Given all the great public amenities we find in and around the Second Ward, we must constantly be making sure we are maintaining, supporting and improving them for ourselves and for future residents and other users. As we see more growth and development, pressure on both our natural and human made public assets could be enormous.
Our natural assets include the air, soil, water, and water bodies in the Ward. Paramount among these, for our Ward, is the Mississippi River. One of the most important things we need to do for the river is prevent the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species. In Minneapolis there only two places where this invasive species can be stopped: the Ford Dam and the Saint Anthony Dam. I believe that closing the Lock at St. Anthony was a wise decision. We also must do more to promote best practices in landscaping and maintenance as well as in managing our stormwater to prevent unwanted nutrients and chemicals from entering the river and other water bodies. Additionally, we need to address the loss of trees and our tree canopy due to the devastation of Emerald Ash Borer. We must aggressively plant and care for new trees, replacing ash trees on boulevards and incentivizing residents to plant trees on private property
In addition to attending to the natural environment we also need to do our best at maintaining, operating and enhancing the human made infrastructure and other public assets that we have in our ward. Indeed, the Second Ward is home to some of the most treasured parkland and parkways along the Mississippi. In addition to the parks along the river, Ward 2 is home to parts of two greenways (Midtown and Dinkytown) at least 7 city parks (and additional smaller tot lots and playgrounds), 5 public schools, one public library and the largest campus of our state university. The critical resources and connections that these provide to residents, as well as workers and visitors, cannot be overstated. These are civic treasures that provide vital educational, recreational, employment training, youth development, cultural and community building opportunities. To reap the full potential benefits of these civic investments it will be important that various government jurisdictions, institutions, neighborhood, business and community groups work together to support, improve and maximize what we can have. As a City Council member, I will continue to work closely with the community and with the parks and schools to support the facilities and programs that are provided and to assist efforts to re-use, expand and renovate buildings in ways compatible with community plans and priorities, including those that have gone unused or underutilized.
The ward is also home to some of the most significant public works infrastructure in the city, with at least nine bridges that span the river, a new light rail line, the Midtown and Dinkytown greenways and many commercial corridors that cross through the ward. As Council Member I will work to make sure that we are making the investments we need to maintain, renovate and improve our infrastructure as needed. Some roads in the ward are in dire need of reconstruction and some, like those north of University in Prospect Park, have yet to be built in the first place. I am excited about the new Minnehaha Ave, a new “Green 4th St.” near the Prospect Park LRT Station in southeast, a new 4th and 15th (Riverside Extension) on the West Bank and improved bike connections to the University from downtown, including completion of the bike tunnel under the 35W bridge. Additionally, there is the renovation of the 10th Avenue and Franklin Avenue Bridges, completion of the Grand Rounds and the Dinkytown Greenways and more.