Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association

Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hennepin Center for the Arts

528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 310, Minneapolis, Minnesota

I.          Call to Order and Introductions

            Board Chair Carletta Sweet called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m.

Other board members in attendance included Andy Hauer; Natasha Heimer, Treasurer; Denise Holt, Secretary; Scott Parkin, Vice Chair; and George Rosenquist.  Board members Gerry Ewald and Kim Motes were unavailable. 

Guests in attendance included:  Gayle Bonneville, Neighbors4NRP; Michelle Bruch, Downtown Journal; Debbie Evans, Neighbors4NRP; Tom Hoch, Hennepin Theatre Trust; George Jelatis, Neighbors4NRP; Joseph Kapper, CURA research assistant; Sara Malin, Hempel Properties; Bill Morrissey, Morrissey Hospitality Company; Dan Pellinen, Tushie Montgomery Architects; Brian Schmechel, Hotel Minneapolis; and Dale White, small business consultant and downtown resident.

Staff member Christie Rock also attended the meeting.

II.        Consideration of the Agenda

Board Chair Sweet asked if there were any additions or changes to the agenda.  Sweet requested to add a presentation by Tom Hoch regarding the Utility Box Art Program and the Summer 2008 Streetscape Marketing Initiative. 

Parkin moved and Holt seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

III.       Land Use Committee Report by Andy Hauer


The Hotel Minneapolis.   LUC Chair Hauer invited the representatives from the Hotel Minneapolis project to introduce themselves and give a brief summary of the project and an explanation of the CUP and variance requests.  The Hotel Minneapolis, formerly a Class C office building, is a 10-story, 222-room Doubletree brand hotel located at 215 South 4th Street (adjacent to Kieran’s Irish Pub) managed by Morrissey Hospitality Company.  Bill Morrissey stressed that hotel management and staff must be involved in the community.  The hotel will have an iconic first-class restaurant and bar.  The liquor license application should come before the DMNA board in April. 

Architect Dan Pellinen distributed the land use application package submitted to the City and advised that the land use requests will be on the March 17, 2008 Planning Commission agenda.  The project needs the following:

1.      Conditional Use permit for three wall signs that eclipse the height

2.      Variance for overall sign budget of 3 feet of signage per 1 foot of
building wall, or 300 square feet whichever is less

3.      Variance for two wall signs exceeding height on same building wall

4.      Variance for two wall signs that eclipse vertical dimension of 14 feet

5.      Variance for size of projecting sign

6.      Variance for size of 14 projecting banner signs

7.      Variance for height of 14 projecting banner signs.

Pellinen also indicated that the sign will be Tiffany blue and chocolate brown.  Materials include white marble and materials indigenous to Minnesota.  The sign should reflect the warmth, graciousness and hospitality of this particular hotel brand.  The bus stop will remain.  The grand opening is anticipated to be on August 1, 2008. 

Parkin moved and Sweet seconded a motion in support of the land use applications submitted by Hotel Minneapolis.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

Staff member Rock will prepare and submit a letter of support to the City.

Village Green Development.  Staff member Rock advised that Carrie Flack from the City of Minneapolis CPED Department will attend the April board meeting to give a presentation regarding the Village Green development project.  This is the last City-owned parcel in the Mill District.  Members of the Industry Square Project Committee (ISPC) will be invited to attend the April board meeting to hear this presentation.

IV.       Utility Box Art Program and Summer 2008 Streetscape
 Marketing Initiative Presentation by Tom Hoch

Tom Hoch, President of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, thanked the DMNA board for giving him the opportunity to presentation his projects for which he is seeking the organization’s support. 

Hoch first introduced and summarized the Utility Box Art Program.  This project involves cleaning and painting approximately 17 green utility boxes along Hennepin Avenue in preparation for the Republican National Convention to be held in the Twin Cities in September.  Keep Minneapolis Beautiful will invite local artists to participate in the program. 

Hoch advised that Keep Minneapolis Beautiful is submitting a grant application to the City of Minneapolis’ Innovative Graffiti Prevention Micro-Grant Program to help pay the artists for their work.  He is requesting that the DMNA prepare a letter of support for the grant application.  Keep Minneapolis Beautiful is not seeking DMNA NRP funding for this project.

Hauer moved and Rosenquist seconded a motion to prepare a letter of support to the City of Minneapolis for the Utility Box Art Program.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed.  

            Staff member Rock will prepare the letter of support.

Hoch then explained the Summer 2008 Streetscape Marketing Initiative.  The purpose of this project is to implement a strategy that will enhance the pedestrian experience, highlight key destination locations, and create a unified theme in the Downtown community in time for the Republican National Convention. 

Hennepin Theatre Trust is working in partnership with Sarah Harris from Walking Minneapolis and the City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works to install large, immovable pots with plantings on sidewalks as well as permanent plant hangers with plantings on light posts along Hennepin Avenue and the 7th, 8th and 9th Streets connections to the Nicollet Mall.

Hennepin Theatre Trust and Walking Minneapolis are seeking $10,000 of DMNA NRP funds to assist with the project.  Both Hoch and Harris are working on obtaining additional funding for the proposed $58,500 project from other Downtown businesses. 

