Preserve Minneapolis virtual tour of the historic Nicollet Mall scheduled for August 25

LEARN ABOUT THE CITY WITH PRESERVE MINNEAPOLIS! Our popular tours of Minneapolis neighborhoods and architecture shed new light on the city’s history, culture, and urban design, from the biggest landmarks to little-known streets and districts.

This year, COVID-19 has given Preserve Minneapolis an opportunity to virtualize its popular walking tours and open up its programming to a wider audience of Minneapolitans and historic preservation supporters. Through virtual tours, Preserve Minneapolis hopes to further its mission and extend its celebration of Minneapolis to other parts of the world.

Our virtual tours are being conducted via Zoom. Please make sure that you have Zoom account set up. An access code will be sent to you prior to the tour. Registrations will be accepted up until an hour before the start time. Please sign in 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled start time to assure we can start on time.

Virtual Tour of the Historic Nicollet Mall

Nicollet Avenue has been Minneapolis’ main shopping street for more than 100 years. In the 1960’s, to compete with suburban shopping malls that were drawing customers away from downtown, eight blocks of Nicollet were closed to automobile traffic, and the Nicollet Mall was built to the design of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. The Mall has been updated twice since then: in 1990 when it was increased to 12 blocks and in 2017-18. The Mall is home to three Fortune 500 companies, hundreds of small businesses, and more than 140,000 workers. Every day, more pedestrians walk along Nicollet Mall than any other street in the city. It was the nation’s first transit mall (with driving lanes reserved for buses and taxis), an idea that has been copied in other U.S. cities including Portland, Oregon, and Denver. On this virtual walking tour, we will investigate the histories of the Mall itself and of 15 buildings and spaces that face the Mall, including the IDS Crystal Court, Dayton’s, the Loring Greenway, and Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Tour guide Richard L. Kronick is a freelance writer who specializes in architecture and engineering. He is editor-in-chief of www.minneapolishistorical.org, Preserve Minneapolis’s guide to the city’s architecture. He often lectures on architectural history and has led more than 50 architecture tours for Preserve Minneapolis, the College of Continuing Education at the U of M, Elk River Schools, and other organizations.

Date and Time

Tuesday, August 25 • 5-6:30 pm

Duration

1.5 Hours

Price

$5 with a $1 booking fee

To make a reservation or check out the full list of Preserve Minneapolis summer tours, please visit https://www.preserveminneapolis.org/summer-tours.

Public hearing on Minneapolis Parks Ecological System Plan scheduled August 19

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will hold a public hearing on the Minneapolis Parks Ecological System Plan on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:30 pm during the regular Board of Commissioners meeting.

The Ecological System Plan will set a vision for making parks and public lands more friendly to the environment.

The MPRB is adhering to social distancing recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic and all Board meetings are being held virtually. The public is encouraged to view the meeting from home and email comments on the plan to the Secretary to the Board at jringold@minneapolisparks.org before 3:30 pm on Aug. 19. Comments should be limited to approximately 300 words, which is similar to three minutes when they are read out loud by the Secretary at the Board meeting.

Although all commissioners will not be physically present, the Board Room at Mary Merrill MPRB Headquarters (2117 West River Road) is open to the public during Board meetings. Social distancing is encouraged.

To make an in-person comment, please call 612-230-6400 before 6 pm on Aug. 19 to sign up to speak at the meeting and be present in the Board Room at the Mary Merrill MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road by 6:30 pm.

An updated version of the Ecological System Plan will be published to the project page (minneapolisparks.org/ecoplan) several days before the hearing, when the Board agenda is posted.

Visit the project page: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/park_care__improvements/park_projects/current_projects/ecological_system_plan/

Mayor Frey responds to increase in COVID-19 cases

In response to growing a numbers of COVID-19 cases tied to businesses where people gather indoors, Mayor Frey issued Emergency Regulation No. 2020-17.

