One of the elements of a great neighborhood is connectedness. In 2023 the efforts of the North Loop Neighborhood Association to connect neighbors to neighbors, neighbors to businesses, businesses to neighbors and connect new people to what we love about the North Loop was unprecedented.
In January of 2023 we had our largest North Loop Annual Meeting and Happy Hour. Over 500 North Loop residents and workers descended on the Fillmore for a night of being informed and informing. We had a robust election, heard from city officials, received thousands of instances of feedback and fueled our volunteer teams for 2023.
In April of 2023 we had our annual Candy Grab. Hundreds of kids and family members flocked to Target Field station. Part of the unique success of this event is the cumulative efforts of dozens of neighbors to stuff thousands of eggs with candy! Hearing the North Loop flooded with the laughter and joy of kids brings life to community.
In July we had another North Loop Food Truck Fair. With incredible partners, dozens of sponsors and over 30 food trucks, over 16,000 people celebrated all things summer by getting a meal, a beer and enjoying it in our new North Loop park. This event is an overwhelming amount of work, but it is an amazing opportunity to connect the masses to all things wonderful in the North Loop.
In August we had our annual National Night Out Party. A picnic dinner, a movie and popcorn at Target Field Station. What could be more communal? What could be more neighborly? What could be more North Loop?
And, in October we had our annual Halloween Party. What does it say when hundreds of people flock to an outdoor Halloween party when it is thirty degrees out. It might say that Minnesotans are hardy people, but we think it says North Loop events have incredible value in our beloved community.
There are so many things we want to do better, but the ultimate success of North Loop Neighborhood Association is connection and this was accomplished thousands of times over in 2023.
Safety and Livability
- Redesign/reconstruction of the 394/3rd Avenue and Washington Avenue intersection became a reality thanks to the collaborative efforts of Mpls Public Works, the county and others
- Neighborhood Safety: Worked with Councilmember Rainville, MPD, North Loop Block Club and others on strengthening neighborhood and Ward 3 safety
- North Loop Block Club: Participated in the North Loop Block Club neighborhood volunteer-led effort, establishing a visible presence – walking the neighborhood, talking with neighbors and business owners – helping ensure safety and helping those in need
- Pedestrian Safety: Tested improvements designed to improve safety on Washington Avenue, with pedestrian “refuges” at 7ths and 8th Avenues – working with City / County officials and departments. 2024 will see more pedestrian safety improvements
- Self Defense Training: Promoted and participated in neighborhood self-defense training
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training (DEI): YWCA training for NLNA and DMNA boards
North Loop Neighborhood Outreach & Partnerships
- Service Saturdays: Continued our monthly neighborhood cleanup program with volunteers from throughout the neighborhood.
- Avivo Collaboration: Initiated a neighborhood program with Avivo Village residents picking up litter weekly throughout the season – funded through Mpls Equitable Engagement Funds
- zAmya Theater Project Production: Continued efforts with zAmya and Avivo Village to create a new theater production designed to provide insight into homelessness
- Minneapolis Equitable Engagement Funds: Established a framework and equity impact area definition to support EEF allocation requests
- NuLoop Partners: Participate as steering committee member, with current emphasis on the future of the Root District
Planning, design, development and care of North Loop public spaces.
- James Rice Park: Volunteers planted 130 young trees, in partnership with Minneapolis Parks & Recreation (MPRB) Forestry, half Oak and other hardwoods, in natural areas on both sides of Bassett Creek Outlet. Going into winter, we have 200 healthy new trees in the ground (including 2021 planting event), each one protected, color-coded, and monitored year-round.
- Volunteers: 100+ individual volunteers recorded 1,000+ work hours; welcomed new Volunteer Service groups, Substance Church (downtown) and U.S. Bank.
- Fourth Avenue Playground: Mulched garden beds and planted 300 daffodil bulbs; volunteer group watered and weeded garden beds weekly June – October. Mulch Day is quickly becoming a favorite annual event!
