It’s been two and a half years since Highland Bank foreclosed on the Northfield Crossing development and a sizeable portion of the surrounding property is still a mess. I took these photos last week.
I first complained about the mess in 2007. In June, 2008, I blogged: Banks foreclose on The Crossing; now the City should clean up the surrounding property. A year later, June 2009, I added a comment containing the text of an email from Brian O’Connell, Northfield community development director, on the status of the clean-up.
The relationship is that the clean up items are essentially the same items. Piper wants to renegotiate the TIF note, Council is saying they would consider renegotiating the note if the site clean up issues are completed. Highland is now the owner of the residential condominium to which the clean up items are related. So Highland is now determining the cost to complete the items to see if they can complete in time which will assist in unit sales efforts. Everyone wants the same thing; the issue is determining cost and identifying sources of money to pay the expense.
WTF is taking so long to clean up this ‘gateway to downtown Northfield’?
This portion of the property doesn’t look that much better than it did in 2005 when NDDC‘s Dan Bergeson and Ross Currier took matters into their own hands and personally demolished seven buildings when it was known as the Riverfront Development Site. I think we need them again to take charge, this time to haul all the construction shit out of there.
Dan? Ross? How about it?
There is some good news, however. There have been some improvements to other (city-owned?) parts of the property in recent weeks: streetscape-style decorative fencing along Hwy. 3, with many new trees planted.
I saw this Fourth Street reconstruction chart in the downtown lobby of the First National Bank of Northfield this morning. (See the PDF of the top half of the chart on the City’s site titled Fourth Street Improvements 2010 – Project Phases.)
I asked EDA member and bank VP Rick Estenson what the delay was since the chart indicates (in yellow) that the Phase 1B was to be completed by July 2 and [sigh] there’s no explanation on the City’s 1999-style web page for the project. "Rick, the weather’s gorgeous. Why aren’t they at least pouring sidewalks this week?”
Rick suggested that the delay might be due to the fact that the NDDC, which agreed to contribute labor to help reduce project costs in front of its office on 4th St., might be hampered by its unskilled workforce.
Update 7/16, 8 am: Ross continues to do his part, however inadequate it might be. He poured the sidewalk outside the NDDC office yesterday.
Day 1 of the Taste of Northfield was pretty much a bust due to the severe weather in the area. Good thing there’s going to be Day 2 tomorrow.
At around 5:30 pm, just as Robbie and I settled in the beer/wine tent with some ribs from the Quarterback, the storm sirens went off, triggering a mass exodus from Bridge Square. But even before that, the high winds and ominous clouds kept the crowd small, and many vendors had been packing up. Ross and Jessica were definitely grumpy.
The storms ultimately slid to our south and all we got was a light rain shower, with a spectacular sunset.
See the album of 13 photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:
I’ve nagged Ross for over a year to register a domain name and set up a webpage for the Taste of Northfield and he completely ignored me, hurting my feelings.
But last week, he got enough pressure from his task force that he finally caved and hired me to do what needed to be done.
tasteofnorthfield.org is now working and the page is up, complete with the two-day schedule of activities and performers, the list of vendors, the list of sponsors, and photo albums from previous events.
I’m pretty much over it now, Ross. No need to kiss and make up, however.
Emily Northey, Minnesota Main Street Program Coordinator with Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, joined us this week for a chat about historic commercial districts like we have in downtown Northfield. She and the board were in town Monday afternoon for a long-range planning retreat at the Archer House.
Ross has written about the program here and here on the NDDC blog:
Continue reading Podcast: Emily Northey, Minnesota Main Street
Ross has the info in his blog post detailing Friday night’s Girls Nite Out (GNO) activities (PDF).
What he fails to mention is that the veteran members of the Shop Local/Somewhat Full Monty routine at the Grand, he and I among them, have not been invited back. We’ve retained counsel. Clearly age discrimination.
Hopefully, they’ll let <ahem> photojournalists in the Grand.
See the 2009, 2008, and 2007 GNO photo albums.
I had a Liberace flashback when Ross began strutting around the GBM this morning in his new NDDC vest, promoting Saturday night’s NDDC 10th anniversary/Partnership Celebration, 6 to 10 p.m at The Grand.
I’ll be there with my sweetie, taking photos.
It’s open to the public, no cover, free d’oeuvres, lots of live music, and a helluva raffle.
Update 2 PM: Here’s the flyer on the raffle
For more details, see Ross’ blog post, or this email from Jessica Paxton:
Continue reading Ross ‘Liberace’ Currier invites you to NDDC’s 10th anniversary bash on Sat.
