Ward 1 priorities and initiatives

A list of projects and initiatives in the Ward 1.

Green Campus Initiatives

Northeast Green Campus

The Northeast Green Campus sits at the heart of the First Ward in the Holland neighborhood and encompasses Jackson Square Park, the Holland Flood Mitigation Basin and Edison High School’s campus and athletic fields. The Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association, Minneapolis Public Schools, City of Minneapolis Public Works and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization have worked over the course of several years on a series of cutting-edge sustainability projects that have improved the environmental health of this area while also offering significant opportunities for sustainability outreach, education and green economy jobs training. Educational signage throughout the Northeast Green Campus area highlight and explain the various stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Phase I: Edison High School Parking Lot

In 2013 the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) funded a complete renovation of the Edison High School parking lot. The purpose of the renovation was to install innovative stormwater recapture infrastructure to ensure that the parking lot could manage the water generated by a 4” rain event by retaining it onsite rather than allowing it to enter the storm sewer system and, ultimately, the Mississippi River. The stormwater infrastructure incorporated into the parking lot includes a Swedish tree trench down the center of the lot. Tree trenches use a combination of non-compacted soils and rock to create an environment that can more efficiently absorb rainwater and that promotes healthier tree growth within an urban setting. The addition of trees also counteracts the heat island effect.

The south end of the parking lot is paved in permeable material with a 4-foot underground storage tank underneath. That infrastructure allows the area to absorb and process stormwater. A biofiltration swale has also been installed at the southwest corner of the lot. This is a modified raingarden specifically designed to capture stormwater coming from the alley.

Water monitoring equipment was installed in the biofiltration swale in the early spring of 2015, allowing for ongoing analysis of both the volume and the quality of the water that is passing through the parking lot's Swedish tree trench. Stantec, the engineering firm that undertook the parking lot renovation, provided the grant funds for the water monitoring equipment, as well as for paid internships for the students doing the actual monitoring. The monitoring is being overseen by Dr. Bruce Wilson, a professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Wilson’s work focuses on erosion mechanics and hydrologic/water quality processes of watersheds.

Green Light Project

HNIA and Center for Energy & Environment (CEE) collaborated on an energy efficiency awareness public art project at the Edison parking lot through CEE’s “Art as Energy” initiative. It consists of a core of 6 artworks ranging in height from 9 to 12 feet, created with Cor-ten steel, sculpted green jade float glass, fiber-optic lighting and programmable, color-changing LED lamps

Initially the sculpture group is orange, representing the current baseline of gas and electricity consumption in the surrounding community. As energy conservation in the surrounding Holland neighborhood improves due to CEE weatherization efforts the light will change color, with the ultimate goal of saving energy equivalent to the amount needed to power Edison High School. When 25% of the goal is achieved, the light will shift from orange to red; at the 50% point, the light will move from red to purple; at the 75% point, the lights will change from purple to blue. At the 100% point will alternate between blue and green.

This dynamic process serves as an outward and visible symbol of responsible resource management and energy conservation. It will be accompanied by a partnership between CEE and the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association (HNIA) to promote energy audits and energy conservation improvements in the Holland neighborhood. This partnership will chart a unique pathway of collaboration that can serve as a model for other neighborhoods and organizations.

Edison High School Athletic Field

At a time when many schools have focused on the installation of artificial turf, which increases the heat island effect, Edison High School made the greener choice to upgrade their natural turf athletic field. A partnership between the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings, LISC, ECSF and MPS has led to a sustainable redesign of Edison's athletic field that incorporates cutting-edge infrastructure to enhance storm water management onsite. The field has been re-graded and sodded with a capillary turf system, and new drain tile and goal posts have been installed. The irrigation system allows for irrigation of the field from recaptured rainwater through the Phase II project.

Phase II: Gym Roof, Green House, Community Garden and Community Plaza

This phase of the multi-year sustainability initiative included a new grand entrance to the Edison athletic field, a concession building, greenhouse, community garden and underground storage tanks that will hold stormwater runoff collected from the gym roof, plaza, field and parking lot. With a capacity of 110,900 gallons, this stormwater reuse system is anticipated to meet most or all of the athletic field’s irrigation needs in a given year. Live data from the reuse system is online and displayed on digital signage near the field.

