Your Neighborhood

Various Neighborhood-related stories

New Urban Village development advances

Urban Village, the three-piece, 190-unit development along the Midtown Greenway is starting to materialize in the Wedge neighborhood, seven years after its inception. Now, plans for the second part of the project’s Phase I are underway.

The Minneapolis Planning Commission approved variances and site plan reviews Jan. 26 for developer Ross Fefercorn’s Country Home Builders. Fefercorn’s company will develop 112 residential units, townhome buildings and lofts dispersed in nine buildings on the 2800 block from Aldrich to Bryant avenues.

The Commission approved making the properties’ zoning multifamily use, a change from a mix that included high-density office. Commissioners also approved yard setbacks and pedestrian walkway variances, and conditional-use permits.

A site plan review was also approved that specified updated lighting, building entrance placement and promenade walkway easements. The promenade would feature public access leading to the Midtown Greenway trench below.

Country Home Builders is scheduled to break ground in the spring. The Planning Commission noted no apparent neighborhood resistance to Fefercorn’s plans.

An earlier part of the Phase I development, called Midtown Lofts, consists of 72 condos between Bryant and Colfax avenues on the 2800 block. The Sherman Lander Group has already begun building and is taking tenant reservations for a late fall opening.

Phase II of the project goes along the 2800 block of Colfax and will be developed by Brighton Development, but is not scheduled for construction for a few years.

Church hosts DaVinci Code event Feb. 15

Windom’s Richfield Lutheran Church, 8 W. 60th St. is hosting a lecture by Luther Seminary theologians about author Dan Brown’s book The DaVinci Code on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.

A panel of scholars from Luther Seminary will discuss and analyze the book as it relates to dozens of discovered gospels written about Jesus in ancient times, but not included in the Bible.

The event is free and open to all. For more information about the event, contact the church at 861-2265.

Your Neighborhood

Various neighborhood-related stories

Basset Creek public meeting is Feb. 19

The Basset Creek Water Management Commission (BCWMC) will have a public hearing concerning its watershed management plan on Thursday, Feb. 19, 12:30 p.m., on the second-floor council conference room at Golden Valley City Hall, 7800 Golden Valley Rd.

Though the meeting is in Golden Valley, Basset Creek runs through the Minneapolis’s Bryn Mawr neighborhood and eight other Hennepin County towns.

According to Len Kremer of Barr Engineering, the plan includes a 10-year capital improvement plan that focuses on improving water quality in such lakes as Medicine Lake, Wirth Lake, Twin Lake, Westwood Lake and others, in addition to Bassett Creek and several ponding areas in the watershed area. If approved funding for the capital improvements may come from a tax levied by Hennepin County.

"At the February meeting, we will be discussing the comments of the various cities and other stakeholders who have reviewed the plan," Kremer said.

The BCWMC distributed its Draft Watershed Management Plan to state, metro and local agencies for a formal 60-day review and comment period in conformance with Minnesota statutes and rules. The purpose of the Feb. 19 hearing is to present an overview of the draft plan and the comments it has received.

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources will make the final decision.

The main stem of Bassett Creek originates in Medicine Lake and generally flows east to the Mississippi River. Its watershed exceeds 40 square miles.

The draft plan can be found at the commission’s website: www.bassettcreekwmo.org.

— Bob Gilbert

Paint-a-Thon needs houses

Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) is currently accepting application for its annual Paint-a-Thon. The program, which began in 1984, will choose 150 single-family homes in need of a paint job during the weekend of Aug. 7-8.

Armed with scraper and brushes volunteers from corporations, congregations, civic groups and schools will spruce up the homes of low-income senior and disabled homeowners to scrape off old paint, prime the walls and put on a new coat of paint in order to beautify area neighborhoods. Since 1984, Paint-a-Thon volunteers have painted more than 5,200 homes across the Twin Cities area.

To qualify for Paint-a-Thon, the single-family dwelling must be owned and occupied by a person 60 years of age or older, or by a person of any age with a permanent disability. The house must be structurally sound and not in need of major repairs.

Qualifying homeowners must also meet monthly income guidelines. A one-wage-earner household, for instance, can earn no more than $1,497 per month. A two-wage-earner household can earn no more than $2,020 per month.

Interested? Call Paint-a-Thon at 721-8687, ext. 321 to request an application. You can also visit www.gmcc.org/paint-a-thon to download an application.

The application deadline is May 10.

— Bob Gilbert

Linden Hills has money for youth programs

The Linden Hills Neighborhood Council is taking grant proposals for neighborhood youth-oriented programs.

A total of $7,750 in grants will be awarded to nonprofit groups working in or near Linden Hills or serving Linden Hills’ youth ages 12 to 17. Groups eligible to receive grants include schools, religious organizations (for nonreligious programs) and scouting troops for boys and girls, among others.

Last year’s recipients included the literacy program Book Players, the Lake Harriet Theatre Project, the Family Service Project and the Southwest Community Education program, Study Buddies.

