Extending Neighborhoods 2020 public comment deadline to September 30

From the City of Minneapolis:




Dear neighborhood and community leaders,

The City of Minneapolis and its residents have experienced heartbreak, tragedy and multiple crises over the past four months. Given the difficulty of engaging the community at this time, the Neighborhoods 2020 Steering Committee has recommended that the Neighborhoods 2020 public comment period be extended until September 30, 2020.


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National Night Out Postponed


From the Minneapolis Police Department


To All Block Leaders and past NNO registrants:  Please read this update carefully!


The MPD will be postponing participation in National Night Out until Tuesday, September 15 2020.

* IF you have already registered for a block permit event, your permit will be honored for September 15.

* IF you would like to still have your event on August 4th, you may also do so with the permit.

* You may also host your event on a date other than August 4 or September 15--we just need to know for planning purposes--wait for an email later this week to reply, we would like to know by July 10.

* Note that Nickelodeon Universe is still closed. It may open prior to September 15. If so, we will try to get Mystery Tickets and if we can get them, they will be delivered separately from your permit and registration mailer.

* We encourage blocks to host National Night out, urging that everyone follow the CDC guidelines for gatherings. We recognize this will be a challenge and many fun activities from past events might be moot, but we hope that NNO can continue to be one of the best opportunities to keep your immediate neighbors connected!



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Message from Council Member Fletcher • June 26, 2020

City Council Advances Proposed Ballot Measure Asking Voters to Create a New Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention

The City Council voted today to advance a proposed ballot measure that would ask Minneapolis voters to amend the City Charter to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention and remove the Police Department as a charter department.


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State COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants Program now accepting applications


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has opened the application period for the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program. Applications will be accepted between Tuesday, June 23 and 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 2.

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Let the City know how you feel about future funding of neighborhood associations



On July 15, 2020, the public comment period will close on draft guidelines for Neighborhoods 2020. Please consider submitting your feedback to the city, and to Council Member Fletcher, by July 15th. 

But first, let’s review. 


Neighborhoods 2020 has been a multi-year, city-wide initiative to reassess how 70 neighborhood associations, like the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (MHNA), are funded by the City of Minneapolis. Many associations receive 100% of their funding through the City, while others receive additional funds through grants and fundraising campaigns. Despite its long-standing success at receiving grants and raising its own funds, a majority of MHNA’s operating budget comes from the City.

One goal of Neighborhoods 2020 is to ensure that public funds would be more equitably distributed throughout the city, but also to make certain that the associations using these funds would equitably engage with their communities, especially and most notably with renters and people of color. For too long neighborhood associations have been largely led and organized by older, white homeowning men and women hoping to protect and preserve “their neighborhood.”

The current Community Participation Program—that currently distributes association funding—will expire on December 31, 2020. The guidelines and attendant funding formulas of Neighborhoods 2020 (perhaps under some new, less outdated name) will begin on January 1, 2021.


If you value the role that MHNA has played in organizing our community—not only in this extremely challenging year but in years prior—we ask that you take note of how severely our overall operations could change next year. Although the precise funding formula is difficult to discern at this time (there are many moving parts, which you can glean when you read the guidelines), MHNA could experience up to a 75% reduction in funds it receives from the City. It will be difficult to continue to improve this organization, and it will be difficult to maintain the number of things that we already do well.


First, we invite you to explore the program documents for yourself. You can find the draft guidelines for the Neighborhoods 2020 Program here.

You can also review the City’s Neighborhoods 2020 webpage here. On this page you will find a wealth of information, from the original conception of the program, notes and videos from meetings over the years, and most importantly, you can find out how you can make a comment by July 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm.

If you have any questions, please contact MHNA Executive Director, Chris Lautenschlager at [email protected] or 612.623.7633.

