Seward Neighborhood Group

The History Committee of SNG Remembers Burt Berlowe

By: Marilyn Matheny

Author, friend, and neighbor, Burt Berlowe passed away at United Hospital in St. Paul, on October 28th, 2019, due to a series of complications after a fall.

He is remembered as father, husband, friend, author, journalist, and dedicated peace activist. Drawn to social justice issues, he was a writer and contributor to two books on Compassionate Rebels. To learn more about these books:  http://compassionaterebel.com/  


Burt Berlowe at a 2013 History Committee meeting in the SNG conference room.

He was a steadfast member of the SNG history committee that met regularly for 7 years and put the Seward history book together. He will be sorely missed. He was a writer and contributor to several chapters in “A People’s History of Seward.” For a chapter on urban renewal he interviewed many social activists from the 60s and 70s who worked with the City of Minneapolis to modify the urban renewal plans for Seward East and West and to preserve Milwaukee Avenue. For a chapter on new Seward neighbors he interviewed several East African residents to bring their stories of escaping war, surviving refugee camps, and success as immigrants to the book. He strongly advocated for their involvement in the life of the Seward community. He enthusiastically promoted the book and arranged speaking opportunities so the committee members could share stories from the book. Our committee meetings won’t be the same without him.

His family and friends will be gathering to remember him on December 7th, 2019 at Open Book in the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts at 1011 Washington Avenue South. The gathering will be from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

To learn more about him visit:  http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/0000333626/

Or: https://www.givemn.org/story/Burt-Berlowe-Memorial-Fund


History Committee members: Rick Musser (sitting), Dick Westby, Marilyn Matheny, Burt Berlowe, and Wendy Epstein at 2014 History Committee meeting.
Dick Westby, Wendy Epstein, and Burt Berlowe at September 2019 History Committee where they enjoyed receiving hte AASLH awar for leadership in history for the book “A People’s History of Seward.”

How the Seward Commons project is shaping our neighborhood

By: Brigid Higgins

What is Seward Commons?

It’s a development project by Seward Redesign, a nonprofit community development corporation. Redesign engages the energy and creativity of residents and businesses to implement development that’s based on the priorities of the community, and creates living-wage jobs, diverse housing options and a vibrant local economy.

We are a place-based organization, which means we are exclusively dedicated to the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. This scale is important because it allows our work to be rooted in the community over the long term.

The Seward Commons project is a big undertaking, involving the redevelopment of the area near the Franklin Light Rail Transit station.

What was there before?

The Blue Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) became operational along Seward’s western boundary in 2004. The region had high hopes for the LRT to catalyze high density development. But the station on Franklin Avenue was surrounded by challenging sites that stymied the big dreams for the station area. When the recession hit in 2008, nothing from those plans had been realized. Bystrom Brothers had recently ceased operating a machine shop on a 3.5 acre site just south of the station area. Redesign acquired the site in 2009 and began an area-wide planning process to make the space work better for the surrounding community.

What parts of the Seward Commons have already been built?

Touchstone Mental Health – Rising Cedars (I) and The Cooperage (II), currently providing 100 units of affordable housing in the neighborhood.The Verna (IV),formerly known as The Gateway Building,is located at 2200 Minnehaha Avenue and connects Seward Commons to the greater Seward neighborhood. This building was recently inaugurated under its new name, honoring late Seward neighborhood activist and organizer: Verna Strick. Learn more about Verna’s contribution to the neighborhood, and check out the building’s 5 small business and nonprofit tenants:  Solcana Crossfit, 826 MSP, Soomaal House of Art, Beez Kneez, and Cheeriup.

What is coming next?

Focus Arts (V) is a redevelopment project scheduled for construction this winter. Last Spring, Redesign assisted the previous tenant, Fun City Dogs, in the purchase of her own property nearby, leaving the 20,000 square foot industrial building vacant. Redesign will reinvest in the building to make it into a space that’s functional, ADA accessible, affordable, and stable. In response to a lack of accessible space for artists in the Twin Cities, the redevelopment project will divide the existing space into several smaller commercial units marketed to artists and creative businesses.

The Bessemer (IIIA) will be a 5-story building of 128 apartments, in the place of the vacant industrial buildings on Snelling Avenue and E 22nd Street. Construction will begin this winter and last 14 months. This project will be the first market-rate development in Seward in almost 40 years, and is a part of the community’s vision for a mixed-income, transit-oriented neighborhood with access to the Franklin Lightrail Station and Hiawatha bike trail.

Fun fact: the bessemer process is an industrial process for mass producing steel, used by the Bystrom Brothers in the machine shop originally on this site!

