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December Random alley News

December Random alley News

By LINDSEY FENNER Photo courtesy of the American Swedish Institute. Tree delivery by horse-drawn cart next to Swan J. Turnblad residence, 26th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Completed in 1908, the Swan J. Turnblad mansion was built in the French Chateauesque style. The house became the American Swedish Institute in 1929. Midtown Greenway Coalition Calls for Re-Do of Re-Paving Greenway: A section of the Midtown Greenway commuter bike trail was repaved by Minneapolis Public Works in October, but bikers are already calling for a re-do. According to the Midtown Greenway Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates for the Greenway and Greenway users, the repaving has left the trail surface worse than it was before and created a safety hazard for users. Public Works has admitted they used a different resurfacing process, called “micropaving,” which cost a third of the 1.6 million budgeted for the project. The 5.5 mile bike and pedestrian route runs along the former Milwaukee Railroad line from the Uptown Chain of Lakes to the Mississippi River. Southside Green Zone Council Seeking Members: The citizen advisory committee advises the Mayor and City Council on the implementation and evaluation of the Southside Green Zone Work Plan. The Southside Green Zone boundaries include all of Phillips and parts of Seward and Cedar-Riverside. There are ten open seats. 4 open seats for voting members who live inside the Southside Green Zone.4 youth ambassadors who will be voting members that live inside the Southside Green Zone.2 “at large” non-voting members. For more information about the responsibilities of a committee member, contact Kelly Muellman: kelly.muellman@minneapolismn.gov Phone: (612) 673-3014 Turnblad Mansion Being Restored: The American Swedish Institute is beginning a $20 million project to restore and renovate the Turnblad Mansion at 2600 Park Avenue. The 33-room “castle,” which now serves as a museum and cultural center, was built in [...]

Artists Invited to Submit Design Ideas for Light-Emitting Sculpture

Artists Invited to Submit Design Ideas for Light-Emitting Sculpture

By TIM SPRINGER The Midtown Greenway Coalition is issuing a call for artists to submit their ideas for a beautiful and stunning light-emitting sculpture. As mentioned in a previous Alley article, the purposes of the sculpture are to create exciting art that brings joy and makes you say “WOW!”, light up a dark area, and serve as a wayfinding beacon to help people find their way onto and off of the Greenway. This is a project of the Midtown Greenway Coalition with an Advisory Team composed of seven residents from the 2800 and 2900 blocks of 18th Avenue South, adjacent to the proposed sculpture location. I am honored to serve as Project Manager (a volunteer position) and work with the Advisory Team on this exciting project.  The sculpture will be located at the top of the entrance ramp to the Midtown Greenway at 18th Avenue. It will be about 12 feet wide and will be suspended up in the air about 12 feet above the trail surface. The body of the sculpture will emit light; perhaps through sheathing made of translucent acrylic material or perforated metal, or a surface that glows or has lights. Out of the bottom of the sculpture there will be lights aimed downward to the pavement to light up the pathway and adjacent sidewalk, and perhaps also out onto the roadway at the trail/roadway intersection.  Location of the desired public art piece. After receiving sketches from artists showing design ideas, the Advisory Team will select three finalists based on feasibility, artist capacity to complete the project, and how exciting each design is. Community members, Midtown Greenway trail users, and the public will then be invited to vote for their favorite design from among the three finalists.  After a design is selected, the winning artist will be invited to enter into a contract for up to $8,000 to create a detailed design that can be submitted to the City of Minneapolis for approval. The detailed design will include sculpture dimensions, [...]

