Author Archives: Chris Schommer

2018 FRNNG Board Elections

Last Updated March 16th, 2018. This post will be updated through April 5th as neighbors volunteer to be placed on the paper ballot. 

The neighborhood relies on volunteers to operate and every year we host the annual neighborhood meeting to elect new members to the board of directors and plan for the year ahead. This year, the meeting will take place on Thursday, April 26, at McRae Park from 6:30 until 8 p.m. Refreshments will follow the meeting. This is also an opportunity to meet with city council members, city staff, and representatives from the Minneapolis Police Department.

We are looking to fill several important positions on the board. Currently, we expect to have open seats for president, vice president, business committee chair, and parks committee chair. Up for re-election will be housing committee chair Nate Lansing and communications committee chair Chris Schommer. If you or someone you know is interested in running for any of these positions, the deadline to appear on the ballot is April 5th. Please send your questions or ballot information to or call the office at (612) 721-5424.

If any volunteer would like to appear on the ballot but misses the April 5th deadline,  attendees of the annual meeting may nominate any neighbor “from the floor” for write-in consideration.


Candidate(s): No candidates have announced 

Willie Bridges will be stepping down after four years as FRNNG president. Willie has spent many hours getting the organization’s financial books in shape, running our meetings, and working with the public on a variety of issues over the years. The president is the public face of the neighborhood and meets with representatives from the city and county about issues that affect the neighborhood. The duties of the president also include presiding over all FRNNG meetings and directing many aspects of the organization.

1st Vice President 

Candidate(s): No candidates have announced 

Matt Steele will be stepping down after two years as vice president. Prior to his current role, Matt was the North Northrop rep. As vice president, Matt has done a lot of work as chair of the finance committee and is a constant advocate for the neighborhood. In addition, the vice president runs meetings in the president’s absence and takes over in the event the president is unable to continue their position.

Business Committee Chair

Candidate(s): No candidates have announced 

Patricia Jones will be stepping down after two years on the board. Patricia has done a lot of organizing in the past two years and has been central to better social media engagement and community involvement. The business committee chair acts as the focal point for our neighborhood’s active business community. In addition, the business chair is responsible for managing the Great Streets Program which is a grant program run by the City of Minneapolis to improve business facades.

Parks Committee Chair 

Candidate(s): No candidates have announced 

Maria Gilleece will be stepping down after two years as parks chair. The parks chair works with the McRae Park director to coordinate neighborhood involvement. The parks chair also assists with the annual neighborhood celebration that is held every year at McRae Park. Maria has written a wonderful piece on page 4 about the parks committee and volunteering.  

Communications Chair

Candidate(s): Chris Schommer – Running for a third term

The Communications Chair manages the publication of Close to Home, and helps organize various areas of the neighborhood’s communications including our webpage, social media, and branding.

Chris Schommer: “I have been involved with FRNNG since 2011 when I signed up for Field Neighborhood Representative. In 2014 I became Communications Chair and currently manage each publication of Close to Home. Since becoming chair have also been responsible for: re-designing Close to Home, creating our current webpage, re-designing the FRN logo, and setting up our email address. I was also part of the sub-committee for the 46th Street project and worked closely with Hennepin County and the City during that process. I believe good communication is at the heart of building our community and the more stories and voices we can share the better.”

Housing and Development Committee Chair  

Candidate(s): Nate Lansing – running for a third term

Nate Lansing: “Nate has served as the Housing committee chair/co-chair since 2014. In that time, the Housing Committee has revamped the neighborhood low-interest home improvement loan and has subsidized the cost of the Home Energy Audit program for residents of FRNNG. The Housing Committee also continues to explore ways to support affordable housing in the neighborhood and city as a whole. Nate is a local real estate agent who lives in the Northrop neighborhood with his wife and 2 kids.”

The Housing and Development Committee is concerned with helping neighbors to maintain safe and sound homes in the neighborhood though improvement loans and other strategies.

Pepitos and Parkway Theater Acquired, New Restaurant Tenant Announced

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, February 14, 2018


Pepitos restaurant and the Parkway Theater, two popular institutions located in the Field Regina Northrop neighborhood of South Minneapolis, have been officially acquired and are scheduled to re-open in June 2018. Pepitos Mexican Restaurant, located on the 48th Street block of Chicago Avenue South, enjoyed a long and revered 46 year-run as a fixture in the neighborhood under the ownership of Joe Minjares, who also owned and operated the adjacent Parkway Theater. Due to a serious illness, Minjares had to close Pepitos Restaurant at the end of 2017, though its nearby deli on Nicollet and 46th Street remains.

