Minneapolis Park System Ranked Best In The U.S.

The Minneapolis parks system scored highest in the nation for the second straight year in a report ranking U.S. urban greenspace that was released on Thursday.

The Midwestern city topped the Trust for Public Land’s third “ParkScore” survey, which ranks the quality of parks in the 60 largest U.S. cities.

"This year’s ParkScore results show that even outstanding park systems must improve to stay on top," Peter Harnik, director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, said in a statement. "When population grows, more parks and playgrounds are needed, but when city leaders get creative, they can meet the increased demand."

Minneapolis received high marks for its parks system partly because some 94 percent of its residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

While second-ranking New York registered 97 percent of its residents within a 10-minute walk of a park, its low median park size - 1.1 acres compared with Minneapolis’ 7.1-acres - took points from its score.

(Source: The Huffington Post)

In Minneapolis, a Blueprint for a Bustling Downtown

The building of a nearly $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium has become the impetus for resuscitating a barren stretch of this city’s downtown that Gov. Mark Dayton called “a concrete oasis.”

Officials broke ground this month on the city’s largest real estate project in two decades, a $400 million mixed-use development going up next to the new stadium.

The five-block project, called Downtown East, includes plans for two 18-story office towers for Wells Fargo, a six-level parking ramp, about 24,000 square feet of retail space, 193 apartments and a four-acre urban park near the stadium’s northwest corner.

Many cities have tried to generate urban renewal around a big project like a new stadium with mixed success over the years. It is often hard to persuade those who left for the suburbs to return.

Mayor Betsy Hodges is promoting such a turnaround for Minneapolis. “We have an opportunity that few cities get, a big part of our downtown that’s underdeveloped,” she said. “It’s a 21st-century resurgence, as people reimagine downtown living. They rediscover the value of living in a city and what advantages that brings in terms of recreation, employment, opportunities to live without a car and be around other people.

Ultimately, Downtown East is a chance to spur the development that the 31-year-old Metrodome failed to generate, said Michael Langley, chief executive of the Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership. “This is an opportunity for a huge do-over,” he said.

The timing of the groundbreaking was exciting, he added. The city will host the 2018 Super Bowl, it was announced last week. “I think we see ourselves on a bigger stage, and we see opportunities that can be created by working together and that was probably missing before.”

(Source: The New York Times)

Kenwood neighborhood listed as one of the “Great Places In America: Neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Reminiscent of a sleepy rural hamlet but with decidedly more urbane architecture and scenic vistas, Kenwood Addition is both engaging and engaged. Its residents have a deep appreciation of their neighborhood’s history and assets and just as strong a desire to honor and protect them.

Probably the most familiar house on Kenwood Parkway s is the old Victorian that was featured in the opening of the 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Like the house on the show, this one had been divided into apartments, which was not unusual in Kenwood during the 1960s and 1970s. Since then the house, like most others in the neighborhood, has been reconfigured as a single-family residence. Roughly 85 percent of Kenwood’s 540 homes are owner occupied.

Other cities that made the list …

San Francisco, California

Downtown Norwich/Chelsea Landing
Norwich, Connecticut

Downtown Decatur
Decatur, Georgia

Central Street Neighborhood
Evanston, Illinois

Downtown Mason City
Mason City, Iowa

Historic Licking Riverside
Covington, Kentucky

Beaufort Historic District
Beaufort, South Carolina

West Freemason
Norfolk, Virginia

Williamson Marquette
Madison, Wisconsin

Article via American Planning Association, photo by
Hooked On Houses. (check out the Hooked On Houses link, great info/pics on the Mary Tyler Moore house)

The Minneapolis skyline: Which freeway approach gives the best view?

Coming from the north, as soon as you cross into the city limits, you find a perfect history lesson on the city Minneapolis laid out in front of you. You’re high enough up that you can see all way down to the riverfront, at the bottom strata, the oldest part of the city – the mills that built Minneapolis, their Gold Medal and Pillsbury signs still visible. The layer above that, you see the city reaching higher and higher, the clock tower of City Hall with its peaked copper green roof most prominent here. The city reaches upward, decade after decade, layer after successive layer: the Norwest Center, the US Bank Plaza, and at the top, the Capella, IDS and Wells Fargo towers. To the west, warehouses and water towers. Even the Metrodome, off to the east and framed by the smokestacks and transformers of Southeast, looks OK from this perspective – your drunken, parachute-covered uncle, snoring peacefully off in a corner.

The city skyline from the north is the city skyline at its most mythical; it looks dense, heavy, multi-layered, both historic and contemporary, all of it stretched out before you. I feel like there should be a rainbow arching down to kiss the shiny bronze head of the Hubert H. Humphrey statue at City Hall every time I drive down from the north. Imparting that sensation is about all you can ask of your city’s skyline.

by Andy Sturdevant on MinnPost

City Bike - Minneapolis Cycling Poster by Brian Geihl

An unfinished project on the North Side

Twenty years after Legal Aid filed a landmark lawsuit to reshape four aging North Side housing projects, the landscape has changed substantially. But a significant portion of the promised redevelopment remains unfulfilled, and there’s no timetable for completing it. Nor has anyone studied how the low-income people who were supposed to benefit made out once they were resettled.

via StarTribune, click pic for story.

New face to grace Nicollet Mall

Plans for an expanded Xcel Energy Inc. headquarters campus in downtown Minneapolis may help a long-standing effort to revitalize a blighted expanse of north Nicollet Mall that stretches to the Mississippi River.

Minnetonka-based Opus Development Corp. released plans Tuesday to build a nine-story office building on the southeast corner of Nicollet Mall and 4th Street. Office space in the new building would be leased to Xcel Energy for roughly half of its 1,500 employees downtown, with the remaining workforce located in the energy company’s headquarters across the street.

Construction is slated to begin in 2014, pending needed approvals, with occupancy expected in 2016.

The company that owns Combos, those little cheese filled cracker/pretzel snacks came out with a list of the fifty “Manliest” cities in America. Here is a list of the top ten cities.

1.Oklahoma City, OK (▲ 2 spots)
2.Columbia, SC (▲3 spots)
3.Memphis, TN (▲ 1 spot)
4.Nashville, TN (▼ 3 spots)
5.Birmingham, AL (▲ 2 spots)
6.Houston, TX (▲ 3 spots)
7.St. Louis, MO (▲ 3 spots)
8.Toledo, OH (▲ 4 spots)
9.Cleveland, OH (▼ 3 spots)
10.Charlotte, NC (▼ 8 spots)

Apparently the criteria for being a “Manly” city, included the amount of professional sports teams, popularity of power tools, number of steak houses, and frequency of monster truck rallies. Cities also lose ranking points for emasculating characteristics like the abundance of home furnishing stores, high minivan sales, nail salons or shopping boutiques, and subscription rates to beauty magazines.

Where did Minneapolis come in on this list? Way down at number forty.

40. Minneapolis, MN (▼ 4 spots)

So, because we don’t go to a lot of monster truck rallies, and have a high number of shopping boutiques, Minneapolis isn’t considered a “Manly” city?

I’m more than ok with this ranking then.

Lowry Avenue Bridge from northeast Minneapolis by Michael Gacek

It’s getting there!

'Ex-town' Jonathan still has distinct touches of its futuristic beginnings

Jonathan is vaguely futuristic, because the history of Jonathan is utterly unlike that of any other place in the state. Utopian futurism is Jonathan’s heritage, and it’s a heritage that’s easy to spot once you park your car, get out and have a walk around.

By Andy Sturdevant of MinnPost