Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association
Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Hennepin Center for the Arts
528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 310, Minneapolis

I.          Call to Order and Introductions


Carletta Sweet called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.  Other board members in attendance were Andrew Hauer, Tom Hoch, Gene Nessly, Cynthia Newsom, Scott Parkin and Jodi Pfarr.  Kim Motes joined the meeting at 7:00 p.m.  Also in attendance were:  Bill Beck and Jim Farsted of Minneapolis Broadband; Laura Boyd; Becca Vargo Dagget; Rosalind Fendi; Michelle Fussy; 7th Ward Councilmember Lisa Goodman; Sarah Phemister and Jeremy Stratton, staff writers for the Downtown Journal (formerly the Skyway News); George Rosenquist; Kirk Rossi; Jon Trettel; and Emily Watts.

II.        Update from 7th Ward Councilmember Lisa Goodman

Lisa explained that previously she and the other two councilmembers whose wards comprised the DMNA area (i.e., Ward 2 Councilmember Paul Zerby, and Ward 5 Councilmember Natalie Johnson Lee) rotated attendance at DMNA’s monthly board meetings, but henceforth [due to redistricting] she alone would do so, however on a quarterly basis.

Lisa announced the resumption of “Lunch with Lisa” to begin on Wednesday, January 25, 2006.  These are monthly luncheons her office organizes for the purpose of covering topics of interest to her constituents.  These noon hour events are held at Tiburòn Caribbean Bistro, 1201 Harmon Place in Loring Park, Minneapolis, 612-604-0585.

Because of the winter season, Lisa explained and distributed the Public Works Department’s “Your Snow Emergency Information” as well as a document distributed by CPS Tom Thompson titled “How you can be a Plow Pal”.

Lisa explained that for approximately 4 years, the City distributed an annual calendar which contained a lot of useful information as well as not so useful information, however due to budget constraints the calendar has been discontinued.  In its place, the City is now producing a much more informative annual report (i.e., detailed analysis of the City’s finances) that consolidates the annual reports of the respective City departments.  Since these reports are not mailed, Lisa brought copies of the Minneapolis 2004 Annual Report for distribution.  Come January 15th the Mayor’s 311 One Stop Shop call initiative will come into effect, eliminating the need to use most of the various department phone numbers contained within the report.

Responding to George Rosenquist’s Land Use Committee question, Lisa explained that the City does not require developers who are applying for a land use application to come before a neighborhood organization, however they are required to notify – either in person or by mail – the neighborhood organization.  It has been Lisa’s policy for the past 8 years that developers wanting to pursue projects in the 7th Ward go before the neighborhood associations to give a presentation and receive feedback.

As a result of the agenda item concerning the campaign against the City’s wifi network, Lisa asked two City staff members to attend DMNA’s meeting to ensure that an equal perspective of the project would be presented.  In addition to her interest in getting the City to think about a municipal utility to resolve energy problems, Lisa is also interested in a municipal wireless system to resolve the digital divide dilemma.  However, given the constraints on cities to enact such a system (based on federal law) is why she is extremely supportive of the 2-year work on this effort by the City.              

III.       Consideration of November 2005 Minutes

Postponed to the next monthly board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2006.

IV.       Consideration of November and December 2005 Financial Statements

Postponed to the next monthly board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2006.

V.        Land Use Committee Update

LUC Chair Andy Hauer steered the following presentations:

·         NBA City restaurant.   Laura Boyd, a regulatory licensing consultant, explained that this new family-friendly, NBA-themed restaurant will go into the Target Center.  Another NBA City already exists in Orlando, Florida at Universal Studios and its brochure and menu were distributed for reference.  Laura also distributed a floor plan of what the larger Target Center restaurant facility will look like.  The restaurant is currently undergoing extensive renovation and is expected to open sometime mid to late February 2006.  As a Class B liquor license already exists, no action was required by the board.   

·         Vertu.  Laura Boyd advised that the new owner of the club formerly known as Tropix located at 400 Third Avenue North will change its name to Vertu.  It will be an upscale venue with two themed areas – one as a nightclub, the other as a lounge.  Laura distributed a site as well as a floor plan of the project.  As a Class A liquor license already exists, no action was required by the board.  Vertu does not intend to have any adult entertainment.  In addition to the front sidewalk café area, they are looking to create a deck to the north of the property on MNDOT property and will seek their approval.  Renovation will begin at the expiration of Tropix’s lease at the beginning of the New Year and expected to be complete by the first of April.

