Neighborhood Updates

Steve Fletcher, 3rd Ward Council Member – April 9, 2021

Friends –

Spring is here, and along with it, some reasons for optimism.  A few things I’m happy to see:

  • Businesses and workers are advocating together to safely reopen the economy, the new Downtown Workers’ Council is finding its voice to speak up for worker safety, and business activity is on the rise! The Twins’ home opener yesterday with a limited crowd was a nice boost of vibrancy downtown that I know we’ve all missed. With the proper precautions, we can safely support our local businesses, and I appreciate everyone who is doing just that. Keep it up!
  • Crime continues to trend down. Violent crime, Part I Crimes, and Property Crimes are all down from last year, and much closer to the low 2018 and 2019 levels than to the 2017 and 2020 peaks. Noting a positive top-level trend doesn’t undermine the seriousness of the crimes that are still happening, but it’s encouraging to see crime continue to trend down.
  • More and more of us are getting vaccinated. The combined state, county and city efforts we’re all participating in are working, and moving us closer to the day we can fully put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror and return to normal public life. See below for tips to make sure you’re signed up to get your COVID shot.
  • NiceRide bikes are back out!  It’s been a great start to the annual April “30 Days of Biking”, and I’ve seen a lot of you out there on the bike paths. I’ve ridden every day this month so far, and it’s feeling good. It looks like it’s going to be a great weekend for a bike ride. See you out there!

I hope everyone who celebrates had a happy and meaningful Passover or Easter. Ramadan Mubarak to everyone starting your fast next week.  I hope we all are able to draw a sense of renewal and recovery from our vibrant, green Spring season.

En avant,


Explore this Issue of the Heart of Minneapolis:

Emergency Rental Assistance is Coming, Learn More at

The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the State of Minnesota are coordinating an emergency rent assistance program that will be launching soon to help people who have fallen behind on their rent. I want to be sure that renters and landlords are ready to go when the program opens for applications.

While you can’t be evicted for not paying rent during Gov. Walz’s executive order, rent is still due. When the order is lifted, people owing unpaid rent could be at risk for eviction.


Download the renters checklist to see if you’re eligible and find out what documents you’ll need in order to be ready to apply when the program opens for applications.

The City has also issued a request for proposals to provide community outreach and engagement strategies to connect with households that need assistance accessing the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program.


Download the landlords checklist for information about how to alert your tenants, help them get ready to apply and prepare your documentation for when the program opens for applications.

You can sign up for email updates about when RentHelpMN will open and how to apply on the State’s website.

Changes to Parking Minimums and Transportation Management for Developments Proposed

Downtown Surface Lots

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

As a part of the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan, the City is revising our zoning code and our policies to better incorporate density and equity across all parts of our city. To implement this charge, Council Member Cam Gordon and I are co-authoring the ordinance modifying regulations on parking requirements and travel demand management practices in development projects.

After a great deal of staff work last year, these changes are making their way through the Council process, and will be heard at the Business, Inspections, Housing, and Zoning Committee this Spring.

The ordinance eliminates off-street parking minimums as a part of our land use requirements, enabling transit-oriented design and lowering the cost of housing construction for some projects. It also makes significant changes to the traffic demand management process, to account for changing transportation patterns, including curb-side management for increased delivery traffic and more..

You can view the draft policy changes here, and if you want to engage with me on this issue, it’ll be the topic of our April 29 virtual coffee meeting (details below). And, as always, you can submit a comment in our webform or email me directly at

Virtual Coffee with Council Member Fletcher

virtual coffee with Council Member Fletcher

This year, I am continuing periodic “virtual coffee” meetings for Ward 3 residents to drop in, ask questions, discuss any issues you see in the community, or just have a chat with your neighbors.

I am also holding some meetings with a specific topic, a guest speaker, and time for Q&A — more like “Good Morning Ward 3” but online (for now!)

Virtual Coffee

Parking Minimums & Transportation Management for Development

with Joe Bernard, Planning Project Manager, Community Planning and Economic Development

Thursday, April 29th — 5:00 P.M.

Join at this link or by phone at 612-276-6670, and enter the code 844101246#.

As part of our implementation of the Minneapolis 2040 plan, Council Member Cam Gordon and I are co-authoring the ordinance modifying regulations on parking requirements and travel demand management practices in development projects.

Joe Bernard and I will discuss these topics as well as the way in which the City of Minneapolis is developing innovative policies to better integrate equity into the development of our City.