Ross stopped by my corner office at the GBM yesterday to show me a new NDDC poster that’s a variation on the Be Local…Buy Local campaign:
Be Local… Rock Local! Live Music Downtown Northfield Seven Nights A Week
His NDDC blog post from yesterday lists all the music happening around Northfield this weekend.
Ross Currier sent out a Tweet yesterday morning that he was "Trying to arrange my schedule so I can attend a gathering of few motivated citizens to discuss the potential of the historic railroad depot." About the same time, I was chatting with Bob Will about it at GBM. Bob indicated that the Northfield Rotary Club was considering it as one of their long-term projects. (continued)
Continue reading Is Northfield’s train depot worth saving?
Our radio show/podcast guest on Monday: Mary Ho, Rice County Director of Pubic Health, talking with us about local preparations for the H1N1 flu season. Ross and I did the proper virus-preventive fist bump upon her departure though now I see that we may have to graduate to elbow bumps.
Click play to listen. 30 minutes.
Continue reading Podcast: Mary Ho on H1N1 flu preparations
Ross’ post to his NDDC blog about tomorrow’s Crazy Daze reminded me to put up some slideshows from previous events. Crazy Daze 2003 was one of only 4 community events that year that I took photos at. The poor quality of the photos and lack of cropping is painful for me to revisit but by Crazy Daze 2004, I was improving and took a memorable photos of Ross and his monster Alaskan donut from Quality Bakery. Crazy Daze 2005 was better yet. I missed 06 and 07. See Crazy Daze 2008, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:
NDDC head honcho Ross Currier made sure his brother-in-law brought his magic umbrella downtown last night for the Taste of Northfield. The weather gods showed their pleasure with Ross, as did many of the women in attendance.
See the album of 60+ photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:
No, the beer/wine tent on the 4th St. bridge didn’t blow down this morning. But it could be an exciting day for the Taste of Northfield, as the forecast is 50-50. If it gets nasty, Ross has a contingency plan.
Although no one has asked (sniff!), we have to assume y’all are worried sick about the status of our weekly show since we’ve gone two weeks now without a new one. Well relax. Wednesdays have proven to be a scheduling challenge so it’s looking like we’re going to make a move to Mondays, starting June 1. Until then, stay tuned to the new KYMN 1080 AM.
The Representative Journalism (RepJ) team paid a visit to Minnesota yesterday. (See the initial RepJ blog post for details on the project.)
Left: At the offices of the Bush Foundation, L to R: Bill Densmore (RepJ collaborator, Director of the Media Giraffe Project, U of Mass, Amherst), Peter Hutchinson (President of the Bush Foundation), and Leonard Witt (RepJ founder, Communication Chair and Associate Professor, KSU, Atlanta, Georgia)
Left center: Len mugs for a MinnPost.com billboard in a downtown St. Paul skyway
Center: Afternoon coffee break: Len and Bill with Andrew Haeg, director of Minnesota Public Radio’s Public Insight Journalism Network.
Right center/right: Me, Bill and Len, relaxing in MPR’s listening pods
Left: Recording a Locally Grown radio show/podcast at KYMN studios: Bill and Len with (center) Chris Peck, RepJ collaborator and editor of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN. (Earlier in the afternoon, Len and Bill also paid a visit to John Schott, Chair of Cinema and Media Studies at Carleton.)
Left center: Present in spirit throughout the day: Ruth Ann Harnisch, President of the Harnisch Family Foundation, which has funded RepJ.
Center: Relaxing at the Contented Cow: Bill, Len, and Chris with Tracy Davis, LG co-host and head honcho of GuildCraft Carpets and Northfield Carpets International. We then dined at Chapati.
Right center/right: Late night RepJ strategy session in the lower level Archer House conference room: Ross Currier, LG co-host and Executive Director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) with Bill, Chris, Tracy and Len.
We recorded next week’s episode of our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, focused entirely on the RepJ concept, of course.
Click play to listen (30 minutes). The show will air next Wednesday, March 19 at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed (or one click subscribe with iTunes). We seek your comments and suggestions.
Update 3/15: The RepJ team had a few more collegial visits in the Twin Cities yesterday.
Left: Len Witt with Joel Kramer, CEO/Editor of MinnPost.com
Center and Right: Len, Bill Densmore and me with Bernadine Joselyn, Director, Public Policy and Engagement, Blandin Foundation.