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Support Letter for Development at 801 15th Avenue SE

June 17, 2020

Sam Rockwell
President, City Planning Commission
250 South 4th Street Room 350
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Re: Development Proposal at 801 15th Avenue SE (800 14th Avenues SE/808 14th Avenue SE/1415 8th Street SE) – Redevelopment of Wilderness Inquiry in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood

Dear Mr. Rockwell,

On May 5, 2020 and on June 10, 2020, GD UP Minneapolis, LLC (a joint venture of UP Campus Properties and Gilbane Development Company) and Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. presented a development proposal to the MHNA Land Use and Development Committee. The proposed development includes the redevelopment of Gorshe Auto Body, Wilderness Inquiry, and an existing 3-story apartment building at 801 15th Avenue SE. The development proposal includes a 274-unit, 12-story (11-story at 14th Avenue SE), multifamily building with enclosed parking ramp.

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MHNA Letter to Council Member Fletcher Over Murder of George Floyd

June 17, 2020

Council Member Steve Fletcher

Minneapolis City Council, Ward 3

350 South 5th Street, Room 307

Minneapolis, MN 55415


Dear Council Member Fletcher,

Enough is enough. The Minneapolis Police Department has failed, and further attempts at reform under the current structure are futile. The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association is in support of your efforts to defund and dismantle the MPD and replace it with a new and responsive system of public safety and security.

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LAST CALL: Dinkytown Winter Wander Event


for event performers, artists, participating Dinkytown restaurants, businesses, and organizations! If you want to join your neighbors to help us make this a great event, contact [email protected] by the end of the day Friday, January 10, 2020!


Sign up for a volunteer shift as an "Event Ambassador" to help welcome and guests and help them navigate the event here:



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Longtime Volunteer Ardes Johnson honored at recent Southeast Seniors event

Longtime MHNA volunteer Ardes Johnson was recently honored at the annual SE Seniors "Taste of Southeast" event. The event featured a speech by Como resident and MHNA ally, Katie Fournier. We thought we'd share the broad and vivid history of Ardes' community involvement—both within the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood and far beyond its boundaries as well.


Today it’s my privilege to speak about Ardes Johnson, a long-time resident of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood. Ardes is a person whose passion for her community and compassion for people know no bounds. Let me give you some examples!

Ardes loves living in SE Minneapolis! She’s a major force in protecting its institutions and its character, particularly Dinkytown, the historic center of SE Mpls. So, let’s start in Dinkytown: Ardes lived on 14th Avenue SE just outside the Dinkytown commercial district for 23 years, leaving it only when her townhome fell victim to development. Ardes is a charter member of The Friends of SE Library (may it soon be open and serving us again); she’s also on the board of the Friends, always helping with the Friends’ book sales and involved with the plans for the new SE Library.

She’s the secretary of the Preserve Historic Dinkytown group and has a number of creative ideas for Dinkytown’s future. For instance, why not have the U’s Boynton Health Service open a clinic in Dinkytown to serve students where they live? She’d also want you to know that the city is finally unveiling the draft of the Historic Dinkytown guidelines on Tuesday, May 13th.

And then there’s the trash that accumulates in and near Dinkytown, but Ardes combines two kinds of service to tackle that problem. She participates in the Restorative Justice groups for young people who can fix their criminal records by doing community service. The Restorative Justice service she oversees?  It’s trash pick-up, often along 8th Street SE. The other RJ service she has available for her charges is perhaps more constructive, but not quite so visible. They can put in their time tutoring children at Marcy School, which may help the RJ volunteers at least as much as it does the Marcy School students. She says that she started working with RJ because the student behaviors made her angry, but after hearing many stories of how students came to be arrested, she’s developed a lot of sympathy for the problems young people face today. Today she does Restorative Justice because it’s good for the community and she gets to know young people.

Enough of Dinkytown for a while! Ardes has spent her life as a teacher, here, there, and everywhere!  After graduating from the U she did a year of grad school in Boston and then taught in Connecticut for two years, then back to the Twin Cities for a social studies job in the Wayzata schools, some more grad school here at the U, then a variety of positions in the Minneapolis Public Schools. MPS provided teaching services for children in local hospitals then. Ardes says her best job then was teaching children in the University Hospital’s Child Psychiatry unit.