Open Session

Thursday, May 6th — 5:00 P.M.

Join at this link or by phone at 612-276-6670, and enter the code 844101246#.

Anyone can join a Microsoft Teams web meeting. A free software download may be required, depending on how you join the meeting (computer, Android or Apple device).

Questions? Having technical difficulties joining the meeting? Email

Parks Board Purchase Agreement Approved for New North Loop Parkland

On April 7, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Commissioners approved Resolution 2021-157, which authorizes a purchase agreement to acquire 25,007 square feet of new parkland in North Loop neighborhood.

The land is currently a surface parking lot located on 3rd Street N between 7th and 8th Avenues. Current property owner BC Properties is responsible for demolition of the existing parking lot, soil correction, sod placement and irrigation system installation. Park Dedication Fees available within the North Loop neighborhood area provides almost all funding to complete the purchase agreement.

The North Loop has never had a neighborhood park and the area is identified as a park gap in The Trust for Public Land’s annual ParkScore metrics, which ranks the park systems of the 100 largest cities in the United States, based on park access and quality. In Minneapolis, 98% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. This new parkland would help fill a gap for some of the 2% of residents who do not live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

The Downtown Service Area Master Plan (DSAMP) was approved in November 2017. It guides development of existing neighborhood parks and potential new parkland in downtown Minneapolis. DSAMP identifies this site as the western anchor of a linear park, called the 8th Avenue Streamscape, that will eventually wind through North Loop and provide a recognizable public connection to regional parkland on Mississippi Riverfront

All Minnesotans (Age 16+) Are Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccination

StaySafeMN 2021.03.26

The excellent news out of the State of Minnesota is that, as of March 30, all Minnesotans 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine!

Here is more information from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Stay safe before your opportunity to get the vaccine:

While all Minnesotans 16 years and older are eligible, not every Minnesotan will be immediately able to make an appointment. It’s important to continue taking easy steps to slow the spread of COVID-19:

Get vaccinated at the first opportunity you have. After you have been vaccinated, continue following these safe practices to protect your neighbors as they receive their opportunity to get the vaccine.

City Web Tool Helps Connect Residents to Vaccine Information

The City of Minneapolis has developed a new web tool to help residents find information in multiple languages on the current status of the vaccination rollout, what to expect when getting the vaccine, and the safety of getting a vaccine.

The web tool includes an up-to-date status of the phased vaccination rollout, including which groups of people are being vaccinated now and which groups are next.

Find the City’s new COVID-19 vaccine web tool on the City website.

State Launches New Tool to Connect All Minnesotans to COVID-19 Vaccines

Minnesotans who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, regardless of their current vaccine eligibility status. The new Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector will help all Minnesotans find out when, where and how to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Minnesotans can sign up at Minnesotans unable to sign up online can call 833-431-2053 for assistance signing up over the phone. Translation is available by phone in all languages.

When a Minnesotan becomes eligible to receive a vaccine under State guidelines, the Vaccine Connector will alert them of their eligibility, connect them to resources to schedule an appointment, and notify them if there are vaccination opportunities in their area.

Demand for vaccine still far exceeds supply, and Minnesotans should remain patient as more vaccine arrives in the weeks and months ahead. Every Minnesotan will have an opportunity to get vaccinated; it will just take time.

2021 Collection of Yard Waste Began This Week

Yard Waste

The 2021 season for Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling collection of leaves, brush and other yard trimmings began this week on April 5th. Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling customers can set properly prepared yard waste at their alleys or curbs next to their garbage carts by 6 a.m. on garbage day.

The City encourages gardeners and landscapers to leave yard waste untouched until daytime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees (mid-April or early May) to protect pollinators. Bees often nest in broken stems of plants, and butterflies overwinter in leaf piles.

Solid Waste & Recycling customers can set yard waste out in a reusable container, compostable bags (paper or certified compostable plastic – look for the BPI logo) or bundled with string or twine.

  • Reusable containers must be 32-38 gallons in size and 26-32 inches high with sturdy handles.
  • Each container, bag or bundle must weigh less than 40 pounds.
  • Branches must be less than 3 inches in diameter and cut to less than 3 feet or shorter.

Bags marked “biodegradable” or “degradable” don’t meet the State law and are not accepted. Solid Waste & Recycling crews can’t pick up dirt, soil, sod, branches wider than 3 inches in diameter or longer than 3 feet, stumps or trees. Nobody should rake leaves into the street. It’s against the law and bad for our lakes, creeks and river.

