Category Archives: City of Minneapolis

Neighborhood Funding Testimony to NCIC

Hello Commissioners, City staff and Minneapolis residents,

My name is Amanda Winterer and I represent the Bottineau Neighborhood Association. I am the group’s treasurer.  Thank you for this opportunity to make this statement. Bottineau Neighborhood Association requests that the funding structure and levels of funding remain the same for all neighborhood groups for the foreseeable future. The Citizen Participation Program has worked well for the past 8 years.

For example, Bottineau has established Neighborhood Priority Plans. One such NPP is the Homework Helper at Bottineau Park.  After a few Somali parents asked for this help, at a community meeting, our neighborhood group got busy and set up the coordination of volunteer tutors to help all children get STEM help at our park. Another NPP implemented is Crime Solutions that works with the police to track crime trends and react with organized volunteers when shots are fired in the community or other crimes are committed.  We have many examples of this type of outreach conducted at community request.

BNA also requests that the Community Innovation Funds, CIF, be expanded and used more. BNA was a recipient of one such CIF grant and put it to use studying air pollution around the Lowry Bridge that leveraged an additional 500,000 dollars in MPCA air monitoring that is currently being conducted on the Mississippi Water Management Organization roof top near Lowry Bridge.

As a matter of neighborhood tradition, a pumpkin carving is held at the Park every fall and a Bottineau Neighborhood and Mississippi River clean-up is held every April in honor of Earth Day. This year, as part of the Green Zones in Minneapolis, we will be able to offer 25 free trees to the community to help remediate air pollution and improve the tree canopy in Bottineau.

Thanks again for listening to our request. Copies of this testimony are at the sign in table.

Minneapolis Council Members Warsame and Frey to Host a Town Hall on Islamophobia

United Against Islamophobia Panel
November 2, 6:30 pm. to 8:00 p.m.
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church: 2315 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

Islamophobia is increasingly rising to the front of national attention. Establishing trust and building relationships among people of different faiths and cultures is a priority for Minneapolis Council Members Warsame and Frey. In a time when Islam is the subject of much discussion and controversy, Warsame and Frey hope to enable an ongoing open dialogue, in a safe environment for debate, and promote a more informed understanding of Muslim culture. They want to extend an invitation to all community members to attend to this panel on November 02 at 6:30 pm at the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church.

As an American who is a Muslim, black and an immigrant, Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry undermines the values I strive to live out every day: the American values. It is important to talk about Islamophobia and raise our voices to increase awareness and education. It is my hope that leaders and community members work together to promote inclusion and respect for one another
– Abdi Warsame

As a Jewish man, I love my Muslim sisters and brothers. Now more than ever, appreciation and celebration of our differences must be paramount, and this forum provides a grand opportunity
– Jacob Frey

Confirmed speakers include:

The Honorable Judge LaJune Lange (Ret.)
Lange is a senior fellow with the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice. A retired State of Minnesota trial court judge, Lange is an expert on legal and constitutional standards for discrimination in state and federal courts.

Pastor Laurie Eaton
Pastor Eaton was called as pastor to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis in 2009. She is an active leader in ISAIAH, a coalition of approximately 100 congregations committed to living out faith values in the public realm, seeking racial and economic equity in our state.

Imam Asad Zaman
Imam Asad Zaman is a distinguished leader in the education and non-profit sectors. He is the Executive Director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota and a frequent speaker at Islamic conferences and Islam Awareness Weeks.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Please rsvp to [email protected]



MPRB: 2016 referendum to close neighborhood park funding gap

At its Jan. 20 meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) of Commissioners approved language for a 2016 ballot measure that will ask Minneapolis residents for a property tax levy to help maintain, rehabilitate and invest in its chronically underfunded network of 160 neighborhood parks. After a year of public meetings about the current condition and maintenance service level of  neighborhood parks in the city, Commissioners voted to approve MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller’s final recommendations for the Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks (Closing the Gap)initiative.

Resolution 2016-112, passed Wednesday night by Commissioners, includes ballot language for a November 2016 referendum and elements of an agreement with the Minneapolis City Council to address sustained current funding. Superintendent Miller also provided an overarching implementation plan for a referendum at the direction of Commissioners. If approved by the residents of Minneapolis, the referendum will generate the additional resources needed to provide a long-term strategy to fund annual maintenance, repair and capital investments for neighborhood parks in Minneapolis, as long as other current funding sources are sustained.

