SNO News is Good News

February 2001


Editor: Kristine Harley

Layout: Richard Gunderson

Web version: John Akre


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 SNO Shovel Brigade

December 2, 2000 meeting on Grain Belt Housing Proposals

SNO BALL 2OO1

by Kristine Harley

Jacobs 101, 101 Broadway Ave Ne, February 24, 2001 7:00 pm to midnight.

The weeks after Valentine's Day can be a drab and tedious time of year, even in lovely lower Northeast-and that's just the time of year that needs a splash of color and a touch of elegance to break the winter doldrums. Well, mark your calendars. The second annual SNO Ball is coming to brighten up your Saturday night! In keeping with the Events Committee's commitment to showcase a different Sheridan business each year, this year's ball will be held at Jacob's 101, a local family-owned restaurant featuring American and Mediterranean cuisine, at 101 Broadway Avenue. SNO Ball 2001 will be held on February 24th, from 7:00 pm until midnight.

Everything that was popular at last year's SNO Ball is back: the free limousine rides, the complimentary hors d'oeuvres (courtesy of Jacob's 101 and The Modern Café), the door prize drawings, and the entertainment. Pianist Sandy Waterman returns this year, as does DJ Dan Reeves, who will spin some discs for those who like to dance. A new addition to the entertainment lineup is the local band the Tinkers, an eclectic musical group who has been playing to packed houses at Dusty's Bar.

A cash bar will be offered, and there will be another silent auction this year, so remember to bring your checkbooks! (All proceeds go to benefit the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization.) And dress fancy—this is your night to banish the gray chill outside and enjoy fine food, hear good music, bid on fine art and gift items, and hobnob with your neighbors and local business owners in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The SNO Ball is open to everyone over age 21—please, no children. Tickets are $10.00 in advance, $12.00 at the door, and $6.00 for seniors. They can be purchased at three area businesses: Madame Dora's Antiques and Oddities (339 13th Ave Ne), Two 12 Pottery (212 13th Ave Ne), and Iware on Second (1228 Ne 2nd St). You can also get a ticket or have any questions answered by calling the SNO Line at 612.379.0728.

Come one, come all to the SNO Ball, and party those winter blues away!

Seventh Annual Diversity Art Contest is Underway

by Mary Ostapenko Anstett

East Side Neighborhood Service Human Rights Coalition, along with the continued support of Tuttle Contemporary School, Sheridan School, Eastside Exchange Club, and Xcel Energy Riverside Plant, is once again sponsoring the Diversity Art Contest. The 2001 slogan, developed by students at Sheridan Global Communications school is: "There are billions of people in the world, but if we unite, we can become one." The students at both Tuttle School and Sheridan School will submit artwork that is inspired by this theme, to be judged by fellow students and members of the Human Rights Coalition. All students who submit artwork will be recognized at assemblies in their schools. Winners from both schools will display their artwork on a large poster that is placed in transit stops located in both Southeast and Northeast Minneapolis.

Please look for upcoming news on this special contest. If you wish to receive more information, or to support this contest and the East Side Human Rights Coalition, please call Susan McCauley at 612.781.6011.

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A NEW LIBRARY IS BREWING WITH BOOKS AND BYTES (BUT NO BEER)

by Amy Ryan

Plans to relocate Pierre Bottineau Library to the historic Grain Belt Brewery Complex took a great leap forward last month when the Library Board approved a concept design and cost estimate for a new library. At the December 20 Library Board meeting, the Board authorized staff to proceed with negotiations to purchase the site from the Minneapolis Community Development Agency for $1.00.

Throughout the process, the five neighborhoods located closest to Pierre Bottineau Library have been articulate and vigorous in their support and have conveyed their enthusiasm to the Library Board. The neighborhoods are Sheridan, Marshall Terrace, Bottineau, Saint Anthony West, and Saint Anthony East.

The smallest of the city's community libraries and the only one to occupy leased space, Pierre Bottineau is ripe for improvement. The cramped space in its current location makes adding computers, videos, and even new books a challenge. Staff members share an inadequate service desk that may have been just right when the library opened in 1957, but is not aging gracefully. Perhaps the most serious problem, however, is the number of people allowed to be in the library at one time. Fire and safety codes limit the capacity to 40 people-a number easily reached for summer programs, and even class visits sometimes present a daunting prospect.

All that will change if the project progresses according to plans. The library's preliminary building program calls for an 11,000 square foot library, about the size of Franklin or Sumner libraries.

The new Pierre Bottineau will feature a collection of 27,000 books and audio-visuals and many computer workstations. In answer to the high value Minneapolis residents place on their community libraries as neighborhood gathering spots, the new Pierre Bottineau will offer plenty of comfortable seating as well as study tables and chairs. A 1,000 square foot meeting room (the size of Northeast Library's) will provide the community with a much-needed amenity.

