Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association
Minutes from May 14, 2002 Board of Directors Meeting

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, Inc. (DMNA) was held on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at DMNA’s office located at 800 LaSalle Avenue, Suite 131, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I.       Call to Order

With a quorum present, Mark Moller called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.   Other board members in attendance included: Dee Cotten; Andrew Hauer; Tom Hoch, Vice Chair; Gerry Spry, Treasurer; and Carletta Sweet, Secretary.  Board member Larry Calhoun was unable to attend.  Others in attendance included:  June Harmon, financial consultant; Lisa Goodman, 7th Ward Councilmember; Barbara Lichness, NRP staff; Ellen Nigon, Skyway News; and Sarah Sawyer, Vaudeville Collaborative.

II.        Vaudeville Collaborative

Sarah Sawyer explained that the Vaudeville Collaborative is a group of about five variety performers brainstorming about how to bring a series of lunch-hour performances to downtown of Minneapolis.  They are seeking a central and accessible performance space; performer’s fees of  $750 per performance; and production costs that will vary depending on the venue.

After discussing funding sources and venue options, it was recommended that this group contact Target Corporation to fill out the appropriate funding request forms, and the Downtown Action Network at 

III. Q&A with Councilmember Lisa Goodman

Lisa announced and discussed the following matters:

      The Marquette Plaza on the Nicollet Mall at Washington Avenue South is now open to the public.  There’s a 100-year land lease under a private and public partnership, it has seating, skate stops, grass and trees, and a cancer survivor monument.

      A big victory this week with Block E.  McCaffrey and the Crown Theaters have agreed to put adaptive audio and visual equipment into two of the theaters; one to be paid by McCaffrey and the other to be paid by Crown Theaters.

      The Hennepin Avenue Streetscape project passed the Transportation and Public Works committees.  One issue that came up was expanding the Theater District from 5th Street to the River and from 10th Street to the Basilica by some kind of full-fledge, special service/theater district streetscape, at a minimum to include the theater district banner to tie into streetscape.  Lisa asked the board to think about what it could do as neighbors to entice those private property owners who may not be willing to participate in this project.

Barbara announced that since the Planning Department had canceled the Art Mural project, those funds would be available if the board chose to divert funds to that purpose.

      The Central Library will be closing on August 1, 2002, and they are hoping to have the interim library facility at Marquette Plaza opened by October 1, 2002.  Special events related to each event are planned and she’ll forward information related thereto. The grand unveiling of the new library design will probably occur in late September/early October.

      Natalie Johnson Lee is suing over the recent redistricting.  Redistricting, however, does not effect until the next election.  Therefore downtown will continue to be represented by Wards 2, 5 and 7 until the 2005 election.  However, there is also another lawsuit pending to ask for an election in 2003 based on the federal fair voting right challenge which says if the districts are more than 5 percent off in either direction there needs to be another election. So there is a good chance that there could be another citywide election in 2003.

      The City is working on a plan to settle the three Gaviidae loans. There will be a recommendation made, which Lisa supports, that essentially says rather than accepting pennies on a dollar they should just foreclose.

Under the previous administration, Gaviidae had proposed repayment as follows:  on the first loan (the Saks building), pay $4 million of the $11 million; on the second loan of $17 million (the Gaviidae building itself), don’t pay anything; and on the third loan of $36 million (the Neiman building Gaviidae portion), which isn’t due to 2008, prepay and give another $4 million to settle the other loans, or a total settlement of $29 million due to a cash flow crisis.  As a condition of this arrangement Gaviidae had further asked that half the money go back into tax increment contributions.  The MCDA at that time turned this proposal down, and after many months of negotiations under the current administration, the message remains the same.

      Opposition to public funding to help pay for a baseball stadium.  Although Lisa is not against user-based fees and parking revenues to do so, the main problem is the suburban legislators do not want their constituents taxed and because they are the majority in the house, they will not support these taxes to be enacted in the seven county area.

      Lunch with Lisa is on summer break and will resume in July, August, and September.  

IV.       Committee Reports

1.  Staffing.  Mark advised that due to a disconnect with NRP, the ad for the part-time staff position did not make it into the May NRP Link, however it was re-posted on the their website and on their office bulletin board.  Mark ensured he would publish the ad in the newspapers previously discussed.  After discussing the terms and conditions of the prospective employee’s contract, Barbara agreed to send an example of such a contract via email to Mark. 