Beginning on Saturday, August 1st at 5:00 p.m., businesses must follow these regulations:

  • Bar areas within restaurants, nightclubs, and other indoor spaces of entertainment must be closed to limit the risk of patrons congregating
    • Bar areas that can be converted for seated service will be allowed as long as food and/or beverage services are provided table-side while patrons are seated
    • Counter service in bar areas is prohibited
  • Seated service outside of bar areas will be allowed in restaurants, nightclubs, and other indoor spaces of entertainment as long as food and beverage services are provided table-side while patrons are seated
  • Brewpubs, breweries, and taprooms that do not provide seated dining, but can contract with another vendor to do so, can serve dine-in meals provided both businesses:
    • follow dine-in restaurant guidance, and
    • the sale of alcohol is incidental only to the sale of food
  • All applicable spacing and capacity limitations must also be followed per Minnesota Emergency Executive Order 20-74

Definitions

  • A bar area means one or more spaces in a business that is designed and use primarily for the consumption of alcohol or for providing entertainment. This space would include, and is not limited to, a dance floor area, a stage, a game room or any space that is undefined or does not provide for seated food service. Considerations may be made for outdoor sporting courts such as bocce, volleyball or similar features.
  • An indoor space of entertainment means any privately owned place wherein entertainment is offered or given to the public, whether or not a fee is charged for admission,  and whether or not liquor, food establishments licensed as a restaurant or food manufacturer which provide entertainment to the general public.
  • A nightclub means any establishment engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, including taverns, bars, cocktail lounges and similar uses, or a use other than a seated table service dining restaurant.

A violation of this Emergency Regulation may result in a warning letter(s), administrative citation to City-licensed businesses, and/or misdemeanor prosecution. Minn. Stat. § 12.45; MCO § 1.30 and MCO § 259.250.

Questions? Contact 311 by email at Minneapolis311@minneapolismn.gov or by phone at 612-673-3000. Ask for an Environmental Health supervisor.

Alternatively, you may contact your area License Inspector who can help you navigate through the new requirement and how to amend or adapt your service delivery model. If you are unsure of who your area inspector might be or do not have their contact information, feel free to contact Licenses and Consumer Services at 612.673.2080 or email businesslicenses@minneapolismn.gov.


Free masks

In support of the statewide mask requirement in indoor spaces, 500,000 face masks will be distributed to businesses across the city, starting with cultural business corridors. Mask delivery will occur on Thursday, July 30 and Friday, July 31. If you do not receive masks from City Staff on these days and you would like masks, please contact Minneapolis 311 and a delivery will be scheduled.


Prevent the spread of COVID-19

The best available guidance:

  • Wear a cloth face covering when around others
  • Put distance (at least 6 feet) between yourself and other people when in public.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Cover your cough and sneeze. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Stay home when you’re sick

Stay informed

Weekend closure of the Third Ave. Bridge begins July 31

Beginning 8 p.m. Fri, July 31, the Third Ave. Bridge will be fully closed until 5 a.m. Mon, Aug. 3. The closure will allow construction crews to shift equipment to the other side of the bridge and reconfigure travel lanes. Crews will be working around the clock to complete the weekend work. Nearby residents and businesses should expect noise. Motorists, transit riders, and people walking and bicycling will need to use alternative routes across the river during this time.

Construction Progress

Crews are preparing the bridge for the closure when they will start removing and rebuilding the bridge. We are setting falsework to help speed up the deconstruction and construction portions and try to minimize the amount of the time that the bridge is closed. Falsework is the temporary support, such as steel pipes and beams that is used during construction until the bridge can support itself. The falsework is not a permanent part of the bridge. This also involves working on the utilities under the bridge and protecting them from the future work. Crews also started on the repair work on a pier near Main St.

Reminder: Full bridge closure starting January 2021

As a reminder, there will be a full closure of the bridge from January 2021 through November 2022. Motorists, transit riders, and people walking and bicycling will need to use alternative routes across the river during this time. Dates and details will be provided closer to the bridge closure.

Please drive safely in work zones:

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone, then navigate through with care and caution
  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change
  • Watch for workers and slow moving equipment
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fine for a violation in a work zone is $300.
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel.
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times

All construction activities and closures are weather permitting and subject to change.

Road work continues to be a critical service. MnDOT is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of its employees, contractors and all Minnesotans. Crews continue to follow the guidance of state and federal health officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

More about this project

The historic Third Ave. Bridge over the Mississippi River near St. Anthony Falls, which opened in 1918, is in need of significant repairs. The bridge carries Third and Central avenues, which are part of Hwy 65.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2020 and is anticipated to be complete in August 2023.

For more information, visit the project website at: mndot.gov/metro/projects/hwy65andthirdavebridge.

Third Avenue Bridge Communications and Engagement Team

connect@thirdavebridgeclosure.com

Project Website

Project Hotline: (612) 547-7968

MPRB Update: Dates for reopening parkways closed to motor vehicles

East Bde Maka Ska Parkway reopens July 30 following parkway maintenance project

Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, West Bde Maka Ska and West River Parkways begin reopening Aug. 3

All Minneapolis parkways closed to motor vehicle traffic and open to trail users will go back to allowing motor vehicle traffic by Wednesday, Aug. 5.

