 2013, pending city approval.

How June 21, 2011 became #NEMpls Day

For those who don’t use Twitter, a hash tag is a search term that allows users to quickly find conversations about a particular topic. June 21, 2011 was declared “#NEMpls Day” in Minneapolis by mayoral proclamation as recognition of the popularity of the hash tag related to conversations about Northeast Minneapolis.

The proclamation came about through the efforts of Greg Isola, the creator of the NE Mpls Online website.

The #NEMpls hash tag is believed to have been created by journalist and Northeast community promoter Dan Haugen around 2008.

“I think I was the first to use it,” Haugen said.

Since then, it has been popularized by several Northeast-based residents and community promoters, and is considered the most frequently used Minneapolis neighborhood hash tag on Twitter.

Jeffery Martin credits the popularity of the hash tag to Northeast’s tight-knit community. “It’s always been a tight community physically,” said Martin. “Now it’s a digitally tight community, too.”

Nicollet Mall poetry contest launched

NICOLLET MALL — Minneapolis DID and Open Book have announced a new poetry contest that challenges residents to imagine the future of Nicollet Mall. Until July 22, aspiring poets can submit an original poem for a chance to have their words featured on a sign along the new sidewalks being installed along the mall between Washington Avenue and 4th Street.

All entries much be about a vision for Nicollet, and use one or more of the following words: Change, Vision, Vibrant, Community, Future, Gather and Commerce. All poems must be in English and consist of no more than 30 words.

Aspiring poets can enter the contest at Open Book, the Downtown Library, or at

Grease Rag expands to Northeast Minneapolis

In 2009, a recurring event called Grease Rag debuted at Sunrise Cyclery in Uptown. Held on the first and third Thursdays every month, Grease Rag is a time for riders in the WTF (Women, Trans, Femme) community to meet, ride and work on bikes together.

Now Grease Rag has expanded to Northeast.

Held on the second Tuesday of each month at the Recovery Bike Shop at 2555 Central Ave. from 7–9 p.m., the first hour of each Grease Rag session will offer a tutorial on a different bike skill, followed by a second hour of open shop. According to Grease Rag NE organizer Charlotte Fagan, the goal is to create a biking event that’s “open and accepting to all people, especially beginners.”