For questions about leaf and brush pickup, customers can check the website or call Solid Waste & Recycling at 612-673-2917 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Minneapolis Parks Schedules Virtual Open House for Comprehensive “Parks for All” Plan

MPRB Parks for All

Parks for All is a new draft comprehensive plan will set Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) priorities and policy direction for the next decade. A series of Community Virtual Open Houses is planned for anyone to get up to speed on the project, provide feedback on the draft plan, and ask staff questions. Use the links below to participate:

A draft of Parks for All will be open for public comment until July 18, 2020. Until then, there are numerous ways to learn about the plan and send feedback using the link below.

Draft Parks for All Plan

Minneapolis community members, park users, MPRB staff and partners are encouraged to review the plan and send feedback. Your input is welcome whether you have been deeply involved in the planning process over the past two years or if you are hearing about this for the first time!

Following the public comment period, the draft plan will be revised based on public input and presented to MPRB Commissioners for review and approval. Share the Parks for All draft plan with your friends, family, neighbors or other networks using or

City of Minneapolis Selects Community Organizations to De-Escalate and Support Communities through 2021

The City of Minneapolis has awarded about $1 million to seven community organizations to provide positive outreach and support services during and after the trials of the former officers involved in the killing of George Floyd.

These community organizations will provide positive outreach and community engagement; support two-way communication between communities and the City; de-escalate, mediate and resolve conflicts if needed; and share information about existing City and community supports and help community members access them. Contracts will run through Dec. 31.

The seven organizations are:

  • A Mother’s Love.
  • Center for Multicultural Mediation.
  • Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI).
  • Corcoran Neighborhood Organization and T.O.U.C.H. Outreach.
  • Change Equals Opportunity (C.E.O.).
  • Restoration Inc.
  • We Push for Peace.

The organizations will work in specific areas of the City covering north, south and downtown.

Eligible organizations included nonprofit or community-based organizations, neighborhood organizations, cultural organizations, places of worship or faith organizations, and individuals.

Visit the City website for more information about the City of Minneapolis Office of Violence Prevention and its other programs.

Vote for Northeast Minneapolis Arts District for USA Today’s Best Arts District

NE Mpls Arts District

Northeast Minneapolis Arts District has been nominated in USA Today’s 2021 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards!

Their expert panel selected Northeast Minneapolis Arts District as a contender for Best Arts District. The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at

A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest. Voting ends Monday, April 26th and the winners will be announced on 10Best on Friday, May 7th at 11AM CT.  Voted best in 2015, this award brought a lot of positive attention and benefit to Northeast.

Downtown 4th Street Reconstruction Gets Underway

4th Street Reconstruction

Rendering of the future 4th St. design between Marquette Ave. and 2nd St.

The City of Minneapolis will reconstruct 4th St. between 2nd Ave. N and 4th Ave. S in downtown Minneapolis. The reconstruction will include wider sidewalks, improved crossings, a new bi-directional off-street bike path on the north side of the street, lighting, trees and planting beds. Utility work and roadway construction are underway and are expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

  • Crews will be removing trees and other miscellaneous items this week and will begin roadway pavement removal next week between Hennepin Ave. and 2nd Ave. S.
  • Starting April 12, the intersection at 4th St. and Hennepin Ave. will be closed to through traffic. During construction, through traffic will be detoured to Washington Ave. and local access will be maintained (see 4th St. Construction Newsletter for detour and access maps)
  • Xcel Energy utility work continues between 2nd Ave. S. and 3rd Ave. S. Utility work in this block is anticipated to be complete by mid-June.

View the 4th St. Reconstruction Newsletter.

Visit the project website and sign-up for updates:

Email the project team:

Contact the project hotline with questions, comments or concerns: 612-412-9774

Minneapolis Fed Asks for Business Feedback on COVID-19’s Economic Impact

Minneapolis Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis continues to track the pandemic’s ongoing effects among businesses across the Ninth District, a region that includes Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, parts of Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Please take this 5-minute survey to help the Minneapolis Fed and President Neel Kashkari better understand effects on your business. With other business voices from across the Ninth District, your input will help the Federal Reserve System shape monetary policy to help businesses thrive. If you get this survey from multiple sources, please respond to the survey only once.

All responses are anonymous. The Minneapolis Fed is expected to share data and respondent comments to better spotlight challenges facing all businesses. To maintain anonymity, please do not include any self-identifying information in any comments.

