A Message from Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins

Hello Neighbors;

Fall has arrived, the kids are back in school, (most online, I know), these are challenging times for us all. On Monday of this week the Mayor and I announced aid to small businesses struggling to rebuild after the unrest. These efforts will center people of color owned buildings and businesses.

I know that there is still much appropriate concern regarding the increase in violence we’ve seen recently. Here are some of the steps MPD has taken in recent weeks to respond to these increases:

  • Consolidated units: Gang Interdiction Team (GIT), Safe Streets Unit, and our Weapons Unit have been combined to form a new Gun Violence Response Team
  • 911 response contingencies are in effect: Community Engagement Team, Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT), School Resource Officers, and some of MPD’s Procedural Justice Unit have all been re-assigned to respond to 911 calls
  • Officers have been re-assigned to ensure gaps are filled, including detailing 5 officers to Sgt. positions.

In total, roughly 90 officers have been re-assigned. Additionally, the first MinneapolUS Violence Interrupters team hit the streets this week, with more set to begin work as contracts are finalized.

Lastly, I continue to extend my condolences to the families and loved ones of the 239 Minneapolitans who have lost their lives to this virus, as well as we mourn the loss of Supreme Court Justice and feminist Icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may she Rest. In. Power. I also send love and support to all of us who were re-traumatized, shocked and dismayed by the travesty of justice denied to the family of Breonna Taylor. We must continue to work together to reimagine public safety and a criminal justice system that is fair and equitable for everyone.

Stay Safe, stay healthy and make a plan to vote

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Federal District Court ruling reinstates Oct. 31 2020 Census deadline; Complete your census today!

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A federal district court ruled to extend the census timeline to the modified deadline of October 31, 2020. The original July 31 deadline was adjusted to Oct. 31 to mitigate outreach efforts and delays due to the pandemic but was subsequently revised and reduced a full month to Sept. 30. The decision to issue additional time for enumeration will help to provide a more robust and thorough outreach plan and lessen the projected undercount.

This ruling means the U.S. Census Bureau will cease wrapping up its door-knocking and non-response follow-up efforts, and enumeration efforts will continue through Oct. 31 and not stop on Sept. 30. 

The Census occurs once every decade, determining where $1.5 trillion in federal resources are distributed for transportation, housing, schools, health insurance, social service programs and infrastructure, including nearly $15 billion for Minnesota. Additionally, the data collected by the census determines political representation; with Minnesota at risk for losing a congressional seat, a thorough and accurate census count is vital to the safety, success and future of our city and state.

“The decision by the court to reinstate the Oct. 31 census deadline is a victory for the people,” said Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. “The extended timeline gives us an opportunity to ensure our most vulnerable community members are included in the 2020 census count. We all count, and today’s decision moves us one step closer to ensuring we all are counted.”  Read the City’s full press release here.

The opportunity to count ourselves and our communities happens only once every 10 years, and we now have only an extra month to ensure every one of us, everywhere, is counted. Without an accurate count of everyone, we could be in jeopardy of missing out on valuable resources, political representation and a voice in decision-making that affects all of our lives.

The time to act is now; get counted. Visit My2020census.gov to complete the census before the Oct. 31st deadline.


City leaders highlight new recovery aid for small businesses

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and I have highlighted new City funding to support economic recovery in Minneapolis at a news conference Monday.

Together, we are proposing $7 million in new City investment, including $2 million in direct support for demolition work for businesses whose demolition costs are not covered by insurance and $5 million for the City’s Commercial Property Development Fund (CPDF).

City staff have been working with property and business owners since June to support clean-up plans along corridors impacted by civil unrest. While many building owners have clean-up costs in excess of insurance benefits, the City has identified 16 sites where property owners are struggling with clean up funding gaps in excess of $100,000 each.

The City is committing to cleaning those 16 sites with $2 million from a combination of funding sources, including newly received federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program income and unspent CDBG funds from previous years.

The CPDF is a new City financial tool that provides developers and small businesses with patient debt capital on favorable terms to facilitate the acquisition and/or completion of commercial real estate development in areas of Minneapolis that have experienced historic disinvestment and are now vulnerable to displacement pressures.