Saint Anthony West's Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funding in 1997 earmarked to "make Pierre Bottineau more user-friendly" sparked the genesis of this new library. An ad hoc advisory team formed to talk about the best way to spend the money. As the group's enthusiasm grew, so did the community's interest and financial commitment. Soon another neighborhood set aside NRP funding for additional computers for Pierre Bottineau (a difficult assignment because of the limited space and electrical capacity). The discussion then jumped to a higher level as staff and residents explored opportunities to relocate or share space in the neighborhood. The group studied several sites, from a tile shop that was up for sale to a historic brick edifice, but none were deemed acceptable.

Earlier this year, just when the project was in hiatus because all possibilities seemed to have been exhausted, the Minneapolis Development Community Agency (MCDA) encouraged the Library Board to partner with them on restoring two historic buildings at the Grain Belt site for use as a library. The incentive MCDA offered was enticing: an opportunity to secure a $500,000 grant from the State Historic Preservation Office, earmarked for the Grain Belt site, to be applied to the restoration of the old and venerable wagon shed and the millwright shop to be retrofitted as a library. The Library Board authorized staff to work with the MCDA and the community to investigate the possibility. After a first phase evaluation that involved extensive study and discussions, staff engaged RSP Architects to develop a conceptual design with a cost estimate.

This study provided the Library Board with the necessary information to judiciously decide whether the relocation of Pierre Bottineau Library warranted the first expenditure of community libraries referendum money. Based on the study and other information, the Library Board approved the concept design and a cost estimate for the $3 million project. Staff will now proceed with the next steps of the project, making every effort to secure the State grant funding, negotiating with the MCDA on conditions for purchase, further developing the building program and plans, and solidifying neighborhood support.

The concept design and other information are available to read at Pierre Bottineau Library.

Your questions and ideas are welcome; everyone can play a part in helping to make the library the best it can be. Please call Gloria Busch 630.6891 or Amy Ryan 630.6206 with your ideas, or e-mail Amy at aryan@mpls.lib.mn.us. Thanks.

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SNO BOARD TO PROPOSE NRP PLAN MODFICATIONS

by John Akre

At its March 2001 meeting, the Board of the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization plans to propose some modifications to the Sheridan Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) plan that was adopted in 1997. The NRP was established ten years ago to help Minneapolis neighborhoods identify and fund needed improvements. Sheridan was allocated over $2 million dollars of NRP money to spend to fulfill the goals of its plan.The NRP plan was developed by Sheridan Today and Yesterday (STAY) after a process of surveys, meetings and workshops. The plan addresses the areas of Housing, Youth, Business, and Safety.

One of the most generously funded strategies in the plan is the Cop-on-Every-Block program. This program provides up to $50,000 to buy and demolish an existing house. The vacant lot would then be made available to a Minneapolis police officer, who would then need to fund and build a house for her/himself on the lot.

The Cop-On-Every-Block program was funded with $346,500 in NRP funds. None of that money has been spent. The SNO Board will recommend the transfer of $100,000 of these funds to extend the popular Fix-And-Paint program, and the transfer an additional $100,000 to begin a new program to fund exterior fix-up loans for neighborhood businesses.

The Fix and Paint Program provides a matching deferred loan to Sheridan homeowners to finance exterior improvements. In the NRP plan, the program was funded for $75,000 in 1998, 2000 and 2002. The $100,000 from the Cop-On-Every-Block money would fund the program for this year.

The program provides up to $5,000 per homeowner for exterior improvements. The homeowner must match the NRP money dollar for dollar. Money received by a homeowner does not have to be repaid if the homeowner fulfills the residency requirements in the program.

If this change is approved at the March meeting, the Fix and Paint program will be set up for the year 2001 and homeowners could apply. If applications exceed the $100,000 available, a lottery would be held to determine priority. The SNO Business Committee has created a Neighborhood Business plan, and wishes to start off the plan with a $100,000 exterior improvement fund for neighborhood businesses. This loan program would be administered by the Greater Minneapolis Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMMHC), which also administers the Sheridan NRP Housing programs. Program guidelines had not been developed at press time.

The SNO Board will present these changes to the NRP Plan at the March 26th SNO Board meeting. Please come to this meeting to provide feedback, or send your comments to the SNO Line, 612.379.0728, or e-mail them to sno@sheridanneighborhood.org. The Board would like to approve these changes at the March 26th SNO Board meeting. Approval in March would allow time to prepare the two programs for the spring construction season.

You can read the full Sheridan NRP plan on the SNO web site, http://www.sheridanneighborhood.org. The SNO Board meets at 7:00 pm on the fourth Monday of the month at Sheridan School. The March meeting will be in the Media Room, in the southeast corner of the building.

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FOUR DEVELOPERS COMPETE FOR GRAIN BELT HOUSING SITE

by John Akre

Residents from Sheridan and other nearby Northeast neighborhoods converged in the atrium of Catholic Eldercare on the morning of Saturday, December 2nd to see proposals from four developers who would like to build housing on several sites around the Grain Belt Brewhouse.

In August, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) released the Grain Belt Development Objectives and asked for proposals from developers. Four developers came up with plans that they presented at the December 2nd meetings. Residents who attended the meetings wrote down comments and questions and ranked the plans based on their preferences.