Enter local investor/entrepreneurs Ward Johnson and Eddie Landenberger, who live in the neighborhood and saw the potential to renovate both the restaurant and theater, in an effort to bring new life into these two establishments. Both Johnson and Landenberger are longtime fans of Pepitos, and Johnson, in particular, has a special connection to Pepitos. “My wife and I had our first date at Pepitos. And fittingly in 2001 it’s where I proposed,” said Johnson.

After an extensive remodel, Johnson and Landenberger will continue to run the theater as a classic/indie movie and live performance venue. “Our goal is to restore the Parkway Theater to its former glory and bring new energy to the space through renovation, curated movie and speaker series, contemporary chamber music and more,” says Landenberger, a veteran of neighborhood redevelopment projects in South Minneapolis.

As for the restaurant, the pair found another family-owned, neighborhood institution to take over operations. El Burrito Mercado, a fixture in St. Paul’s West Side for 36 years, will open El Burrito Minneapolis in the space formerly occupied by Pepito’s. El Burrito Mercado is led and operated by Milissa Silva-Diaz together with her sister and niece, which makes it a 100% women-owned Latina business. Fittingly, according to Silva-Diaz, the bar portion of the restaurant will carry a theme featuring prominent Latina entertainers, artists, and influential women. Like it’s St. Paul counterpart, El Burrito Minneapolis will feature an award-winning menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, a take-out deli, as well as their popular tamale-making classes.

Minjares, for his part, is happy to be handing off the torch to people with deep connections to the neighborhood, and to his restaurant. “It’s bittersweet to say goodbye,” says Minjares. “But I feel like I’m leaving things in good hands, and there’s a bit of serendipity to be handing over the reins of the restaurant to another family-owned Mexican restaurant with a long history in the Twin Cities.”

Plans for the renovation of the Parkway Theater and the opening of El Burrito Minneapolis are pending approval of all necessary plans, permits, and liquor licenses.


Eddie Landenberger, is a commercial real estate developer, broker and property manager with extensive experience serving arts organizations and non-profits in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Eddie currently serves as Vice President at the Land Bank Twin Cities, overseeing acquisitions and property management of a diverse portfolio of urban properties. Prior to the Land Bank, Eddie spent several years as a business broker and economic development project manager developing restaurants and creative arts spaces in Minneapolis. As an active arts patron, he is strongly connected to the local arts community through Kate Nordstrum, his wife and music curator of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. He has an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.

Ward Johnson has over 20 years of experience in business operations and entrepreneurship. As owner/CEO, he guided local pet food manufacturer Sojos ( from a one-man operation to a manufacturing leader in natural pet products, until their ultimate acquisition by WellPet, LLC in January of 2016. He currently serves in a mentoring, consulting and investing role for local start-ups and seed stage companies. He attended the University of Minnesota and has a BS with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Marketing from the University’s Carlson School of Management.

Milissa Silva-Diaz, a Mexican-American, is a passionate diversity advocate with a vision to unite teams through culture, food and music – while infusing a good measure of business savvy. She is the eldest daughter of immigrant, entrepreneur parents, Tomas and Maria Silva. Milissa is most known for her innovative leadership at El Burrito Mercado, the multi-million dollar Mexican & Latino marketplace & restaurant, which employs over 80 staff members in St. Paul. Before taking on her role as El Burrito Mercado CEO and partner- owner, along with her sister Suzanne and niece Analita, she pursued other experiences which heightened her level of education and professional experiences in areas of private label foods, Latino entertainment promotion, and corporate experiences with companies like Target, Supervalu, and General Mills. Milissa currently serves on the board for Latino Chamber of Commerce and is a current board member of the St. Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation. She was recognized as the 2009 recipient of Minnesota’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce “25 on the Rise”.

The Neighborhood celebration RESCHEDULED to Saturday, June 17

The Neighborhood celebration has been RESCHEDULED to Saturday, June 17 due to weather concerns.

Field Regina Northrop is commemorating 52 years as a neighborhood, and once again we will celebrate with an event for friends and family at McRae Park. Our annual spring neighborhood celebration kicks off at 11 a.m. at McRae Park.

From 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. there will be activities at the park, including a variety of musical entertainers, games of chance, face painting, kids games, and of course, ice cream and fabulous food. Food truck vendors will be on hand serving a variety of treats. There will be plenty of food choices for everyone!

On stage, we have a program of family-friendly live music and dancers. Join us on Saturday, June 17 to celebrate with your neighbors!

Keep track of the event by visiting or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information. This event will take place on this date – rain or shine. We will provide alternate location in case of rain on June 17.

Social Media Coordinator advertisement

The Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group (FRNNG) is seeking a temporary social media coordinator to help promote neighborhood events and information social media platforms (primarily Facebook and Twitter) and our web page. This contract position is funded for three months. This person or group should be able to help develop existing content from our print newsletter and new content from other sources to effectively communicate with residents and business online. Coordination between the FRNNG webpage and social media will be important.