Staff member Rock indicated that there is approximately $27,000 available in DMNA NRP funding under the Downtown Development strategy.  [Rock has subsequently ascertained that DMNA NRP Specialist Barb Lickness is supportive of this proposed use of NRP funds].

Hauer moved and Holt seconded a motion to approve $10,000 in DMNA NRP funding for the Summer 2008 Streetscape Marketing Initiative.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed. 

Rock will work with Hoch to develop a scope of service for this project. 

V.        Framework for the Future (FFF) Discussion

Chair Sweet introduced Debbie Evans from Neighbors4NRP, a coalition of grateful residents who have participated in the Minneapolis NRP and believe the program should be fully funded and continue beyond 2009.  Evans is also on the NRP Policy Board and resident of the Linden Hills neighborhood. 

Evans gave a presentation to the DMNA board regarding the “Framework for the Future:  Options for the focus, funding and governance of NRP Program and Action Plan activities after 2009,” a document created by the NRP Work Group that was charged by the City Council to establish a City position on:  (1) an administrative structure to support community engagement activities; (2) expectations of services community or neighborhood organizations would provide through citizen participation contracts; and (3) extending or not a formal program of using discretionary funds for community-initiated projects.  Evans identified and highlighted the pros and cons of the FFF’s proposed administrative funding, discretionary funding, and organizational structure.

Evans then invited the other Neighbors4NRP representatives in attendance to speak briefly about the FFF then took questions from the Board.  Thereafter, the DMNA was reminded to submit its response by Monday, March 17th and to include the following changes to the City’s proposal:

·         Extend the pre-1979 TIF districts in the Common Project through 2019, and define a reliable source of long-term capitalization; and

·         Retain the current governance structure within the NRP model with neighborhood-appointed representatives comprising at least 60 percent of the governing board members.

Evans also discussed legislation that is before the Minnesota House (HF3821) and Minnesota Senate (SF3643).  She noted that the proposed legislation recommends extending the TIF Districts that support NRP funding through December 31, 2019.  Evans then requested that the DMNA board prepare a letter of support for the legislation and send it to its state legislators and county commissioner.  Contact information for these officials was then distributed for reference. 

Hauer moved and Parkin seconded a motion to submit a response in opposition to the FFF based on concerns raised and presented by the Neighbors4NRP after the board has had a chance to review similar submissions by other neighborhood groups.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed unanimously.    

Hauer moved and Parkin seconded a motion to prepare a letter in support of the House and Senate NRP legislation.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Sweet indicated that she would draft both the response to the FFF and the letter in support of the NRP legislation for board review. 

VI.       Board Training:  Fiduciary Duties and Responsibilities of Board Members

            Presentation postponed until April 8, board meeting.           

Parkin moved and Hauer seconded a motion to approve the January 8, 2008 board minutes.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

VIII.    Consideration of Financial Statements

Staff member Rock presented the FY2008 budget.  She noted two changes she made to the budget since first presenting it in January:  she reduced the Downtown Identity line item by $1,500 since this amount was paid to Sassafrass Design in November 2007; and she added $4,000 for the Phase I evaluation / plan review.

Parkin moved and Hauer seconded a motion to approve the FY2008 budget.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

Rock then distributed and explained the F2008 Budget vs. Actual as of March 2008.

Parkin moved and Hauer seconded a motion to receive and file the March 2008 financial statements.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed. 

Consideration of the Balance Sheet for Year End 12/31/07 was tabled until the April 8th board meeting.

IX.       Marketing / Communications Project Update by Scott Parkin


Board Vice Chair Scott Parkin gave an update on the Downtown Identity project.  Both he and Board Member Denise Holt continue to work on developing copy for the various web pages.  He indicated that board members could go to the following test page to view the web site in progress:  Parkin noted that the site could possibly go live by the end of March.

X.        Old business / new business / other business

·         Update on forging collaborative relationshipsSweet asked Rosenquist to give an update on his pursuit to obtain an ex-officio seat on the Minneapolis Downtown Council.  Rosenquist advised that both he and Sweet met with MDC’s Executive Director Sam Grabarki in February to discuss the concept and were advised that the matter would be brought before MDC’s Executive Committee once they’ve held their annual meeting.  Sweet asked Rosenquist to follow up with Grabarski since the annual meeting has been held.

·         Update on DMNA NRP Phase I review processStaff member Rock gave an update on the Phase I evaluation process.  She introduced Joseph Kapper, the CURA research assistant who is working with her on the project.  Kapper and Rock are in the process of developing interview questions for grantees and community leaders.  Kapper will be setting up phone interviews over the next few weeks. 

Rock also noted that Kapper’s work plan includes coordinating and facilitating two focus group meetings to gain feedback from community members on the Phase I NRP Plan, and to get input on the Phase II NRP Plan.  She requested the assistance of board members in these two meetings.  The first meeting is planned for April 17th and the second meeting is planned for May 8th.

X1.      Adjournment

Hauer moved and Rosenquist seconded a motion to adjourn the board meeting.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed.

Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2008.

_______________________________             _______________________________
Chair                                                                   Secretary