East Bde Maka Ska Parkway is scheduled to reopen to motor vehicle traffic on Thursday, July 30. The parkway surface is scheduled to receive a chip seal maintenance project that will close the parkway to all users on July 29. This schedule may change if there’s bad weather.

On Monday, Aug. 3, workers will begin removing barriers and other traffic control in place at Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, West Bde Maka Ska and West River Parkways. All parkways will be open to motor vehicle traffic by Wednesday, Aug. 5.

In late March the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) began closing parkways or park roads adjacent to its most popular trails to allow more space for trail users to follow social distancing practices and limit the spread of COVID-19. Several adjustments were made throughout the spring and summer in response to parkway conditions and demand, as well as efficiently use funds allocated toward maintaining the closures.

At its May 6, 2020 meeting, MPRB Commissioners passed Resolution 2020-202, which granted MPRB Superintendent Al Bangoura authority to spend up to $250,000 on a series of parkway closures enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those funds will be exhausted by Aug. 3.

Please continue to stay at least six feet apart from people not in your own household while using parks and trails. Other guidelines park users are asked to follow to limit the spread of COVID-19 while using parks and trails:

  • Bring a water bottle. Most MPRB water fountains are not operational.
  • Bring disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer. Most MPRB restroom buildings remain closed.
  • Do not use parks if you feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat.
  • Cover your cough with your elbow, don’t cough into your hands.
  • Wash your hands immediately before and after visiting a park or trail.

Stay Updated

Visit minneapolisparks.org/coronavirus for more information on the MPRB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Receive timely email updates by visiting minneapolisparks.org/subscribe, entering your email and selecting the “COVID-19” topic in the “News Updates” section.

Comments sought on new proposed change to the City Charter

The Minneapolis Charter Commission has proposed another possible change to the City Charter, our City’s constitution, and will seek public input on this proposal.

This new proposal removes minimum funding requirements for the Police Department without eliminating Police as a required department.

The public hearing for this proposed Charter amendment is set for:

  • Monday, July 27 at 5 p.m. online.

This is the second of two proposed amendments. City Council submitted the first proposal  described below. As with the City Council’s proposed amendment, this new amendment would also be sent to the voters in the November election if approved by Hennepin County’s Aug. 21 ballot question deadline.

If both proposals are approved by the deadline, they could both appear as ballot questions this November.

City Council’s proposed Charter amendment to create Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention

The Charter Commission’s new proposal is separate from the Minneapolis City Council’s existing proposal to eliminate Police as a required department in the City Charter and instead require the creation of a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, which may include a police division.

The public hearings for this first proposed Charter amendment were on July 15 and July 21, and public comments can still be submitted.

How to participate and submit comments

Background information

Virtual Open House on the Central City Tunnel System on July 21, from 5-6 pm

The City is currently designing a new stormwater tunnel in Downtown Minneapolis. They will be holding a virtual open house on Tuesday, July 21 from 5-6 p.m. where businesses and residents can learn more about the project and talk to project staff.

To join the meeting, go to http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/cip/futureprojects/central-city-tunnel

Minneapolis Park Board to consider resolution providing guidelines for park encampments

At their Wednesday, July 15, Board meeting, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Commissioners will vote to amend a resolution the Board adopted on June 17 related to providing refuge space to people experiencing homelessness while the MPRB continued to work with state, county, city and non-profit organizations to identify solutions for people at the Powderhorn Park encampment and others throughout the city. If approved on Wednesday, the new resolution will limit the total number parks available for temporary encampments and provide direction for the design and facilitation of temporary encampments in parks that supports the health and safety of individuals experiencing homelessness and preserves access to recreation features for park visitors.

As of Thursday, July 9, encampments have been established at 38 parks, including two large encampments at Powderhorn Park where there are approximately 560 tents and 282 people living at the encampments.

“The resolution clarifies our commitment to providing refuge and also provide guidelines for park encampments,” said Jono Cowgill, Board President. “We have not wavered in our belief that the people who are living in park spaces right now need to be treated with dignity. The size of the encampment at Powderhorn Park is not sustainable and we need to provide guidance on park encampment design and facilitation that supports the health and safety of those currently living in the parks.”

The proposed resolution limits the number of parks with encampments to 20, the number of tents per encampment to 25, and establishes a new temporary encampment permit that can be issued to an individual volunteer, volunteers, non-profit corporation, legal entity, government or non-governmental partner or agency who agrees to be responsible for the day-to-day oversight and regulation of an encampment. The MPRB would provide restrooms or portable toilets, hand washing stations (as vendor supplies allow), and trash/recycling containers to a permitted encampment within 48 hours of issuing a permit.