Diverse Applicants Wanted for Minneapolis Board & Commissions

Minneapolis City Hall

Courtesy of Micahmn via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY2.5)

Applications are open now for 9 City boards and commissions for appointment this Spring. The City seeks applicants with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences representing the demographics of Minneapolis to strengthen the work of the City. Translation and interpreting services are available so all residents can participate.

City boards and commissions play a crucial role in bringing forward policy changes and recommendations that have resulted in renter protections, wage protections, and a ban on hazardous chemicals in dry cleaning.

Residents can apply through the open position pages linked below and stay up to date on vacancies, position descriptions and timelines by visiting The positions are open until filled; application review begins April 30. These nine City boards and commissions have 91 open positions:

Derek Chauvin Trial Updates & City Resources

As we close the 2nd week of the Derek Chauvin trial there is an enhanced law enforcement response around the Hennepin County Government Center, City Hall, and the Federal Courthouse. Other buildings in the area have also put up barricades.

The City has a web resource with information and updates around the Chauvin trial. The page and its resources have now been translated into Hmong, Oromo, Somali, and Spanish.

It includes information on finding street closures, how to sign up for trial updates from Hennepin County District Court, ways to report suspicious activity and information about mental health and well-being resources for support during traumatic times.

If you have feedback or want to share your thoughts on the City’s processes around the trial, feel free to submit a comment in our webform or email me directly at

You can watch the briefing and learn more about Operation Safety Net.

Nice Ride 2021 Season Opens

NiceRide Bikes

Courtesy of Tony Webster via Flickr (CC 2.0)

The Nice Ride bike-share program is up and running for the 2021 season. The bike-share service has more than 3,000 bikes and more than 400 stations across Minneapolis.

Make sure to ride in the roadway, not on the sidewalk.

Nice Ride will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health for COVID-19 protocols. High-contact bike and scooter surfaces will be disinfected every time they arrive at the depot, as well as high-contact surfaces on vans used to transport vehicles at the start of each shift. Nice Ride associates wear gloves when handling bikes and are required to follow CDC guidance and wear a face covering.

Learn more about Nice Ride.

Free COVID-19 Tests Detect COVID Variants

The City of Minneapolis is offering free COVID-19 saliva tests. Testing is encouraged and available to everyone, whether or not you have symptoms. It’s one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent exposing your loved ones to the virus along with wearing masks correctly, keeping 6 feet from anyone you don’t live with and hand-washing.

Going back to school?

Testing is especially important now with people going back to school and because some of the recently found variants seem to spread more easily than the original strain – up to 70% more.

The State of Minnesota especially recommends people returning to school, sports or other extracurricular activities get tested, as well as everyone who lives with them. By getting them tested every two weeks through the end of the school year, the State hopes to keep schools and sports open.

Free COVID-19 tests

Do not eat, drink or use tobacco products for 30 minutes before taking a COVID-19 saliva test.

  • Columbia Manor Golf Course, 3300 Central Ave. NE 4-7 p.m. Thursdays, April 1, 8 and 15
  • Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St11 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays, April 9, 16, 23 and 30
  • Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, 1301 10th Ave. N. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 27

You can expect to get your test results in about 24 hours.

More free COVID-19 saliva tests

  • Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Ave. S10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends Visit the State’s COVID-19 testing webpage to register.
  • Native American Community Clinic, 1213 E. Franklin Ave. 2 p.m. Tuesdays Appointments required: Call 612-872-8086 to schedule an appointment.
  • Southside Community Health Services, 324 E. 35th St2-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays Appointments required: Call 612-821-3548 to schedule an appointment. You can expect to get your test results in about two-three business days. Same day testing can be done for health care workers, first responders and essential workers.
  • Brooklyn Park Starlight Center 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. Visit the State’s COVID-19 testing webpage to register.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport 7 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week. Visit the State’s COVID-19 testing webpage to register.

Find a current list of free COVID-19 tests on the City website.

If you can’t attend one of these testing events, you can use this directory to find a testing location near you.

The State is also offering free at-home saliva tests. Any person in Minnesota can order a saliva test kit from the COVID-19 Test at Home program.


The COVID-19 test is free, and you do not need insurance for the test. If you need medical care but don’t have health insurance, the Minnesota Department of Health offers resources to find low-cost health care or health insurance.

Why get tested? Videos in Spanish, Somali and Hmong

Whether you feel sick or not, get tested. This will protect your loved ones and help us all return safely back to school, work and other activities.

Watch and share these short videos in SpanishSomali and Hmong.

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