Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association
Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, June 10, 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 6:30 p.m.
Other board members in attendance included Gerry Ewald; Andy Hauer; Natasha Heimer, Treasurer; Scott Parkin, Vice Chair, and George Rosenquist.
Board members Denise Holt, Secretary, and Kim Motes were unable to attend.
Guests in attendance included: Nicole Arne, Downtown resident; Michelle Bruch, Downtown Journal; Kathie Doty and Katie Walker, Southwest Transitway; David Frank, North Loop Neighborhood Association; Alicia Garatoni, Keller Williams Realty; Brian Gorecki and Tim Rooney, Walker Apartments; Tom Melchior, Larson Allen; Christian Nagel, Downtown resident; and Charleen Zimmer, Access Minneapolis.
Staff member Christie Rock also attended the meeting.
II. Consideration of the Agenda
Sweet asked if there were any additions or revisions to the agenda. There being none,
Hauer moved and Heimer seconded a motion to approve the agenda. The motion passed.
III. Downtown Development Update
Access Minneapolis. Charleen Zimmer, Project Manager for Access Minneapolis, the City’s 10-year Transportation Action Plan, distributed a 2-page document entitled “Reducing Traffic Congestion with the Marquette & 2nd Avenue South Transit Project (MARQ2),” and highlighted the following:
· Reconstruction of Marquette and Second Avenues between the U.S. Post Office at South 1st Street and the Convention Center at South 12th Street will begin in early August 2008 with an anticipated completion date by December 2009 pursuant to federal funding requirements.
· Metro Transit will be taking their second delivery of hybrid buses sometime later this year which will significantly increase the number of such vehicles operating on the Nicollet Mall. MT is still on schedule to move to 100 percent hybrid buses operating on the Mall within the next couple years.
· Upon completion of the MARQ2 project, all of the service feeders proposed (e.g., moving express buses to 2nd and Marquette and moving locals back to Nicollet Mall) should be complete. Metro Transit is also planning a free stop at the Convention Center.
· Construction of the 13th Street pedestrian gateway from the Nicollet Mall to the Convention Center has been moved to begin in 2009.
· Reconstruction and re-conversion from a one-way into a two-way thoroughfare of Hennepin Avenue between South 1st and 12th Streets will begin by late 2009 or mid-2010. The City is in the process of studying the impact this will have on the bike lanes, and considering possible alternatives to the design.
· Reconstruction of 2nd Avenue North between Washington Avenue and North 3rd Street [as well as 3rd Avenue North between Washington Avenue and North 5th Street] will be tied to the completion of the new Twins ballpark in 2010.
· Funding is available for three bicycle facility improvements that affect downtown: the Hiawatha Trail connection; Phase III of the Cedar Lake Trail; and the striping of the bike lanes on South 14th, 15th and 16th Streets.
· The City is working to complete a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for the entire city to be completed by the end of 2008.
· Downtown sidewalk and street design guidelines are completed and set to go before the City Council for approval by end of summer.
· The City is developing a streetcar financing and implementation plan.
Zimmer emphasized that Access Minneapolis is not just a written plan that is sitting on a shelf at City Hall but is actually an action plan providing direction to planners and others regarding important transportation projects throughout the city. After entertaining questions, Zimmer advised that there will an open house for public comment for the MARQ2 project on July 7, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Southwest Transitway. Sweet welcomed the representatives from the Southwest Transitway: Katie Walker, Project Manager for Hennepin County; and Kathie Doty, liaison for the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, who is responsible for strengthening the relationship between the two organizations on matters of mutual interest.
Walker began by distributing the summer 2008 copy of the Southwest Transitway’s newsline and describing the purpose of the organization. She stated that the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a proposed high-frequency train connecting Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Minneapolis neighborhoods and the Minneapolis downtown area. It will also connect to other rail lines (i.e., Northstar, Central, and Hiawatha) and high-frequency bus routes in downtown Minneapolis.
Walker explained that after a 2-year study of transit alternatives, Hennepin County has identified three light rail transit routes for further evaluation to determine which would best serve the southwest metro communities.
Walker indicated that the next step in the process of advancing the proposed Southwest LRT line is to complete an 18-month Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that will allow the County to better understand the impacts of the proposed LRT line on the impacted communities before moving forward with engineering, design and construction.
As part of preparing for the DEIS, Hennepin County will host several public “scoping” meetings as an opportunity for the community to comment on what will be evaluated during the DEIS. These meetings will likely take place late this summer or in the early fall. For more information, visit www.southwesttransitway.org.
IV. Land Use Committee Report
Masa Restaurant. Sweet advised that pursuant to a phone call she received from Mary Wozniak earlier in the day, Michelle Piontek from KKE Architects was no longer available; therefore no signage presentation for the Masa Restaurant would be given.
Walker Apartment Project. Hauer welcomed the developers of the proposed Walker Apartment project, Brian Gorecki of BG Associates, and Tim Rooney of Metro Development.
The developers noted that this project will be located at the intersection of South 12th Street and Hennepin Avenue across from Laurel Village. They are proposing to build a 5-story, mixed-use, mixed-income building comprised of 67 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rental units, and 2,800 square feet of retail/commercial space. Seventy percent of the rents would be at the affordable level and 30 percent would be at market rate.