Tim Springer Reflects on 18 “Bridging” years at the MGC

Tim Springer Reflects on 18 “Bridging” years at the MGC

By Tim Springer, Executive Director through June 3, 2011 The Midtown Greenway rocks. I love to be on the Greenway when it”'s full of commuters, joggers, and joy-riders of all stripes. I feel very fortunate to have been on the team that made it happen. Thank you to the collective Midtown Greenway Coalition community for giving me that opportunity. This job has been extremely rewarding, but also extremely demanding. I decided to move on so that I could slow my pace, smell more roses, and try my hand at some new things. Many people have asked me what”'s next. Two possibilities that excite me are rehabbing old buildings and bicycle transportation consulting. This change will be great for me as well as the Midtown Greenway Coalition. By me stepping aside, the Coalition can more easily empower a broader set of leaders with more ideas in ways that provide greater organizational depth and sustainability. This is timely as the Coalition launches a new board-defined initiative. Chapter One of the Coalition”'s history was about getting the trails built and well-used by all. Chapter Two will be about engaging communities to guide the way rail transit fits alongside the trails, the way Minneapolis grows up along the Greenway”'s edges, and the pursuit of vibrant outdoor spaces within and connecting to the Greenway. A successful Chapter Two is essential concerning the Greenway”'s long-term safety, functionality, and aesthetics. Speaking of shared responsibility, to the thousands of people who have helped the Coalition over the years, thank you! The continuing success of the Midtown Greenway depends to a large extent on the continuing success of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, and this success depends on you maintaining your support and working relationships with the Coalition. Based on past behavior, I know you are all up for it. See you out on the Greenway.

Midtown Phillips Festival

by Shirley Heyer Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association, Inc. (MPNAI) invites you to enjoy music, food and community at its first annual “Midtown Phillips Festival,” an all-ages family event, Sat., July 23, at Stewart Park, 12th Ave. S. and E. 26th St. This is rain or shine, noon to 8 p.m. The park”'s gym will be available in case of rain. Co-sponsors with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, MPNAI also presents this event in association with the city”'s annual Aquatennial Celebration that celebrates Minneapolis”' famous lakes, rivers and parks. This neighborhood does not have lakes or rivers but it does have parks and the Midtown Greenway! In celebrating its diversity, the neighborhood showcases numerous athletic contests for all ages throughout the day at the Ben Casey baseball diamond and new soccer field ”“ both funded through contributions from the Minnesota Twins. (more…)

157th Cemetery Season Ends as Picket Restoration Begins

157th Cemetery Season Ends as Picket  Restoration Begins

By Sue Hunter Weir Another cemetery season (the 157th) has drawn to a close:  the Cemetery officially closed for the year on Friday, October 15th.  You will still see plenty of signs of life during the next few months, though. On September 20th, restoration work began on the Cemetery”'s fence and gates.  The thirteen sections of the fence that are in the worst shape have been removed and have been temporarily replaced by 8-foot chain link. The gates, which weigh roughly 300 pounds apiece, have been removed.  The restoration process involves many steps:  sandblasting, filling, galvanizing, and painting before they will be reinstalled in late November or early December.  Most of the kickbacks (the braces that support each fence section by extending at an angle into the ground and anchored in concrete) are too badly damaged to be restored and will be replaced.  The stone where the gates and picket sections attach to the masonry columns will need to be repaired by some replacement and tuck-pointing.  All in all, it is a very big job, but one that seems to be going quite smoothly. (more…)

Love the Midtown Greenway?

