Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association

Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

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 6:33 p.m.

Other board members in attendance included Andy Hauer; Tom Hoch, Vice Chair; Denise Holt; Cynthia Newsom, Treasurer; Scott Parkin, Secretary; and George Rosenquist.  Board member Kim Motes was absent.    

Guests in attendance included:  Aaron Bommarito, OverExposure Media; Michelle Bruch and Marlo Johnson from the Downtown Journal; Phillip Jaffrey and Bob Lux from Alatus Partners; Barbara Lickness, NRP; Emily Stern, Minneapolis CPED; and Jennifer Vee Whittet, Sassafrass Design. 

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.  Board Member George Rosenquist expressed an interest in talking about the City of Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan Update under old/new/other business.  The board approved the agenda as amended.

III.       Land Use Committee (LUC) Report

LUC Chair Andy Hauer introduced the following project:

·         Proposed sale of eight municipal parking rampsChair Hauer introduced Emily Stern, Senior Project Coordinator with Minneapolis CPED, who explained that the City of Minneapolis requested bids last year for eight municipally owned parking ramps located in and around the downtown core.  Twelve groups, including seven Twin Cities firms, made offers by the October 19, 2006 RFP deadline.  She noted that the flexible language resulted in very diverse responses to the RFP.  Stern also stated that an interdepartmental review team reviewed the proposals and looked at the impact the loss of parking revenue from these ramps will have on the City’s budget. 

Stern introduced Bob Lux and Phillip Jaffrey from the St. Louis Park-based Alatus Partners, the frontrunner for the eight ramps.  Mr. Lux provided the board with a summary of his intentions for the parking ramps and the areas adjacent to them.  Stern concluded by stating that the City’s staff report is due out in early July and a public hearing is expected for July 10.  If the sale moves forward without difficulties, the full Minneapolis City Council could vote on the parking ramp sale on July 20. 

For more information on other parties in the running for these ramps, please read the article posted on the Dolan Media web site:

IV.       OverExposure Presentation

Board Chair Sweet introduced Aaron Bommarito, a board member with OverExposure.  OverExposure is seeking neighborhood support for its “What’s New” project.  Mr. Bommarito began by describing OverExposure which is a media arts organization that creates partnerships between photographers, artists, students, academic learning institutions, and tax-exempt nonprofits on theme-specific media projects.  He noted that they are the first Twin Cities media arts organization whose primary mission is to use photography to build community.

Bommarito then explained OverExposure’s 2-year “What’s New” project that will artistically document the changing demographics of Twin Cities neighborhoods.  From July 1, 2007 through November 1, 2007, and again during the summer of 2008, photographers will partner with Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhood organizations to artistically document the diversity and changing population of the Twin Cities.

Photographers will be awarded $400 grants to spend the summer working with neighborhood groups. Neighborhood organizations will help photographers identify neighborhood characteristics, places of interaction, and events and activities that signify changes and challenges created by growing diversity.  Photographers will document and artistically interpret these changes. 

A public exhibition of the completed work will be held in the winters of 2008 and 2009.  It is expected the work will also serve as a tool for public forms and community dialogues. 

At the end of the project partners will receive a portfolio of prints which they can use for up to one year to market their mission and expand their community building capacity. For their services, photographers will receive professional credentials that include exhibition and print and online photo credits.

The “What’s New” project was featured in the June 2007 issue of the Asian American Press.  To read the article, go to the following web site:

Questions posed included the time commitment for neighborhoods, and specifics of what that might entail, as well as how many neighborhoods have signed up to participate in the project.  Bommarito expected the time commitment to be minimal, but was uncertain about a specific number of hours.  He suggested that one board member or staff person serve as the contact person for the photographer.  Bommarito noted that the following neighborhoods are participating in the first round of the project:

Bottineau Neighborhood Association
Corcoran Neighborhood
Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services
Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association
Jordan Area Community Council (JACC)
Linden Hills Neighborhood Council
Longfellow Community Council
Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association
Saint Anthony Park Community Council
Ventura Village

Chair Sweet thanked Bommarito for coming and stated that the board would discuss participating in the project at a future meeting and would get back to OverExposure with a decision. 

V.        Marketing / Communications Project Update

Chair Sweet asked Board Secretary Scott Parkin to update the board on the marketing and communications project / logo redesign / web site project.  Parkin briefly summarized the work that has been done thus far and noted that the DMNA Identity Committee received several responses to the RFP for this project.  Parkin introduced the frontrunner, Jennifer Vee Whittet, Creative Director for Sassafrass Design. 

Ms. Whittet reviewed the creative brief that she put together in partnership with Parkin and Denise Holt, the other Identity Committee member.  She estimated that she could complete the web site update project in 6 months and anticipates presenting the concepts for the logo at the August board meeting. 

After her presentation, Ms. Whittet invited questions from the board.  In response to the inquiry regarding web site ownership, Whittet stated that the DMNA would own the site but asked that the DMNA give Sassafrass Design the first right to make any changes or updates to the web site in the future.  She also noted that the DMNA would own its logo. 

Discussion about selling advertising to help pay for the web site, how much it would cost, who would sell the ads and maintain connections with the advertisers, and should the DMNA seek a corporate sponsor ensued.  Concern was expressed that advertising may take away from the content of the web site and the credibility of the organization as a whole.  Concern was also expressed for pursuing a single corporate sponsor. 