Applicants should have experience with Facebook and Twitter administration and communication strategies, as well as wordpress content editing and publishing. Please share examples of communication work on social media with your application in addition to a sample three month budget required for an average of 3-5 social media posts every week.

Send your application to by May 18th with Social Media Position in the subject line. A committee has been formed to review the applicants and will award the project no later than May 25thst.

4700 Cedar Ave Development presentation – Wednesday 2/15

In February the development group who is working on re-developing the abandoned gas station on the 4700 block of Cedar ave re-submitted their design to the Minneapolis planning commission for review after their initial proposal was tabled pending revisions. A diagram of the plan is shown here overlaid on the existing property. On Wednesday, February 15th the Architect in charge of designing the proposed redevelopment of 4700 Cedar will attend the Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood meeting to discuss the site plan and neighborhood concerns. The Presentation will take place at 6:30 at the beginning of the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting.

The meeting will take place  at the Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church on the main level. The address is 1620 E 46th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407. For more information please contact the office at (612) 721-5424

NRP Phase II Plan adjustment

The Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group (FRNNG)  Board of Directors voted on November 16, 2016 to add the following language and dollars to its NRP Phase II Plan Education Strategy 4.1.A.1 “Arts in the Community Project”.  Add the language, “Program will also include other community building, arts education strategies such as; Visual, Performing, and Multi-Media arts programs.”  FRNNG Board plans to allocate $10,000.00 to this strategy for future programs.

For questions or comments please email

46th Street repaving to begin September 29

This press release was provided by Hennepin County 

Starting Thursday, September 29, Hennepin County will begin repaving 46th street (County Road 46) between Lyndale and Cedar avenues. Crews have been active in the area prior to this date doing prep work.

The milling operations, or pavement removal, will be the first major activity. It will start on the west end of the project area and move east. In total, work is expected to last two weeks, but the schedule is weather dependent and subject to change.

Traffic will be maintained in both directions during this work, but will be diverted to either side of the roadway depending on where the construction activity is occurring. For your safety and the safety of our crews, please slow down as you travel through this area.

Thank you for your patience.

Creating safer lane configurations

Crews will begin by removing the top layer of pavement from one side of the roadway at a time. Next, they will lay fresh pavement, let it cure and then apply fresh paint markings.

When the new paint is applied, it will create a newly configured roadway to improve the safety and experience for all road users.

East of Nicollet Avenue: 46th Street will be changed to a three lane configuration with one traffic lane in each direction and a shared center turn lane. Bike lanes will be added on both sides and on-street parking will be removed.

West of Nicollet Avenue: 46th Street will retain two lanes with one lane in each direction. Bike lanes will be added in both directions and parking on the south side of the road will be removed.

Benefits of the new configuration include:

  • Narrowed lanes for vehicles to encourage safer speeds
  • Dedicated lanes for bicyclists
  • Pedestrian buffer space from motorized traffic provided by the bike lanes
  • Improved striping to help travelers navigate the roadway safely
  • Improved traffic flow from the center lane moving turning vehicles out of the way
  • Greatly reduced number of conflicts from vehicles maneuvering around turning traffic

Planners and engineers expect the new design will decrease conflicts and potential crashes by half.

Based on community input

The final design of this project was based heavily on input from area communities, residents and stakeholders. Many expressed an interest in creating a safer and more pleasant experience for all road users, especially pedestrians and bicyclists.

A working group studied transportation issues in this area and considered possible measures that could be implemented with the paving project. The group consisted of representatives from the Field Regina Northup, Kingfield and Tangletown neighborhood associations, as well as city and county staff. Local businesses and property owners were also engaged in this process. An informational open house was held in 2015 to gather input and help guide the planning of the project.

Thank you to all who contributed to this process!

Contact Hennepin County

Learn more about the project at 


Bob Byers, P.E.
Project engineer

See active projects on our interactive road construction map.

Learn more about how transportation is connecting people to places.

A Night on 48th


The celebration takes place at Turtle Bread Company on Saturday, November 4, from 7–10 p.m. Tickets purchased before October 27 cost $15 – $20 at the door – and include the buffet of food from Turtle Bread Company and Pizza Biga, live music, and a wine raffle ticket. Staff from Turtle Bread serves soft drinks, wine, and beer at the cash bar. Space in Turtle Bread is limited; tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchase your ticket online with the link below or by calling the office 612-721-5424.


Select the Number of Tickets
Names for ticket pickup

Question: When does the buzz about Night on 48th begin? Answer: Right after last year’s sold-out festive event. It’s not an understatement to report that people have fun at Night on 48th. They talk about it – and look forward to it – all year long. They relax, visit with each other and meet new people, sip wine and beer from a cash bar, eat tasty food prepared by Turtle Bread Company and Pizza Biga, listen to laid-back music, and shop the silent auction.