“We are incredibly grateful that encampments in our parks are being serviced by non-profit entities and volunteers, and that the services offered by those non-profit entities and volunteers will be critical to the continued service to encampments in Minneapolis parks,” said Cowgill.

The resolution also directs staff to formally request assistance from agencies and organizations that have clear and defined responsibility for addressing homelessness.

“COVID-19 has created a health, economic, unemployment and homeless crisis in Minneapolis and across the nation,” said Al Bangoura, Superintendent. “We know that sheltering homeless people temporarily in Minneapolis parks is not a safe, proper or dignified form of housing. We will continue to work with city, county and state agencies on solutions, so that those in park encampments have accommodations before cold weather arrives.”

Executive Orders 20-33 and 20-55 declared a peacetime emergency that prevented the removal of homeless people from locations except in certain specific cases subject to certain specific requirements. The MPRB has been working with city, county and state health and human service leaders to address the needs of those in park encampments. On June 27 the State of Minnesota clarified directives of Executive Order 20-55 and the state provided subsequent explicit guidelines that local jurisdictions shall have the sole responsibility for determining the size of encampments allowed under Executive Order 20-55 and that limitations on encampment size, when documented by the local jurisdiction, would be considered aligned with Executive Order 20-55.

The resolution sets a goal of September 15 for park staff to update the Board on progress toward moving encampment occupants into shelter and housing suitable for winter conditions.

Artists’ Connection With Nature Subject of New Exhibit at Bridgewater Lofts Through September 12, 2020

Although it seems like a lifetime, it wasn’t too long ago that concepts like lockdown and quarantine were reserved for made-for-TV disaster movies. Social distancing was the bailiwick of bird watchers, and walking a few hundred yards to the car in the mall parking lot was akin to traversing the Appalachian Trail.

Fast forward to spring 2020.

As the novel coronavirus continued its deadly race around the world, we paced our homes, longing for a small breath of fresh air, to walk and run and play in a world not enclosed by four walls. We realized our bond to the natural world was an integral part of life, one that could nourish and sustain us not just physically but emotionally, as well.

This newly embraced philosophy is the inspiration for “Earthbond,” the current art exhibit at the Bridgewater Lofts condominiums in the eastern loop of downtown Minneapolis. Running through September 12, the exhibit features nine artists whose subject matter and/or working materials have a direct connection to nature.

“Although we’ve been hosting exhibits for several years now, we knew it was going to be challenging to mount a new show under the Governor’s stay-at-home orders,” stated Bridgewater Friends of the Arts Co-Chair Dianne Walsh. “We also knew that having art throughout the building was going to be critical to maintaining a positive outlook and keeping beauty in our lives. We were pleased to find artists who were willing to participate, even as they and their peers were withdrawing to their personal spaces.”

Moira Bateman (moirabateman.com) is an artist whose affinity for the natural world expresses itself in the abstract. She notes: “It is important to me that I give some control of my artistic process away to nature.” She often will go to “wild places” to gather raw materials for her works. Her “Flow” series, which has been shown in the Bowery Gallery in Chelsea, NYC, utilizes beeswax and hand stitched silk fabric that has been stained using tannins and sediment from natural waterways.

Fiber sculptor Barbara Riegel Bend’s (barbbend.com) creative use of reclaimed zippers is well known to her friends and followers, and she is never without an ample supply to use in her three-dimensional art. Her pieces range from the whimsical “Little Fish Sticks” with their charming button eyes to the churning shoreline waters captured in “River Rocks”.

Another artist who has turned recycling into an art form is Heather M. Cole (designHMC.com). Her interest is in transformation, “both the concept of changing or having a new purpose and the physical change from one thing to another.” In the case of her ethereal yet highly functional lighting designs, we can certainly say that the plastic milk jug never looked quite so chic.

Kathleen Krishan (kathleenkrishan.com) was originally a plein air painter, documenting her subjects directly in nature (think Renoir or Monet). Today, her camera is a critical tool, allowing her to capture nature verbatim and letting those photos launch her into a “visual memory” or “invention” to be translated to canvas. Krishan, a lifelong nature walker, feels that her work exudes a sense of déjà vu. “I hope my paintings elicit this type of response for anyone who views them, conjuring their own personal memories.”

