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Minneapolis Park Board delays closing Hiawatha Golf Course

Posted on 26 October 2017 by calvin

Golf supporters have held rallies and other events to fight for the continuation of an 18-hole course at Hiawatha. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Next step is to form a community advisory committee to fashion a more sustainable water management plan\

Golfers, the 18-holes at Hiawatha won’t be closing as early as thought.

While the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) decided in August to reduce pumping and effectively close the course by allowing it to flood at the end of the 2019 season, the commissioners agreed on Oct. 4 to keep the course open until a new master plan for the property is adopted, and implementation begins.

To facilitate that, the park board directed staff to obtain approval from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow groundwater pumping at the current volume of 242 million gallons a year. The existing permit is for 36.5 million gallons a year.
Approximately 17 percent of the water being pumped is stormwater runoff, 33 percent is seepage directly from Lake Hiawatha, and 50 percent is shallow groundwater.

The DNR has indicated it will support pumping at the current volume of groundwater as long as the permit application includes: a safety operations plan for the property; a plan for a community engagement process to evaluate alternatives for the property that addresses excessive pumping issues identified by the DNR; and annual updates to the DNR on the community engagement process to evaluate alternatives that address the excessive groundwater pumping.

While that’s good news for golfers for the next few years, it is still expected that the Hiawatha Golf Course will eventually cease to operate as an 18-hole golf course due to excessive groundwater pumping.

That said, the current board of commissioners has requested that MPRB staff strongly consider that some form of traditional golf remains on the Hiawatha Golf Course property.

MPRB has been working to address the recreational impacts and environmental concerns related to the volume of groundwater being pumped at the Hiawatha Golf Course since it was discovered following the June 2014 flooding. MPRB held nine public meetings between January 2015 and July 2017.

Community committee will make recommendations
The park board has not set a definitive date for when changes to the Hiawatha Golf Course property will commence. Instead, board members directed staff to begin a planning process for incorporating a more sustainable water management plan into the landscape, according to District 3 Commissioner Steffanie Musich.

“I am confident that the public planning process utilized by the MPRB will respect the past while considering the future of this parkland, the need to design a landscape that reduces pumping while protecting nearby homes, and is resilient to the impacts of climate change,” she said.

As is typical for MPRB projects, a community engagement process will be used to gather input and inform decisions about the future of the golf course property. A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will be formed to recommend an amendment to the Nokomis-Hiawatha Master Plan that will lay out the plan for the Hiawatha Golf Course property.

The first step in creating a CAC is for staff to present the CAC’s “charge and composition” to the board of commissioners for approval. Once that is done, MPRB staff will begin taking applications for community members interested in serving on the CAC. Once the process opens, the information for submitting applications will be shared with the public through the Gov Delivery email subscription service, posted on the MPRB website, and shared through local media outlets.

The park board is expected to discuss a more refined version of the process and structure at one of its November meetings.

Stay involved and vote, urge golf course supporters
Supporters of keeping the Hiawatha 18-hole course are urging people to stay involved and do the same things they’ve been doing for months. Craig Nicols is glad that the park board listened to residents and considered the larger issue of water in the area.

“We very much encourage residents to gain as much knowledge as possible when making their park board choices on Election Day, because everyone uses parks,” said Nicols.

State legislators get involved
On Oct. 6, elected officials from the area representing Lake Hiawatha and the golf course held a hearing at the State Capitol about water issues and plans to change the recreational opportunities that would be available.

Testimony was provided by the Park Board, the city of Minneapolis, the DNR, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, and others.

“Some of the citizen testifiers brought a different perspective,” remarked Rep. Jean Wagenius (63B), who pointed out that they talked about the high water levels at Lake Nokomis and constraints on the ability to release water from the lake. They mentioned high groundwater levels and wet basements in an area south of Lake Hiawatha. Citizen reports about water percolating up from basement floors were new; it had not happened before. And they are increasing.

“While much focus has been on Lake Hiawatha and the golf course, it became clear at the hearing that the issues there are symptoms of a larger problem,” remarked Wagenius. “This area of south Minneapolis is receiving more water than can be managed. All of us need to understand the larger problem before we can design solutions.”

Wagenius asked the DNR for a briefing on the impact of the surface land use on the deep aquifer below the Minnehaha Creek watershed area that is used for drinking water, and Senator Torres Ray plans to arrange additional hearings at the Capitol.

Concerns about trash, phosphorus remain
Local resident Sean Connaughty is deeply concerned about how this change will delay a solution to reduce phosphorus and trash from entering Lake Hiawatha from the storm sewer pipe on the north side. The pipe that was installed in the 1930s currently drains 1,195 acres of South Minneapolis directly into Lake Hiawatha without any mitigation or clean-up.

Connaughty has personally removed 4,000 pounds of trash from Lake Hiawatha since 2015, and other volunteers have removed several thousand more pounds. Additionally, he pointed out, “Water quality measurements at Lake Hiawatha recorded the highest phosphorous measurements in the entire Minnehaha Creek Watershed.”

The “open channel” option laid out in the MPRB’s proposals earlier this year would provide a system of filtering out the trash and pollutants, and is one he supports.

“I hope that all sides of the issue can come together and find an equitable solution that meets the ecological and water quality needs of the lake, surrounding parkland and watershed while addressing the historical significance and important equity issues it represents,” said Connaughty. “I think that comprehensively mitigating the north pipe could be the issue that all folks can agree upon. The pollution of the water via this storm sewer system is avoidable and letting it continue is negligence.”

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Songwriter, musician, and novelist Ann Reed debuts new CD

Posted on 26 October 2017 by calvin


Longfellow music legend Ann Reed (photo right provided) started picking on her brother’s guitar at the age of 12, and she’s never looked back. In a music career that has taken her across the country performing live, Reed has written and sung songs that touch the heart and free the mind. And her new CD, “Winter Springs, Summer Falls,” adds to her repertoire. The CD release concert is scheduled for 7pm, Sun., Nov. 12 at St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Ave. S.

Born in Minneapolis, Reed spent the first two years of her life in St. Louis Park and then moved to Minnetonka, where she grew up.

“Almost everyone in my high school was learning how to play guitar,” Reed recalled. She was also a part of a folk mass in a local Catholic church. “That helped me gain confidence,” she said. “The first concert I ever saw was Peter, Paul and Mary, and I was off and running.”

Reed said she tried a year of college in Bemidji, but joked that she is not an academic. Making her home in Minneapolis, she did a variety of part-time and temporary jobs but always focused on her music. “One time I tried to write down all the part-time jobs I had. It took awhile,” Reed quipped.

Reed and her manager, Lin Bick, did go to Nashville. “It was a generally pretty open community as far as being able to talk to publishers and labels,” Reed said. “We got in to see everybody we wanted to. We sat down with the fellow who had brought in Alabama.”
Reed said he listened to her tape, then turned to her manager and asked what Reed wore on stage.