The maximum annual amount of the proposed tax levy increase is limited to .0388 percent of the estimated market value by the city per year. It would begin in 2018 and continue to be collected for the next 20 years. If the levy had been in place in 2016, it would have generated approximately $15 million and added $65.68 to the property tax bill of an owner of a home valued at $190,000.

All expenditures related to the levy would be subject to full public examination. A one-page fact sheet gives an overview of how funding generated by the levy would be spent in the first five years; Superintendent Miller will provide specifics of the 2018-2022 implementation plan in April.

The Superintendent’s presentation materials and numerous other resources regarding Closing the Gap are available at under the “Key Documents” section.


Closing the Gap: Investing in Neighborhood Parks is an initiative of the Superintendent and Commissioners that shared information with Minneapolis residents and partners about the current condition and service level of neighborhood parks.  Closing the Gap looked at the impacts of the age of the system and deferred maintenance – or delayed regular upkeep past the point of repair – has had on the 160 neighborhood parks in Minneapolis.

The Closing the Gap initiative gathered information from Minneapolis residents and partners about investment priorities for operation, maintenance and replacement of existing neighborhood park assets. Since May 2015, a spectrum of community engagement methods and communications tools were used to share and collect information for the Closing the Gap initiative.

Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks have the greatest number of physical assets that require greater resources to operate, maintain and replace. To sustain the current level of physical assets in the park system the MPRB needs $14.3 million plus inflation each year to meet capital investment needs. The MPRB currently has $4-5 million per year to invest in these assets. Based on 2015 costs, the annual capital gap is $9.3 million plus inflation. The neighborhood parks also require annual investments to operate them to industry standards for activities such as mowing, building maintenance, tree pruning and roof and path repairs. Based on 2015 costs, the operational gap is a minimum of $3 million plus inflation per year.

On Oct. 21, 2015, the Superintendent provided three reports to the Board of Commissioners:

  • “Investing in Neighborhood Parks – Final Report” completed by MPRB staff
  • “Public and Private Funding Strategies for Neighborhood Parks” completed by the City Parks Alliance
  • “Conservation Finance Feasibility Study – Minneapolis, Minnesota” completed by The Trust for Public Land.

The Board of Commissioners directed the Superintendent to work on a possible referendum to address neighborhood park funding challenges following discussion of the reports presented on Oct. 21.

Closing the Gap: Investing in our Neighborhood Parks

An abundance of information on the state of Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks is available at

  • “Park Profiles” detailing where investments have been made and where funding gaps are in every neighborhood park in the city. (Under “Background” tab)
  • Two 2015 budget fact sheets showing where MPRB’s budget comes from and what it supports.
  • A neighborhood parks fact sheet explaining how the funding gap was created and what MPRB is doing already to help close it.
  • An FAQ with concise answers to 27 questions commonly asked during 2015 Closing the Gap meetings.

To stay informed on Closing the Gap please visit and sign up for email updates.

Important Issues facing Minneapolis Immigrant Communities

January Learning Lab: Immigration Affects Us All – Important Issues facing Minneapolis Immigrant Communities

When: Wednesday, January 27th, from 6:30pm to 8pm
Where: Mercado Central, 1515 E. Lake St Minneapolis, MN 55407

Featured Speakers:

  • Mariano Espinoza, Latino Community Specialist
  • Abdirashid Ahmed, East African Community Specialist
  • Michael Yang, SE Asian Community Specialist

Topic: Each speaker will lead a discussion with Neighborhood Leaders and City Staff about how they arrived in Minneapolis, what challenges communities are facing, and ways in which Neighborhood and City leaders can understand and engage immigrants.

Space is limited! To register for this Learning Lab, send an email to [email protected]

Jacob Frey’s 2nd Annual State of the Ward and Recognition Awards

Join Council Member Jacob Frey for his 2nd Annual State of the Ward Address and Third aWards–annual awards presented to Third Ward residents in the categories of Leader, Local Business, Neighborhood Project/Initiative, and Youth Leader.

“The Third aWards are a chance to acknowledge our amazing residents and small business owners that help make the Third Ward a dynamic place,” said Council Member Jacob Frey.

Individuals interested in making a nomination should write a brief description of the accomplishments that deserve recognition. Please submit Third aWards nominations via email ([email protected]), fax (612-673-3940) or by mail to Council Member Jacob Frey, 350 South 5th Street, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415 by Wednesday, January 27, 2016.

