COMMUNITY NOTEBOOK // Northside Community Response Team receives major grant for tornado relief

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July 18, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss and Michelle Bruch
Jeremy Zoss and Michelle Bruch
The Northside Community Respose Team (NCRT), a collaborative group of North Minneapolis agencies working together to coordinate assistance for those affected by the May tornado, has received a $500,000 grant from The Minneapolis Foundation and Greater Twin Cites United Way.

The grant, taken from the Minnesota Helps–North Minneapolis Recovery Fund, will be used for a variety of human services, as well as new case management structure to assist those in need.

Part of the new case management system is a hotline affected residents can call to reach necessary services and support. The hotline can be reached at 787-3730 from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The funding is intended to help the NCRT to share data between agencies and meet the needs of affected Northside residents more efficiently. Priorities include short-term housing, mental and physical health and meeting basic needs.

The Minnesota Helps–North Minneapolis Recovery Fund was established by The Minneapolis Foundation, Greater Twin Cities United Way and GiveMN.org to address the short- and long-term needs of those impacted by the tornado. To date, more than 4,500 individuals have contributed to the fund, and more than $1 million in grants have been delivered to relief organizations.

Do The Town parking ends after 20 years

After offering reduced parking rates at several locations around Downtown for 20 years, the “Do The Town” parking program ended on June 30. According to the press release issued by the Downtown Council, the program was terminated because it has “fulfilled its mission” and the transit options for Downtown are now great enough to render it unnecessary.

“We are pleased with the results that we’ve seen from this program, and feel that it’s achieved our goal of attracting more people to downtown Minneapolis,” said Sam Grabarski, Minneapolis Downtown Council executive director. “With the addition of efficient mass transit options and parking incentives offered by many downtown businesses, we feel downtown visitors have a variety of options that fit their specific needs.”

The Do The Town program offered free or discounted parking when commuters parked at specific locations such as City Center, Gaviidae Common or Macy’s and spent $20 or more at participating retailers.

Megabus increases Minneapolis service

Low-cost intercity express bus service Megabus has doubled the number of daily trips between Minneapolis and Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago.

The service, which was launched in 2006 as an affordable alternative to plane or car travel, will now offer eight daily trips between Chicago and Minneapolis and four trips between both Madison and Milwaukee.

All Megabus trips depart from the Megabus stop at North 3rd Avenue by the 4th Street parking ramp. Tickets can be booked online at megabus.com.

New mixed use project proposed for former steakhouse site

MARSHALL TERRACE — The vacant building once home to Little Jack’s Steak House at 201 Lowry Ave. NE could become the site of a new retail and apartment project.

The land is currently owned by the county, and the city is in negotiations for the purchase of the site.

Wes Butler, the city’s multifamily housing manager, said the potential development team includes Dean Dovolis of DJR Architecture and the broker Java Properties.

“It’s not really a cooked plan yet,” Butler said. “We haven’t even gotten past negotiating a price.”

DJR worked on Holy Land’s expansion on Central Avenue, and designed the Central Avenue Lofts at 24th and Central. Java Properties is a Twin Cities-based commercial real estate brokerage. Its recent deals include the new Vertical Endeavors rock climbing facility at 26th and Nicollet opening this fall, and the biggest pawn shop in the country at 815 Cedar Ave. S.

DJR and Java did not return calls for comment.

New NE dog park proposed

SAINT ANTHONY EAST — St. Anthony East is ready to solicit bids to build a dog park inside the Community Commons Park at Summer Street and Central Avenue Northeast.

“It’s a little section of the park that is not really used for anything,” said Susan Burns, president of the St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association.

She said the dog park would improve safety and give neighbors a new outlet to connect to the community.

The grass-bottomed park would feature a removable fence, so it wouldn’t hinder the sledding hill during the dog park’s lesser-used winter months.

A controlled-access entry would limit the dog park to neighborhood residents.

NE nonprofit helps collect clothes for tornado victims

LOGAN PARK — Extra clothing drives and big donations have kept the Northeast Kidz Klozet stocked with clothing for North Minneapolis tornado victims this summer.

The Kidz Klozet at 685 13th Ave. NE gives families a grocery bag to fill with free clothes on three days each month. Fifty to 60 families arrive each day it’s open, and tornado victims have joined the group of shoppers.

“We hear so many stories about what happened to them during the storm, and what they have left or don’t have left,” said co-founder Cyndi Klum. “Your heart just goes out to them.”

The Savage-based Milestone AV Company recently donated 750 pounds of clothing, and Calvary Church in Roseville started a special clothing drive as well.

The two-year-old store is based at the Baptist Elim Church. Klum and co-founder Kelly Carlson are Shoreview residents, and they initially came to Northeast to help feed the homeless at Elim on Sunday mornings. Along with a meal, Elim offers people a shower and a change of clothes.

The Kidz Klozet is looking for volunteers to sort clothes and register shoppers. A calendar of open dates and more information is available on their website, kidzklozetmn.org.

Northeast Dog Parade on July 29

The popular Northeast Dog Parade will be held on Friday, July 29 at 6 p.m. Those who wish to walk with their canine pals along the parade route should meet up at Chute Park at the corner of Central and University. The parade will head up East Hennepin Avenue and end in front of the Red Stag Supper Club. After the parade, participants are encouraged to mingle with other dog owners for “dogtail hour.”