“I thought that if that’s what it’s about, I don’t want a part of that. I would rather be independent. They’re not in the business of discovering people but in the business of making money. They know what they have made money with before, and it just wasn’t comfortable for me. I want to write songs.”

And write songs is what she did. Her new release is her 24th album. Reed worked for a couple of years with Red House Records, but after that went her own way, forming her own company, Turtlecub Productions, Inc.

And, Reed has not limited herself to writing and performing songs. She has written a play based on a song she wrote called “Heroes” and took it on tour. She also wrote a play about Dorothy Fields, the lyricist behind “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”

Last year Reed (photo left by Jan Willms) completed her first novel, “Citizens of Campbell.” It is the story of two WWII vets living in the small town of Campbell, IA, and their unlikely friendship.

“My wife had an internship in psychology and was working in a small town in Iowa, so small they made announcements when a storm was coming rather than use a siren. That stuck in my head, and I started writing this story after my dad died. The two main characters have a little bit of my dad in them.”

Reed said she wrote about 15 pages and then let it go for many years, until about four years ago. “A friend was writing, and she wanted me to read her work. But then she wanted to read some of mine in exchange. So we started mutually helping each other, and I got it done.”

Reed has also published a book of Haiku. “I write at least one Haiku every day, and I have been doing it for the past eight years,” she stated. “It’s a nice way to focus your day, and it’s a centering kind of poem. You only have those three lines and 17 syllables. It’s the opposite of writing a novel.”

The writing process, whether songs or Haiku, is something Reed enjoys very much. “It really fills me up, and is kind of my number one thing,” she said. “Writing is a very solitary endeavor, but very peaceful for the most part, unless you’re frustrated, which can happen too. I have a small writing group, and we talk about writing or drawing. Having that kind of support is great.”

She recalled that when she was starting out, it was a great time for songwriters. It was also a time for social activism and protest songs. Reed said she doesn’t know why great protest songs don’t resonate today. “I know songs are being written, but they are not the kind that you join in and sing. When we think about the old folk songs, they were so easy for people to catch on right away and jump in. Times have changed.”

Reed added that her shows are not free of commentary. “I try to do it in a way that sometimes is humorous and sometimes is poignant through my songs,” she noted. She said she has reached an age where she feels free to speak her mind. “Once you have crossed the line of being 60, you don’t care anymore. You just let it go.”

Reed said she recently read an interview with the actress Frances McDormand. “She was talking about being a post-menopausal woman and becoming invisible. I had always thought of that as a negative thing, but her take was that we can become invisible and become very powerful. All bets are off, and there is a great deal of freedom when you get to be an older woman. You have lived long enough and have had all this experience, and it is very freeing.”

When she wrote her songs for her upcoming CD, Reed centered her album around the seasons. “Seasons are so important for me in my life; I feel we live by the seasons,” Reed said her favorite time of year is fall and winter when people are heading toward resting. “This is a time when we are putting the garden to bed, getting ready to nest, and have a nice long rest in winter,” she explained. “Winter is lovely, and then we get ready for spring, a time of renewal. Summer is full of energy, with people awake and active.” She said most of the songs on her new CD pertain to the seasons, except for “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.” “But that song has the energy of summer, so it does relate to the seasons in that way,” she added.

For this CD, Reed put it together a little differently. “Usually I will sit down, write all the songs, then go in the studio and record them. This time I wrote a couple, then recorded them. It took over three years.”

Unlike BB King and his guitar Lucille, Reed has not christened her 12-string guitar with a name. But in December she will have had it for 40 years. She is one of few women who play a 12-string. “12-string is notoriously hard to tune,” she said, “but I have always loved its sound, because of the high strings. There is a very bright and very full sound to it.” Her guitar was made by Charlie Hoffman, who has a shop in the Seward neighborhood.

Reed is at work on another novel. “I might be doing a project with my bass player, Joan Griffith,” she said. “A lot of people have asked us to do a CD of covers or standards.” She will continue with her regular December gig at the Riverview Cafe, monthly sing-alongs, and shows at Zumbrota.

“And I will start writing songs again,” she said. “Because that’s what I do.”


Music CDs by Ann Reed
Road of The Heart – 1991
Hole in the Day – 1993
Life Gets Real – 1995
Timing Is Everything – 1997
Through the Window – 2000
Not Your Average Holiday – 2001
Gift of Age – 2002
Ann Reed Valentine’s CD – 2003
Telling Stories – 2006
Heroes – 2007
Songs For Minnesota – 2008
Where The Earth Is Round – 2009
Eventually – 2013
Winter Springs, Summer Falls – 2017

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Supermercado La Mexicana is one-stop grocery for everything Latin

Posted on 26 October 2017 by calvin

La Mexicana is decorated by a painting and mosaic by Greta McLain, part of the Somilla Project.

Article and all photos by STEPHANIE FOX
Just a few blocks west of the Longfellow and Nokomis neighborhoods, in an area where ethnic grocery stores attract customers from around the city, is the Supermercado La Mexicana. Located on the corner of Lake and Bloomington Ave., it was one of the first Latin American grocery stores in the area. If you are coming from the east, you can’t miss the place. There is a stunning mosaic covering the entire side of the building. If you are looking for an authentic culinary experience by preparing your own Mexican or South American food, this is where to come to find the ingredients.

Josie and Robert Dehoyos, recent immigrants from Texas, were having trouble finding what they needed to make the kind of meals they’d enjoyed back home. Then they discovered Supermercado La Mexicana. “Most places are smaller, and they don’t have as much to choose from,” said Robert. “They have a variety of Mexican foods here that we can’t find elsewhere.” On this shopping expedition, they brought along their daughter Harley Canto and her boyfriend Cory Sumner, visiting the city from Texas, a must see place, the parents had said. Canto said they’d be moving up to Minnesota, soon. “When we move here, we’ll shop here,” she said.

Photo right: Chicken breasts, wings, and legs, ready to package up for customers.

The store, and another one like it in St. Paul, is owned by Maria Lala, who opened it 18 years ago. Her husband, Mauro Madrigal, manages the Lake St. store. He was born in Mexico, he said, but grew up in Chicago. “I worked in IT for years,” he said. “Then I met my wife, married her and moved up here.”

Madrigal says that having a large variety of products is what makes the store a cut above others in the area. They specialize in Mexican, Honduran, and Salvadorian products with a small selection of South American choices, and it’s a full-fledged market, so you don’t have to be looking for south-of-the-border foods to want to shop here. They are busy enough to employ 14 workers, including full-time butchers, bakers, and a deli chef.