·         Liquor Depot site.  Andy advised that the Land Use Committee decided to postpone taking action on Shamrock Development’s proposal for the Liquor Deposit site until a public hearing could be conducted.  Thereafter DMNA scheduled a special neighborhood meeting on Monday, December 19th at Open Book for public input and feedback.

VI.       Minneapolis Public Library Update

Emily Watts, Coordinator of Neighborhood Initiatives for the Minneapolis Public Library, shared information on the move out from the temporary central library into the new central library. The temporary facility on Marquette Avenue closed on Saturday, December 3, 2005 to begin the massive move of approximately 2.5 million items. The Friends’ book store and office, library administration and book drop offs will continue at the temporary facility until February 2006.  Minneapolis voters approved a $140 million referendum in November 2002 for this project which also stipulated that an additional $15 million be raised from private contributions. Although that goal was met in October 2005 (2 months ahead of schedule), fundraising continues.  The opening event is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 2006.   

VII.     WiFi Network Presentation

Becca Vargo Dagget of the Institute for Local Self Reliance distributed “Act Now for a Publicly Owned Wireless Network” document produced by the New Rules Project, and explained the City’s plan for a wifi network and her objections thereto (i.e., primarily that there has been no public input in the process).  Becca directed the board to page 5 of the report for instructions on “What Your Group Can Do” when ready to act on this matter.

Bill Beck, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the City of Minneapolis and Program Executive for Minneapolis Broadband, advised that ironically they agree with most of what Becca described and explained the basic underpinnings of the City’s approach.  The City’s goal is to provide low-cost, broadband access across the entire City accessible to every constituent and to do so as soon as possible.  The City spent approximately a year assessing options including public and municipal ownership of the infrastructure.  The City Council directed this approach because it could not afford to build out the infrastructure (approximately $25 to $30 million according to bids received) which includes not only wireless but a substantial build out of the fiber infrastructure which the City owns.  Yet to be determined is the type of financial arrangement to have with the service provider to use the infrastructure.  The entire capital long-range budget for 2006 is $23 million, and the IT portion of that budget is $1.6 million, therefore compromises will have to be made if they choose to own and operate the infrastructure.  Estimated cost to operate the infrastructure is between $6 and $8 million annually.  No extensive analysis of municipal ownership versus private ownership was undertaken because the focus was not on City investment in the infrastructure but to lower communication costs.  The RFP for a service provider was issued in April 2005 and the selection process has been narrowed to Earthlink and US Internet.  The chosen service provider will finance, build out, manage, administer and sell services on this infrastructure.  The City will be an anchor tenant at less cost than what it is currently paying for connectivity.  Bill advised that currently there is no legislation enacted to prevent the City from owning a network; however there is legislation introduced in the house (sponsored by the industry) to prevent them from doing so.

Thereafter Andy moved and Gene seconded to table the discussion until the next monthly board meeting.      


VIII.    NRP Implementation Update

Postponed to the next monthly board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2006

IX.       Election of 2006 Officers

After nominations were received and accepted, the board unanimously voted the following slate of officers:  Kim Motes, Chair; Carletta Sweet, Vice Chair; Cynthia Newsom, Treasurer; and Scott Parkin, Secretary.

Additionally, Andy Hauer was re-elected Chair of the Land Use Committee which will include board members Cynthia Newsom and Carletta Sweet.  Tom Hoch was elected Chair of the newly re-enacted Crime and Safety Committee which will include board members Scott Parkin, Jodi Pfarr and Carletta Sweet.

X.        Crime and Safety Update

Crime Prevention Specialist Luther Krueger was unavailable.


XI.       Old Business/New Business

Kim debriefed the board on the annual meeting that was held immediately following the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, November 15th.  One of the major takeaways from this discussion included good neighborhood attendance attributed to its location (along the riverfront at the Crown Roller Mill building).

Downtown Journal staff writer Jeremy Stratton announced his reassignment from covering DMNA’s monthly meetings and introduced his replacement, Sarah Phemister.

After a brief discussion concerning potential meeting locations, the board decided to postpone the matter to a later date.

XII.     Adjournment

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

Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2006.

_______________________________                      _______________________________
Chair                                                                Secretary