Wadaag Commons (IIIB) is the final planned development of Seward Commons. The city lacks affordable, family-sized rental apartments. Redesign is working in partnership with Noor Companies to develop a project that addresses this need and incorporates design features with East African families in mind.

Why is this unique to Seward?

Seward Commons is a piece of a vision for our neighborhoods: that they are healthy, diverse, and sustainable communities where all people have the opportunity to thrive. Nonprofit, place-based CDCs have the ability to provide technical expertise to implement community vision, rather than letting the private market dictate the future of the built environment. Redesign is one of the last remaining organizations of its kind in the Twin Cities.

Redesign provides comprehensive community development services that fall into four categories of work:

  1. Housing development
  2. Commercial real estate development
  3. Infrastructure advocacy
  4. Business development and technical assistance

We believe that a comprehensive approach that includes each of these areas is essential to creating and maintaining  healthy and sustainable communities.

Want to be more involved? Join the Seward Neighborhood Group Development Committee! Meetings are the third Thursday of each month, 7:30-9AM, at our office (2619 East Franklin Avenue). For questions, contact brigid@redesigninc.org

Milwaukee Avenue’s Peace Pole Dedication and Celebration: The Story

By Caren Stelson

What is peace?

What does peace look like?

Where can we find it?

How can we generate more of it?

Neighbors on Milwaukee Avenue in Seward have been asking these three questions and more–and trying to come up with some “answers.” Why these questions and why now? We are living in an extraordinary time of growing division, disconnection, inequality, and violence. What can one neighborhood do to make a positive difference? Living in a historically immigrant neighborhood, Milwaukee Avenue residents wanted to make a visual statement of welcome to everyone who walked through the neighborhood, one that would inspire all of us to reach out in peace.

The result?

Milwaukee Avenue  will celebrate the completion and installation of a one-of-a-kind peace pole on the event’s rain date, Sunday, September 22 during the “Twin Cities Ten Days of No Violence” (www.tendaysnoviolence.org ). Everyone—friends and neighbors on Milwaukee Avenue and the greater Seward neighborhood—are invited to a day of peace celebration and peace pole dedication. Here’s what’s happening.

10:00 am – peace chalk art on the mall led by chalk artist Tessie Bundick.  Kids, families, everyone are welcome. Meet at the Milwaukee Avenue park benches.

4:00-5:00 pm – peace pole dedication and celebration. Come for our gathering, music, food, and friends. Guest speaker: Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR-MN (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Meet at the Milwaukee Avenue park benches.

           (This event was originally scheduled for Saturday, September 21st.)

The Story Behind Milwaukee Avenue’s Peace Park

The Milwaukee Avenue’s peace park did not begin with a peace pole. It began with a tree—a true peace tree. If you walk by the Milwaukee Avenue’s playground, you may spot a sapling protected and happily growing taller each year. It’s a ginkgo tree grown from a seed of a ginkgo that survived the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing. We planted the tree near the playground so we could share the gingko’s story of resilience, hope and green peace with the community, especially the children.

Milwaukee Avenue gingko tree planting, 2017

The next idea was to install a peace pole along the Milwaukee Avenue pedestrian mall. No doubt, you’ve seen white peace poles in gardens and parks around the city with the words, “May peace prevail on earth.” Milwaukee Avenue neighbors believe in the statement, but we wanted to engage our neighbors to create a one-of-a-kind, artist-designed peace pole. We hoped that everyone who walked by the peace pole would slow down, appreciate and be inspired by the design, and think about what peace meant to them.

Left to right: Bob Roscoe, Milwaukee Ave. architectural preservationist, Tom Guelcher, peace pole woodcutter, Emily Goldberg, Milwaukee Ave. peace committee member, Denise Rouleau, peace committee member and peace pole ceramist, in Denise’s art studio.

As a neighborhood project, friends, kids, and neighbors gathered at various “pop-up peace parties” and made pencil-drawn sketches to represent what peace meant to them. Working together, our own neighborhood dedicated artist-ceramist Denise Rouleau turned the sketches into beautiful terra cotta tiles. Expert woodcutter Tom Guelcher turned a six-foot cedar pole into a carefully carved peace pole with frames for each tile. Each step of creation, from brainstorming, to sketching designs, to etching clay tiles, to bringing all the pieces together took patience, time, inclusion, care, mistakes, revisions, understanding, thoughtfulness, kindness, empathy—all the elements of peace making.

Tiles designed by Milwaukee Avenue artists, children and adults.
Peace pole in Tom Guelcher’s workshop.

As we gather together on Sunday, Sept. 22 on the Milwaukee Avenue mall, we will open our hearts to neighborliness, music, food, and fun. We also look forward to collectively coming closer to answering those three questions: What is peace? What does peace look like? Where can we find it? How can we generate more of it? Please come join us.

