Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association

Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, August 12, 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 Gerry Ewald; Andy Hauer; Denise Holt, Secretary; Scott Parkin, Vice Chair, and George Rosenquist. 

Board members Natasha Heimer, Treasurer; and Kim Motes were unable to attend.

Guests in attendance included:  Michelle Bruch, Downtown Journal; Brandice Camera, Community Outreach Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities; J. P. Dworsky, downtown resident; Jim Grathwol, Strong Schools Strong City; Dan Johnson and Simone Simon, Midwest Motorcycle; Joe Kapper, CURA Intern; Nancy McLean, Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney; and Susan Segal, Minneapolis City Attorney.

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.  Rock noted that there is a request to renew membership with the East Downtown Council.  Sweet suggested considering this item under other business.  Being no other changes or amendments,

Sweet moved and Ewald seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  The motion passed. 

Brandice Camera gave a brief overview of BBBS, which is the oldest mentoring organization in the area, then distributed informational brochures.  Her primary reason for visiting Minneapolis neighborhood organizations is to encourage more men and women, particularly of color, to become “Bigs” mentoring children between the ages of 7 and 13 for a minimum of 1 year because there are between 100 and 200 kids in just downtown waiting for a big brother or a big sister.  Camara invited interested board members to contact her (651-789-2482) and asked that they spread the word to their condo associations, business contacts, co-workers and friends.  For more information, visit their website at www.bigstwincities.org.

Jim Grathwol explained that he is attending neighborhood meetings to ask for support for the upcoming Minneapolis Public Schools referendum then distributed informational material explaining the amount and purpose of the referendum as well as FAQs.  Grathwol noted the proposed referendum is for $60 million per year and that it will run from 2009 to 2017.  It replaces a 2000 referendum that expires next year and today generates about $30 million annually. 

The board asked what the money would specifically be used for and expressed concern that it may be used to pay administrators.  Grathwol assured that the money would be used to fund educational essentials such as early learning literacy, math and sciences, and textbooks and technology. 

When asked about the tax impact on Minneapolis residents, Grathwol referred to the information sheet which indicates that the average value of a Minneapolis home is $256,000.  The current tax impact of the 2000 referendum on an average valued home is $173.83.  The new referendum will mean an increase of $17 per month. 

At the conclusion of the question and answer period, Hauer moved and Ewald seconded a motion to endorse the Strong Schools Strong City referendum campaign for Minneapolis Public Schools.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed.  Both Scott Parkin and George Rosenquist opposed the motion. 

For more information about the referendum, visit www.strongschoolsstrongcity.org, or email info@strongschoolsstrongcity.org

V.        Downtown Update

Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman reported on the following projects and activities relevant to the downtown community:

·         205 Park Avenue:  the City is planning a parking lot greening project for this site.

·         Downtown Gateway Dog Park:  the grand opening is scheduled for September 10.

·         Republican National Convention:  scheduled for August 29 through September 4.  In preparation there will be a neighborhood clean-up on August 16, and Civic Fest, a festival celebrating Minnesota and American history, Democracy and the U.S. Presidency featuring more than 35 exhibits will take place at the Convention Center. 

·         Lunch with Lisa:  scheduled for August 27.  It will be open microphone with Lisa and her aide Doug Kress responding to questions. 

·         Hennepin 2012:  an effort to spruce up Hennepin Avenue includes initiatives such as the utility box art project.  On a related note, Lisa is leading an effort to eliminate sandwich board signage. 

·         Minneapolis 311:  the only three-digit number to use for City information and services took its millionth call this past July since it officially began taking calls in January 2006.

·         Downtown Improvement District (DID):  the Minneapolis Downtown Council is leading an effort to establish a Special Service District to help raise the standards of service and behavior in downtown.  Lisa suggested that the DMNA invite Sarah Harris to give a presentation on its benefits. 

·         Mill District City Apartments:  construction expected to start this fall. 

·         Mayor Rybak’s budget address scheduled for August 14, at 1:00 p.m.

·         First Precinct opening a satellite office in Block E before RNC.

Council Member Goodman advised that she would be out of the country between November 13 and November 20 and that she would like to attend the DMNA annual meeting if it was possible to find a date that worked for everyone’s schedules.  Rock stated that she would work with Ruth Hamann in Council Member Goodman’s office to secure a date in December. 

 

·         Midwest Motorcycle (215 Washington Avenue).  Hauer introduced the representatives from Midwest Motorcycle, Dan Johnson and Simone Simon.  Johnson stated that he is seeking a sign variance for a window sign.  The signage was originally placed about 10 years ago.  The signage required a variance; however, he did not realize it until after a neighboring business complained.  The City is now enforcing the signage ordinance, which states that a window cannot be 100 percent covered.  The request goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission on August 14. 

