The December Hawthorne Huddle was a warm and wonderful success and an excellent way for community members, non-profit organizations, schools and the city to begin closing the year. Over fifty people from across the Hawthorne Neighborhood and North Minneapolis were in attendance and enjoyed a warm, nutritious hot breakfast and heard reports about the positive progress we've achieved in the last 12 months.
This month's Hawthorne Huddle begin with a wonderful welcome by Ellen Luger, Executive Director of the General Mills Foundation, one of the major supporters and organizers of the monthly Hawthorne Huddle.
Among the highlights of Inspector Mike Martin's Safety Update is that crime in North Minneapolis IS going down, particularly in those areas Hawthorne residents have been concerned the most with, including robberies and violent crimes.
City Council Member Diane Hofstede presented an abbreviated version of the 2007 Third Ward report. Among the highlights was addressing over 155 problem properties in the CARE/Problem Properties Committee, and the closing of Wafana's/4 U Foods (2326 Lyndale Avenue No.) after 900 police calls in one year and the expense of over $500,000 of city resources.
The introduction of a new Third Ward Newsletter was announced, and praise for the EcoVillage project to create environmentally friendly, economically and ecologically sound housing in the Hawthorne neighborhood, and news of the pending Dangerous Animal Ordinance and the future steps of the West Broadway Alive! effort to revitalize North Minneapolis.
Wi-Fi will be coming to Minneapolis soon, and will serve as a national model for other cities implementing wireless services to give all residents access to key technology to improve their lives. A new YWCA and fitness complex will be coming to 800 West Broadway & Aldrich thanks to a $50 Million dollar investment.
The vision for the future includes many ideas including the active solicitation of new businesses and expansion of existing businesses that provide living wage jobs, and to agressively deal with foreclosures, problem properties and youth violence.
City Council Member Diane Hofstede closed her presentation with a powerful quote from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Sherman Patterson, the Public Safety Policy Aide from the City of Minneapolis Mayor's Office also provided encouraging news and praise for the efforts of everyone who has contributed to the success of the Hawthorne neighborhood.
City Council Member Don Samuels gave a rousing speech on the need to send our officials a message and to stay involved in community work, and the importance of working for change.
Mark Stenglein, the Hennepin County Commissioner also spoke at length about significant new developments emerging that will benefit North Minneapolis, including the new investment in the merger between the Hennepin County Library and the Minneapolis Public Library that will bring bigger benefits for everyone and keep our libraries open while creating one of the biggest library systems in the nation.
The next Hawthorne Huddle will not be in the first Thursday of the month but temporarily shifted to the second Thursday of January 10th, 2008, once again at Farview Park at 7:30 AM. We look forward to seeing you there as we discuss even more exciting plans for the future.
The Hawthorne Huddle meets monthly and is open to all members of the public who are interested in working together to build a stronger community.