Take The Greenway Challenge! By Lauren Fulner, Community Organizer, Midtown Greenway Coalition The Twin Cities community will be taking over the Greenway this September, and we want you to join in the celebration! Riders in the first annual bike-a-thon on the Midtown Greenway on September 25, 2010 will be delighted by live music, colorful community art, and delicious snacks along all 5.5 miles of the Greenway trail. We”'d love for you and your friends to participate; cyclists commit to ride 44 miles in the Greenway on event day and secure at minimum of $250 in personal pledges beforehand. Fantastic prizes await the fundraising fanatics””the top pledge-getter wins airfare for two and a week at a chateau built in an old winery in the bike-friendly Loire Valley of France. This grand prize is being donated by Bob Corrick and Beth Parkhill. Other prizes will be given away via raffle open to all bikers in the Challenge, and for best costume and best decorated bike. The Midtown Greenway Coalition invites trail users to sign up months early so that the pledge raising is a cinch, and will be hosting Pledge-Raising How-To parties throughout the summer. Cyclists have all afternoon to complete their ride, and can begin as early as 11:00 a.m., with an awards ceremony capping off the evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Cepro site (10th Avenue entrance to the Greenway by Midtown Exchange). All funds raised go directly to keeping your Greenway safe and beautiful. You can register for The Greenway Challenge online following links from midtowngreenway.org, or by contacting or visiting the Midtown Greenway Coalition office inside the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center to request a hard copy of the registration form. Thanks in advance for your support!

Curious about a “key victory” in the Xcel Powerline dilemma?

By Tim Springer, Executive Director, Midtown Greenway Coalition As many Alley readers may know, Xcel energy applied to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a permit to construct two new high voltage transmission lines over the Midtown Greenway or nearby, and two new substations. The community has concerns about potential impacts on human health, aesthetics, and historic resources, and consigning this part of town to blight. Because of the relatively short distance of the lines, about 1.2 miles, a “certificate of need” was not required for the project. This means that the PUC cannot deny the project, they may only say where the wires go. This was a frustration to many people who felt that a closer look should be taken at energy conservation, local power production such as with photovoltaic solar panels, electricity storage, and smart grid. The only way to require an analysis of this bundle of alternatives is to require a certificate of need. Enter State Representative Karen Clark, our rock star legislator. Karen pulled together a group of people, including lobbyists for Xcel Energy, and hammered out language acceptable to community members and Xcel Energy. Then she changed state law to require a certificate of need! Other legislators who deserve thanks are Senators Linda Berglin and Ellen Anderson. The certificate of need process will be undertaken over the next year or so. The route permit process that is already underway with the PUC to determine where the wires and substations will go will be finalized and decisions made, but the permit will not be signed and the project will not be constructed until after the need for the lines is proven. Even if a certificate of need is provided and the high voltage lines are allowed, the analysis of possible energy alternatives created as part of the certificate of need process could provide a great energy efficiency and energy alternatives roadmap for south Minneapolis, potentially making [...]

Thinking Ahead Connecting a Midtown Greenway Streetcar to Lake Street

by Joyce Wisdom Thinking ahead to what the results would be of a new Streetcar system in the Midtown Greenway and envisioning strategies to meet those results before it becomes reality was the topic of a study by four CURA students from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. Blending Midtown Greenway Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Streetcar Traffic with existing Lake Street businesses, traffic and culture Jeremy Jones, Simon Blenski, Nicole Doran, and Kyle Weimann presented the results of their study recently to a combined meeting of the Boards of the Midtown Greenway Coalition and the Lake Street Council. Here are their recommendations on connecting a new Midtown Greenway streetcar line with the existing Lake Street and vicinity business community and activity: Small businesses must be actively engaged to ensure the business ecosystem is not disrupted so that businesses are not priced out of the market. Encourage and support more commerce in the Greenway trench, such as the Freewheel Bike Center. Consider implementing a larger Greenway-Lake Street Improvement District to assist with maintenance and consistent branding. Development at Streetcar Stations At the various stations, they recommended: branding with icons to reinforce identity and memory preserving the Greenway character, a business node presence, and connections to various transit, biking, and pedestrian options clearly marked. Uptown Station; land use that is mixed use, mixed density, and transit oriented. Buildings should be aligned to engage the Greenway. Chicago Ave. Station; be placed for close connection to the Midtown Greenway stairs up to Lake Street. Chicago & Lake already has several positive attributes for a streetcar connection, including a mix of local & regional destinations and the Chicago-Lake Transit Station. Bloomington Ave. Station; a transformation into an interactive neighborhood space. The connection to and from Lake [...]