The State of the Ward and Third aWards will take place Wednesday, February 3, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Event Center, 212 2nd Street SE. Please R.S.V.P. early by calling 612-673-3126 or emailing [email protected].

2016 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest

Contest Details:

The Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights, the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, Minneapolis City Council, and the Minneapolis Mayor are pleased to present the 2016 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. This contest is open to all Minneapolis students in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades.

The topic for this year’s contest is: Dr. King’s vision is alive and well through the work of current civil rights activists. What kind of impacts are these activists making on the current political and social landscape, and how do you see their work influencing the future?

Provide and properly cite all direct quotes from at least two current leaders/activists in your essay, and give their contact information for verification purposes. You can use information gathering techniques such as interviews, reaching out to organizations/houses of worship doing civil rights work, attending community meetings, and much more. Essays may be from one to three pages in length and address the selected topic. Completed entry forms with parent’s signature must be attached to the back of the essay. All submissions are due by November 16th, 2015.

Teachers can request a member of the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights to visit their classroom and to assist students with the essay topic. To request a visit, please contact the commissioner listed at the bottom of this letter.

Additional packets can be found on the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights website, here.

All contest winners will be notified in January, 2016. There will be three winners chosen from each grade level.

The contest winners will receive a gift card to be awarded at a ceremony before the Minneapolis City Council in January 2016, in the following amounts:

First Place $ 300.00
Second Place $ 200.00
Third Place $ 100.00

There will be a reception after the award ceremony to honor the winners. Teachers, parents, educators and others are invited to attend. Students will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights members, Minneapolis City Council members and Mayor Hodges. Interviews may be requested by the media. The first place winners will have an opportunity to read a portion of their essay at the awards ceremony

Completed Essays should be returned no later than Monday November 16th, 2015 to:

Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights
Attention: Christian Taylor, MCCR Liaison
350 South 5th Street, Room 239
Minneapolis, MN 55415
[email protected]

MLK Essay Contest photo

Minneapolis takes action to protect dwindling local bee population

honey beesThe Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges have taken significant action in the fight to protect the sharply declining local bee population. On August 21, 2015, the City Council passed a resolution that the mayor signed which commits Minneapolis to increasing bee-friendly plants in the city and decreasing pesticide use.

The resolution also declares Minneapolis a pollinator-friendly community and encourages residents and businesses to adopt pollinator-friendly practices such as planting habitat for bees and avoiding pesticides that are known to kill them.

Pollinator populations are in sharp decline because of an ongoing loss of habitat coupled with a simultaneous large-scale expansion of pesticide use by homeowners, landscapers, property managers and farmers.

Pollinators are a necessary component of a healthy ecosystem and food system, providing pollination of plants needed to grow vegetables, herbs and fruits. Local food production is needed to improve the health and food security of Minneapolis residents, and insect pollination is an essential component of local food production.

The City commits to making the following improvements to City policies and practices to increase pollinator forage and decrease pesticide use:

  • The Public Works Department will pursue planting more pollinator forage in appropriate locations (including stormwater management ponds and large land areas) that are currently turf grass, adopt clear guidelines against the use of pesticides and pesticide-treated plants, and consider pollinator-friendly amendments to its land management policy.
  • The Community Planning and Economic Development Department will pilot planting pollinator forage on vacant land it controls and encourage private developers to incorporate pollinator-friendly plantings into required landscaping.
  • The Property Services Division of the City Coordinator’s Office will pursue planting more pollinator forage on City facilities. A pilot is already underway at four Minneapolis Fire Department facilities.
  • The Health Department’s Environmental Services Unit will maintain resources for other City departments including a list of pollinator-friendly plants.
  • The Minneapolis Convention Center will incorporate more pollinator forage into its plantings and phase out the use of “systemic” insecticides (which stay in the plant).

The City of Minneapolis urges all Minneapolis property owners, residents, businesses, institutions and neighborhoods to become more pollinator friendly by adopting practices including:

  • Committing to not use pesticides, including insecticides that stay in the plant, on their properties.
  • Avoiding planting flowering plants that are treated with insecticides that stay in the plant.
  • Discontinuing the sale of pesticides and plants that are treated with insecticides that stay in the plant.
  • Planting more pollinator forage on their property and using organic or chemical-free lawn and landscaping practices.

The State of Minnesota prevents local governments from regulating any matters concerning pesticides. The City of Minneapolis will continue to advocate at the State and federal level for increased authority to address the non-agricultural use of pesticides, and for other pollinator-friendly policies.