The greenhouse and student-created community garden offer Edison students hands-on urban agriculture opportunities through Edison’s partnership with Spark-Y, a local non-profit that focuses on youth education in the areas of sustainability and entrepreneurship, while the entire Green Campus will function as an outdoor classroom and laboratory. Project partners included MWMO, Minneapolis Public Schools, Spark-Y and HNIA.

Phase III: Solar Installation

Xcel Energy partnered with Edison High School and Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association (HNIA) to install a 48-kilowatt solar array at the Northeast Green Campus. The solar arrays, which are located on the roofs of the school and gym, as well as a solar canopy over the Edison Community Plaza, will provide enough electricity to power about half the school’s annual energy needs.

The solar array will also provide students hands-on experience. Students will benefit directly from the solar installation by learning about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related to renewable energy. Solar energy kits have been purchased for in-class use, and students eighth grade and older will learn about subjects ranging from atomic theory in chemistry, to ‘energy units’ that look at how energy is converted from one substance, such as light, to electricity. Real-time data on solar production from the school’s solar array will be available in the classroom and is expected to be used in future math and science courses.

This $1.7-million project was funded through a $917,250 Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund grant, as well as additional funds from HNIA and the State of Minnesota. Sundial Energy helped assist Minneapolis Public Schools manage the project over a years-long development period.

Phase IV: Water Works

This James Brenner sculpture is located at the center of the Northeast Green Campus, adjacent to the Edison High School Gym, and it reinforces the connections between the stormwater management at the site and the impact on the Mississippi River. Three abstracted “Rain Clouds” represent the hydrological cycle of water evaporation, cloud formation and rainfall. An Illuminated “River”, that frames the sculpture, highlights its location at the Watershed Gateway to the Mississippi River, with an arrow in raised aluminum denoting the direction to the Mississippi River.

Northeast Middle School Green Campus

Northeast Middle School and the Audubon Neighborhood Association jointly conceived of a project to green the school campus. Through a grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, they removed a significant portion of pavement (23,000 square feet) from the school’s under-utilized south parking lot. In its place, they constructed a large biofiltration basin filled with native plants. In addition to treating stormwater runoff and protecting water quality in the watershed, the project will provide hands-on environmental learning opportunities for students, who will be involved in maintaining the site.

The new Northeast Middle School raingarden is located along a heavily traveled avenue near a Northeast Minneapolis business district, which will provide added visibility and create new opportunities for public outreach. Many of the school’s students will also go on to study at Edison High School, providing a connection between the two innovative green campus projects.

Infrastructure improvement projects

Projects in Ward 1

Mid-City Industrial Reconstruction

The City of Minneapolis is reconstructing several street segments totaling 2.2 miles in the Mid-City Industrial Neighborhood in 2019 and 2020. The project area is generally bound on the north by Interstate 35-W, on the south by E Hennepin Avenue, on the east by the city limits, and on the west by Johnson Street NE.

Industrial Blvd Shared Use Trail

The proposed project consists of a new off-street multi-use trail on the west side of Industrial Boulevard extending from the south side of I-35W to Broadway Street Northeast. The elements proposed to be included as part of the project includes a new curb-level multi-use trail, ADA compliant curb ramps, curb/gutter, and utility improvements. The project will also include pedestrian scale parkway lighting, planted trees within the boulevard where feasible, signage, and pavement markings. Public Works is partnering with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (Park Board) to fund the project, with construction anticipated in 2019. The objective of this project is to connect the planned improvements for a continuous facility from Ridgway Parkway to Stinson Blvd NE.

Project area is approximately 0.12 miles in length and currently consists of three southbound travel lanes, a center median, two northbound travel lanes, and no sidewalk within a 100-ft right-of-way. The adjacent land uses to the west side of the project area include a hotel and office space with driveways facing Industrial Boulevard.

