Office Hours: Monday 9-11 a.m.
Sabathani Community Center, 310 E. 38th St.
The Neighborhood and Community Relations Department has been hosting community briefings with community leaders and organizations to share important COVID-19 information. City leaders and key staff participate in the conversations. The City hopes to learn from community what their needs and priorities are related to COVID-19. The City is committed to ensuring that communities have access to important COVID-19 information.
The City has held community briefings with African American, American Indian, East African, LGBTQIA+, Southeast Asian and Latinx communities, as well as seniors and people with disabilities.
The participants in these briefings have included community leaders and organizations, the mayor, Council members, NCR, Health, Race and Equity Division, CPED and other City staff and other jurisdictional partners.
Sign up online to vote early by mail this election year
With health officials advising everyone to reduce contact with others during the pandemic, the City of Minneapolis is recommending voting early by mail this election year. Voters can sign up now to get ballots for the August primary and November general election mailed to them. Ballots will arrive approximately six weeks before those elections, along with postage-paid envelopes for return.
All Minnesota voters are eligible to vote early by mail. Ballot applications should be made no later than 10 days before an election so the ballots can arrive in the mail with enough time for voters to return them.
Although voting early by mail is recommended, voters will still be able to cast their ballots in person at the City’s Early Vote Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave., or at their polling places on the day of the election.
Making voting safe during the pandemic
The City of Minneapolis is working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health and Hennepin County to be prepared and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging voting early by mail, and Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services supports this and other CDC and MDH recommendations to make sure every voter in Minneapolis can safely cast their ballots this election year.
Watch this video about voting by mail.
Sign up to vote by mail at vote.minneapolismn.gov.
Mayor Frey to Propose Revised 2020 Budget in June
Financial stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic including a projected $100-$200 million revenue shortfall are forcing the City of Minneapolis like other governments to reassess its budget.
The mayor will present a recommended revised 2020 budget to the City Council June 12. The City Council will hold a series of meetings in mid- and late June to hear from City staff about the impacts of the recommended revisions and make any modifications they see necessary. There will be two opportunities for the public to engage and share their voices in this process. Details are being finalized and will be released as soon as they are available.
We have already frozen wages for all non-bargaining unit employees and are working with labor partners to implement a wage freeze across the enterprise to help guard against deeper cuts later.
Bills up before the Legislature right now could affect possible State and federal funding that would allow Minneapolis to get a share of the federal coronavirus relief bill. As of now, the City has received none, which has implications across our budget.
Upcoming Road Closures and Construction Updates
Rescheduled: Midtown Greenway closure May 19-20
The Midtown Greenway closure has been rescheduled. The Midtown Greenway will be closed from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tue, May 19 and Wed, May 20. The detour routes include:
I-35W Project Updates
Road closures and congestion
May 21 Lake St. closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All closures are weather permitting and subject to change.
Minneapolis parkways will remain open to pedestrians through at least end of June
Sections of eight parkways or park roads totaling 21 lane miles are closed to motor vehicles and open to pedestrians to allow more space for trail users to follow social distancing practices and limit the spread of COVID-19. Park Board staff estimates this will remain in place until at least the end of June.
Take the census to protect services for children
Complete the census today if you haven’t yet, and make sure to include every child that lives in your home – even babies. Census data directly affects programs and services that many community kids rely on. If children go uncounted, funding and resources for their future also go unaccounted for. And children are the largest undercounted population in the census.
Programs affected by census counts include:
Children are the largest undercounted population in the census
While the census count for adults has improved over time, children remain the highest undercounted population in census data, and it’s actually getting worse.
Why are so many young children undercounted? Many children live in households that are historically difficult to count including: homes in hard to count neighborhoods, living with parents who rent, living in split households, and living in families with six or more children (this has led to young children being left off of the census form). Language barriers also seem to contribute where families speak a language other than English.
Counting children is vital to their future
The count of children is included in the congressional reapportionment and redistricting process, so their presence in the census is important for communities and states to receive fair representation. When young children are undercounted, the communities that they live in are denied a full voice in policy decision-making resulting in their needs not being prioritized.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to stay connected about the 35W@94 project while we stay at home.
Explore the project corridor through a virtual self-guided tour, watch a drone flight to see construction progress, read the project blog or download an activity book to do yourself or with kids. Be sure to view all eight stops on the online self-guided tour to learn about the history of I-35W, project benefits and construction features like the huge water storage tanks being constructed under the road. Each stop along the tour features artwork created by students from Lyndale Community School and Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary School in Minneapolis.
Start exploring today using the Virtual Self-Guided Tour!
Home Energy Squad now offering free virtual home energy visits in English, Spanish and Hmong
As we stay home to keep each other safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a new option to help us make our homes more energy efficient and save on our energy bills. Home Energy Squad now offers virtual home energy visits, a cost-free service that complies with safety guidelines under COVID-19. The visits are available in English, Spanish and Hmong.
Through the new online-only visits, Home Energy Squad continues to help homeowners identify their best opportunities for energy savings combined with advice and planning for future projects to save even more when the time is right.
