Gardens of all sorts can build community

Todd Larson and Macy Ashby purchased their home in 2008, and one of the first things they did was replace their furnace, putting in geothermal wells – imagine getting rid of the old octopus furnace, then paying only $10 a month in summer for air conditioning – worth it, they say.But the east side of their property (686 24th Ave. NE) along Howard Street took a beating between truck parking and the digging. “Grass is a lot to maintain,” so with the help of landscape architect friend Larry Opelt, they devised a three-year plan “which had about a 1.5 year execution,” Larson said.Read more about how the yard project really started, and what’s next, [here].Their neighborhood group, Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association, teams with Metro Blooms, which awarded Larson and Ashby both the Community Investment Award and the Nate Siegel, their highest honor, at an event Nov. 6.Metro Blooms provides training and subsidizes materials to install rain gardens to hold water on site. For Holland’s projects, they also helped recruit volunteers, some coming from the University of Minnesota’s School of Design and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota.“We had a couple rain barrels,” Ashby said; they fill up fast, “our rain garden works really well. Continue Reading

Plymouth Christian Youth Center at 60

Do you know Plymouth Christian Youth Center for its Arts & Tech High School, or for its children’s gift sale where kids buy presents for their families for just nickels and dimes? Or its crucial role, as owner of the Capri Theater, in revitalizing its corner of West Broadway Avenue with more to come?

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OPINION | What to do with Penn Avenue?

Seems like soon as I arrive at one of these open houses for community transit planning, there’s a particular biking enthusiast who pounces and bends my ear for a few minutes. The Nov. 13 open house for Penn Avenue planning held at the Harrison community center was no exception.Among the issues on the table: Bike lanes on Penn Avenue North. Detailed charts on big boards showed the pros and cons of moving bikes off of Penn to either Queen or Oliver, and City of Minneapolis officials have apparently concluded that neither one is feasible because of the parks and schools that are in the path, so bikes have to be accommodated on Penn.The planning process was driven by Hennepin County’s intent to put enhanced bus service on Penn Avenue, and the desire to see it drive economic and housing development in the neighborhood – solve all sorts of problems, create opportunities while they’re at it. The city is partnering in the process with Hennepin County; it’s my impression Hennepin County is neutral on bike accommodations but city officials are pushing.There are three options being floated to put bike lanes on Penn and to make that thoroughfare more pedestrian-friendly. Continue Reading

Northeast will have a tool library

If you’ve ever found that a home fix-it job was twice or three times as expensive as predicted because you decided to buy tools you may never use again, you’ll appreciate the Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library.

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Marshall Street project on hold for 2 months

Outcry from residents and business people temporarily stopped the Minneapolis Park Board from locating an operations center on the Mississippi River at 1720 Marshall St. NE.They got through close to 40 comments in about 45 minutes Aug. 20, chiding the board for going contrary to the Above the Falls plan, which calls for continuous riverfront parks, and inconveniencing residents by taking away Psycho Suzi’s valet parking which then would clog up the neighborhood streets more than usual.There were concerns about living next to a facility where trucks come and go frequently. Ire that the park staff and consultants didn’t seek other location options.Directing staff to work more with the public on the issue, the board plans to revisit the plan at their first meeting in November. North Minneapolis Park Commissioner Jon Olson made the successful motion.Board member Annie Young, as chair of the parks’ planning committee, conducted the public hearing.As reported in the Northeaster July 2, the park system owns the land and the vacant building on it which because of a bad roof, is full of mold. Continue Reading