The mediums of choice for metalsmith Jane Driess (itsjanellc.com) and jewelry designers Megan Wiley (soliddesignstudios.com) and Kristen Iburg-Meyer (elementsbyk.com) aren’t paint, fabric or canvas but hard and unforgiving elements that are literally pulled from the earth itself. In their skilled hands, silver, gold, iron and semi-precious stones are transformed into functional, wearable art. Dries’s “It’s Jane” line includes the hand-hammered sliver shot glasses and serving pieces now on display in the Bridgewater exhibit along with Wiley and Iburg-Meyer’s bracelets, necklaces and pendants.

Ceramic artist Denise Tennen (denisetennen.com) returns to the Bridgewater with a new collection of works from her Poetry Orb series. Resembling the rocks that are found along the shoreline of Lake Superior, these small, smooth ovoid forms are meant to be held and even caressed as a means of relaxation or as a conduit for meditation.

Birch trees, fields and wetlands are the purview of Mary Welke (marywelke.com) who is a 2020 recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. Focused on the process of nature, her work is notable for a quiet, meditative quality as well as a dense textural surface. Among her pieces currently on display at the Bridgewater is “Crescendo.” Stand close. You may hear the crackle of fire racing across an American prairie.

Let them Eat Cake! You almost imagine the voice of the infamous Marie Antionette emanating from the fantastical collages of Dominique Winders (treslechesgallery.com). Best known for her oversized post-apocalyptic tribal jewelry/sculptures, Winders also creates allegorical assemblages brimming with what she calls “little secrets.” Her biography notes that “Each piece takes the perceiver on a journey of both the future and the past…What would you remember if there was nothing left to remind you?”

Turbulent color and bold, dense textures are the hallmarks of Alison Price,(alisonpricestudios.com) who along with fellow artist Kathleen Krishan co-founded Tres Leches Gallery in the Northrop King building in Northeast Minneapolis. Her unique aesthetic is a perfect complement to the exhibit and includes works from her various series. “Shifting” brings us a bird’s eye view of submarine trenches in the Philippines and the Greenland Seas. The “Purely Structural” series showcases her commitment to maintaining a zero waste studio. Each 12 x 12 piece is a one-of-kind delight and utilizes texture, patina, paint, glass, paper and other extreme mediums to create works that compel and intrigue us.

As we view the works of Price and all of these artists it reminds that even the most common things in nature are meant to be treasured. That we can choose to see only the infinite landscape or an all-encompassing sunset but lose sight of the minute details that are soon lost to time. We’re reminded always of those lines by Joni Mitchell: “Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone.”

DMNA joins MDC to encourage collaborative effort on police reform and public safety

The DMNA Board held a special meeting on Tuesday night to review and discuss the possibility of becoming a co-signer on the Minneapolis Downtown Council’s Statement on Public Safety and Guiding Principles for Police Reform and Public Safety. Steve Cramer, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council participated in the meeting and provided some background about how the statement and principles came together.

Cramer explained that there is a group of businesses and organizations like the Hennepin Theatre Trust and the Warehouse Business District Association that meet regularly to talk about crime in the downtown community. He stated that the business community is concerned that the City Council’s proposed Charter Amendment will lead to the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department without a clear path forward. He said the group agrees that the MPD needs to be better, fairer and more just, but that the Charter Amendment is premature. The Minneapolis Downtown Council, along with the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Building Owners and Managers Association, decided that there needs to be a more collaborative effort that brings people together to create a police reform strategy. As such, they crafted a proposal that they are calling Guiding Principles for Police Reform and Public Safety. At this point, more than a dozen other organizations have signed on to it.

There were 30 members of the downtown community who also participated in the special board meeting. After asking questions of Cramer, and listening to feedback from residents, the board passed a motion on a 5-4 vote to join the other groups as a co-signer of the Statement and Guiding Principles, which are printed below. Board members who were opposed to the motion expressed concern that the Minneapolis Downtown Council represents the business community and the DMNA represents residents, and at this point, the DMNA has obtained input from only a small number of downtown residents. Additionally, those opposed stated that the DMNA hasn’t collected sufficient information to understand how the MPD as it currently exists would work to address racism. Those who voted to support the statement and principles felt it necessary to be timely in joining other organizations raising the unique concerns of downtown.

The board will continue discussions at its regularly scheduled meeting on July 20, on ways to hear from residents and how the DMNA can stay actively involved in all stages of this evolving discussion. The board assured residents on the call that they will continue to advocate for opportunities for residents to be engaged in the process to reform the MPD. The DMNA will also monitor the Charter Amendment process and share information with residents as it becomes available.The Charter Commission meets again on Wednesday, July 8. Information about this meeting is available further down in this e-newsletter.