Last month the Minneapolis Forward Community Now Coalition – a cross-sector coalition that will help transform Minneapolis into a stronger, equitable, inclusive, resilient, and innovative city – delivered recommendations in four areas. Those recommendations included strategies to address wealth building though community-owned real estate development projects led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) developers and owners.

The City seeded the CPDF with $2.9 million in the 2020 budget and has already committed funding for several key projects in North Minneapolis. Frey and Jenkins are now recommending an additional $5 million investment in the CPDF to support priority commercial real estate projects.


38th & Chicago update: Public Works Staff seeking feedback on winter design options through Sunday, Oct. 4

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Minneapolis Public Works is considering options for an interim winter street design for Chicago Avenue between 37th Street and 39th Street, and 38th Street between Elliot Avenue and Columbus Avenue. Public Works is working to ensure that essential access is retained through the winter. Ensuring essential winter access requires some adjustments in the area; no decision has been made on the final details of the winter design or timing of implementation.

Based on community feedback about the streets, Public Works has developed options for an interim winter design for streets in the area. These designs work to:

  • Preserve space for mourning and reflection.
  • Increase public visibility and safety.
  • Preserve as much public art as possible.
  • Ensure essential winter access for emergency vehicles, utilities, local deliveries and local residents.
  • Improve access for residents, businesses and transit.
  • Provide an interim design, not a return to before.

Review the design options.

You can share feedback on the winter options in this questionnaire, which is open through Sunday, Oct. 4.

Besides the questionnaire, Public Works staff are hosting an online open house to present briefly on winter street design options and answer questions.

38th and Chicago winter street design options online open house 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 Link to join

Visit the City’s website to learn more.


Make sure you’re registered to vote; Early voting has begun for the Nov. 3 election

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Early voting has begun for the Nov. 3 general election. Ballots may be cast early by mail or in person at the Early Vote Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave.

Registering and voting by mail

If you’ve never voted before and need to register, now is the perfect time. If it’s been more than four years since you last voted, or you’ve moved or changed your name since you last registered, you’ll also need to re-register. Any 17-year-old who will be 18 on or before election day may also register to vote now. Minnesotans can check their voter registration status before re-registering.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging voting early by mail to avoid contacting others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services supports this and other CDC and Minneapolis Department of Health recommendations to make sure every voter in Minneapolis can safely cast their ballots this election year. Voters applying to vote by mail who have not registered will get registration information with their mail ballot.

The City recommends applying for a mail ballot at least 14 days before Nov. 3 election.

Voters can also register in-person when voting early or at their polling place on Election Day. However, registering in advance of reduces the time spent there and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

More information is available at vote.minneapolismn.gov.

Changes to voting by mail

Any Minnesota voter can vote early; no reason is needed. However, due to a recent court action, some of the requirements for voting by mail have changed. These affect witness requirements and the deadline for returning your ballot.

  • If you are registered to vote at your current address you will not need a mail ballot witness.
  • If you have moved, changed names or need to register for the first time, you will need a witness to sign your mail ballot envelope.

A voter’s ballot will count as long as it is postmarked on or before Election Day (Nov. 3) and is received in the mail no later than seven days after Election Day (Nov. 10). This is a change from previous election law requiring mail ballots to be received by Election Day. Please note that if voters deliver their ballot in-person to the Elections & Voter Services office, it still must be returned by 3 p.m. on Nov. 3.

More information on how to vote by mail is available at vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/bymail.

Voting at the Early Vote Center

The Early Vote Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave., makes early in-person voting more convenient for Minneapolis voters. It’s especially helpful to people who need language support or other special accommodations, such as curbside voting. While we are in a pandemic, voting early can help people avoid lines and crowds at polling places on the day of the election.

The Early Vote Center’s hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The center will have extended hours for the final two weeks of voting, including Saturday and Sunday hours. For the last seven days of early voting, the City will open two additional Early Vote Centers. All early voting hours and locations are posted on the Elections & Voter Services website: vote.minneapolismn.gov.