In addition to creating a night of pure neighborly fun, Night on 48th is our neighborhood’s primary fundraiser. It’s an event during which neighbors celebrate all that makes Field Regina Northrop an appealing area in which to live, do business, and have fun.

The funds that are raised through ticket sales, support from generous sponsors, and sales of items and services donated to the silent auction all contribute to the many activities and improvements that occur in our neighborhood.


Music provided by AKOUO returns by popular demand. The band will again establish a relaxed ambiance for socializing and shopping. They describe their sound as “a collage of musical genres” including jazz, R&B, funk, gospel, country western, and rock, all of which was embraced with enthusiasm for the past several years by guests.

New this year: childcare

On a first-come, first-served basis for adults who reserve to attend Night on 48th, a limited number of spaces for childcare, for kids from ages 5 to 10, are available at McRae Park. There is no charge for this service but tips will be happily accepted. To reserve space for your child or children, send an email to or call the park at 612-370-4909.

Silent auction

Exciting items will be included in the silent auction including the always-popular stay at Pier 1 in Duluth. Check our webpage and Facebook page to stay current as silent-auction items are listed.

Items donated to the silent auction provide the opportunity for guests to shop locally, support our neighborhood, and score attractive products and services from nearby businesses and individuals. The silent auction is also an opportunity for an individual or business to donate an item that puts your name in front of 125 people. To learn more, contact program manager Stearline Rucker in
the neighborhood office.

In addition to those who donate to the silent auction, the neighborhood greatly appreciates the sponsors of Night on 48th who make this annual event a big success, even before the first guest has entered the door! Please thank our sponsors when you patronize their businesses.

Our volunteer board members set up the event, provide hospitality during the event, and clean up afterward. If you would like to get involved to help host Night on 48th, please contact Stearline in the FRNNG office. (612) 721-5424;

We’re eager to see you on Saturday,
November 4. Invite a neighborhood friend and join us to have fun and raise money to keep our community safe, connected, and beautiful. 

Pick Up a Free Home Radon Test Kit

FRNNG, in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, is offering residents free radon test kits during February for “Radon-Awareness Month.” The neighborhood group has received 100 kits on a first-come basis. The tests will be available for pickup at two times and locations. If you cannot drop by during these times, please contact the neighborhood office.

Sovereign Grounds Coffee Shop (813 E 48th St)

Saturday, February 6, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Turtle Bread Company (4762 Chicago Ave S)

Saturday, February 20, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Radon Cancer Risk

Radon is a health concern and is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. When breathed in, the radioactive particles from radon gas can damage the cells that line the lung. Long-term exposure to radon can then lead to lung cancer. Radon is found in nearly all soils and gets drawn into the home as a colorless, odorless gas that passes through a building’s foundations and can accumulate in the house.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking action to reduce radon in homes that have a radon level at or above 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). If your free radon test kit measures above this level, you might want to consider a follow-up long-term test to confirm your results or contact a radon mitigation specialist. The Minnesota Department of Health has more information on radon and mitigation speciliasts on their radon information webpage:

New Italian Restaurant Opens on Cedar Avenue

ie_entrywayThe weekend after Thanksgiving, ie – short for Italian Eatery – opened its doors at 4724 Cedar Avenue. This welcome new addition to the growing food scene in south Minneapolis has created a lot of buzz in the neighborhood.

Owners Eric and Vanessa Carrera closed on the property in the fall, and managed a complete remodel to the building that formerly housed Cork Dork and Carbone’s, which moved just across the street. The space, created in collaboration with Shea Design, is now a sleek, modern space along the lines of a stylish downtown restaurant, with the warmth and coziness of a neighborhood joint. According to Eric, “We wanted to create a place that people in the community could come to for a date night, or right off of a walk along the parkway.”


Eric and Vanessa Carrera, owners and operators of restaurant ie on 47th and Cedar Avenue.

Eric and Vanessa Carrera, owners and operators of restaurant ie on 47th and Cedar Avenue.

The Carreras have been grateful for community response. “We wanted to be a neighborhood place, but we’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received. So many people have come, and introduced themselves as our neighbors, and brought their friends,” he says. Dishes are Italian-inspired, seasonal dishes at approachable price points. Early favorites on the menu include dry-rubbed beef short ribs, a wild boar meatball and garganelli baked pasta, and charred octopus appetizer. There is also a small-but-mighty dessert list and a full bar, including specialty cocktails, and an extensive beer and wine list.


The Carreras are feeling satisfied about the launch of ie, and are already planning for new ways to serve the community, including weekend brunch service starting in January, a special Valentine’s Day menu, and hint at more to come, “We’ve got big plans for the spring and summer that the neighborhood will love!” For more information, visit 
or call (612) 223-8504
By Carrie Shidla, Member, Communications Committeeie_counter