NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday September 29th 2022

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Random alley news September ’22

By LINDSEY FENNER

GREEN GRANTS GALORE

Hennepin County Receives $12 million for Lake Street Improvements: The Federal award is from the Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, which received an increase in funding from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021. The funding will pay for “turn lanes, bus only lanes, removing a lane, providing ADA upgrades (pedestrian ramps and APS push button stations), and paving new surfaces along the Lake Street corridor in Minneapolis.” Learn more about the planned Lake Street Improvement project, which includes the Lake Street Bus Rapid Transit Line, here: https://www.hennepin.us/lake-street-improvements

Resilient Minneapolis Microgrid Project Receives Public Utilities Commission Approval: The $9 million Xcel Energy project in three Minneapolis neighborhoods will pilot community electric microgrids in the face of climate uncertainty. If the power goes out during a heatwave, the community centers can provide cooling, shelter and electricity. Hosting organizations are the Minneapolis American Indian Center, Sabathani Community Center, and Renewable Energy Partners in coordination with three schools in North Minneapolis. The hosting organizations will pay for the solar arrays, while Xcel Energy will pay for and own the storage battery. As part of their $30 million renovation project, the Minneapolis American Indian Center will install a 200-kilowatt solar array with 1MW of battery storage. As a pilot, the project is not without criticism. The MN Department of Commerce raised concerns about the lack of detail from Xcel on the goals and benefits of the program and how those goals and benefits would be measured.

Hennepin County Green Partners Environmental Education Grants: In July, Hennepin County awarded grants to 26 environmental education projects. Two grantees will focus specifically on Phillips. Nawayee Center School at 2421 Bloomington Avenue was awarded $40,000 over two years to enable 150 Native American youth in grades 7 through 12 in the Phillips Neighborhood to build their knowledge of soil, agriculture, and Indigenous plants by working in the school garden and in community gardens around Hennepin County. Community Power was awarded $10,000 to help 200 renters and homeowners from the Midtown and Phillips neighborhoods in Minneapolis to access energy efficiency programs such as memberships in cooperatively owned community solar gardens in their neighborhood or city, or taking next steps on weatherization and energy efficiency, including installing LED light bulbs and distributing window kits and low-flow shower heads.

Little Earth Healing Roots and Native Pollinator Project: The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) awarded $15,000 for a 6,000-square-foot pollinator planting area near the Little Earth housing complex and urban farm. 

DISTRICT 62 PHILLIPS PRIMARY RESULTS

The MN Primary was on Tuesday, August 9. The MN General Election will be on Tuesday November 8. Visit mnvotes.org to see what’s on your ballot and where to vote.

Senate District 62: Incumbent DFL Senator Omar Fateh defeated challenger Shaun Laden. Fateh won with 60.65% of the vote.

House District 62A: Incumbent DFL Rep. Aisha Gomez defeated challenger Osman Ahmed. Gomez won with 69.44% of the vote. Note that due to redistricting, incumbent Representatives Aisha Gomez and Hodan Hassan swapped districts. Rep. Hassan did not face a primary challenge.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGET SEASON HAS BEGUN

Local governments will hold a series of public meetings and hearings in the fall, with final budgets approved in mid-December.

City of Minneapolis 2023 Budget: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey presented his proposed 2023 budget on August 15. Beginning in September, the Board of Estimation and Taxation and the City Council will hold presentations and hearings. Minneapolis has a budget of over $1.5 billion. More information about the proposed budget and the  budget process will be available here: https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/budget/

Hennepin County 2023 Budget: The County Administrator will present the proposed 2023 operating and capital budget on Tuesday, September 20 at 1:30 PM, with more detailed departmental presentations and public hearings throughout the fall. The Hennepin County Board is currently hosting hybrid meetings. Hennepin County has a budget of over $2 billion. Information about the proposed budget will be available online at https://www.hennepin.us/your-government/budget-finance/budgets.

SOUTHSIDE GREEN ZONE AIR QUALITY

Do you live in the Southside Green Zone and have concerns about air pollution or odors in your neighborhood? The City of Minneapolis is leading a community air monitoring project to better understand hyper-local air quality. The City has a limited number of PurpleAir sensors available for individuals who would like to host a sensor for up to two years. Hosts must have access to an outdoor outlet and wifi connection. The city will prioritize requests from households or businesses in the Northside or Southside Green Zone and requests that are not within a couple blocks of an existing air sensor.Go to https://map.purpleair.com to see locations of existing sensors.

PurpleAir sensors track particulate matter, which is a common pollutant from traffic, backyard fires, certain industrial activities, smoking, and other forms of combustion.

Contact kelly.muellman@minneapolismn.gov to request a PurpleAir sensor and find out more.

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