CIVIC BEAT // Locked in kennels, lawmakers will raise money for animal shelter

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October 10, 2011
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter
When Minneapolis City Council members raised property taxes last year, some residents thought their representatives belonged in the doghouse.

Their wish is coming true on Oct. 22.

Five council members and two state senators will lock themselves in Minneapolis Animal Care & Control kennels in hopes that donors will pay for their release. The Pohlad Foundation has agreed to a $10,000 matching donation, according to a city press release.

The event will also include tours of the shelter, face painting and educational booths. A local veterinarian will be available to answer pet-related questions.

Animal Control cares for 4,000 animals annually, relying on city funding and donations.  The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Animal Shelter, 212 17th Ave. N.

Nine Minneapolis sites competing for historic grant money

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are planning to give away $1 million in grants to preserve historic places in the Twin Cities.

Facebook voters will decide which sites get money.

Nine places in Minneapolis are in the running: American Swedish Institute, Basilica of St. Mary, the old North Branch Library, Harriet Tubman Center East, Hennepin Center for the Arts, Mill Ruins Park, Minnehaha Park, Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery and The Soap Factory.

People can go onto the Partners in Preservation Facebook page (facebook.com/partnersinpresevation) through Oct. 12 to vote on their favorite place. The site with the most votes will be guaranteed its grant request, up to $125,000.

City using grant to install electric vehicle charging stations

Electric vehicle owners will soon have a place to charge their cars while they work, shop or visit downtown.

The city plans to have three electric vehicle charging stations operating inside the Haaf Parking Ramp at 5th Avenue and 4th Street by the end of the year.

The charging stations are made available through a $37,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Minneapolis Energy Manager Brian Millberg said the stations will be installed in three stalls and a credit card payment will release a charging cord.

At least one council member, Gary Schiff, raised concerns about the city offering free charging for the first year. Millberg said the city expects to spend $1,800 on annual energy costs for the charging stations.

But the $1,800 estimate does not factor in energy savings the city will be getting by installing solar panels atop the parking ramp, which were also made possible through
a Department of Commerce grant. Millberg said offering free charging for the first year is commonplace.

Park Board to appoint citizens to a Brownie Lake advisory group

Brownie Lake, the little body of water at the north end of the Chain of Lakes, is in store for some tender loving care and the Park Board is looking for residents to help decide how to spend some state and federal money for improvements.

The Park Board and other community groups plan to appoint a 15-member Citizens Advisory Committee that will help make a recommendation on the best way to improve the area.

Community members interested in applying for an appointment can do so online at minneapolisparks.org or to have it faxed or mailed, call 230-6472. The application deadline is Oct. 11.