First Ward February Newsletter from Kevin Reich’s office

Council Member’s Message

I have some great news to share on the sustainability front both in Ward One and the city as a whole, which makes for a positive start to 2018! In January the city received a grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) to design and install up to $550,000 in stormwater management infrastructure at our new East Side Storage & Maintenance Facility. This infrastructure will be an important piece of the many sustainability elements incorporated into the facility, which will be designed to LEED certification standards. See the story below for more information.

In October 2012 I joined Ward 1 stakeholders, representatives from Minneapolis Public Schools and Sundial Solar to talk about applying for a grant to do a major solar project at Edison High School. Early in January 2018, the Public Utilities Commission approved our application to install solar panels on Edison’s roof and put a solar canopy over the new Edison Plaza next to the gym. It was a long wait, but work can now begin to make the Edison Green Campus even greener! Look for more details about this exciting project in next month’s newsletter.

On a citywide basis, I’m proud to announce a couple of exciting achievements.  Our Solid Waste & Recycling Division was named 2017 Recycler of the Year on the basis of our highly successful organics recycling program.  Minneapolis is also now the first in the nation to go “perc-free”thanks in large part to our innovative green business cost-sharing programs. Check out the stories below to learn more about these achievements.

East Side Storage & Maintenance Facility Stormwater Grant

The City of Minneapolis has received a substantial grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) to design and construct enhanced storm water infrastructure as part of the development of the new East Side Storage & Maintenance Facility.

The grant will be used for a storm water storage and filtration system, as well as onsite education resources so that the general public can learn more about storm water management systems and their impacts.  The water treatment area will be incorporated into the landscape design so that it provides aesthetic as well as educational benefits. Pictured at right is one representative type of storm water management strategy.

The grant will fund up to $550,000 in design and construction work, depending on the final scope of the project.

Minneapolis First Perc-Free City in Nation

Minneapolis became the first city in the nation to go entirely “perc-free” as the last dry cleaner switched over to a safer process. With help from the City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, East Isles Resident Association and Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association, Osman Cleaners switched its machines over from using perchloroethylene – also called “perc” – to a process using clean solvents safer for employees, neighbors and customers. In less than six years since the City’s cost-sharing program began, Minneapolis has helped the last nine dry cleaners in the city using perchloroethylene replace their equipment to make the switch.

Perchloroethylene is the main chemical solvent used in dry cleaning. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies perchloroethylene as a “likely carcinogen”; it also has the potential to damage the kidneys, liver, immune system and blood system, and affect reproduction and fetal development. A 2015 Minneapolis Health Department study detected 99 occasions of perchloroethylene above levels that are considered health risks over a long period of time in outdoor, ambient air in Minneapolis.

Financial assistance from the neighborhood groups made this and other cost-prohibitive projects possible for small businesses and also laid groundwork for more healthy City-neighborhood partnerships.

The funds for the program come from pollution control fees that businesses pay to the City. Find more information about the City’s green business cost-sharing programs here.

Minneapolis is 2017 Recycler of the Year

At the end of last year, the Recycling Association of Minnesota awarded the City of Minneapolis Division of Solid Waste and Recycling its top honor: 2017 Recycler of the Year. The award was given in recognition of the creation and promotion of a city-wide organics program that has produced outstanding results in participation and waste diversion. The award also recognizes the inclusive, multi-faceted and multi-lingual educational campaign that has accompanied the program.

The City of Minneapolis citywide opt-in organics recycling program was rolled out 2015-2016. As of September 2017, 43.27% of households have signed up to participate in the program.

New Data Practices Charging Policy

To promote greater transparency and improve public access to government data, the City of Minneapolis Records & Information Management (RIM) Division recently introduced a new enterprise-wide charging policy for data practices requests. Previously, departments largely set their own rates, which resulted in requestors having to pay varying rates to access City information based on which department held the responsive data. So, for example, one department might not charge anything for a handful of simple black-and-white copies of easily-retrievable data, whereas another department might charge for each page — and even then, the per-page charge varied from department to department, from as little as 10 cents per page to more than $1 per page. Furthermore, because many departments lack the capacity to accept on-line payments, requestors were forced to travel to City Hall or to mail payments before being allowed to access public data. The combination of these variable rates and inconsistent practices were, in effect, creating a barrier to the public in terms of accessing public data from the City.

