Hennepin Layout Approved
After the mayor’s veto of the council approval of full-time bus-only lanes, the council approved a modified layout for the Hennepin Avenue South reconstruction project. The newly approved action, that mayor signed, commits to having the transit priority, bus-only lanes operational for a minimum of six hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. once the reconstruction project is complete. The resolution also requires that a transition to all-day, bus-only lanes will not begin for at least 24 months after the completion of construction.
New Commissioner of Community Safety Confirmed
Cedric Alexander was approved on Aug. 4 by an 8 to 3 vote (with two abstentions) to become the city’s first Commissioner of Community Safety. Council Members Aisha Chughtai (Ward 10), Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5) and Robin Wonsley (Ward 2) voted against the appointment, and Council Members Elliot Payne (Ward 1) and Jason Chavez (Ward 9) abstained. He will oversee the mayor’s proposed Office of Community Safety, that includes 911, fire, emergency management, police, and neighborhood safety.
On Aug. 15 and 22, the city held community meetings to get feedback from residents about the Minneapolis Police Federation contract that is up for renewal again this year. This was the first time the city has ever hosted public sessions to talk about this contract and it is estimated that over 100 people attended. A third meeting is expected to be held in mid-September.
The police department has announced plans to begin using drones with cameras to observe and monitor areas of the city. The city’s Public Health and Safety Committee held a public hearing on the plan on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Openings on City Advisory Boards
There are 269 openings on 33 city boards and commissions that need new members this fall. The city is seeking volunteers to help review and recommend improvements to city policy and programs and give input on the administration of services. Applications are due by Friday, Sept. 30. The list includes several special service district boards in the southwest, including the 50th and France, 54th and Lyndale, Lyndale-Lake, Lowry Hill, Linden Hills and Uptown special services districts. You can get the full list of openings and more information at https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/boards-and-commissions/current-openings/ or 612-673-2216 or by emailing OpenAppointments@minneapolismn.gov.
Increased Airport Traffic
There will likely be more jets flying over southwest Minneapolis starting in September. Beginning Sept. 6, a runway will be closed for six weeks for restoration at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The airport officials are warning that this could result in a noticeable increase in air traffic for Minneapolis residents. This is a project of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates the airport. People can get flight information on the commission’s online FlightTracker or call their community relations office at 612-726-9411.
Intersection Upgrade at Bde Maka Ska
Improvements are now being made to the intersection along Bde Maka Ska Parkway at Richfield Road and William Berry Parkway. When completed in late September or early October, there will be new traffic signals and improved pedestrian and bicycle ramps. The new signal will have a pedestrian scramble, which means that for a time all traffic in all directions will be stopped to allow people to cross from at all corners including diagonally.
Hiawatha Golf Course
In September, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will hold a final vote on the $60 million Hiawatha Golf Course Area Master Plan after it passed a committee hearing where over 40 people spoke, and 50 written statements were also read. The committee approved the plan that will add wildlife habitat and water management and reduce the golf course to 9 holes, instead of 18. The full park board was expected to hold their final vote on Sept. 7.
PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS
As a result of the primary election, Hennepin County is almost certain to elect its first Black sheriff in November. Both the candidates, Dawanna Witt and Joseph Banks, who will appear on the November general election ballot because they were the top two vote getters, are Black. For County Attorney, Martha Holton Dimick and Mary Moriarty will be competing in the general election. In the school board election, Collin Beachy, KerryJo Felder, Sonya Emerick, and Lisa Skjefte are moving on to run for the at-large seat.
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