Update from the Mayor – January 7, 2005
January 7, 2005
Happy New Year from me and my staff! I hope that 2005 will bring continued health and happiness to you and your family. At a time when so much of the world is reeling from war and unbelievable natural disaster, it’s important to take time to quietly reflect on how many blessings we have here in our day to day lives.
As your Mayor I get to personally see a lot of the really great things that happen in this City, but I’m also there to lend a hand when tragic events happen. Let us all hope that 2005 brings peace and stability to those that need it – in our community and around the world. Please, if you haven’t already done so, consider giving what you can to the tsunami relief funds of the Red Cross, UNICEF, or the charity of your choice.
One of the many great things about being Mayor is that I get to go out into neighborhoods day after day (and most nights) and work with so many of you giving time to build a great city. As I look back over the past year, some of the most memorable people-powered events were:
National Night Out: On August 3rd about 38,000 people participated in more than 800 events designed to bring neighbors together to make our streets safer.
Faith in the City: Volunteers in the Phillips neighborhood from seven Lutheran organizations helped 125 families prepare their tax returns (saving $15,000 and claiming $90,000 in refunds), created a wellness center, supported the Franklin Library, and raised $1.4 million to help residents build saving accounts to buy homes and start businesses.
MOSAIC: This celebration of the arts and cultures of Minneapolis included more than 120 different performances and arts exhibitions. At the kickoff event in June, several thousand people attended free performances in our historic Hennepin Avenue theaters by artists representing over 50 cultures. Keep up to date on 2005’s MOSAIC celebration at www.minneapolismosaic.com
Eastside Co-op: After four years of planning and fundraising, shoppers can now buy fresh produce on Central Avenue at the new Eastside Co-op.
Community Gardens: A corner in Jordan that had been a focus of crime has been reclaimed as a garden for children. At Dowling Gardens, heirloom tomatoes and vegetables of every kind grow on plots where neighbors have met for many years.
Family Time: Several hundred Minneapolis families, including mine, have signed a pledge to have dinner together at least four nights a week, part of a larger effort to create a community that nurtures strong families.
City of Lakes Loppet: In just three years a dedicated group of volunteers has built this event into biggest urban cross-country ski race in North America, attracting over 2,000 skiers and raising money to help140 Minneapolis Public Schools students learn to ski. This year’s Loppet will be held on February 5 and 6, and registration is currently open at www.cityoflakesloppet.com
Longfellow Rocket: The rocket in Bracket Park – where I climbed as a kid and took our kids when they were young – is being saved by a grass-roots effort that includes selling rocket-shaped ear rings.
I want to thank the thousands of people I met at these events - and all of you reading this that worked hard on community building events of your own - for all your work. Each of these events is impressive by itself; together they show the incredible power the people of Minneapolis have when we work together.
Published Jan. 7, 2005