CAC Meeting 6-30-08

By admin, July 9, 2008 9:45 pm

Minnehaha-Hiawatha Strategic Development Framework
CAC Meeting Notes
Corcoran Neighborhood Association – 3451 Cedar Ave. South
30 June 2008 / 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Attendees: CAC members Lisa Middag, Ed Leaf, Dan Swenson, Sam Newberg, Karl Stoerzinger, Jamie Buss, Judy Corrao; (unable to attend: Steve Krause and Greg Toltzman); County project manager Robb Luckow, HKGi project manager Mark Koegler, and public participation consultant Anne Carroll; guests County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin and County senior project manager Patrick Connoy.

Dan Swenson, Jamie Buss, Ed LeafSam Newberg, Lisa Middag, and Karl Stoerzinger

1. Housekeeping: Handed out updated draft Stakeholder Engagement Plan; noted that website will be live within two weeks; planned for next two meetings

2. Informal guest presentation: County senior project manager Patrick Connoy provided a project overview and then introduced County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin who gave the following remarks:

Just a few days ago I was at the Midtown Greenway celebration. From there I could see the LRT, the new Sabo bridge, and the Greenway. I marvel now at this great greenway that we created over 15 years ago but that will go for many years to come – a project that reflects the changing needs and desires of communities, and is in itself creating how people live, work, and move around.

It’s about being strategic, taking what people in the community need and want and turning it into something that really works. In urban spaces there are conflicting, legitimate desires for what should happen, so we have to be very careful and thoughtful about how we think about this corridor in the future. We need to listen to all the interests – jobs, people who live right here, people who pass through, and all the others – and we need to stay in charge of what happens.

We lost our influence when we turned over Hiawatha to others who didn’t account well enough for the future and especially not for the desires and needs of community members. We have a chance to be really smart here and grab onto this vision and start investing in ways to help people live their lives better. This is a chance to do this and do it well. The opportunities with Hiawatha and Minnehaha as a county road are significant. We need to look at east-west connections as well as across the river at 46th. This is not the same as the Greenway that was essentially abandoned when we began; here we have existing roadways and neighborhoods, and the chance to make investments that can make this a solid and exciting place to be over the next few years.

The whole notion is to use the county investment as a catalyst for reinvestment along these corridors in ways that reinforce the community and aspirations of the neighborhoods. That was part of the original creation of Hennepin County Community Works years ago. We need to get clear on our vision and methodically invest in it over time.

I really appreciate the work the CAC is doing and the time you are spending. There are lots of legitimate but sometimes conflicting interests, but when it’s done well it brings things together in great ways and yields marvelous results.

When I joined the Board in 1997, the County wasn’t place-based at all; over time we began moving in that direction, first with some new bridges in Dinkytown – that caused huge discussions with local businesses to much better understand how that community worked and how we could make it better rather than worse. We learned to be intentional about improving the communities in which we invest. We have the chance to make some investments here, and we want to do it intentionally and collaboratively with the community.

3. Themes, trends: The CAC reviewed input to date and began identifying themes and trends. Below are their initial ideas on emerging themes; this is core to the CAC’s work and these will be continually expanded and detailed as community input on issues and priorities continues into spring 2009:

  • People very much appreciate the sense of community and the walkability of the neighborhoods and locally owned businesses and services, but are concerned about pedestrian and bicycle safety between Hiawatha and Minnehaha, especially at night with major roadways, the rail line, and poor lighting
  • There are serious traffic flow problems along Hiawatha due to poor signalization; that also pushes more traffic onto Minnehaha
  • People are concerned about vacant and poorly maintained commercial and residential properties that create a poor community image and discourage new investment; it also attracts drug use and graffiti
  • There are continued concerns about crimes against people and property, including at and around LRT stations
  • Hiawatha is a huge barrier between people and communities
  • People desire more trees and other greenery along streets, including Hiawatha, to make the community prettier and more attractive to residents and businesses
  • Community members have very mixed feelings about increased residential density, which may vary by location and current land use
  • Minnehaha Avenue: Some people focused on this being an important connection between the Midtown Greenway and Minnehaha Parkway and as a gateway to Minnehaha Park; some are interested in strengthened and continued high quality development so it’s exciting and vibrant like Grand Avenue in St. Paul; in that case, however, traffic and parking issues would have to be addressed

4. Concurrent consulting project update: Amy Lucas and Carole Zellie are with Landscape Research. The County contracted with them to prepare a cultural resources study for the Minnehaha-Hiawatha corridor. Amy Lucas presented preliminary information on their study that is just being completed (see below). CAC discussion and questions focused on highlighting the neighborhood histories included in the study, and that people will be very interested in learning about this. They also noted that the information could also be used in community conversations and throughout the project to provide that sense of historical context.

Minnehaha-Hiawatha Community Works Strategic Development Framework
Summary of Concurrent Study: Cultural Resources Investigation, 6/30/08

In 2007, Hennepin County (HCWT) contracted with Landscape Research LLC to conduct a cultural resources investigation for the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Corridor. This investigation was conducted in 2007 and 2008 and includes a land use history of the area, historic context development, and preliminary evaluation of historic and cultural resources. It is a component of the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Corridor Strategic Development Framework.

