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July 26, 2004 // UPDATED 2:42 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Elliot Park group to take 'low-risk' offenders

Elliot Park's Minnesota Teen Challenge is applying for a halfway house license to start a program for chemically dependent convicts diverted from the state's prison work-release program.

The faith-based residential drug treatment center at 1619 Portland Ave. S. would house "low-risk" drug offenders, said Rich Scherber, the center's executive director, at a July 12 Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. (EPNI) board meeting.

The Elliot Park facility currently has 140 beds for men and teenage boys.

Eligible participants include convicts who volunteer and are approved by the state's Department of Corrections. Felons won't be admitted.

Most people enrolled in the program will stay at the halfway house for 13 to 15 months, Scherber said. The halfway house residents will be supervised 24 hours a day, he said.

The EPNI board passed a motion supporting Teen Challenge's application for a Rule 35 Correctional Halfway House license.

Scherber cited a recent Columbia University National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse study indicating about 80 percent of inmates across the country have substance-abuse problems.

"They need help transitioning," Scherber told the EPNI board. "This is a reentry program."

Minnesota Teen Challenge also has group homes in the Stevens Square and Lyndale neighborhoods.

The drug treatment center offers two programs for people 13 to 70 years old -- a 12-month and a 60-day program for alcoholics and drug addicts.

Minnesota Teen Challenge's programs are largely funded by private donations from the Christian community.

New condos planned near 510 Groveland

Developer Dan Hunt has a purchase agreement to redevelop 1730 Clifton Place for new condos.

The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota now owns the Loring Park building.

Hunt, a local developer whose r/sum/ includes several Downtown residential developments, plans to meet with the Citizens for a Loring Park Community on Monday, July 26 to discuss the project's scope.

The developer has met with residents at neighboring 510 Groveland Ave. and planned to meet with those at Summit House, a 400 Groveland Ave. tower, to talk about his proposal.

Hunt said he has not determined the project's height or total units.

The developer has also been involved in the Warehouse District's RiverStation condos, 645 N. 1st St., Heritage Landing, 415 N. 1st St., and the East Bank's Village of St. Anthony Falls -- a three-block, $100 million development near the East Hennepin commercial district.

Next summer, the Episcopal Center is expected to move its administrative offices to the Parish House at the Gethsemane Episcopal Church, 905 4th Ave. S., according to a news bulletin posted on the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota Web site,

Gordon Thomas, director of communications for the Diocese, said the center houses about 50 employees. The Diocese has administrative offices on the building's second floor and the first floor houses an English school, a Native American ministries office and the Diocese's social services outreach program staff.

Before buying the 1730 Clifton Place office building, the Trustees of the Diocese rented space in the Loring Park Office Building, 430 Oak Grove St. for 10 years.

Bishop James Jelinek said the move would allow the Diocese to reinvigorate its ministry.

"I see all of this as new opportunities in our midst," he said in the news bulletin. "The possibilities for expanded ministry are numerous. The move would allow for engagement with the city, a nearby medical center, the new and also-nearby St. Barnabas Apartments for Youth and Young Adults ... homeless persons and more."

The 1730 Clifton Place condos would go up near a 20-story condo tower proposed for 410 Oak Grove St. -- a parking lot a block northeast of the Episcopal Center.

Developer Brad Hoyt of Continental Development Corp. is moving forward with the tower despite some objections from residents who want a shorter tower more in line with the neighborhood's historic homes and mansions.

Downtown cop in Israel to study terrorism fighting

Insp. Robert Allen, commander of Downtown's 1st Precinct, is in Israel studying counter-terrorism techniques to help thwart potential attacks in Minneapolis.

Allen will return from the 10-day trip Sunday, Aug. 1. He declined to discuss details of his agenda before he left, citing security concerns.

The 1st Precinct is in charge of the Minneapolis Police Department's Emergency Response Unit. The unit includes the bomb and arson squads and SWAT team.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Police Department has implemented a review process of major Downtown events, such as block parties and sports events, for potential terrorist threats.

Events with national significance, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's July 17 stop at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. S., have been flagged for additional police scrutiny.