Voters can save time by taking these three steps

  1. Make sure you’re registered to vote, or pre-register at least 21 days before the election. Voters can register or check the status of their registrations at minneapolismn.gov/voters/register.
  2. Download and complete the absentee ballot application form in advance and bring it when you go to vote early. Find the request form at minneapolismn.gov/voters/bymail.
  3. Look at a sample ballot ahead of time; even bring it to refer to when you go to vote. Find your sample ballot at minneapolismn.gov/voters/ballot.

State law allows voters to bring materials into the polls to help complete their ballots — and the sample ballot is the single, best tool available for this purpose. By downloading and printing their sample ballots (which are customized to their specific ward and precinct), voters can practice marking their ballots. They can bring this marked-up sample ballot as a reference to the voting booth when completing their official ballots. This is the best way to reduce the time spent waiting in lines.

Elections website has a new look

Just in time for the Nov. 3 general election, the City’s Elections & Voter Services website is out with a new look and improved functionality. Check it out at vote.minneapolismn.gov.

The new features include:

  • Simpler design and improved organization make it easier to find what you want.
  • More compatibility with smart phones.
  • Improved search tool.
  • Handles increased website traffic more effectively.

Free COVID-19 testing events coming up

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The City of Minneapolis is offering free COVID-19 tests in Minneapolis communities. All are welcome.

Free COVID-19 tests focused on the East African community Noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 Abubakar As-Sadique Islamic Center, 2824 13th Ave. S. Register onsite.

You can expect to get your test results in about two days.

Resources

The COVID-19 test is free, and you do not need insurance for the test. If you need medical care but don’t have health insurance, the Minnesota Department of Health offers resources to find low-cost health care or health insurance.

Testing for other communities

Free COVID-19 tests focused on the Cedar-Riverside community hosted by Pillsbury United 1-4 p.m. every Friday Brian Coyle Center, 420 15th Ave. S. Note: Double-check with Pillsbury United for possible updates before heading over.

If you are unable to attend one of these testing events, you can use this directory to find a testing location near you.


Updates on the City’s Transforming Public Safety Workgroup

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Engagement Principles for Transforming Public Safety Workgroup from Sept. 24th Presentation

This week, the Public Health and Safety Committee approved an outline for a community engagement plan to help improve our public safety system in Minneapolis. Under the proposed plan, community members citywide will have opportunities to offer feedback on alternatives to policing and police responses, public health-oriented violence prevention, and law enforcement reforms and/or changes to protocols and practices. The process is divided into four phases:

  • Phase One (October 2020 through December 2020): a community survey and public forums focused on the current model of community safety and opportunities for changes, with a synthesis of initial themes presented to the Council in early December along with a draft vision for consideration and adoption by the Council
  • Phase Two (January 2021 through March 2021): public forums where community members can review and confirm the themes and goals established in the first phase plus a deeper dive into ideas for a new public safety model to help inform draft recommendations of actions steps to realize the established vision and goals
  • Phase Three (April 2021 through May 2021): opportunities to offer feedback on draft recommendations at public forums and online
  • Phase Four (June 2021 through July 2021): recommendations will be refined and finalized, incorporating community feedback gathered throughout the engagement process, with a final report to the Council on strategies for building a new model for community safety

You can review the legislative file here and watch the full presentation outlining the proposed engagement process here.

Recommendations made through this process will focus on but may not be limited to intermediate policy changes, investments and partnerships that support a public health approach to community safety, alternatives to policing, and research and engagement to inform the potential creation of a new Department of Community Safety. There will be a review and analysis of existing models, programs, and practices that could be applied in Minneapolis. Further, this process will build on the work already underway to refine and improve our 911 response and shift certain calls for help to responders other than MPD. It will also identify resources needed to support recommendations.

The proposed engagement plan is a key component of the City Council’s commitment, unanimously adopted by the City Council in June, to a year-long process for gathering input, conducting research, and exploring structural change. The full City Council will consider the plan at its meeting next Friday, Oct. 2.


Mayor Jacob Frey outlines more detailed plan for proposed 2021 City budget

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Mayor Jacob Frey has released his finalized 2021 budget proposal for the City of Minneapolis.