The land use history and related historic contexts provide information for future historic and cultural resource evaluations. Because various development projects within the corridor may receive funding by federal and state agencies, future actions must comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Under 16 USC 470 and implementing regulations (36 CFR 800), the regulations state that federal agencies and/or their designated applicants must take into account the potential effects of federally-funded or regulated undertakings on historic properties, i.e., those listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

Study Objectives

This historic resources study has two objectives. The first is to provide a land use history for the project area, beginning with the development of the territorial road and rail corridor in the mid-19th century and extending through the 20th-century development of industry and housing. The history will provide information for Hennepin County planners and community stakeholders involved in future planning for the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Corridor. It is also the foundation of two historic contexts that provide a framework for evaluating historic resources relative to specific themes, timeframes, and locations. Such historic contexts are useful for many types of preservation planning, and typically accompany or precede historic resources inventories and National Register and local designation studies. “Minnehaha-Hiawatha Avenue Corridor Community Development, 1873-1958,” and “Minneapolis Grain Industry and the Hiawatha Avenue Corridor, 1864-1930″ were the focus of the historic context studies developed from the research.

The second study objective is to provide a preliminary evaluation of properties potentially eligible for the NRHP. As noted above, such assessment is important in planning for future federal and state review of proposed undertakings in the project area.

Study Results

In addition to completion of the two historic contexts noted above, a reconnaissance-level inventory, Phase I evaluations, and selected Phase II evaluations focused primarily on the grain industry and other industrial buildings along the historic Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul (CM&STP) Railway. Additional inventory and evaluations will be completed during the second year of the project (2008-2009).

Recommendations for NRHP eligibility include the CM&StP Railway corridor within the study area and the Hiawatha Corridor Grain Industry Historic District, which is comprised of seven grain elevator and mill complexes. Adjacent industrial properties should receive additional evaluation. Former Minneapolis Fire Stations #21 and #24, and the St. James AME Church are also potentially eligible for the National Register. Additional evaluation of residential properties, including those associated with the Snelling Avenue African-American community, will be conducted during the second phase of this project, to be completed in 2009.

Contact Carole Zellie,; Amy Lucas,

5. Upcoming community input opportunities: CAC members discussed at length the objectives and design for gathering input on National Night Out on August 5 and the Longfellow Corn Feed on August 7. Following their guidance, further work by consultant Anne Carroll yielded the following detailed plan:


  • Our complementary objectives are to provide people with information about the project and to gather additional input from a broad group of community residents about their issues and priorities in the corridor area
  • NNO and the Corn Feed offer amazing opportunities to reach large numbers of people in the target area
  • It is understood that these are broad sweeps and will not adequately reach underrepresented groups — although with support from the CAC and proxies we may be able to do some targeted outreach in certain geographical areas; more on that later
  • The Police Department (PD) is in charge of NNO and has the most current and complete information on Block Club leaders and NNO organizers; they are both willing and interested in providing substantial support for the CAC’s effort on NNO
  • Longfellow Community Council works with the Mpls Park & Rec to organize the Corn Feed and they are excited to work with us to gather input at that event
  • Articles in community newspapers will provide overall project information, website, and specific mention of NNO and Corn Feed input opportunities

NNO Process (August 5):

Based on guidance from the CAC and follow-up conversations with the three community councils, the police department, and Robb Luckow, we settled on the following process that is likely to yield good results while setting reasonable expectations for local volunteers:

  • Prepare community paper/list-serve articles; Anne drafts, CAC and County e-review, LCC/SENA/Corcoran publish; ASAP
  • PD e-contacts their NNO organizers/block club leaders mid-July to notify them about this effort and ask them to support this input opportunity, and follow up just before NNO; Anne will provide content based on previously approved materials for community papers and guidance from the PD
  • PD follows up with reminder to NNO organizers/block club leaders before Aug 5
  • Around July 20, Anne mails packets to all NNO organizers/block club leaders consisting of the following:
  • Thank-you note and instruction sheet
  • Announcement/flyer to put out to attract responses
  • Info/survey forms (20-25): As agreed, this will provide project and contact information (per previous materials) along with a tear-off section that includes the question (below), participants’ address or intersection (for mapping purposes), and email or phone if they want further information. Following the lead-in information, the question is: What kinds of improvements do you think would create a more vibrant community and increase your quality of life?
  • Self-addressed, stamped envelope for NNO organizers/block club leaders to return the tear-off survey forms for data entry/compilation and then CAC review

Corn Feed, August 7, Longfellow Park, 5:30-8:30 pm: According to Joanna with the LCC, historically this has attracted c. 800 people. It’s reasonable to assume that some portion of the participants will have also been involved with NNO, so we need value added for this event. We have arranged a table that will include the following content and input gathering process:

  • Project information at table
  • Welcome/invitation sign
  • Project overview handout
  • Input opportunities and process
  • Map of corridor area
  • Map showing dots of addresses/intersections of participants to date
  • Website info
  • Additional information on project,other Community Works efforts, etc.
  • Input-gathering process:Tabling provides us with time to actually talk with people. We will use the same question, but interview-style like we did at the Farmers’ Market and LRT stations with interviewers taking notes and probing for detail — which will engage people who may have already contributed at NNO. Anne will provide at least 3 people and it would be great if available CAC members could take short turns as project ambassadors and interviewers (TAC members will also be invited to help that evening). We’ll then compile input for CAC review.

6. Adjourned: 7:00 pm

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