Parkin moved and Rosenquist seconded a motion to approve the variance request.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed.  

Rock will send an email to Minneapolis City Planner Molly McCartney indicating the neighborhood’s recommendation. 

            George Rosenquist reported on the following:

·         Downtown 100 Project.  Rosenquist introduced Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal and, she in turn introduced Hennepin County Attorney Nancy McClean.  Both women are new to their positions and wanted to introduce themselves to the DMNA board.  They expressed a strong interest in continuing the positive relationship that exists between the DMNA, Restorative Justice Community Action, Inc., and the court system.  They explained they were attending neighborhood meetings to gain support for a new pilot program called the Downtown 100. 

This program is a collaborative effort between the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, Hennepin County Probation and the Minneapolis Police Department.  It intends to expand upon the current SafeZone initiative.  The Downtown 100 will seek to prosecute chronic offenders in downtown Minneapolis.  The ultimate goal of the pilot program is to reduce crime and the fear thereof in the Downtown Minneapolis area.  

The pilot program will use a team-based approach to downtown livability related crime.  The primary team will include police, prosecutors, probation, business representatives, private security and community representatives.  The pilot program will seek to ensure that a significant percentage of chronic offenders on probation have an active geographic restriction preventing them from entering Downtown. 

The Downtown 100 Project will also include the creation of a Downtown Court Watch.  The Downtown Court Watch will be modeled after the Community Law Enforcement Action Network (Clean) in other Minneapolis neighborhoods.            

The proposed budget for the first year of the pilot program is $326,000. 

Rosenquist moved and Sweet seconded a motion to send a letter of support for the Downtown 100 Project to Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein, Council Member Lisa Goodman, and County Attorney Mike Freeman.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed.

Rosenquist stated that he would like the DMNA board to consider financially supporting the Downtown 100 Project.  After some additional discussion, Parkin moved and Sweet seconded a motion to contribute $5,000 in DMNA NRP funds dedicated to restorative justice activities to the Downtown 100 Project.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

Rock will work with Lois Conroy to prepare a scope of service and to get the money contracted through NRP.

Mill District Streetscape Gap Project.  Chair Sweet gave the report since Andy Hauer, the DMNA’s liaison to the Mill District group, had to leave the meeting early.  Hauer had documented that the project is moving forward and the committee expects to complete the detailed implementation plan within the next 30 days.  At that point, the committee will work with Minneapolis Public Works and MPRB to get bids for doing the work.

Sweet moved and Parkin seconded a motion to approve the August 12, 2008 board minutes.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed.

XI.       Consideration of August 2008 Financial Statements

Staff member Christie Rock presented the August financial statements and advised that there were no unusual expenses for the month of August just the regular professional services, telephone and bank charges.

Parkin moved and Sweet seconded a motion to receive and file the August 2008 Financial Statements.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

 

Update on DMNA NRP Phase I review processCURA Intern Joe Kapper gave the board an update on the Phase I Plan Review.  He noted that to date, he has received 58 responses to the survey.  The survey will be live on the DMNA Web site for another 2 weeks then he will compile the results and forward the information to Christie Rock by the second week in September.  Kapper reported he has completed all community leader interviews.

East Downtown Council membership renewal.   Parkin moved and Rosenquist seconded a motion to renew DMNA’s membership on the EDC at the supporter level of $150.  The motion passed.

Update on outreach and collaboration with other downtown organizations.  Sweet distributed an updated chart showing the various organizations working to improve the Downtown community.  Sweet noted that DMNA board member Andy Hauer was appointed as interim Central Riverfront neighborhoods representative to the Minneapolis Riverfront Corporation. 

Thereafter discussion ensued regarding the DMNA making a financial contribution to 2010 Partners.  Sweet noted that the organization has already received $47,000 in contributions toward its goal of $54,000.  However, because 2010 Partners is not a 501(c)(3), the DMNA cannot use NRP dollars to make the contribution; therefore it will need to use discretionary funds. 

Sweet moved and Rosenquist seconded a motion to contribute $1,000 of its discretionary funds to 2010 Partners and to revisit contributing more if and when the organization receives its nonprofit status.  The motion passed. 

2008 Annual Meeting discussion.  Rock will check with Council Member Goodman’s office on several dates in December.  Parkin will contact the Aloft hotel once a meeting date has been finalized.  Board members will brainstorm potential speakers for consideration at the August board meeting.

Parkin moved and Rosenquist seconded a motion to adjourn the board meeting.  The motion passed.

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


Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2008.

_______________________________             _______________________________
Chair                                                                   Secretary