Broadway Street NE Reconstruction (Stinson Boulevard to Industrial Boulevard)

This project reconstructed approximately 0.8 miles of Broadway Street NE from Stinson Boulevard to Industrial Boulevard. The roadway was striped from a four lane roadway to a two lane roadway with center turn lanes. A major component of this project was the construction of missing multi-modal elements, including adding 0.7 miles of sidewalk and construction of a new off-street bicycle facility along the project area. A sidewalk was added to the north side of the street and the off-street, multi-use trail was constructed on the south side of the street. Sidewalks gaps made it difficult for pedestrians to walk to and from transit stops to access employers and businesses within the area. The sidewalk additions improved walkability for pedestrians and provided greater access to transit stops, retail shopping destinations and a key job concentration center.

Waite Park Concrete Streets Rehabilitation

The concrete streets in the Waite Park neighborhood of Ward One were originally installed in the 1960s and 70s and, while concrete streets have a longer life span than asphalt streets, they have deteriorated significantly over time. The purpose of the Concrete Streets Rehabilitation Program is to extend the life of some concrete city streets. The goal is to target concrete streets that with proper concrete repair will extend the street’s life to improve ride quality and support neighborhood livability. Other improvements within the project limits include upgrades to select pedestrian ramps, replacement of select curb and gutter, and a diamond grind resurfacing of the street pavement. For this type of work, it is anticipated that less than 25% of the pavement will be replaced. Concurrent with the street work, utility improvements will be completed associated with gas, water and sewer

18th Avenue NE Reconstruction (Monroe to Johnson Streets NE)

The project included full removal of the existing street, subgrade correction, new pavement, curb and gutter, driveways, bike trail, sidewalk as needed, streetscape elements as needed, and utility work as needed.

18th Avenue NE Reconstruction (Johnson to Stinson Blvd NE)

In 2020, the City of Minneapolis will be reconstructing 18th Ave NE in northeast Minneapolis between Johnson St NE and Stinson Blvd.

Johnson Street NE Reconstruction (18th Avenue NE to Lowry Avenue NE)

In 2021, the City of Minneapolis Public Works Department plans to reconstruct approximately one half-mile of Johnson St NE from 18th Ave NE to Lowry Ave NE

St Anthony Parkway Bridge

The project included reconstruction of the St Anthony Parkway Bridge and approach roadways which includes St. Anthony Parkway, California St. NE and possibly Main St. NE, with updated amenities for non-motorized users. The 533.6 foot, five-span, Warren through truss was built in 1925 and crossed over 24 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Rail yard. The structure provided one vehicular traffic lane in each direction and a sidewalk on the south side. The St. Anthony Bridge has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board "Grand Rounds-National Scenic Byway." The Grand Rounds has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration as the premier scenic National Urban Scenic Byway.

The new St. Anthony Parkway Bridge, which opened to traffic in October, 2017, features a space-frame through-truss that references the historic Warren through-trusses of the original bridge. The new structure also includes a 14 foot ped/bike path on the south side and a 10-foot sidewalk on the north side. At the west end of the bridge, an interpretive plaza displays remnant pieces of the historic bridge, as well as interpretive panels that illustrate the history of the bridge and the surrounding area.

Logan Park Industrial Streets Reconstruction

The proposed project is the complete reconstruction of several street segments in the Logan Park neighborhoods. These streets consist of heavily patched brick pavers and unpaved streets. These streets are primarily in the Logan Park neighborhood, west of Central Avenue NE.

Presidents Bike Boulevard

In an effort to connect a long existing bicycle network gap and create an enhanced pedestrian environment along East Hennepin Ave, Public Works will redesign the crossing at 5th Ave SE and Pierce St NE in 2020. Hennepin County will be resurfacing East Hennepin Ave from 8th St SE to Stinson Blvd; this will reduce the number of travel lanes from 4 to 3 and add buffered bicycle facilities for a portion of the corridor.