There was also discussion about providing a directory of downtown businesses and links to the Downtown Council and the Chamber of Commerce, and whether to focus on highlighting new developments and new business enterprises. 

DMNA NRP Specialist Barb Lickness said that she would put together a Scope of Service for this project.  The contracting time at NRP is generally a 6-week process.  She suggested using funds from the Downtown Identity strategy in the DMNA Phase I NRP Plan.  She would do a plan modification and add the money to the DMNA’s Administrative Contract. 

VI.       NRP Phase II Discussion

Chair Sweet introduced the DMNA’s NRP Specialist Barb Lickness to the board.  She noted that Barb was present to discuss the future of NRP, and the DMNA’s Phase II NRP allocation. 

Lickness introduced herself to new board members and explained her role with DMNA and the NRP.  Despite the negative press regarding NRP, she encouraged the DMNA to proceed with an evaluation of its Phase I NRP Plan and development of a Phase II NRP Plan.  She noted that Bob Miller, NRP Executive Director, is working on a plan to make NRP whole that does not involve taking money from the City’s general fund or from any City department. 

Lickness explained three potential NRP allocations for DMNA’s Phase II funding:  (1) if the program were funded at 100%, the DMNA would receive $913,167; (2) if the program were funded at 70%, the DMNA would receive $639,217; and (3) worst case scenario as a result of a shortfall, if the program were funded at 50%, the DMNA would receive $496,498. 

Lickness then distributed and summarized three documents:  Reviewing Your NRP Plan Part 1 and Part; and Preparing for NRP Phase II.  These documents outline the process for reviewing Phase I of the NRP Plan and the process for preparing a Phase II NRP Plan.  Lickness stated that the Phase I evaluation does not need to be elaborate or expensive.  She suggested using Survey Monkey to ask questions about the Phase I NRP Plan, perhaps five questions per goal, i.e. Arts, Culture and Education, Crime and Safety, Downtown Development, and Housing, plus some general organizational questions.

As far as the Phase II NRP Plan is concerned, Lickness suggested the DMNA use its Phase I NRP Plan as a guide.  Identify and create new strategies, but keep the original four goals.  She also encouraged the DMNA to write the plan using broad language, which makes it easier to do plan or budget modifications. 

There was some board discussion about the timeframe for preparing the Phase I evaluation and whether kicking off Phase II planning by the November general membership meeting was feasible.  The board will continue to discuss this item at upcoming meetings. 

VII.     Crime and Safety Report

Crime and Safety Committee Chair Tom Hoch gave an update on the Keep Minneapolis Beautiful project which is focusing on cleaning up the littering problem in downtown Minneapolis, particularly cigarette butts.  Hoch explained that the  KMB project is a three-prong team:  a survey team, a messaging team, and an event team.  Hoch is serving on the event team and a kick-off celebration is in the works, but the event team is waiting for the message team to have a clear idea of what it wants to articulate.

Hoch also discussed the City’s efforts to revise the language in the Panhandling Ordinance to further define and explain the term “aggressive.”  The City would like to further restrict certain forms of panhandling. 

The City already has restrictions against aggressive panhandling, but this ordinance goes further by placing time, manner and place restrictions on verbally asking for money.  The ordinance bans people from asking for money within 80 feet of an ATM or entrance to a financial institution, 50 feet of parks, sporting facilities and the Minneapolis Convention Center, and from within 10 feet of crosswalks, convenience stores, gas stations and liquor stores.  The ordinance also prohibits people in a group of two or more from asking for money and does not allow solicitation at night.  The ordinance does not apply to people who have a sign and are passively sitting, standing or performing.

No letter of support for the revised language was required since Hoch had already testified before the City Council. 

VIII.    Capital Long-Range Improvements Committee (CLIC) Update

Treasurer Cynthia Newsom provided the board with an update of what happened at the CLIC meeting that took place in April at the NRP headquarters.  She noted that there were five CLIC projects in the Downtown area.  Board members asked about the specific projects.  She listed a few, including turning Hennepin Avenue from a one-way street to a two-way street.  Board members asked to see the descriptions of the five projects.  Parkin said he would scan the project descriptions and e-mail them to board members. 

Newsom explained that the primary purpose of the CLIC meeting was to allow neighborhoods the opportunity to provide input on projects listed in the City’s 5-year capital improvement plan it develops each year.  It was also a chance for residents to evaluate whether there was a connection between projects in the plan and the five goals highlighted in the City’s 2020 vision. 

IX        Consideration of May 8, 2007, Board Minutes

Parkin moved and Hoch seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the May 8, 2007, board meeting.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed

X.        Consideration of June 2007 Financial Report

Staff member Christie Rock distributed and explained the F2007 Budget vs. Actual as of June 2007.

Hauer moved and Parkin seconded a motion to receive and file the June 2007 Financial document.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed. 

XI.       Old Business / New Business / Other Business

Due to the time, George Rosenquist’s update of the City of Minneapolis’ Comprehensive Plan was postponed until the July board meeting.

XII.     Adjournment

Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2007.

_______________________________             _______________________________
Chair                                                                   Secretary