As the planning for the SE Alternative schools got underway, one of the programs under consideration was a Montessori school. Ardes got very interested in Montessori education; she took a leave from MPS to train at the International Montessori Training Center in London. That study led to an opportunity to start a Montessori school in Ethiopia in 1973. “An incredible experience,” Ardes says. The school was initiated by a member of the Ethiopian royal family; the children came from elite Ethiopian families, but they did not speak English. Unfortunately, this was the year that Emperor Haile Selassie was toppled by revolution. Ardes managed to finish the school year and then returned to London to teach at the Montessori school there for a year. “I learned a lot about how to promote curiosity and learning by the individual child,” at Montessori, she says.

On returning to Minneapolis she took a job at the new Lake Country Montessori School for a while, but eventually returned to MPS to teach at Henry High School and then English as a Second Language at Edison High, the job from which she retired in year 2000. Along the way she did more graduate study in both Special Education and ESL. 

Ardes was working at Edison when Winston Wallin started his program of scholarships for students at South and Edison high schools. Ardes joined the scholarship committee at Edison, helping students write their application essays and meeting with the Wallin Foundation about its work. Today she has joined the supporters of the Foundation, using funds inherited from her mother to support MPS students in college. She’s currently helping four Wallin scholars as they make their way through college programs at Carleton, MCAD, and the University. Her support is not just financial; she meets with them regularly to hear about their progress and their plans for the future. As with the Restorative Justice program, she says the Wallin scholarships keep her in touch with young people. Ardes very much admires the young people of today for their capacity to tackle problems created by earlier generations.

Retirement opened a new chapter for Ardes of volunteering in education, in human rights, and in neighborhood service. She’s been doing human rights work since long before her retirement, having joined the local chapter of Amnesty International founded by Professor David Weissbrodt in 1975. She continues to lead a sub-chapter of that group comprised mostly of residents at Augustana Homes.  They meet monthly to write letters on behalf of people all over the world detained by their governments. “It’s amazing,” says Ardes, “most of the Augustana group are in their 90s, but they’re so aware of what’s going on.” Early in her Amnesty work Ardes was deeply involved in an eight-year campaign to free an Ethiopian woman who eventually came to Minneapolis for medical treatment after her imprisonment.

She also helped lead a Boy Scout troop for Hmong boys that met at Westminster Presbyterian church.  Among other projects the boys planted the gingko trees along 14th Avenue SE and replanted them after they were broken off by late-night Dinkytown revelers. The boys planted another 20 trees at Marcy Park. To protect the 14th Avenue trees they built the cages that you still see around some of the trees and hung signs from them with the story of how they’d been planted and by whom.

Ardes’ concern for young people and for her Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood led her to join the MHNA Land Use Committee which vets development requests for the neighborhood. She represents MHNA on the University District Alliance’s Livability Committee which tries to keep abreast of community-wide problems such as the Move-in / Move-out trash piles and alcohol-propelled disturbances in Dinkytown and in the neighborhoods. She writes letters to the Regents with suggestions for University collaboration with the community on senior housing and student care.

On a personal level Ardes does not hesitate to help people who are experiencing some kind of trauma or loss in their lives. For instance, she visited and brought food to neighbor Doug Carlson and his family members during Doug’s difficult final months in 2017. She provided friendship and support for many years to a Polish Holocaust survivor, a woman who just happened to live in Ardes’ apartment building a long time ago. Ardes helped the woman develop a memoir of her life that was eventually published.  After the woman’s death Ardes helped to clean out her home and to pass on her things to the appropriate people.

And I haven’t even begun to talk about her service to SE Seniors. Our next speaker will do that. But I do hope that you’ve learned a few things about Ardes now that you didn’t know a few minutes ago. Hooray for Ardes!!!

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Dinkytown Historic District Meeting

MHNA received word today that the City of Minneapolis is organizing a community meeting to discuss—and ultimately finalize—the guidelines for the Dinkytown Historic District. Details are few right now, but we believe the meeting will take place mid-May at the University Lutheran Church of Hope.

The City would like to finalize these guidelines by June, with the City Council voting on them at the end of that month.

We will share more details with the community when they are known.


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