The developers are in the process of submitting an application to the City of Minneapolis’ 2008 Affordable Housing Trust Fund Program. The AHTF Program provides gap financing for affordable and mixed-income rental housing, housing production and preservation projects. The developers are seeking preliminary concept approval from the DMNA board. They will be back later this year to present final plans.
Ewald moved and Parkin seconded a motion to approve the preliminary concept plans for the Walker Apartment Project to be located at South 12th Street and Hennepin Avenue. Sweet called for discussion. The motion passed.
Mill District Streetscape Gap Project. Andy Hauer, DMNA’s representative on the Mill District Streetscape Gap Committee (MDSGC), updated the board on the work that has been done on this project since the May board meeting. He noted that the MDSGC has finished identifying the location of the trees. They are now seeking volunteers to water the trees once planted. They are also working on securing additional funds to support implementation of the entire streetscape improvement plan.
Downtown Gateway Dog Park . Staff member Christie Rock advised that she prepared a scope of service and budget for this funding request and worked with Bob Cooper at CPED to get the DMNA NRP dollars put in a contract. The group that oversees the Downtown dog parks, Minneapolis Dog Grounds, meets tonight to review and consider the contract. Rock noted that she expects them to sign. The NRP funds should be available within the next month.
Friends of Triangle Park. Staff member Christie Rock advised that she prepared a scope of service and budget for this funding request and worked with Bob Cooper at CPED to get the DMNA NRP dollars put in a contract. Initially, the FTP group was hesitant to sign due to some of the contract language. However, after speaking with the city attorney, the group is now prepared to sign. The NRP funds should be available within the next month.
VI. Crime and Safety Update
Crime and Safety Liaison George Rosenquist encouraged board members to:
· Use 911 to report livability crimes such as panhandling, public urination or intoxication, and drug dealing;
· Understand the difference between solicitation or panhandling and aggressive solicitation (the City’s yellow laminated Aggressive Solicitation 385.60 information cards that define what constitutes aggressive solicitation was distributed); and
· Prepare Community Impact Statements when requested by First Precinct Crime Prevention Analyst Luther Krueger.
Ewald moved and Hauer seconded a motion to approve the May 13, 2008 board minutes. Sweet called for discussion. The motion passed.
IX. Consideration of June 2008 Financial Statements
Staff member Christie Rock presented the June financial statements and advised that there were no unusual expenses for the month of June, just the regular professional services, telephone and bank charges.
Parkin moved and Ewald seconded a motion to receive and file the June2008 Financial Statements. Sweet called for discussion. The motion passed.
Rock also presented a spreadsheet of the NRP Phase I Admin Contract showing the amount of money remaining for administrative expenses, plus some miscellaneous projects (i.e., Restorative Justice, Web site update, and Phase I Plan Review) to provide a clearer picture of where the organization stands financially and as rationale for setting aside some of the Planetarium funds for administrative expenses. No action was required to be taken on the spreadsheet.
There were several questions regarding the budget for professional services, rent and special events. Rock encouraged board members to submit any additional questions regarding the spreadsheet to her via email.
Finally, Parkin requested rescheduling of the financial training. Rock stated that she would add it to the August agenda.
Update on DMNA NRP Phase I review process. Staff member Christie Rock noted that the DMNA held its second Phase I plan review focus group meeting on Thursday, June 5. Approximately nine people attended. The DMNA research assistant, Joe Kapper, has completed the NRP grantee interviews and is almost finished with the community leader interviews. He is also putting the finishing touches on the survey instrument, which will be distributed to the DMNA email list, posted on the DMNA Web site, and promoted via the Downtown Journal. Kapper expects to have the survey available to the public by the first week in July.
National Night Out. Board members queried each other as to whether anyone had been contacted by Sue Jahn about this year’s NNO. Since no one had, it was speculated that no contribution should be anticipated this year and that, pursuant to Parkin’s invitation, members could attend the Mill District’s event.
Update on outreach and collaboration with other downtown organizations. Sweet distributed a chart she created that shows the various organizations working to improve the Downtown community. The chart names the organizations, describes its mission and/or purpose, list of regular or next meeting dates, the DMNA representative that regularly attends the meeting, plus the staff or organization contact.
Sweet noted that the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee does not have a DMNA representative and encouraged board members to volunteer. She also stated that 2010 Partners is seeking DMNA NRP funds to support its organizational coordination, facilitation, and communication efforts. Sweet advised that she informed this group that the DMNA has minimal remaining Phase I NRP dollars. Staff member Rock stated that the board could move funds from the Restorative Justice line item in the administrative contract to fulfill this request. She noted that she would add this discussion to the August board agenda.
2008 annual meeting discussion. Rock reminded the board that the second Tuesday in November 2008 is Veteran’s Day, and in anticipation of changing the meeting to an alternate date, she corresponded with Ward 7 Council Member Goodman’s office to determined best dates for her to attend. Lisa’s office gave two dates: Thursday, November 13, and Tuesday, November 18.
Rock then requested preferred locations in which to conduct the meeting. After a brief discussion weighing the pros and cons of various venues, Rock advised that until a definitive space is secured she will reserve the NRP space at Crown Roller Mill as a fall-back location.
Hauer moved and Parkin seconded a motion to adjourn the board meeting. The motion passed.
Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2008.