With a limited 5.75% maximum levy increase and 12% increase in the overall tax base growth, three-quarters of Minneapolis residential property owners will see a decrease in their property tax bill with the median-valued household set to experience a $59 yearly decrease.

Despite the COVID shortfall, Frey’s 2021 budget proposal includes a $7.2 million increase in ongoing funding for affordable housing work, his top priority. That new, ongoing support includes a major boost to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which was previously funded at $800,000 on an ongoing basis.

The ongoing funding commitment for affordable housing represents another record-setting benchmark for Frey who has invested in housing initiatives at the highest levels in city history in both of his first two years. The ongoing funding allocation also makes permanent the Stable Homes Stable Schools initiative – a program launched by Frey that, to-date, has ended or prevented homelessness for more than 2,000 kids in 745 Minneapolis Public School families with elementary school-aged children.

To support rebuilding and recovery efforts for businesses impacted by COVID and civil unrest, Frey will be allocating $5 million in one-time TIF funding for the Commercial Property Development Fund (CPDF) along with $500,000 in ongoing funding for the CPDF, at least $400,000 in supports for the Minneapolis Forward Community Now Coalition, and $250,000 ongoing funding for the Green Energy Cost Share program specifically for economic recovery.

The budget also invests in several safety beyond policing priorities and violence prevention work, including an expansion of the mental-health co-responder program, $2.5 million for the MinneapolUS violence interrupters initiative, and $300,000 of ongoing funding to support the continued implementation of the recommendations from the Mayor’s opioid task-force, including the First Step hospital-based overdose intervention program. Funding is further expanded by $50,000 to pilot a peer recovery initiative in partnership with the Minneapolis Fire Department.

Frey utilized a combination of an enterprise-wide hiring freeze, across-the board reductions in spending, an early retirement incentive, and broad departmental reorganization mandates to maintain current service levels while minimizing layoffs to 19. As Frey explained last month during his address, the hiring freeze will allow for flexibility in future planning and annual savings across the enterprise, including over $11 million from the Minneapolis Police Department.

The Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) voted to adopt the maximum levy Sept. 23.

A link to the 2021 budget book can be found here.


35W@94 Downtown to Crosstown Construction Updates

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I-35W weekend closure scheduled for Oct. 2-5

MnDOT crews need to finish some miscellaneous work throughout the project, including paving, overhead sign installation, moving barrier and making utility connections. To do this work, MnDOT will be closing northbound I-35W between Hwy 62 and I-94 from 10 p.m. on Fri, Oct. 2 to 5 a.m. Mon, Oct. 5. Southbound I-35W will be closed between I-94 and Hwy 62 from 5 a.m. Sat, Oct. 3 through 5 a.m. Mon, Oct. 5. Crews will be working 24 hours a day during the weekend closure. Drivers will be detoured around the closure using Hwy 62, Hwy 100 and I-394.

In addition to the weekend closure, northbound I-35W will be reduced to two lanes between 46th St. and I-94 from 9 a.m. Fri, Oct. 2 through 3 p.m. Tue, Oct. 6 to allow crews to prepare for the concrete paving and time for it to cure before barrier is placed on it.

Please drive safely in work zones

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone, then navigate through with care and caution
  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change
  • Watch for workers and slow moving equipment
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fine for a violation in a work zone is $300.
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times

All closures are weather permitting and subject to change.

Road work continues to be a critical service. MnDOT is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of its employees, contractors and all Minnesotans. Crews continue to follow the guidance of state and federal health officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Stay connected

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota visit 511mn.org or dial 5-1-1.


Learn about the Office of Violence Prevention’s latest MinneapolUS Street Outreach initiative

Meet the MinneapolUS team

Meet the new MinneapolUS Street Outreach Team, modeled after Cure Violence International Outreach.

The Minneapolis Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention is developing a new initiative modeled after successful global efforts like Cure Violence. The model complements existing outreach organizations already on our streets, employing a specific approach built on the idea that violence is a public health issue. By identifying and interrupting conflicts and working to promote community healing, the initiative is intended to break the “contagious” aspects of violence such as retaliation.

How does it work?