Milwaukee Avenue peace committee members:

Emily Goldberg

Denise Rouleau

Caren Stelson

The History Committee of SNG Remembers Burt Berlowe

Author, friend, and neighbor, Burt Berlowe passed away at United Hospital in St. Paul, on October 28th, 2019, due to a series of complications after a fall.

He is remembered as father, husband, friend, author, journalist, and dedicated peace activist. Drawn to social justice issues, he was a writer and contributor to two books on Compassionate Rebels. To learn more about these books:  http://compassionaterebel.com/

He was a steadfast member of the SNG history committee that met regularly for 7 years and put the Seward history book together. He will be sorely missed. He was a writer and contributor to several chapters in “A People’s History of Seward.” For a chapter on urban renewal he interviewed many social activists from the 60s and 70s who worked with the City of Minneapolis to modify the urban renewal plans for Seward East and West and to preserve Milwaukee Avenue. For a chapter on new Seward neighbors he interviewed several East African residents to bring their stories of escaping war, surviving refugee camps, and success as immigrants to the book. He strongly advocated for their involvement in the life of the Seward community. He enthusiastically promoted the book and arranged speaking opportunities so the committee members could share stories from the book. Our committee meetings won’t be the same without him.

His family and friends will be gathering to remember him on December 7th, 2019 at Open Book in the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts at 1011 Washington Avenue South. The gathering will be from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

To learn more about him:  https://southsidepride.com/2019/11/04/burt-berlowe-rip/
or https://www.givemn.org/story/Burt-Berlowe-Memorial-Fund

burt 2.jpg

History Committee members: Rick Musser (sitting), Dick Westby, Marilyn Matheny, Burt Berlowe, and Wendy Epstein at 2014 History Committee meeting.

burt 3.jpg

Dick Westby, Wendy Epstein, and Burt Berlowe at the September 2019 History Committee meeting where they enjoyed receiving the AASLH award for leadership in history for the book “A People’s History of Seward.”

 

Celebrate America Recycles Day

Tomorrow, November 15, is America Recycles Day – a day to recognize the impact recycling can have and refresh your knowledge of what you can recycle.

When it comes to recycling, it’s easy to get confused by the details. But you can have a big impact by focusing on the basics.

5 recycling tips

Here are 5 tips you can share about what you should always recycle, how to recycle correctly, and why it matters.

  1. Paper: Surprisingly, there’s a lot of room for improvement with paper recycling. Always recycle mail, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and school and office papers. Include window envelopes and glossy paper, but remove any plastic inserts.
  2. Boxes: Boxes have become an increasingly large part of our recycling stream. Always recycle delivery boxes, cardboard boxes, cereal and cracker boxes, and boxes from toiletries. Take everything out, and collapse boxes before recycling.
  3. Plastics: Plastics are the most confusing category and generate the most questions. Focus on recycling plastic bottle and jugs; containers for things like yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, and produce; and clear cups. Empty and rinse before recycling, and leave plastic caps on.
  4. Resin codes: People often ask about the number on plastic items. Despite appearances, this number tells you the type of plastic the item is but not if it recyclable. As a general rule of thumb, stick to recycling plastic bottles, jugs, cups, and containers that have a resin code number 1, 2, or 5. Don’t recycle plastics 3, 4, 6, or 7.
  5. Metal: Metal is one of the most valuable recyclable items because metal recycling is fast and efficient. The recycling rate for metal cans could be higher, so make it a habit to always recycle metal cans no matter where you are.

Recycling is important – it saves energy, conserves natural resources, and supports our local and regional economy – so keep it up and use our tips to enhance what you are already doing at home.

Get answers to your recycling questions

If you’re not sure if something is recyclable, find out! We’re here to answer all of your recycling questions – reach out on social media (Hennepin Environment on Facebook and @hennepinenviro on Twitter) or email us at environment@hennepin.us.

 

Support Seward on Give to the Max Day

Hello Seward Neighbor!

With your support, we can reach our fundraising goal for 2019 – TODAY!

Give to the Max Day is upon us – consider giving a gift to your neighborhood!

The Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) supports the things we love most (quirky community events, neighborhood clean-ups, the Winter Frolic) and is working to solve our most pressing challenges (like navigating public safety issues with the city). SNG is here for you – and we need you to be here for us.

Show your support for Seward and help us raise $2000 to reach our annual goal. Make a one-time gift or, even better, become a monthly sustainer!

Share your support here.

Thank you!

Kerry Cashman,
Executive Director
Seward Neighborhood Group

Our mailing address is:
Seward Neighborhood Group
2323 E. Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Taste of Seward Tonight 11/6!

We hope you are all planning on joining us at the SNG Annual Meeting tonight from 6 -8 PM tonight  11/6/19.  The SNG Annual Meeting is all of our opportunity to see our neighbors (before the big winter hibernation season), share a meal, learn about the work of SNG and give feedback for the coming year, elect our new board of directors and most exciting of all hear who is chosen as the new Spread Joy recipient.

This is a zero-waste potluck—that means we hope you bring your own reusable dishware.  If not we will provide some extras.  We will be located in the lunchroom of the Seward Montessori School, the entrance is off 28th Ave.
2309 S 28th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

The Silent Auction will be postponed until our big Party at the Playwrights’ on February 22nd.  Tickets will be available for sale tonight.

Community Update and Training: Safe Needle Disposal

Saturday, November 2nd

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Sabathani Community Center Gym – 310 E 38th St.

Attend this community event to learn what the City of Minneapolis is doing in response to the opioid epidemic, specifically addressing the syringe litter. This event will include updates from the Minneapolis Health Department and a training provided by Industrial Hygiene Services Corporation (IHSC) on safe needle disposal.

Agenda:

10:00 a.m. Welcome from elected officials

10:30 a.m. Overview from the Health Department

10:50 a.m. Training on Safe Needle Collection from IHSC

11:30 a.m. Closing and Next Steps from the Health Department

Community Development Committee Meeting Nov. 12

The next scheduled Community Development Committee meeting will be Nov. 12, 7:00 pm at Matthews Center. 2318 29thAve. S. FFI, contact Sam Graf at sam@sng.org.

Matthews Park Halloween Parade and Party

Ghouls, Goblins, Super Heroes and other costumed characters are invited to join the spooktacular tricks and treats and games and goodies! The Seward Neighborhood parade begins outside of Matthews Park at 4pm sharp! After the parade there will be games and treats in the Matthews Park gym.

Date: Thursday, October 31st

Ages: 12 and under

Time: 4:00pm-6:00pm

Location: Matthews Park 2318-29th Ave. So. Mpls, MN 55406

You can reach Matthews Park at: 612-370-4950

 

Reminder! Seward Spread Joy Fund Deadline 10/18

The Seward Spread Joy Fund (SSJF) has been made available by an anonymous donor for distribution by the Seward neighborhood Group. The SSJF is intended to help create unique and lasting experiences for members of the community. Each year the SSJF will award a grant of up to $1,000 to a Seward resident who yearns to do something that is just beyond their budget. The lucky recipient of this yearly grant will be drawn at the Seward Neighborhood Group’s Annual Meeting in November. The guidelines are as follows:

Guidelines
-Applicant must currently live in Seward and have been a resident for at least three years
-No age limit
-The grant must benefit the recipient in an experiential way, meaning limited physical gains. A grant application that includes physical gain that benefits the community may still be considered (see examples)
-The grant must fund something that would have been difficult for to the applicant to experience without the assistant of the SSJF.
-No more than one application may be submitted per individual each year.

Application Process
Application forms will be available at the Seward Neighborhood Group office and online. The brief application will include:

– a brief description (50 words or less) of how much money is being requested and
how the grant will be used
– applicant’s name, address and contact information
– confirmation that the applicant has lived in Seward at least 3 years
– agreement that applicant will allow the grant to be publicized
* If awarded the grant, the applicant must sign a contract agreeing to submit a report on their experience. The recipient will be expected to share with the Seward community how your project or experience turned out.

Examples of appropriate application ideas for Seward Spread Joy Fund include:
-A person living in Seward wishes to take a language course
-A person living in Seward would like to fulfill a personal dream by taking a hot air balloon ride over the Twin Cities
-A Seward youth hopes to have a wilderness experience in the BWCA.
-A person who lives in Seward wishes to have a bench built on their block for neighbors to use (an appropriate exception to the physical gain rule.)

Examples of unacceptable ideas include:
-A Seward youth wants to buy an iPhone.
-A Seward homeowner needs funds to make repairs to their home.

**Seward Neighborhood Group retains the right to deny an application it does not appropriately adhere to the grant’s guidelines.
No board members or SNG employees are eligible to apply.
Note: Seward is the area bounded by I-94 on the north, the Mississippi River on the east, the Midtown Greenway on the south and Hiawatha Avenue on the west.

***Click here to fill out an application! Once finished, you can email your application to info@sng.org OR send to The Seward Neighborhood Group office at 2323 E Franklin Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406. You can also drop your application off at the SNG office from 10am-2pm Tuesday-Friday.  DEADLINE October 18 by 3pm.