The RIM Division recently implemented a new Data Request Charging Policy. A key feature of this new policy is the introduction of a charging threshold of $30; in other words, the City will no longer charge for data requests that have a total fee of less than $30. This is a significant step forward in improving service to the public and ending the restrictive processes which created barriers to data accessibility. Moreover, the new policy eases the internal administrative processes for staffers who no longer will be required to generate invoices, track payments, and process receipt of funds. That, in and of itself, will present a cost-savings to the enterprise simply in terms of eliminating bureaucratic paper shuffling. This new policy is part of larger enterprise efforts to make the City’s data and information assets more easily accessible to the public, and to ensure our processes are fair and transparent to the community we serve.

City of Minneapolis New Downtown Office Building

The City of Minneapolis is moving forward with plans for a new downtown office building near City Hall to better serve residents and businesses. City employees are currently working in several leased and owned sites scattered around downtown Minneapolis. The new Consolidated Public Office Building will be diagonally across the street from City Hall at501 4th Ave S, currently the site of a parking lot. It will be a sustainable and resilient building that will feature a welcoming, customer-centric public service area while reducing the City’s overall real estate footprint.

City staff and the project design team of MSR Design and Henning Larsen will be hosting a community engagement meeting to present information about the building, answer questions and receive community input about the public service center, the conferencing center and the public art component. All are welcome to attend:

Tuesday, February 20, 6 p.m.

Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd Street (first floor)

Edison’s Art as Profession Class and “Change” Exhibit

dison High School offers an Art As A Profession class for juniors and seniors, as well as arts focused sophomores, so that students can explore a variety of career paths in the arts. As part of a unique collaboration, Edison worked with local artwork services company Art Force to bring in professional artists to show their work and talk to students about career options and the business aspects of the art world. Art Force, which relocated from Plymouth to the Arts District several years ago, offers complete services from procurement to installation and conservatorship.

Students also went on field trips to local studios in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, museums and the U of M. They learned firsthand how to work with a client to create a work of art and to work within contract guidelines. They built portfolios and learned how to market themselves, design business cards and post professionally using social media.

Their final gallery show, which is currently on display in the media center, focuses on the concept of “Change” and features the work of 18 students. In addition to creating the works of art, they also planned the exhibit, created labels, flyers and postcards, and built the gallery walls in the Edison wood shop.  

Pillsbury School Named “Bike Walk School of the Year”

Pillsbury School, which is the home of the bike education program Pedal Power, was one of two schools in Minneapolis named “Bike Walk School of the Year” by Our Streets.

The Pedal Power program, which was created by Pillsbury staff members Mark Trumper and Susan Tuck, offers bikes and bicycle education to children who might otherwise not learn to ride. With the help of dedicated volunteers, Pedal Power students learn bicycle safety and basic maintenance and travel around the Twin Cities on bicycle outings several times a month.

The Pillsbury Pedal Power team was awarded one of the City of Minneapolis Health Department’s “Local Heroes” awards in 2014.

Meet with Your Council Member

Council Member Kevin Reich is always available to meet with Ward 1 constituents and discuss matters of concern to them, either at City Hall or at a convenient location in the Ward. just contact the Ward Office at 612-673-2201 or kevin.[email protected] to set up an appointment. You can also meet with Kevin at one of his monthly constituent meet & greets. Here’s the January schedule:

Friday, February 16, 8 – 9 a.m. at Diamonds Coffee, 1628 Central Avenue NE

Tuesday, February 27, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at 56 Brewing, 3055 Columbia Avenue NE

Save the Date

Community Connections Conference

Saturday, Feb. 10, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave S. This event is free and features workshops, speakers, panels and a catered lunch. For more information and to register, visit

2nd Annual Edison Soup Wars

Sunday, Feb. 11, 4 – 7 p.m., 56 Brewing, 3055 Columbia Ave. Cook and compete or come just to eat at this delicious fundraiser hosted by the Edison Activity Council. Tickets are $10/advance or $15/door. Kids & Student tickets are $5.

Local Author Talk: Steve Atkinson

Thursday, Feb. 22, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Northeast Library, 2200 Central Avenue NE.  Join local