February 2021 Board Minutes

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, February 15th, 2021 – 7:00 p.m., via Zoom

Board members present:  Dan Treinen, Jon Dejong, Alyssa Thull, Dick Fiala, Dan Williams, Dirk Nicholson, Brian McDonald, Pat Collins, Brenda Anderson, Carl Arrell, Joan Staveley, Lori Gubrud

Board members absent: Kellie Hanson, Heather Grovum

Also present: Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder, Trey Joiner (Associate Transportation Planner, City of Minneapolis), six community members

Called to order: 7:01

Officer Reports:

Secretary – Carl moved to approve the January minutes. Dirk seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Treasurer – Brian reported that we’ve had some reimbursements come through recently. He also reported 14 transactions since the last update.

Councilmember Schroeder

Jeremy gave an update on the Roof Depot site plans that TNA has been discussing. The City bought the site (using $7 million of state money) to consolidate and expand water department operations, including garages for trucks doing sewer/water work. The city already owns the site across the street. The question TNA and others (like East Philips) are asking is whether the City really needs that specific site or whether other sites could be used instead. Jeremy mentioned other proposals for a southern suburb. 

Jeremy also reminded attendees about periodic airport noise evaluations. He suggested calling in to the city if there are issues with airport noise; he sits on the airport working group. The group is looking to update a very dated model for noise impact (which relies solely on decibel level). Jeremy sees frequency of takeoffs/landings as an aspect to incorporate into the model.

Jeremy is also the co-author of the proposed public safety charter amendment, which would create a new Department of Public Safety which includes the Minneapolis Police Department but also mental health professionals and emergency services personnel. This plan envisions the DPS as more comprehensive than the current departments and would provide (in his opinion) more accountability for MPD. The public can submit written testimony to the City Council and/or Jeremy. Juliann Brunzell asked about inclusion of victim advocates and expressed concern that law enforcement should continue to be part of calls that really need it (like domestic issues) even in the new system. Pat asked about how this plan would interact with the existing Hennepin County mobile crisis unit; Jeremy said they are working with the county already.

Dirk asked about affordable housing and rent stabilization. Jeremy said he has worked on affordable housing for a long time and said the debate is currently about whether rent stabilization should be part of the conversation, not about stabilization itself.

Bryant Ave Reconstruction/Lyndale Transit

Trey presented the City’s plans for Bryant Ave reconstruction in 2022 – 2023 from Lake to 50th Street. The project includes curbing, sidewalks, and street space. The City’s goals are to improve pedestrian safety and comfort, bicycle connections, transit improvements, green infrastructure, and accommodate business deliveries and customer access.

Given constrained right-of-way, the City is currently planning to keep bicycle right-of-way on Bryant but move transit to Lyndale Ave. Bryant also does not have enough space to install potential bus rapid transit stops but Lyndale does. The City has heard that Lyndale is difficult to cross and will be upgrading pedestrian crossings on Lyndale with closed medians (eg, cannot turn both ways or cross the street at intersections) to increase pedestrian safety when transite is moved to Lyndale.

A community member asked whether enhanced transit shelters that include heaters and bike racks are planned. Trey said they are not proposing any transit stations or curb lines, just extending the concrete across the existing boulevard to the street. But he said Hennepin County is exploring bus rapid transit on Lyndale which might include shelters, but that is not in scope for this project.

Joan commented that the Lyndale reconstruction years ago pushed traffic to Nicollet. She expressed concern that if transit was moved to Lyndale and bus stops were in-line, that it would push even more traffic to Nicollet. Trey wasn’t sure if the City had modeled traffic effects to Nicollet but said he would check.

The City expects to have a draft plan available for stakeholder review this spring, after which it would be approved by the council and then have 6-8 months detailed design work before construction would start in 2022.

Equity Task Force

The committee has decided to move away from fund-raising on behalf of the East Philips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) legal fund. They still think the goal is worthwhile and asked the board to sign the “Poor governance to bring new toxicity to the ‘Arsenic Triangle’” letter by Erin Niehoff. The committee would also like to include a statement of support in our newsletter/e-news to encourage our residents to learn about a project that has equity implications in our own city. The committee’s goal is to help amplify the message.

Sally asked that if the board does sign on to the letter, that the board clarify whether our communications should advocate for the project, or just inform residents. Andrea also noted that the board has not historically been bold, and the committee is asking TNA to be bolder. Dirk stated that ideally TNA would be advocating on behalf of EPNI but not directly funding their legal campaign.

Dirk moved to sign on to the letter of support allowing TNA to advocate for equity. Alyssa seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Committee Updates

Spaces: Dirk reported that the committee will hold a Spring Spruce-up event again, likely on the weekend of May 22nd. They are also developing a home safety rebate program based on examples from NENA and Lynnhurst which proved popular in those neighborhoods. The current plan is to start rebates with $10,000 funding from NRP housing funds but any funding requests would be brought to the board for approval.

Engagement: Dick reported that the Winterfest 2021 event will be virtual and solicit participation through supporting local restaurants, a decorating contest, and art/winter-themed outside activities. The committee suggested gift cards from Sunstreet and a grand prize of two $50 gift cards from a Tangletown vendor of choice as prizes for participation. The committee is also looking at another food drive in the March/April time frame.

Environmental: Pat reported that the committee is planning to promote compost takeaway as part of the Space’s Committee’s Spring Spruce-Up. They are also still fulfilling the Green Partners grant. The committee will hold a textile workshop on February 24th and a deep-dive into second-hand shopping on March 20th. They are looking at a possible in-person event in August, and will be promoting Earth Day (April 22nd) with a social media campaign.

Equity: Dirk reported good participation in the second evening of the community book read. The committee would still like to host a fund-raiser in June to focus on issues identified in the recent neighborhood survey. The committee is also looking for operational funding through the upcoming TNA strategic planning process.

Executive Director Report

Board Assessment: Sally asked the board to please fill out the survey before February 17th.

Strategic Planning/Committee review: Sally scheduled the first meeting for two hours on March 1st, including community and committee members.

ED Review: Sally will send out her yearly performance review to board members for feedback. The executive committee will meet and review the feedback, then make any recommendations/feedback to Sally.

Spring Newsletter: Sally asked the board to please firm up any events in March committee meetings and to provide Sally with any updates by March 19th.

Adjourned: 8:58

Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary