Central Avenue Survey – Results!

Survey Responses

  • 50% were property owners
  • 65% were business owners (a few both business and property owners)
  • 50% were familiar with CASSD (Central Ave Special Services District)
  • 35% were familiar with BIDs (Business Improvement Districts – general)

High-Ranking Priorities
(Listed from most to least important, with a three-way tie for the #1 ranking.)

1. Winter Services (avg 4.11)
1. Graffiti Removal (avg 4.11)
1. Filling Vacant Storefronts (avg 4.11)

4. Control over Budgets/Spending (avg 3.89)
5. Marketing Central (avg 3.74)
6. Increased Parking (avg 3.68)
7. Landscaping (avg 3.42)
8. Tree Lights (avg 3.32)
9. Banners (avg 2.74)
10. Snowflake Installation/Repair (avg 2.53)

Other suggestions noted:

  • parking on friday afternoon is bad. clean up existing business store fronts and sidewalk (furniture store and corner mkt on 26th).
  • 5 – window signage, cluttered windows, dirty storefronts
  • 4 (marked “other” but left no note)
  • 3 Safety or Perception of Safety
  • 5 Better storefronts. Name brand restaurant as in, Applebees, TGI Fridays, Chili’s, Any hamburger chain.


The 35% awareness of Business Improvement Districts is not entirely surprising, but the 50% awareness of CASSD is lower than initially expected. Our next step will be to continue outreach and education to the businesses and property owners along Central Avenue.

We are proposing an outreach meeting on the morning of Wednesday June 29th, 2011, 7:30 am. This meeting will be to inform about the work that CASSD is doing on behalf of the local business community as well as to let businesses and property owners know about the research that the Northeast CDC is doing for Central Avenue. The meeting will be filmed and posted online for those not able to attend. More info to come.

Last few days to take the Central Avenue Survey!


Are you a business, resident, or property owner on Central between 14th and 28th Ave NE?

If so, please complete the following informational survey. The survey will only take a few minutes and will help the Central Avenue Special Services District determine the next priorities.

In order for your suggestions to be included, please list your name and/or business name.

This survey will close on May 31st, 2011.


West Broadway Business Improvement District Survey

The WBC is currently engaged in research to find out if creating a  Business Improvement District would be advantagous for the corridor.  Take the following survey and tell us what you think.  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CWR55NT

Thanks!  If you have any questions please contact erin@westbroadway.org or 612-353-5178.

Saving Money by Saving Water on Lake Street

Lake Street Council helps pilot a new program, saving money for businesses on Lake Street and verifying water and energy savings…

Full Article here

The Immigrant Soul of Central Avenue

The stretch of Minneapolis’ Central Avenue Northeast that runs from around 18th Avenue to a little past Lowry is a colorful collage of immigrant businesses: Hispanic, Arab, Afghan, Indian, Southeast Asian…

Find the full article here:


Life intersects Art in Northeast Minneapolis

While artists have outlined their hopes in the Art Action plan, residents have their own set of concerns about the future of Northeast…

Full Article on the Twin Cities Daily Planet site

Parking is the Beginning and Ending Experience of the Commercial Corridor for Most of your Customers

Lake Street Council’s goal is to identify the key opportunities to improve that experience.

Our first and foremost assumption is that vacant parking spaces in a fully leased project do not benefit anyone and have a negative impact on the built environment.

Lake Street Council is in the process of identifying parking lot ownership from Mississippi River Blvd. to Lake Calhoun.  Key areas of opportunity are 27th & Lake and Bloomington & Lake.

We are studying the opportunities and challenges to shared parking. The Urban Land Institute has done significant work in this area and we plan to tap into their expertise. In order for shared parking to be most effective, it is important that all spaces be conveniently located and accessible to all users. We will measure walking distances from parking areas to destinations and we will explore various techniques of managing parking to encourage the sharing of parking, including parking charges. This exploration will cover the pros and cons of customer parking charges and employee parking charges.

To create a parking district, our shared parking analysis will require projecting parking needs for our specific combination of businesses in each of these areas, including surveying existing conditions and discussing parking management strategies with all the stakeholders, to ensure that shared parking can occur as assumed in our study phase. We assume that these conversations will result in additional recommendations for directional signage and improved design of our pedestrian system.

Additional funding will be required and may include municipal bonding, additional metering or increased cost, CDBG funding, MNDoT, and TOD funding. This commercial corridor initiative that is expected to result in the establishment of a parking district will also require the business community to contribute.

While we are exploring Parking Improvement Districts to manage a perceived parking problem in specific areas, the districts when established should pro-actively shape increased development in a more positive way.

UABA Submits Light Rail Comments to Met Council

Press Release – March 31, 2011

Contact: John Vaughn
UABA Interim Executive Director
651.430.3766, 612.408.7418

UABA Submits Light Rail Comments to Met Council

Today, the University Avenue Betterment Association, known as UABA, submitted over 200 pages of analysis to the Met Council as part of the required public comment for inclusion in the Environmental Assessment being prepared for Federal District Court Judge Donovan Frank. This requirement was consequent to an opinion issued earlier this year by Judge Frank in regards to the Rondo Lawsuit in which the court found that the Met Council had inadequately analyzed the impacts of Light Rail construction on University Avenue businesses.

Recently, the Met Council further upset the small business community by issuing a draft Environmental Assessment predicting a mere 2.5% drop in business revenue by comparing LRT to a suburban Houston road expansion project.

UABA’s submission contains an extensive comparative analysis and suggests several more appropriate comparables, such as a similar light rail project in Seattle and the recent Lake Street reconstruction.

UABA’s submission was prepared by a team of volunteers, utilized no paid staff, and received no government or philanthropic funding. All materials and time were 100% donated.

In addition to contending that the Met Council gave primary consideration to a project that is not relevant, UABA is strongly arguing that the Met Council has been deficient in not conducting baseline traffic, pedestrian, and sales revenue studies so that the true impacts of light rail construction on businesses can be measured.

“It is almost as if they do not want to know so they cannot be held accountable. Well, that is going to change. We all need to face the facts.” said Jack McCann, UABA Board President.

UABA is two years old and has 237 members, making it the largest business association on University Avenue. It has focused on advocating for more parking, better targeted and timelier implementation of resources for small businesses to survive construction such as a business compensation fund, and for local government, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations to better listen to and respond to the needs of small businesses.

Next week, UABA will conduct a storefront vacancy survey and compare it with December 2010 data, thus creating an apples-to-apples tracking system for changes in the commercial vacancy rate. This will in turn be done on a quarterly basis during light rail construction. UABA will be using the same business list that the Met Council uses.

The UABA submission can be found by the end of the day today at www.universityavenuebiz.com.

Central Ave – Services Survey

Central Ave - 1953

Central Avenue, 1953

Are you a business, resident, or property owner on Central between 14th and 28th Ave NE?

If so, please complete the following informational survey. The survey will only take a few minutes and will help the Central Avenue Special Services District determine the next priorities.

In order for your suggestions to be included, you must include your name and/or business name. (We’ll have other surveys for opinions about Central Avenue generally in the future.) Thank you!


Research on the West Coast: Solvang

This summer I had the opportunity to do some on-the-ground research in several Business Improvement Districts across the states. While visiting family I spent some time in Santa Barbara, Ventura – and Solvang, California.


A replica of the Danish Hans Christian Andersen “Little Mermaid” statue. Photo by Corina Sagun.

Today Solvang, a Danish community, is flocked with bakers, candy shoppes, danish restaurants and novelty stores. It has a small bookstore, a Hans Christian Anderson museum and is a draw for tourists from all over the states.

I remembered that a visit to Leavenworth, Washington in 2009 brought back memories of childhood of visits to Solvang, so I did a little research. My nostalgia made complete sense – the Business Improvement in Leavenworth was modeled after Solvang!

Solvang was originally inhabited by Danes and the community there is a cultural development – not unlike the Swedish St. Croix valley of Minnesota. Leavenworth is not a natural development of European immigrants – it started as an idea by the an improvement group to lure tourists and create traffic inspired by the City of Solvang’s natural charm. It worked.

How does this relate to Northeast – or arts districts and artists areas? Northeast Minneapolis is a naturally occurring artistic enclave. Brownstones were abandoned by manufacturing companies. Artists flocked to this area for its flexibility and low rent, positively revitalizing the local community. Artists and businesses here have a symbiotic relationship. Art-A-Whirl, the annual open studios tour, is a national draw.

This preliminary “Great Cities” research excites me. We don’t have to contrive obscure ways to lure people to our area. We’re already naturally and increasingly fantastic. I think the arts in Northeast is an incredible asset and we should do what we can to preserve the area for the arts and help artists stay here!

While we may gradually put up banners, create painted facades and murals for businesses, we’re never going to have to contrive a “theme” for everybody to latch on to. As we grow, we can do it in a way that embraces Northeast’s local artists and our diverse immigrant community. It will be creative and original and engaging. Leavenworth, eat your heart out. 😉

Jamie Schumacher, Northeast resident, is the Executive Director of the Northeast Community Development Corporation. She’s also the founder of Altered Esthetics and the Internet Marketing & Nonprofit Strategist of Bicycle Theory.

The Great Cities project is a collaborative research project between the NE CDCSPARC on Rice Street, the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, University United and Lake Street Council. The project investigates the implementation process and impact of Business Improvement Districts on commercial corridors and the community.