Proposals are due April 5. Grants will be awarded by May 6. For more information, contact Madalyn Cioci at 926-2906.

— Michael Metzger

Sabathani Center seeks help

The Sabathani Community Center, 310 E. 38th St., just east of the Kingfield neighborhood, serves families in the community and houses more than 45 social service tenants serving Minneapolis and, in some cases, all of Minnesota. Sabathani’s administration recently sent a letter to supporters asking for financial donations. The letter stated the center has already combined and eliminated some of their programming to make it through the tough economic times, but it’s "not enough."

Sabathani Executive Director Jim Cook said their programming is "treading water" until the economy improves, so they’re asking the community to pitch in funds. They’re hoping to raise $100,000 to sustain their services.

The center’s tenants include social service and community programs helping immigrant and minority families, a food shelf, in addition to social advocacy groups.

Sabathani leaders request that donations be sent to Sabathani Community Center, Inc. at 310 E. 38th St. For more information about the center, visit www.sabathani.org or call 827-5981.

— Robyn Repya

Some in CARAG concerned about nearby noodles

CARAG neighborhood residents expressed concern and confusion regarding developer Ross Fefercorn’s rumored plans for tenants in Uptown Row, 1221 W. Lake St., two commercial buildings being built in conjunction with a six-unit townhome development called Emerson Row.

Neighbors spoke at CARAG’s January meeting about rumors that a development retail tenant might include a Noodles & Co. restaurant chain. Some residents stated they thought the development was to have no restaurant tenants at all. Others residents said they remember the inclusion of restaurants in the developer’s plans but not of the chain variety.

City Councilmember Dan Niziolek (10th Ward) told residents/board members that restaurants were always an option listed in the development’s plans — which dates back to before the year 2000. He said he’ll work with Fefercorn and residents to smooth out differing expectations.

Fefercorn said he’d presented the neighborhood numerous retail concepts for the development, including restaurants, dating back to the original 1999 proposal.

He also clarified that the rumored Noodles & Co. deal is incorrect. The tenant in question will be a restaurant called Wild Noodles, from Phoenix.

The project’s committed tenants are scheduled to occupy the west commercial building, which should be ready for tenants this month. New tenants include Keep In Touch Massage, a therapeutic massage business; Beauty First, a hair salon and product retailer; and Planet Beach Salon, an upscale tanning salon.

The foundation has been poured for the east building, which is expected to be finished in mid-2004. Fefercorn said women’s apparel, dry goods, a shoe store and a flower shop are all possibilities for the second building. In addition, he said owners of La Bodega, 3005 Lyndale Ave. S., have shown great interest in a restaurant in the east building, but nothing is definite.

— Robyn Repya

Energy-saving workshop is Feb. 10

The Center for Energy and the Environment (CEE) is hosting a workshop Tuesday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. at Martin Luther King Park, Jr., 40th Street and Nicollet Avenue. The free workshop will provide homeowners with tips to conserve energy and save money.

Housing specialists, CEE financial representatives, heating and window contractors, and weatherization professionals will be on hand to answer questions and provide tips. They’ll also offer attendees information about specific products and materials to use in homes during the winter. Those who show up will also receive a free weatherization kit.

For more information about the workshops or CEE, check out www.mncee.org or call 335-5881.

— Robyn Repya

‘Common Good’ contests rewards students,teachers

Time Warner cable is sponsoring a nationwide contest for students who can answer the question "How does the campaign and election process contribute to the common good?"

Up to 10 student winners and their teachers will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for a week-long visit to such places as Capitol Hill, other historic sights and a "behind-the-scenes" look at C-SPAN (another contest sponsor).

Entry deadline is Friday, Feb. 13. For more information about the contest and to get entry materials, please contact Beatriz DeSantiago-Fjelstad, Time Warner Cable educational coordinator, at 287-3617 or beatriz.desantiago@twcable.com.

— David Brauer

Pride group seeks volunteers

The GLBT Pride/Twin Cities organization is calling for volunteers to assist them with the annual publication of the Pride Guide.

The GLBT Pride/Twin Cities coordinates the third-largest Pride celebration in the country. The Pride Guide is an annual magazine of the Twin Cities Pride Celebration, featuring listings of entertainment, vendors, and event schedules for Pride events. The guide also includes several articles, a Nightlife Guide and a Regional Guide to Pride events.

Twin Cities Pride is a volunteer organization; however, they need to fill some contract positions. If you are interested in becoming a publication designer, production assistant, senior editor, writer or distribution assistant for Pride Guide 2004, please contact the Twin Cities Pride Organization at 952-852-6109. For information on qualifications needed for these positions, visit the GLBT/Twin Cities Web site at www.tcpride.org.

GLBT/Twin Cities needs volunteers year-round, not just during Pride. To help, contact the volunteer director by calling 952-852-6131 or e-mail volunteer@tcpride.org.

— Hayley Tsukayama