- Dog Park: Continued to maintain 3rd Street dog park grounds, fund park lighting and provide doggie bags
- Parkland Dedication Fees: Progress made on gaining support from MPRB for use of North Loop earmarked fees for funding park improvements – 3rd Street Park and James I. Rice Park
- Organics recycling: Continued to maintain two community organics sites and increase participation in spite of neighborhood construction; held two community educational events and developed a turnkey process to help residential buildings adopt organics recycling
- Tree watering: Continued our neighborhood watering program for new & second year trees with volunteer help and a commercial watering service; inventoried dead or diseased trees and open spots for spring 2024 planting
- North Loop Light Pole Signs: Identified North Loop signs needing repair or replacement; installation in process.
- North Loop Arts Vision, Mission and Priorities: Welcomed an experienced and dedicated arts volunteer to lead our North Loop Public Arts efforts; building a structure and process to guide future arts initiatives; exploring new opportunities
- Gained a lot of momentum by meeting with 30 individual North Loop businesses; goal was to let businesses know who NLNA is, what we do, how we can help them, but most importantly listening to what their needs are. Held the first ever Business Social prior to the Annual Meeting; goal was to bring businesses together to meet each other and discuss how to build on the momentum of North Loop business success.
- Volunteers: North Loop neighborhood volunteers contributed thousands of hours in their efforts to make ours the best possible neighborhood. Efforts included monthly Service Saturday neighborhood cleanups, Parks+ Placemaking Committee work, Planning+Zoning Committee efforts, events volunteering, James I. Rice Park maintenance, and much, much more
- Events: Highly successful events drawing thousands of residents and visitors – made possible through the efforts of 100s of volunteers
- 2023 Annual Meeting – 500+ attendees (in person and online)
- Candy Grab – 400+ families and kids
- Food Truck Fair – 16,000 (est) attendees
- National Night Out at Target Field – 250+ attendees
- Halloween Party – 400+ families and kids
- North Loop Kids: Launched NLKs, to bring young kids and parents together to enjoy time and activities with other North Loop parents and children
- Little Free Libraries: Continued to replenish books to our 6 LFLs in collaboration with Friends of the Hennepin County Library and neighborhood contributors
- Fundraising Event Pilot: Worked with neighborhood establishment on a special fundraiser with benefits accruing to both the establishment and NLNA as we work towards financial sustainability
- Wayfinding Map: Continued distribution of the very popular North Loop Neighborhood map and created an online app for easy access; (original map developed pro bono by Ovative)
- Multichannel Communications: Website, Facebook and Instagram management and daily content updates
- org: 12,000-19,000 monthly visitors
- Instagram: 27,000 followers
- Facebook: 8,600 followers
- Threads: 4,700 followers
- Monthly Newsletter: 2,500 distribution
Guide to future land use, zoning, transportation and open space
- Monthly Committee Meetings: Held 11 meetings, heard 18 presentations by developers, business owners and residents; Issued 12 letters of support
- Three meetings addressed areas of special concern to residents: Two were devoted exclusively to the committee developing a position on the Blue Line extension; Another meeting, attended by Councilmember Rainville, heard residents’ concerns about loud music and early morning construction noise; Councilmember Rainville offered assistance to residents dealing with unwanted noise
- Using NLNA’s Annual Meeting survey data, formed a Commercial Uses Subcommittee to compare services residents say the neighborhood needs to the array of services currently available
- Formed a Charter Subcommittee to update the P+Z charter; draft document developed
- Transferred P+Z activities related to public art to NLNA’s Parks+Placemaking Committee; assigned liaison responsibilities to a P+Z Committee member
Organizational & Financial
- NLNA Bookkeeper: After numerous years of support, our bookkeeper retired. Our new bookkeeper started in mid-summer and has provided timely and accurate financials.
- Equitable Engagement Fund: Established a framework and strategy for the North Loop Equitable Engagement Fund; identified underserved residents in the community and proposed budget allocations