If you are looking for spicy condiments or cooking sauces, there is a whole aisle of choices. In the produce section (photo left), you can find standard grocery selections in addition to more unusual fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They carry two kinds of cactus, yucca, and starchy plantains. You can also find fresh bunches of an aromatic herb called hierba de olar, used in preparing southern Mexican tamales or in a traditional chicken recipe, tapixte de pollo, served at special occasions such as weddings or birthdays.

The store’s on-site bakery makes sweets and breads, displayed along a 25 ft. long specialty aisle where customers can choose their own, including breakfast pastries and large chocolate chip and M&M cookies.

In the carniceria—the meat department—Madrigal employs full-time butchers who start with whole pigs and large sections of beef and cuts them into thin slices or cubes and the specialty cuts like ribs and shanks. Butcher Edier Cruz (photo right) has worked behind the meat counter for two years. He used to drive a truck, he says, but he was offered a chance to learn meat cutting on the job.

In the frozen food section, you can find Latin American foods, ready to cook and eat. Or, find the lulo pulp and make yourself some lulada, a cold summer drink from Colombia. (Or use lulo to make a traditional Ecuadorian breakfast, the Ecuadorian Colada by simmering together for about 10 minutes: 2 cups of frozen lulo pulp, three-quarter cup of instant uncooked oatmeal—first soaked in one and a half cups of water—a half-pound of brown sugar, three sticks of cinnamon and four and a half cups of water.)

Photo left: Beef and homemade pork chorizos at the La Mexicana meat counter.

If you don’t feel like cooking yourself, check out the popular six-table sit-down deli run by Osvaldo Ocampo. “I learned to cook from my mama and grandma,” he said in Spanish. The secret is the seasoning, he said. The pork chorizos are freshly made, as are the tacos, tortas, and the Mexican and Oxaquenos tamales (wrapped in hierba de olar instead of corn husks.) “The best part of my job is being independent,” he said. “I get to work on my own.” His foods are available for take-out as well.

The place also makes and sells their own Mexican style homemade yogurt in strawberry, peach, coconut, and apple. “It’s a very good seller,” Madrigal says.

Photo right: Angie Rosas helps check out a regular La Mexicana customer.

While Madrigal still uses his IT training at the store, it’s the customers who bring him out from behind the computer screen. “I like working with people,” he says. I see new faces daily. We get all sorts of people, Black, Polish, American Indian, people from India. We’re starting to see a lot of Somalis. I like to welcome everyone.”

While finding parking in the area can be a challenge, the store has a parking lot in the back, free to customers.

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Minnehaha soccer coach injured in explosion focuses on recovery

Posted on 26 October 2017 by calvin

Duffeys are grateful for community support as they move, seek larger vehicle, and await birth of their first baby

After losing his right leg following the Minnehaha Academy gas explosion on Aug. 2, Bryan Duffey is focused on walking again and becoming a father in January.

“Bryan has continued to be forgiving and gracious in all of this, and has been so strong through it all,” observed his wife, Jamie. “There are, of course, frustrations and a great sense of loss, but we work through them together. Right now we are just focused on getting him walking again, and for us to keep moving forward with the changes so that we can focus on the baby when he gets here.”

Rescued from under a column and a wall
After graduating from high school in Nebraska, Bryan earned his degree from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where he met his future wife, Jamie, who was originally from Perham, Minn. The two got to know each other while working for the non-profit Hope for Opelousas in Louisiana, providing after-school programs for grades 4-12. After a stint in Wisconsin, Bryan took a job as an assistant soccer coach and custodian at Minnehaha Academy a year ago. Jamie works full-time for Midwest Special Services providing day training for adults with disabilities.

On Aug. 2, Bryan was working at Minnehaha Academy when the building exploded.
He was fortunate to be found by two responding officers and a third off-duty deputy who lives near Minnehaha. They removed a column that landed on top of him first. Then they took apart a wall brick by brick to uncover Bryan’s entire lower body before they could get him to safety. Bryan was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center and was released 27 days later on his two-year wedding anniversary.

“I am overwhelmed thinking about how blessed we are to have had these men there and to have Bryan still with us today,” said his wife, Jamie on their CaringBridge page.

Bryan underwent several surgeries that left him with his right leg amputated just above the knee and his left leg stabilized by screws and a nail through his tibia.

Big purchases needed to help Bryan achieve independence
The injury pushed the Duffeys into buying a house earlier than planned. They were renting a home in Minneapolis before the explosion but weren’t able to modify it to suit Bryan’s needs, so they purchased a home in St. Paul. They were able to move in a week after his release from the hospital, but they are still waiting for workers compensation to approve funding for a bathroom remodel so that Bryan can transfer without pain, and they can have a bathroom door back on.

Photo left: Wed two years ago, Bryan and Jamie Duffey are expecting their first child in January, which helps carry them through the tough times they’ve been facing since Bryan was injured and lost his right leg following the gas explosion at Minnehaha Academy on Aug. 2, 2017. (Photo submitted)

By the beginning of October, Bryan’s neck brace was off, which was a relief for his wife to know that his neck is good and he could sleep a little more comfortably. Bryan was beginning to bear some weight on his left leg, which means he is getting closer to starting the prosthesis process.

He also graduated from speech therapy, which mostly worked with his brain injury.

“This is exciting because mentally he is able to drive again,” said Jamie via CaringBridge. “Unfortunately, physically he is not able to drive until we get a new vehicle that is higher off the ground and will have hand controls put in. We hope to get him driving soon so that he can gain some of his independence back.”

The couple owns two small cars, a Honda Civic and Bryan’s tiny Ford Fiesta. They can’t fit Bryan’s wheelchair and a baby in the Fiesta. And so, they’re on a hunt for a bigger vehicle that is higher off the ground. With his prosthesis, he needs a vehicle that will enable him to keep his knee joint at a 90-degree angle and not have to jump out of, explained Jamie. They also plan to outfit it through worker’s compensation with hand controls so that Bryan can drive independently.

The couple wasn’t planning on buying a house, and they weren’t planning to also replace a vehicle right now just before having a new baby. “Financially, it’s going to be really tight,” remarked Jamie. While they considered moving to a place where the cost of living isn’t as high, they decided to stay in the Twin Cities because of the increased opportunity for employment and access to doctors.

Fundraiser to help buy larger vehicle
Bryan’s in-laws, Wes and Teresa Jeltema, have attended Richville United Methodist Church in northern Minnesota where they live for the past ten years. On Oct. 7, the church held spaghetti feed, serving 100 people and raising over $3,500 to date. Fifteen volunteers served, sang, and cleaned up.

If you want to participate, but could not get to Richville, consider mailing a check to Richville United Methodist Church, 130 SW 1st Ave., P.O. Box 67, Richville, MN 56576, or wiring a gift of stock, bonds or mutual funds to TY9146536. “This will help Bryan and his wife, Jamie, who is six months pregnant, maintain appropriate housing and secure transportation for the trying months ahead,” remarked Richville United Methodist pastor Rod Turnquist.