2.  NRP.  Barbara advised that DMNA’s master plan was approved and a favorable legal opinion rendered. The contract for the theater district streetscape project is on R.T.’s desk.  The contract for the senior center is going through the system.  She just received the scope of service and budget for the thermal imaging equipment from Chief Forte. Dee will have Gena contact Barbara to resolve the Restorative Justice funding contract.  The board will wait to hire a staff person to work with MCDA to put together a program guideline and RFP for 2002 affordable housing funding (i.e., $450,000). Since the Planning Department terminated the Word Mural Art contract and has not been a willing partner, as well as it being a project proposed for primarily the North Loop neighborhood, it was suggested that the board decide whether to pursue it or redirect the funds.  Due to the obstacles encountered for the kiosk project, it was also suggested that the board decide whether to pursue it or redirect the funds.

Tom advised that an assessment hearing was held last Thursday before the Transportation and Public Works committees on the Hennepin Streetscape project and the full city council should act on it on Friday, which means the project is a go.  It includes new paving from 5th to 10th Streets, ornamental pedestrian-scale surface and street lighting, benches, bicycle racks, garbage cans, railing around newspaper boxes, planters and trees.  The property owners along Hennepin Avenue will be assessed approximately $3.5 million to pay for these improvements.  Construction could begin summer 2002.

3.  Finance.  After entertaining questions on the F2002 Preliminary Budget vs. Actual included in the board package, the Chair moved to approve the Citizen Participation Year 28 budget that begins June 1st and the NRP administrative budget.  The motion was carried unanimously.

Gerry moved and Dee seconded to approve DMNA’s financial procedures as previously submitted.  The motion was carried unanimously.

5.  Land Use.  Three projects were reviewed at the LUC on May 9th: 

a.  The preliminary proposal for the 501-509 Washington Avenue South site (currently occupied by PPL) presented by Tony Barranco of SPACE, LLC.  Given the early stages of the project and the unfavorable parking and retail design features, no action was taken on this project.

b.   The conditional use permit required for the proposed WISE K-3 charter school on two floors of the Flour Exchange building presented by former City Council president Jackie Cherryhomes and Joann Heryla, Vice Chair of the Board.  The Chair moved and Tom seconded to approve the conditional use permit.  The motion was carried unanimously.

c.   The updated site plans for the Downtown East LRT station presented by Dick Victor, Senior Project Coordinator, MCDA.  The Chair moved and Jerry seconded to approve the updated site plans.  The motion was carried unanimously.

4.  Governance.  Discussion of the proposed changes to the Bylaws was postponed to the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

6.  Public Relations.  The marketing program has been temporarily set aside until the hiring of a staff person.  In the meantime, it was agreed to support National Night Out again this year.

V.        Old Business

1.  CCHT/DMNA Housing Conflict of Interest.  Andy moved and Carletta seconded to send a letter to Natalie Johnson Lee asking her to seek a legal opinion from the city attorney related to the conflict of interest issue (i.e., clarification of disclosure versus exclusion).  The motion was carried by majority of vote with Andy agreeing to send the letter to Natalie.

2.  DMNA Board Vacancy Nominations.  Since no nominations were submitted it was agreed that nominations would remain open until the next regularly scheduled board meeting. 

3.  Board minutes.  The board accepted minutes from August through November 2001, and the minutes from February through April 2002 were approved.

VI.       New Business – Liaison Reports

Andy announced the CCHT annual meeting on Tuesday, May 21st at St. Mark’s Church beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Dinner will be served.

Mark attended the Downtown Action Network meeting where he was asked if DMNA wanted to man a booth at their upcoming events.  He will continue to participate in order to gain more detailed information and exposure on behalf of DMNA.

Any advised that the Skyway committee is working on getting uniform hours established throughout the skyway.

Tom advised that one of the issues related to Streetscape is that the properties owners believe the City should take a closer look at the level of police services provided on Hennepin Avenue given the amount of investment being devoted to the areas.

The Chair moved and Andy seconded to oppose additional new taxes for downtown residents to pay for a new ballpark.  The motion was carried by majority vote.

VII.     Adjournment

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Signed and approved by

_________________________                                                          _________________________
Chair                                                                                        Secretary