37th Avenue NE

In 2019, the City of Columbia Heights and the City of Minneapolis are partnering to resurface 37th Ave NE from 5th St NE to Central Ave NE. This project will include the following elements:

  • Street resurfacing work on 37th Ave NE between 5th St Ne and Central Ave NE; resurfacing work removes the top layer of asphalt driving surface on a street and puts on a new layer of asphalt.
  • Replacing small sections of curb and gutter, where needed
  • Replacing and upgrading ADA ramps, where needed
  • Resurfacing work that offers an opportunity to add on-street bicycle facilities
  • Columbia Heights and Minneapolis are jointly exploring design alternatives for a bicycle facility in the project area.
  • Columbia Heights will be adding a pedestrian facility along the north side of the street.
  • There is currently no existing sidewalk along most of the project area on the north side of the street.
  • Columbia Heights is exploring design options for the pedestrian facility. They are considering a standard sidewalk as well as a multi-use trail.

Monroe Street NE Safe Routes to School

Edison High School and Minneapolis Public Works have been collaborating on a Safe Routes to Schools project on Monroe Street NE that will make the campus safer for walkers and bikers, while also being designed to enhance our Northeast Green Campus efforts.

Monroe Street is currently used daily by 3,400 motor vehicles, 15 Metro Transit buses, 200 bicyclists and 210 pedestrians. Planning efforts with the school identified safety needs at the intersections of 20th and Monroe and 22nd and Monroe, and work is being done to shorten the crossing distances at these locations.

As part of that project, Public Works will also be incorporating green infrastructure to treat stormwater. Some of these treatments will include bioretention curb extensions and subsurface infiltration chambers. Stormwater will be directed to the infiltration chambers, which will provide storage of the water until it has enough time to soak into the ground through holes at the bottom of the chambers. Thus, the water will not only be filtered, but the chambers will also reduce the amount of water flowing to storm pipes, allowing them more capacity. The chambers will be located beneath the road surface in the parking lane on Monroe adjacent to the school. Work is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Small business support

Business assistance programs

  • Business Technical Assistance Program (B-TAP) provides consulting support to small and medium businesses in Minneapolis, as well as entrepreneur training and economic development. City of Minneapolis staff host business consultations on the first Tuesday of each month 3-5 p.m. at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave NE, to answer permitting, financing and licensing questions, and give advice about business plans and mentoring. 
  • Co-operative Technical Assistance Program (C-TAP) offers free co-op feasibility training for potential and new cooperatives and existing businesses interested in converting into a cooperative. The program also provides one-on-one technical assistance (consulting).

City projects

Eastside Storage & Maintenance Facility

A few short years ago the 2600 block of University Avenue NE was distinguished by a row of aging houses, a narrow sidewalk and a dilapidated and potholed alley. Today, that block and the parcels to the east of it have been transformed into the state-of-the-art City of Minneapolis Eastside Maintenance Facility.

A towering public art installation anchors one corner. Broad walking-biking paths wend their way around the building, connecting the 5th Street NE Bike Blvd to the 27th Ave NE Bikeway. A chain of rain gardens, pollinator plantings, benches, and a mini orchard create a community oasis. Steel downspouts, Cor-ten sheathing and strong architectural lines reflect the area's industrial heritage.

Learn more about the artwork

This recently completed multi-purpose facility is intended to house the City's Solid Waste & Recycling Division, as well as Fleet Services and the Street Maintenance operations that are currently located at 1810 Washington St NE. Staff will be moved to the new facility in phases, due to COVID restrictions. While no solid waste and recycling collection activities will take place on site, the new facility is designed to provide indoor storage for trucks, equipment, and other city vehicles. Mechanical repair and upkeep work and vehicle washing will also take place on site.

Sustainability was a primary consideration in the building design. Thanks to a $500,000 grant from Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, the site features underground storage tanks that retain and filter half of the property's stormwater. The other half is captured through the series of downspouts, permeable pavements, buffer strips, and rain gardens that ring the west and south sides of the building. All of these strategies combined mean that up to 238,000 gallons (or the equivalent of more than 6 freight cars worth) of water can be captured in a single rain event.

The building also has over 70,000 square feet of solar-ready rooftop, which could be utilized for a future community solar garden. Other special features include a large conference room - the "Holland" - which can be booked for community use; all gender locker rooms, reflecting the diversity of the Public Works workforce; 10 electrical vehicle charging stations in the parking lot, with the infrastructure to add more as needed.