“Bryan and Jamie have inspired all of us by their honesty, their courage, and their resilience,” added Turnquist.

What keeps them going
Their faith and the support of family, friends and the Minnehaha community is helping pull the Duffeys through this difficult time. Plus, there’s the excitement of expecting their first child.

“I think that having a baby on the way helps to motivate,” observed Jamie.

They are grateful for the support they’ve received since the explosion.

“We have been supported by so many families, friends, church community, and work communities,” remarked Jamie. “Minnehaha Academy has surrounded us with love and prayers, and families have been bringing us meals.” Their church, Calvary Baptist, has also brought them meals regularly.

The Duffeys appreciate all prayers and positive vibes sent their way.

Life has become busy once again.

“Bryan coached every regular season soccer game, and we are now moving into playoffs,” wrote Jamie on the CaringBridge site Oct. 7. “This has been such a blessing for him as this created some normalcy, and allowed him to continue to do something that he loves.”

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Solid State strives to foster a community of music and art lovers

Posted on 26 October 2017 by calvin

Record shop hosts Vinyl 101 workshops, in-store performances, public gallery nights and more

For Phil Borreson, opening up a record shop in Longfellow with his wife, Hannah, was a way to turn a passion for music into a viable career. At the same time, he gets to share that passion with a community of like-minded people.

Solid State opened at 4022 E. 46th St. in the former Pink Closet Consignment building in December 2016. In the past, the 4,248-square-foot space had also housed a grocery store, hardware store, and vacuum shop.

Photo right: For Hannah and Phil Borreson opening up a record shop in the Longfellow neighborhood was a way to turn a passion for music into a viable career. Solid State is located at 4022 E. 46th St. (Photo courtesy of Heather Swanson @photonut74)

While Solid State also carries new and used cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and retro video games, the heart of the business is its vinyl record collection.

There’s an experience associated with vinyl records, pointed out Borreson, an additional layer that MP3s don’t provide.

“Downloading a song is incredibly impersonal when compared to the thoughtfulness that goes into getting a record. The act of going to a shop and finding that record and talking to the people at the shop about the record, getting to share that excitement, that experience, with other people, that’s what sets it apart,” stated Borreson.
It is also what sets their store apart.

The Borresons make an effort to be helpful and friendly with every customer who steps through the door. “We offer advice where we can, and we do our best to help people find the records they’re looking for, and maybe even show them some cool stuff they don’t yet know about,” remarked Borreson. “Some shops you walk into and you don’t talk to another person until you’re checking out, but we want to connect with the people in the community who take the time to come visit us.”

Do people under 40 listen to vinyl records?
When the iPod was released in the mid-2000s, the younger generation began clamoring for something that they could experience. “They not only wanted to listen to their music, but they also wanted to hold it and feel it in their hands. Thus the vinyl resurgence began over a decade ago,” pointed out Borreson, who falls within the under 40 age category himself.

Photo left: In recent years, vinyl has become more desirable simply because of its aesthetic appeal. “Having the ability to add a song to your phone or computer is convenient, but it’s also impersonal,” pointed out Solid State owner Phil Borreson. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

In recent years, vinyl has become more desirable simply because of its aesthetic appeal. “Having the ability to add a song to your phone or computer is convenient, but it’s also impersonal,” pointed out Borreson.

“There’s nothing interesting about tapping a screen until you find the song you want. But there is a very special kind of excitement that a person feels when they go to a record shop, and they find a record they love and hold it in their hands, a physical copy that they can see and feel and hear without the use of a device. It’s refreshing. And people know that, or at least they’re beginning to recognize it.

“More and more as this ‘digital age’ pushes forward, people want a break from the technology that surrounds them almost constantly, and vinyl records can give people that break.”

Vinyl 101, live music and art
There’s a lot more to a turntable than an iPod or smartphone regarding the musical operation. Solid State offers Vinyl 101 workshops to give customers a basic rundown of how to use their turntable and some maintenance techniques to keep it in tip-top shape. During the workshop, they share some tips they’ve picked up over the years to keep music sounding great on the turntable.

The next Vinyl 101 will be on ladies night Wed., Nov. 8. Women also get 10% off all used vinyl from 5-7pm.

“Solid State is well equipped to be the destination store for life-long collectors, and also be a friendly place for people who want to start collecting and need a helping hand,” said Borreson.

The shop accepts submissions from musicians and artists seeking special perks such as prime product placement, social media plugs, etc. Musical acts can also earn the chance for in-store performances, while artists can score public gallery nights.

Photographs by Heather Swanson (Instagram tag @photonut74) are currently on display in the store. A reception is planned for Tues., Nov. 14.

Audio from past in-store performances is available and includes Falcon Arrow’s Feb. 17 show, Graham Bramblett‘s March 11 show, and Ellen Stekert’s Mar. 25 show. Check the website for upcoming musical events.

In addition to musical items, Solid State also stocks “exclusive” home accessories, Engels by Design handbags, jewelry, accessories, vintage band T-shirts, and musical equipment. Call 612-916-0990 to sell unwanted media.

Solid State is open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 7pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm. View the online catalog at

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New building next to 38th St. lightrail station clearing construction hurdles

Posted on 26 September 2017 by calvin

38th Station DesignThe entire station revitalization project proposed by the Lander Group includes three buildings. One sits next to the lightrail line and offers retail and office space. The largest wraps around the Cardinal restaurant and has housing and retail. A third sits south of 38th at its intersection with 29th and includes affordable housing and retail space. (Illustration submitted)

Plan to revitalize 38th St. station includes three new buildings, two plazas, new street, stoplight, and bike parking

While the proposal for multi-story buildings at the 38th St. and Hiawatha fits within the city’s plans for development along the lightrail line, neighbors argue that it doesn’t fit within their Minneapolis neighborhood.

During a public hearing on Sept. 18, Jennifer Halter, a resident along 29th Ave., pointed out that most of the buildings in the neighborhood are one-and-a-half story bungalows or two-story homes.

She specifically opposes the plan by the developer, Lander Group, to put a four-story building on the southeast corner of 38th St. and 29th Ave.

“A four-story building has no business on the south block of 38th St. if the city and developer intend to retain the character of the neighborhood,” wrote Halter in a letter opposing the proposal.

Department of Community Planning and Economic DevelopmentPhoto left: A wedge-shaped building next to the lightrail line will house offices and a restaurant. Next to it will be a privately-owned, public plaza with seating and a water feature. (Illustration submitted)

The plan shows a building that is two stories along 38th and steps back to four stories on the south side, which means that the 100-year-old, 1.5-story farmhouse on the south will be right next to a four-story wall without a setback, Halter said.

