I’m late commenting on this, but I wasn’t too surprised when news broke that Hamline and William Mitchell law schools are merging. Even before the recession, it seemed unlikely that the Twin Cities could support four area law schools (St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota being the other two). The recession and subsequent decline in law school enrollment only hastened what was almost certainly inevitable. This merger could actually hint at brighter job prospects for future graduates from the remaining three law schools, although they are still likely to leave school with obscene amounts of debt.
Cranes have become a prominent feature of the downtown Minneapolis skyline over the last few months. My neighborhood is now a hub of construction activity that includes the new Vikings stadium, the Downtown East development, and various apartment buildings. It’s good to see so much revitalization in downtown after several years of stagnation. Minneapolis has finally realized that you can either have a bustling city center or acres of surface parking lots, but not both.
But this new enthusiasm for density is accompanied by rapid gentrification. There are precious few affordable housing options in downtown and I doubt that will change anytime soon. I’m excited at the prospect of living a denser and more lively downtown, but I’d also like the opportunity to mingle with other people who aren’t white middle-class professionals.
Look, three blog entries in a row! This might become a habit if I’m not careful.
I haven’t ridden on the new Green Line trains that run between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but I hope to do so soon. While it won’t replace my regular commute, the Green Line will come in handy on days when the weather is horrible or when my van is unavailable. The Twin Cities finally seem to be taking public transit seriously and we should see further light rail expansions in the future (assuming that certain recalcitrant upper middle-class homeowners in southwest Minneapolis can be mollified).
We’re a long way from being a city where nobody needs a car, but this is a good start.
Given the news that Minneapolis will be hosting a Super Bowl in 2018, I’m wondering how much my place could fetch on Airbnb for that weekend. My guess: quite a bit. I’m located within walking distance of the new stadium (currently under construction) and the airport is easily accessible via light rail. My kitchen isn’t terribly well-stocked, but that’s a small price to pay for location and a decent Wi-Fi connection. This may be the ticket to funding a European trip or paying off a chunk of a car loan.
What are my readers’ experiences with leasing out your place to strangers?
During my daily commute home, I drive past the Metrodome demolition site. I visited the Dome only a handful of times and I was never terribly impressed with its accessibility. Getting the accessible seating required navigating a maze of tunnels and the spaces reserved for wheelchairs could barely accommodate my bulky frame. According to MPR, the new Vikings stadium (and the new minor league Saints ballpark) will have vastly improved accessibility.
The new stadiums will include many of the accessibility features that have become standard in most modern sports facilities: more accessible seating, closed captioning on the television monitors, lowered concession counters, etc. As the article notes, the new stadiums will also give people with disabilities the freedom to enjoy watching a game with a group of friends. This may seem like a small thing, but plenty of people with disabilities can tell stories about going to a game with friends and being forced to sit in the “handicapped section” with perhaps one companion.
I’m not sure we needed a publicity funded stadium to create a better experience for fans with disabilities, but at least my tax dollars will fund a facility that should be fully accessible to me. I still may need to take out a small loan to buy tickets for the first Packers-Vikings game in the new stadium.
As you may have heard, it’s particularly cold here in Minnesota today. I debated braving the elements to commute to work, but decided to play it safe and work from home (thanks, Internet!). It won’t be much warmer tomorrow when I need to attend some meetings, so I’m not getting a total reprieve from the cold. I hope my fellow Northerners are holed up somewhere warm.
And here’s a good article reminding us that a cold snap doesn’t give us permission to ignore climate change.
I voted early today for Minneapolis mayor. None of the candidates possess R.T. Rybak’s charm or vision, but Betsy Hodges strikes me as the most progressive of the bunch. She has a passion for addressing inequality, which may translate into more concerted efforts to narrow the city’s glaring racial disparities. Hodges may also be able to push for further modernization of our transit system and bring more decent-paying jobs to the city.
As for City Council, I wrote in myself because I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Lisa Goodman’s bland leadership again. Her votes against several urban density projects have left me frustrated and I don’t know that she has any real notion of how to run a 21st century city. Somebody really needs to replace her in 2017.
It looks like my alien overlords have ignored my warnings to remain inconspicuous and decided to have a little fun with my neighbors. I keep telling them that they’re putting the entire invasion plan at risk with these shenanigans, but they just wave their pseudopods dismissively and order me to find them another abductee.
The Strib looks at the recent attention given to Minneapolis in media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Buzzfeed. The Buzzfeed list is rather meh (although I’ve experienced #7—the awkward talk with your parents after passing by Sex World), but the WSJ piece is a good travelogue for a weekend in the city. Minneapolis is experiencing a bit of urban renewal as the economy recovers, so the press comes at a good time. Like a lot of longtime residents, I often take the city for granted. So an outsider’s perspective helps remind me that I’m lucky to be here.
And not to worry, people of St. Paul. I’m sure someone will do a write-up on whatever it is you do in your quaint little hamlet.
Big changes may be coming to my corner of downtown Minneapolis. Yesterday, real estate developer Ryan Companies (owned by the family of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan) cleared the first administrative hurdle to begin construction on a major office and retail complex that would also include a park. It would be a welcome change to the east end of downtown, which is currently awash in a sea of drab parking lots. On weekends when I venture outside, my neighborhood can seem eerily deserted, so this project could restore some life to the area. And we certainly need the additional green space. Perhaps I’ll get my movie theater back as well.
Plenty of other pieces still need to fall in place before construction can begin, but it’s worth noting that this wouldn’t even be considered if not for the new Vikings stadium that will be built soon. I’m still not thrilled with public funding for a sports stadium, but perhaps this will be the rare case where a stadium will bring economic benefit to the surrounding area.