Using informal mediation, non-physical conflict resolution and interruption expertise, trusted community members will work on our streets to stop conflicts before they happen and as they happen. They’ll also work to foster healing and mobilize communities to reject violence through strategies like awareness building, community gatherings and peace walks.

These trusted community members on neighborhood-specific teams have themselves experienced violence or are familiar with the impacts violence has on communities. They have strong relationships with young adults, neighborhood members, community leaders and service providers.

They will also work to connect people to jobs, housing, mental health and chemical dependency services, and other resources and supports.

Watch the City website for more information about this initiative and the Office of Violence Prevention as it becomes available.


Creative CityMaking Grants awarded to 10 projects focused on creative community healing

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Murals of Tony McDade, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Image provided by Creatiev After Curfew, photo credit: Leslie Barlow

The City of Minneapolis has approved 10 projects for urgently needed artist-led creative healing in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent community uprisings. Current and former Creative CityMaking artists will lead the 10 selected projects as they respond to this historic moment in Minneapolis. The first funding priority was given to Black artists working with communities who have historically experienced the stress and trauma of racial discrimination.

Repurposing resources provided by the Kresge Foundation to the Creative CityMaking program, the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy allocated this $100,000 in Creative Response Fund grants to mobilize the unique and specialized skills of artists and designers to engage with and expand the impact of healing and community support. These grant dollars also recognize the unpaid labor of artists and designers as they respond to multiple health and racism emergencies to support community needs.

Awardees and projects

  • Sam Ero Phillips, “Haircuts for Change.”
  • Mankwe Ndosi and Griffen Jeffries; “Communities’ Wisdom, Imagination and Connection.”
  • Sha Cage, “AT THE CORNER OF ________.”
  • Witt Siasoco and CarryOn Homes team (Aki Shibata, Zoe Cinel, Preston Drum, Peng Wu and Shun Jie Yong), “CarryOn Homes Northeast.”
  • Keegan Xavi and Sayge Carroll, “Harvest Feast.”
  • E.G. Bailey, “New Neighbors Building Community Through Film.”
  • D.A. Bullock, “excited delirium.”
  • Caroline Karanja, “East African Collective.”
  • Candida Gonzalez and Creatives After Curfew, “Art for Nervous Systems.”
  • Roxanne Anderson and Anna Meyer, “Rising From The Ashes.”

All of the events will follow the State’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Read more.


Minneapolis Animal Care & Control offering free rabies vaccinations for World Rabies Day

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Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, Minneapolis residents who have or buy a current pet license can get a free rabies vaccination for their pets in honor of World Rabies Day Sept. 28. Sign up for an appointment using this form or by calling 311 or 612-673-6222.

World Rabies Day is a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. The theme for World Rabies Day 2020 is “Rabies: Vaccinate to Eliminate.” While rabies is a 100% preventable disease, more than 59,000 people die from the disease around the world each year – 95% of them from an unvaccinated pet. World Rabies Day is an opportunity to reflect on efforts to control this deadly disease and a reminder that the fight is not yet over.

Make an appointment

If your pet needs to be vaccinated, Minneapolis Animal Care & Control offers low-cost pet vaccinations by appointment. Minneapolis residents can sign up for an appointment using this form or by calling 311 or 612-673-6222. If you request an appointment between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, the $10 charge for a rabies vaccination will be waived.

Services available by appointment:

  • Rabies vaccination: $10. This fee will be waived if you request a vaccination appointment between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2.
  • DA2PP (distemper combination for dogs) vaccination: $10.
  • PRC (distemper combination for cats) vaccination: $10.
  • Microchip: $10.

Minneapolis Animal Care & Control offers low-cost pet vaccinations by appointment to follow safe COVID-19 guidelines and ensure there aren’t too many people in the shelter at one time. Because of capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, this is only open to residents of Minneapolis who have or buy a current pet license.


Notice: Fall street sweeping begins Oct. 20

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Crews will sweep streets across Minneapolis next month to clean the streets before winter to keep leaves and debris out of the storm drains and ending up in our lakes and rivers as much as possible.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Minneapolis Public Works will begin the big task of curb-to-curb sweeping and leaf collection on streets throughout the city. During the four weeks of the comprehensive fall street sweep, crews will clean about 1,

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