Halter was joined by three other neighbors who are also concerned about the size of the building proposed for the south side of 38th, parking issues along residential streets, and the traffic congestion that will be generated by the new development.

“People want their cars. They don’t want to go grocery shopping in January on the bus,” stated Caroline Smart.

Yvette Roberts, who lives north of 38th along 29th Ave., is also concerned about traffic, specifically the buses that will be traveling down her street, and she’s a regular bus rider who doesn’t own a car. She also expressed concern about where cars were going to park. “Everyone wants to park by the lightrail station. They want a park and ride,” she stated.

Station to be redone
The Lander Group is planning to revitalize the 38th St. lightrail station “through privately-led, publicly-visioned development,” according to city documents. By making the site larger through the purchase of the six homes on the west side of the property along 29th, the Lander Group will enlarge the bus turnaround and drop-off, create a new city street, add two new station plazas with public art and water features, and construct three new buildings. The buildings will house a mixture of office, retail, and housing.

A great street
While neighbors spoke about the overall development during the Sept. 18 public hearing, Planning Commissioners were looking at just a portion of the project.

“We’re excited to be here,” said Michael Lander of Lander Group. “One could argue this is the culmination of a vision that started 27 years ago.” The vision for lightrail along this corridor included the redevelopment of the area with high-density housing along the line and additional amenities.

“There’s been a lot of people talking about what they want to happen, and we’re excited to make it happen,” Lander stated.

The Lander Group envisions a “great street” from its soon-to-be complete project at 38th and 28th east to Hiawatha. They intend to invest in streetscaping improvements along the corridor. The new city street within the development, the extension of 30th Ave., will be a full city street and not merely the bus lane that is there now and it will have broad sidewalks.

One of the highlights of the site for the public is a 100 by 40-foot plaza along 38th and the lightrail line. This will be a privately-owned public space with sidewalks along the edge, seating, planters, and a water feature within 20 feet of what developers hope will be a restaurant.

The public improvements will be financed and paid for by new resources directly from the project—new property taxes, a Hennepin County Transit Oriented Development (TOD) grant, and a Met Transit Livable Communities TOD grant.

Due to the large scale of the project, The Lander Group broke things up and asked first for approval of the plaza and “building 2,” the 10,000-square-foot structure next to the lightrail line.

The aim of building two is to welcome visitors to the neighborhood with an upward sweeping roof line and glass atrium. The unique wedge-shaped building will hold office and retail space on three levels, two above grade and one below. A modern design with brick and glass will be used, and the plan calls for a large mural facing the lightrail tracks.

To move the project forward, the planning commission reviewed a rezoning request (to C3A Community Activity Center District), a conditional use permit for a planned unit development, and two variance requests. The variance requests were deemed unnecessary due to varying interpretations, and the others approved by the planning commission.

While the design includes windows on all sides of building two, due to how city staff calculates the window requirement they concluded that the building had only 9% of the required 40% windows. Unless the window began at two feet, it was not counted at all in the calculation.

Lander Group staff argued that the plan calls for windows beginning at three feet as the use on that level will be a restaurant, and they wanted more flexibility in where to position chairs than a two-foot window would allow.

Lander Group staff also questioned the city staff desire to have 25% of the seating with backs in the plaza be stationary and argued that non-stationary seating would be better suited for the plaza. Commissioners agreed.

Buses will travel in loop
The new plan for the station brings buses and traffic in at the existing location, which will be the new 30th Ave., west to 29th, and south down 29th. Four bus bays will be created to make boarding more efficient. Parking will be removed entirely on the west side of 29th St. south of its intersection with the new east-west street to accommodate the bus traffic and ensure buses aren’t operating next to parked cars. Five parking spots on the east side will also be removed, adding up to a total loss of 20 parking spaces along 29th.

At its intersection with 38th St., 29th Ave. will be widened to a three-lane section with a southbound through and left turn lane, and a right-turn-only lane. A new stoplight will also be placed there.

Following a traffic study, planners believe that traffic will be better with these changes. Currently, the transit driveway and stoplight is less than 200 feet from the intersection of 38th and Hiawatha. The additional distance should provide longer and more discernible gaps in traffic.

Presently, there are about 4,600 weekday daily trips into and out of the station area. About 2,200 passenger trips arrive to board transit per weekday with about 1,600 of those attributed to the Hiawatha Blue Line and about 600 boardings per day occurring on the three bus routes. About 28% of LRT boardings access the station from buses, so about 75% of bus activity at the station is related to transferring to and from the LRT.

Three new buildings in all
Buildings one and three will come before the planning commission “soon,” according to Lander.
Building one will anchor the development as a mixed-use structure and replace the existing single-family homes on the east side of 29th. Street-level retail space will be divided into three individual bays, totaling 8,000+ sq. feet. Interaction between the new five-story building and the existing Cardinal Bar building will create new pedestrian zones to encourage socializing, rest, and outdoor dining opportunities. Housing units (135 in total) will sit above the retail base and surround a central open courtyard.

There will be 109 underground and 85 at-grade parking spaces for residents, employees, and longer-term parkers. Access will be from 29th St. and the new bus turnaround street. Besides providing ground level parking, the central courtyard water infiltration system will filter rainwater runoff through a landscaped area before releasing it into the city system.

Solar panels on Building One will offset energy use, and residential areas will include recycling receptacles on each floor.

Department of Community Planning and Economic DevelopmentTo the south of 38th St., the new mixed-use building three (illustration right submitted) will have over 2,700 square feet of street-level retail space facing 38th St. The 24 market rate affordable units will provide a mix of studios and two-bedroom floor plans. Fourteen spaces of off-street parking will be available for tenant use.

In documents filed with the city, planners envision 38th Street Station becoming a hub of alternative transportation options, supporting light rail with bicycle storage options, dedicated shared vehicle spaces, and encouraging a walkable neighborhood.

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A part-time job led to a 45-year career in hardware

Posted on 25 September 2017 by calvin

A loss to the community as River Lake Hardware to close its doors by the end of the year

Article and photos by STEPHANIE FOX
Jim Logan in River Lake HardwareJim Logan (photo right), one of the owners of River Lake Hardware at 36th and E. Lake St., has been greeting a steady stream of customers all morning, as he does most days. Often showing up as early as 7:30am, he has been doing this for 45 years and this morning, the word has gotten out that by the end of the year, the shop will close for good.

In the beginning, Logan and his business partner Mark Enderlein never planned to be in the hardware business. Logan was in college, within 12 credits of getting an accounting degree, when he took what he thought would be a short-time job at River Lake Hardware. He remembers the exact date, he said. “It was Sept. 10, 1972,” and now, just one day short of 45 years, a sign announcing the going out of business sale appeared above the door. “I lived across the street and needed a job,” he said. “And, I thought it would be a good idea to get business experience. I didn’t think it would last long. But, I fell in love with it.”