The majority of those present ranked the proposal presented by Sheridan Development the highest. Sheridan Development is collaboration of the Cuningham Group Architects, RMF Entities, Inc., Faegre and Benson law firm, Close Landscape Architects, and half a dozen other organizations.

Their plan proposes 273 for sale housing units, 16,500 square feet of office space, 25,900 square feet of retail space, and 655 parking spaces. The total cost of their development would be nearly 66 million dollars. They project that they can complete the development with 12 private dollars for every public dollar.

The other three developers presented public to private funding ratios in the 4:1 to 5.3:1 range.

Also presenting plans were Lincoln Properties, a Chicago-based company that develops rental property communities; a team made up of Wall Company, Pfister Associates, RSP Architects and Weis Builders; and Brighton Development, who presented a plan that proposed home-owned properties on only part of the area identified in the Grain Belt Objectives.

The Wall/RSP proposal was ranked second in preference by the majority of the community members. Their plan would build 183 housing units, 60 of which would be rental.

The Board of the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization sent the MCDA a letter passing on the information gathered at the community meeting, so that this information could be included in the MCDA Board's decision on which development proposal to select.

In January, the MCDA recommended Sheridan Development's proposal.

Copies of all four proposals, as well as an MCDA comparison of them, can be found at the Pierre Bottineau Library. A report on the December 2nd meeting prepared by meeting facilitators QSA can be found on the SNO web site. Also on the SNO web site are detailed answers to community questions by the developers. The SNO web is at http://www.sheridanneighborhood.org.

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JOIN THE EASTSIDE FOOD CO-OP AT A PRICE YOU CAN AFFORD!

by Stephanie Lundeen

The Eastside Food Cooperative (EFC) plans to open the doors of a new natural food store in Northeast Minneapolis in the Fall of 2001. Food co-ops provide high-quality organic foods at the lowest possible cost because members collectively own the store.

With the help of the Community Initiatives Program grant, the EFC can offer discounted memberships to all persons earning less than 80% of the metro area median income. The "Member Matching Program" helps those of you who want to join the co-op but have trouble fitting it into your budget.

The program works like this: qualifying individuals earning less than $23,000 a year pay a onetime membership fee of $20–30 and qualifying households pay $40–60. Membership entitles you access to organic and bulk foods, discounts, co-op events, quarterly newsletter, and directly supports environmentally responsible farming systems.

Join the co-op to help us open our doors. Please call EFC at 612.789.0529 to request a "Member Matching Program" brochure to determine if you qualify for a discounted membership.

Announcements

Board meetings:

Time: 7:00-9:00 pm, 2nd Tuesday of each month. Location: 2516 Central Ave Ne, Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association office.

Eastside Food Cooperative is a Co-op for the community in and around Northeast Minneapolis. We are in the planning stage. Our goal is to find a location and open our doors by September 2001. As of November, we are supported by over 330 members! If you are not a member, consider joining and help us move forward. Join Today!

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HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PROPOSED FOR MARSHALL

Jim Bartlett and Sherman Associates have proposed a housing project that would encompass a two block area on the west side of Marshall Street. The housing development would run from the 14 - 1600 block of the street.

Bartlett is a neighborhood property owner. He owns one parcel of the land that will be required for the proposed development.

The development proposes building 137 rental apartments from one to three bedrooms, and 32 owned townhouses, as well as a small amount of possible commercial and office space.

A four story apartment building built in an "L" shape would anchor the southeast part of the parcel. North of this would be a cluster of townhouses up to the railroad tracks near 17th Ave. NE. Additional townhouses would arch along the railroad tracks, which would separate them from the river and a future park along the Mississippi.

Bartlett said that he bought his property to redevelop it, and his initial attempts to develop it to industrial uses were rejected by the city. In response to the Upper River Master Plan's call for housing along that corridor he worked with Sherman to develop the plans for the proposed development.

Bartlett is currently negotiating the purchase of the additional property required for his proposal.

Barlett first presented his plans to the SNO Board at its August meeting. He asked for an initial vote of approval for the project. The SNO Board did not take a stand at this time, and asked to hear from the other owners of the property required for the project. Some tenants and property owners of the affected properties have attended subsequent meetings and raised concerns about the loss of their properties.

The SNO Board is looking for additional comments and concerns from neighborhood residents about the proposal.

Bartlett and Sherman have also signed a purchase agreement to buy the Eastside Neighborhood Services building at 2nd Street and 19th Avenue NE and another parcel of land owned by Eastside Neighborhood Services. They are also negotiating to buy the block on which the Jubilee food store sits. They plan to build rental apartments in the Northeast Neighborhood Services building and on the Jubilee block, and townhouses for sale on the other lot, which sits between 2nd and 3rd Avenue NE along 18th Avenue. These three sites are in the Bottineau neighborhood.

In December, the Botttineau and Holland Neighborhood Associations held a meeting to get feedback on the developments planned for the three sites in Bottineau. Concerns were raised in the areas of parking, density and building height.

Architectural drawings of the proposal for Marshall Avenue as well as a run-down of the types of housing units proposed, may be found on the SNO web site, http://www.sheridanneighborhood.org.

John Akre

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