More about the virtual Home Energy Squad visit
You’ll complete a brief questionnaire to share your concerns and interests before the virtual visit. The audio/video home walk-through with energy experts typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour, resulting in a customized report complete with recommendations and next steps. You’ll also have access to cost-free telephone consultations after the virtual visit with a qualified energy advisor.
Customized for each home, the program’s benefits may include:
To participate in the virtual Home Energy Squad visit, you must be an Xcel Energy and/or CenterPoint Energy customer in Minnesota. Home Energy Squad is provided by Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy and delivered by the Center for Energy and Environment.
A smartphone or laptop with internet access is needed for the full experience, but a simplified virtual visit can be conducted by telephone.
Energy score for home sales
If you’re selling your home, the visit can help you decide which energy improvements to make to bring up your energy score the most. Earlier this year, the City of Minneapolis incorporated an energy report into the home sale process to help property owners understand how their homes use energy. When a home is for sale, its energy data is collected during the truth in sale of housing evaluation. This data creates an energy score that rates how energy efficient the home is. It also produces recommendations for how to improve the homes’ energy score, which makes a home more comfortable and reduces energy bills.
0% financing for recommended improvements
The City of Minneapolis works with the Center for Energy and Environment to offer a 0% loan to help residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes. If you have a remote Home Energy Squad visit or received a Home Energy Squad visit within the last three years, you are eligible to receive this funding to make energy upgrades to your home. Funding is limited and only available in 2020, so start planning now.
The Home Energy Squad visit may result in recommendations on the improvements that would make the most difference for your house. Then energy advisors from the Center for Energy and Environment will provide free coaching through the energy upgrade process. Energy advisors can answer any questions you may have about the energy score or recommended energy improvements and connect you to useful resources such as quality contractors, utility rebates and the City’s 0% financing for recommended energy efficiency improvements. In 2019 alone, the Center for Energy and Environment’s energy advisors coached more than 900 homeowners through energy efficiency improvements and connected them to more than $350,000 in utility rebates.
Sign up online or call 651-328-6220 for your virtual Home Energy Squad visit.
Routine neighborhood inspections help keep neighborhoods welcoming
Many Minnesotans have found themselves at home this spring to help keep each other safe, and now more than ever it’s critical to keep clean yards and green space for each other’s well-being. City inspectors will respond to 311 complaints and in limited instances go through areas with vacant properties and a history of nuisance violations. Because of added difficulties everyone is facing during the pandemic, anyone who gets a violation letter and finds complying to be a hardship is especially invited to call 311 or the number at the bottom of the letter to discuss the situation. The City is committed to balancing the needs of the community, renters and owners, and being fair, reasonable and flexible.
Planning a spring cleanup, setting a routine lawn maintenance schedule and regularly checking in on any rental properties helps keep the city beautiful, clean and safe with welcoming neighborhoods.
As temperatures warm up this week, now is a great time to:
Some resources exist to help older adults, veterans and disabled people.
For landlords who have arrangements with their renters to do yard work, now is a great time to make sure they have the necessary equipment and talk about what regular upkeep expectations look like. City inspectors recommend that landlords occasionally stop by the property to see if additional supplies are needed and whether the yard work meets the expectations. Regardless of who does the yard work, responsibility ultimately lies with the property owner.
To report a property in violation or to ask questions, call 311.
Gov. Walz cautiously starts turning the dial with new COVID-19 executive orders
Gov. Tim Walz announced the next phase of the COVID-19 response in Minnesota. Citing progress made to prepare for the peak of infection, the governor announced a measured, cautious turning of the dial toward a new normal. With the stay home executive order set to expire May 18, the governor will replace it with an order continuing to encourage Minnesotans to stay close to home but allowing for gatherings of friends and family of 10 people or fewer. Minnesotans are still asked to stay close to home and limit travel to what is essential. No matter what, Minnesotans are asked not to gather in large groups. All gatherings are limited to 10, and physical distancing with masks, hand-washing and other safety measures should be followed to protect each other.
The governor will also allow retail stores and other main street businesses to open if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50%. Additional guidance, including a template plan and checklist for businesses, is available on DEED’s website at mn.gov/deed/safework.
Acknowledging that there is no stopping the storm of COVID-19 from hitting Minnesota, the governor said that we have made great progress preparing for it.
Gov. Walz also signed executive orders strongly encouraging Minnesotans at greatest risk of serious illness to continue staying home, ensuring workers can raise concerns regarding the safety of their work environments without fear of discrimination or retaliation, and protecting workers from loss of income if they refuse to work under unsafe or unhealthy conditions.
Following the guidance of public health officials, the governor announced a preliminary set of health indicators that could trigger a decision to re-impose restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. These indicators will be refined over time as we learn more about the virus and the course of the pandemic in Minnesota.
They include the number of COVID-19 tests that can be conducted as well as the rate of increase in:
Updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota are available at mn.gov/covid19.
Minneapolis firefighters read from children’s books
Minneapolis firefighters read children’s books for a virtual storytime in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools. Watch the videos here:
Visit us at minneapolismn.gov/ward8
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