Logan and Enderlein bought the store, a True Value franchise, in 1974. It was not Logan’s first business. He had owned a small sandwich shop in St. Paul, but somehow, hardware (and not sandwiches) got into his blood.

Enderlein also owns River Lake Small Engine and Racing, just down the street, which serves the go-kart racing community. “Jim and I have been 50/50 owners of the hardware store for 45 years,” he said. “I like to say that I own the half he doesn’t own.” Enderlein still works at the hardware store when the place gets crowded and busy. “In theory, I work every other Saturday when Jim gets off, but a lot of the time both me and Jim end up working together.”

At about 3,000 sq. ft., the shop is small, with a main floor and a basement, located down a narrow staircase. There are bins of nuts, bolts, nails and fasteners, racks of hand and power tools, lawn and garden, paint, shelves of plumbing supplies—and Logan knows where everything is located, down to the inch. The store offers services, too. And while Logan claims that brick and mortar businesses are dead, most of his customers disagree.

Many of his customers have been coming here for years. The 200 to 300 customers who come in each day are not big box store people. They come for good advice and expertise and because the store supports the neighborhood. (Yelp gives the store their highest five-star rating.) Logan calls his place the most laid-back hardware store in the Twin Cities.

“I can support my local hardware store because I grew up here,” said Travis Berg, who came in looking for a line level. “I used to come in here as a kid and spend my allowance. Now, I’m in construction. This place is partly the reason for that.” Logan sends him down to the basement for the level.

One customer comes in needing a new key. “That’s what I sell the most of—we sell 23,000 keys a year,” said Logan. He claims that most hardware stores take much too long in making new keys. “Count the seconds this takes for me to make this,” he said. There’s a new key, ready to go, in six seconds. Locks are repaired in 30 (or fewer) minutes. The shop also offers 24-hour window repairs service.

River Lake Hardware exteriorCustomer Sacha Muller lives nearby and says that the store closing is a loss to the neighborhood. “Business like this know the kind of houses in the neighborhood and what they need,” he said.

Logan said that after the store finally closes, he’ll spend more time in Saigon. Since buying a home there ten years ago, he’s visited Vietnam 97 times, spending two weeks every other month there. He brings back tiny painted wooden dragonflies, which he gives as gifts to his female customers. “There are only three women in the world who make these,” he said. He says he might get a job when he gets back, mostly to socialize. “I like people too much to do accounting.”

Enderlein plans on closing his machine shop business, as well. “I love the businesses, and I love the people, but the reason I want it to be done is that I just turned 65 years old and have ten grandchildren. I have an 86-year old mother who lives in Colorado, and I see her only once a year. My wife and I are going to do more family and more traveling.”

“This has been a wonderful time,” Logan said. “But, what’s most important to me are the people who have supported us for 45 years. When Frattallone’s [Hardware Store] came in ten-and-a-half years go, our customers still came here. I have no regrets. I could have made more money doing something else, but I wouldn’t be anywhere as happy.”

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Bossen Mural Celebration and Open House planned Oct. 3

Posted on 25 September 2017 by calvin

Community Mural 13

How does a run-down garage in a high-poverty neighborhood become a symbol of community pride?

Bossen is an area within the Winona neighborhood, just east of Bossen Park. It contains 50 apartment buildings and about 1,250 residents. According to current Met Council statistics, the poverty rate for the Twin Cities overall is 22.7%. But Bossen has been designated as a racially concentrated area of poverty where upwards of 40% of the residents are living below the poverty line. Residents of color are heavily represented there, with a high percentage of Latinos, East Africans, and African Americans.

The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) has been doing a lot of work in Bossen in the last couple of years, according to executive director Becky Timm. “In 2016, we worked with Metro Transit to survey residents as part of the Better Bus Stop project. One result was the addition of a new bus shelter built at Sander Dr. and E. 58th St. last summer,” Timm said, “and this year we’ve been working on improving awareness of energy efficiency with tenants and landlords in neighboring apartment buildings.

Community Mural 20Photo right: Community teaching artist Victor Yepez, whose passion is transforming neighborhoods one mural at a time. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Most recently, NENA sponsored a community mural project that grew out of a partnership with the Minneapolis Department of Health. Timm said, “We learned there was funding available for place-making initiatives, under the parameters of addressing healthy living with an outdoor community project.”

NENA put out a call for artists and received more than two dozen proposals. Victor Yepez, a community teaching artist with a passion for transforming neighborhoods, was chosen. Originally from Ecuador, Yepez now lives in East Nokomis and has completed 37 community mural projects across Minnesota.

“Victor’s proposal stood out among the others,” Timm said. “We liked that community voices would be part of the design process, and that community members would be involved in the painting.”

NENA reached out to neighborhood property owner Spencer Pope, who was happy to provide the south side of his garage as a background for the mural. His garage had been a target for graffiti off and on and was in poor condition. With the help of Pope, community volunteers, and NENA board members, the old siding was removed, and a new plasterboard surface was put up.

The “canvas” for the mural stretched for half a block, and it was ready to go.

Following a Bossen Area Renter’s Party last spring, enough ideas were generated to fill the mural from end to end.

Community Mural 11Photo left: Residents of the Bossen neighborhood participated in two community painting days in August to help complete the mural. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“We decided to show off the beautiful things we have in this neighborhood,” Yepez said, “like the water features of Minnehaha Falls, Lake Nokomis, the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, and Cold Water Springs. Residents were excited about the image of the butterfly hatching from its chrysalis because it symbolizes transformation; and the colorful, multi-cultural ribbon that runs across the mural symbolizes that all of us, no matter what color, are connected.”

Timm concluded, “We’ve gotten many emails and calls at the NENA office from people saying how much they appreciate the mural. When Victor was out painting, either by himself or with kids from the neighborhood, people driving by or walking often stop and talk to him about the project. That’s why we love using art as a community building tool: there’s both the beauty of the mural itself, and also the connections that spring up because it’s there.”

Nokomis resident and artist Dani Bianchini added mosaic elements to the mural, giving a third dimension to the medicine wheel and monarch butterfly, among other elements.

An official Bossen Mural Celebration and Open House is planned for Tues., Oct. 3 from 6-7:30pm at 5757 Sander Dr. Call the NENA office at 724-5652 with questions.

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New Longfellow dance company finds its niche with families

Posted on 25 September 2017 by calvin

DanceCoAfter becoming parents themselves, dancers Matthew and Brittany Keefe have discovered the secret of presenting performances to children and their families.

Keep the production short, 45 minutes to an hour. Keep the prices reasonable, like $10 per admission. And throw in some tongue-in-cheek nuances that will appeal to adults in the audience.

Photo right: Brittany Keefe (Photo right by Matthew Keefe)

With their fledgling company, DanceCo, the Longfellow residents are putting on their first performance, “Expectation Station,” a story of the railroad told through dance and familiar train-based songs set at a station called Expectation.

The presentation, done in collaboration with the Roe Family Singers and Engineer Paul of theChoo Choo Bob Train Show, will run Oct. 17-22 at the Avalon Theater, 1500 E. Lake St. (home of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater). To purchase tickets, go to

The two professional ballet dancers have followed a path of performance, teaching, direction, and production to reach this point.

“I have not been performing for a little while,” Matthew said. “I have moved on into teaching and directing over the years.” He said he got into dance when he was in college, dating a woman who was a dancer. “She dared me to take a modern dance class with her” he recalled. “I should go back and thank her. The relationship didn’t last, but my relationship with dance did.”

Matthew left college, moved to Chicago, and started training there. He eventually returned to school and completed an MFA in dance from the University of Iowa.

“I started in dance when I was about 4,” Brittany said. “I had some eye issues and visual delays. My mom was a therapist, and she thought the ability to dance would improve my balance. So I just fell in love with it.”

Brittany said she went to dance school at age 9, and eventually began dancing professionally. I followed wherever my career took me,” she said. She has performed with dance companies across the country, as well as in Italy and Germany. The two met at a dance camp in Vermont.

“Both of us were at a place in our lives where we noticed each other,” Matthew reminisced. “We had our first courting in Vermont in the summer, which was exquisite. We did the long-distance thing for a year, and here we are. It’s a dancer’s story.”

The Keefes had lived in Minneapolis previously, both dancing for the James Sewell Ballet. They had purchased a home in the Longfellow area. Matthew said he also has family here, which gives him a real area connection. Their careers had taken them many places, and they ended up in New York when the economy turned south.

“Banks were going under, and people were leaving Manhattan,” Matthew recalled. An opportunity came for him to direct the Rockford Dance Co. in Rockford, IL. “There was a beautiful, historic theater there,” he said, “with a massive stage. We put on professional productions, and I was getting to a place where I wanted to be, in a leadership position. Then our daughter, Olive, came along and upset this nice balance we had, but in an amazing way.”

Matthew said his wife was taking on the childcare responsibilities, and he was working 70-hour weeks. “I saw it was not working,” he admitted. “I wanted to be part of Olive’s growing up. I had friends tell me they had a baby; they went to work, they turned around, and the baby was five years old. Those stories resonated with me.”

Matthew said he and Brittany knew they wanted to raise their child in the Longfellow neighborhood, so he gave the Rockford Dance Company one year’s notice that he would be leaving. The Keefes returned to Minneapolis in 2014.

“We came back here with no super plan of what we were going to do,” Matthew said. “We made a deal. The first person to get a job, the second person would work around that. Brittany got a job with James Sewell as a dancer again, and I started teaching, which was more flexible.” They did that for a year, but it wasn’t easy for two ballet teachers with alternating schedules and a child to raise.

Matthew said he had been very active as a choreographer over the years, doing all kinds of pieces. But if he began again as a choreographer in Minneapolis, he would need something to make him stand out, and that would take a long time.

“I wasn’t willing to be that patient, and I started looking for a niche,” he said. He had done educational shows in New Jersey, which he had greatly enjoyed. He and Brittany performed for the Fringe, and their idea for a company began to evolve.

“We didn’t need to start another school,” Matthew explained. “And we didn’t want to replace anything that was already here.”

He said there are companies that do programs for young audiences, but not consistently. And some of the shows are too expensive for families to afford. “I have a great respect for what these other organizations do, and it is important they are there.” But Matthew said DanceCo can fill that niche, offering shorter and less expensive performances that cater to children and families.

They decided to do their first show about trains because, according to Matthew, kids love the mechanics of trains and are curious about them—they love the steam and the rhythm of trains. “There are over a thousand train songs out there, and trains appeal to both boys and girls.”

Matthew said some of the ideas for the show began when he took Olive to the train museum and to see Choo Choo Bob. For the show, they have created their own props, using little train puppets and trains on sticks and creating a train called the Minnesota North.

“I felt like the show was good and strong but needed a hook into dance,” Matthew said. He ran into his daughter’s preschool teacher, Tony, and he talked about his ten years spent as a gandy dancer on the railroad. “These were the guys who worked on train lines and built the tracks,” Tony explained.

“I started doing research, and I watched old vintage films of gandy dancers and the work songs they used. I had my hook,” Matthew said.

Pre-shows are planned for the kids to play train games and get to take part in some of the dancing, according to Brittany. “The little ones can be part of a train, and the older ones have a place too,” she said.

As for the most challenging part of starting their own dance company and putting on their first show, Brittany said “We’re the big kids now. We try to do everything, but it’s just us.”

Matthew agreed. “We’re trying to set a standard and then realizing it’s just the two of us trying to maintain that standard.” He said the show is blessed with phenomenal and experienced artists—dancers, singers and a storyteller.

He said the important part for them is that they build DanceCo locally and that they base it in the Longfellow, Phillips, and Seward communities. “If we can be successful in what we’re doing, and if we eventually end up with a space, we want it to be in this area.”

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Historic Millworks Lofts fills to capacity in a month

Posted on 25 September 2017 by calvin

1920s-era shed and brick building made into affordable lofts featuring original woodwork and geothermal system

Saying Nick Andersen has been involved in the Millworks Lofts project along Hiawatha Ave. since the beginning is almost an understatement.

Before working as a developer with the Plymouth-based Dominium, Inc., Andersen eyed the property at 4041 Hiawatha Ave. S. for a school project. He was enrolled in the real estate graduate program at the University of St. Thomas, and the former 1920s-era Lake Street Sash and Door Company complex was part of a case study associated with the 2007 University Real Estate Challenge.

Together with a team of students, Andersen envisioned remaking the historic millwork into a site with affordable housing and retail.

Eight years after graduation, Andersen was employed full-time by Dominium when he got a call from a fellow St. Thomas student. “Remember that project we worked on?” Mike Doyle asked Andersen. “I think you should look at it as an apartment conversion project.” His uncles, Kevin and Dennis Doyle, the property owners, were interested in selling.

Andersen revisited the project and pitched it to fellow Dominium employees.

This time the primary focus was on affordable housing. The retail component was nixed in part because of the difficulty accessing the site from the southbound lane of Hiawatha; drivers would have to make a u-turn at 42nd St. and head back north for a block.

Others had envisioned housing at the site, but they wanted to tear down the historic shed and brick building and start fresh.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0039.JPGAndersen saw the potential for using what was there, showcasing the timber posts and beams present in the old factory in new loft-style apartments with high ceilings and polished concrete floors.

Photo right: Nick Andersen and Eric Omdahl of Dominium look over the interior posts and beams that feature prominently in this historic project. (Photo submitted)

The original windows in the peaks of the shed bring in light once more. Plus, the metal sheeting added in 1986 was removed to let the historic clapboard show.

“It’s a really cool project where we took a blighted area and transformed it,” said Andersen, “at the same time providing 78 affordable housing units to the community that are desperately needed.”

Exterior ConstructionPhoto left: To restore the buildings to their historic look, paint was removed from the bricks on the northern building. On the southern side, metal sheeting was removed to showcase the original clapboard siding. The project was funded in part by historic preservation grants. (Photo submitted)

“This development checks a lot of boxes: affordable workforce housing, historic preservation, transit-oriented, even geothermal heating—not to mention the units are beautiful, and there are plenty of amenities for residents,” observed Ward 12 Council Member Andrew Johnson.

He loves driving past the lighted Millworks at night. “The way the sheds turned out (in particular) exceeded my expectations,” stated Johnson. “It’s great to see buildings along this historically industrial and mill-based corridor being reused in a way that helps address our affordable housing needs.”

Housing that’s affordable
While there are many new build­ings being built in Minneapolis, those luxury apartments are going for between $2 to $3 a square foot, adding up to $1,600-$2,200 a month for a unit the size of one in Millworks Lofts.

With the rent restrictions in place at Millworks, the lofts range from between $1,000-$1,200 a month.

“There is an overwhelming demand for affordably priced rental housing in Minneapolis right now,” observed Andersen.

As a participant in the affordable housing program, total household income must be under certain limits based on household size: one occupant: $37,980; two occupants: $43,440; three occupants: $48,840; and four occupants: $54,240.

Unique geothermal system
Another unique component of the building is that it uses a geothermal heating and cooling system. While many city lots are too small for such a system, this one had a parking lot in back that offered enough space to bury 96 vertical geothermal wells 225 feet deep.

The system is 20 percent more efficient than a traditional natural gas heating system. The coils pull heat out in the winter and cold in the summer. A boiler connects to vents that push the hot and cold air into apartments so no natural gas heaters are used in the building at all.

“It’s a very green renewable source for heating and cooling,” pointed out Andersen.

Complicated beginning
A deal between the Doyle brothers and Dominium was struck in January 2015, but it took another year and a half before the purchase was official. In the meantime, Dominium lined up necessary city approvals and obtained financing.

The project required some zoning permit changes as it was in an industrial area. However, because of its proximity to light rail, the city’s plans for the corridor include high-density housing and this use fit within that.

The trickier piece was pulling together financing, and they had to work with a number of different agencies.

Because the project preserves the historic integrity of the buildings, Dominium worked with the State Historic Preservation Office, as well as the National Parks Service (which handles historic buildings on a national level), to get project approval and tax credits.

The project was also financed in part by the Affordable Housing Tax Credit program. Dominium received tax-exempt bonds from Hennepin County and funding from the city of Minneapolis.
With the incorporation of geothermal heating and cooling, the project qualified for environmental grants from Hennepin County and the Met Council.

U.S. Bank signed on as an investor.

Everything was finally in place for an April 2016 purchase and construction began a few months later in August.

Past Dominium projects include the $125 million redevelopment of the once-neglected Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul into apartments for artists to live and work, and the $156 million conversion of the fabled Pillsbury A Mill complex of buildings into the 251-unit A Mill Artist Lofts. Other similar adaptive historic reuse projects have been completed in St. Louis, Mo.

Just what he envisioned
The finished product is exactly what Andersen had envisioned.

Loft features include private patio/balconies, washers and dryers in every unit, large walk-in closets, kitchen bars/islands, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops.

IMG_9324MillworksFrontShedSmPhoto right: Once home to Lake Street Sash and Door Company, this brick building and adjacent shed now offer 78 affordable housing units, courtesy of a project completed by the Plymouth-based Dominium, Inc. The project wrapped up in July 2016, and renters began moving in during August. A month later, 100 percent of the lofts had been rented out. Residents come from within a few miles of the site, drawn in by a banner on the building, flyers at local businesses, handouts at the light rail station at 38th, and word of mouth. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

The southern shed where Lake Street Sash and Door used to store its windows and doors has been remade. The space now houses a spacious community room, fitness room, yoga studio, and leasing office. The shed has also been divided up to offer 20 indoor parking spaces, a bike storage area, and individual storage lockers.

A smaller community room and patio sit on top of the three-story brick building.

With any renovation project, there are unforeseen challenges that arise. During the time-intense and costly process of removing the paint from the exterior brick to return to the look of the original raw brick, the contractor realized that the brick was very porous and absorbed a lot of water. A spray-on brick sealant product to keep moisture out was required.

When the roof repair began on the shed, contractors discovered that more repair was needed than initially thought.

10 - LobbyPhoto left: The interior of Millworks Lofts showcases the timber posts and beams from the old factory along with high ceilings and polished concrete floors. Loft features include private patio/balconies, washers and dryers in every unit, large walk-in closets, kitchen bars/islands, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. The southern shed where Lake Street Sash and Door used to store its windows and doors now houses a spacious community room, fitness room, yoga studio, leasing office, 20 indoor parking spaces, a bike storage area, individual storage lockers, and two apartments. (Photo submitted)

As the metal siding was stripped off to showcase the original cedar siding, contractors ran into parts that were not salvageable and had to be replaced instead. They also realized that without the metal sheeting, the structure itself might not be sturdy enough to withstand a strong windstorm, and so steel reinforcements were added to the big timber beams.

Work on Millworks Lofts was completed in July 2017, about one year after it began.

Renters started moving into Millworks Lofts in August, and by Sept. 1, the complex had reached 100% capacity.

The speed at which the lofts were filled surprised and delighted developers.

Andersen credits it to a pent-up demand for affordable rental housing in Minneapolis.

The residents at Millworks Lofts came from within a few miles of the complex, courtesy of the neighborhood outreach Dominium focused on and word of mouth. To promote the lofts, a sign was put up on the building itself. Dominium also handed out flyers and marketing materials at local businesses and the light rail station a couple blocks north at 38th.

A win-win for everybody
“I think this project was a win-win for everybody,” said Andersen. “We’re proud to be associated with it and really proud of the outcome.”

The neighborhoods in Ward 12 have historically been affordable and a great place for individuals and families to live—whether they were buying a starter home or renting, pointed out Johnson. However, the neighborhood is increasingly becoming unaffordable as the market heats up amid strong demand.

“On one hand it’s a great thing that so many people want to live here, but on the other, we face the risks of seeing existing residents displaced, those with less income denied the opportunity to move here, and a fundamental characteristic of our community lost. It’s a big challenge faced across the city, the metro, and even the nation: how do we grow in an inclusive way as more and more people move to urban areas?
“Projects like this help. This adds more supply in the face of growing demand, opens the door for a broader range of incomes, and preserves the built history of our community’s past.”

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