Tag Archives: Streetscape Task Force

Bridge Square is Northfield’s living room. The public process for planning its future begins Oct. 23

Bridge Square Blog Site Bridge Square press release Oct 18 2013

Last week, the City of Northfield announced on its website and via an emailed press release (PDF) that the public process for creating a master planning update for Bridge Square begins this Wednesday with an open house at the Archer House, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

There’s now a Bridge Square Blog Site. Yes, you can see my fingerprints on it, as I’ve been hired as a contractor (with my Wigley and Associates hat) by the City to handle the online engagement for the project, teaming up with the lead consultant, Stantec Consulting’s John Slack.

Locally Grown - aggregated Bridge Square RSS feed

Here on LoGro, the headlines for all the recent Bridge Square project blog posts will appear in the upper right sidebar.  But like I did when I posted updates on the recently completed Downtown Parking Management Plan, comments are turned off here because the discussion happens there.

I will attach a comment to this blog post whenever there’s a significant update to the project, just as a way of drawing additional attention to it.  There are better ways to stay informed, however. See my post titled Tools for keeping updated on the Bridge Square planning process.

Combination recycling/trash bins debut downtown. Nice!

recycling/trash bins in downtown Northfield recycling/trash bins in downtown Northfield recycling/trash bins in downtown Northfield  members of Northfield Transition Youth/YES (Youth Energy Summit); Earth Day 2011 photo
I’ve been whining about the ugly recycling bins in downtown Northfield for two years (here and here). Last week two classy-looking combination recycling/trash bins made their appearance on Division St., one by the Northfield Library, the other by the Armory.  More bins are coming.

Props to members of Northfield Transition Youth/YES (Youth Energy Summit), City of Northfield Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) member George Kinney, Northfield Street and Park supervisor TJ Heinricy, Eco Gardens co-owner Howie Holt, and members of the Downtown Streetscape Task Force.

Let’s put some game tables in downtown Northfield

game tables in NYC DSC01661 DSC01735
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I was struck by the popularity of game tables in New York City’s parks when I visited there last week. People gather around the tables to watch some of the games, too. Others use the tables as a place to meet and eat. The benches on either side of the tables have backs on them, making them more comfortable for sitting than picnic tables.

I’d like to see the Streetscape Task Force spend some of its remaining money to put game tables with benches in downtown along River Walk, the Sesqui Plaza, and maybe Bridge Square.

Sidewalk poetry: is it worth $12,000 of taxpayer money?

Sidewalk poetry installation, Northfield Sidewalk poetry installation, Northfield Poem by Lily Hanlon Poem by Anne Running Sovik
I missed the imprinting of the sidewalk poems yesterday morning so see the short Nfld News video here and the story with more photos at Nfld Patch:  Northfield Sidewalk Poetry Installation

The first two pieces of sidewalk poetry were imprinted in the sidewalks (one on Third Street and another on Division Street) around the Northfield Public Library on Wednesday morning.

They included a piece from Lily Hanlon, a Prairie Creek Community School student, and Anne Running Sovik. These are selections from the first sidewalk public poetry contest from last year, which was sponsored by the Arts & Culture Commission and the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library. More poems from the 2011 selections will be imprinted at a later date.

I chatted with Library Director Lynne Young as I was taking photos and asked her about the funding for the project. She said that the Northfield Streetscape Task Force contributed $5,000 last year and that the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) awarded a grant this year. I see on the SEMAC page of recent grants that the

City of Northfield Arts & Culture Commission received a $7,100 Arts & Cultural Heritage grant for Sidewalk Public Poetry Project.

"Arts & Cultural Heritage grant" is Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment money. Not counted in the total is City of Northfield staff time (public works, engineering).

I love public art and I think sidewalk poetry is cool.  But I think it’s worth discussing whether $12,000 of taxpayer money for this project is a good investment. I’m undecided.

Update May 22: Some additional photos:

Sidewalk poetry installation, Northfield new sidewalk devoid of poety 

Left: I don’t understand why only one poem was installed in this new section.

Right: This section of sidewalk appear to be relatively new. Why weren’t poems installed here?

Howie and Jeni’s downtown gem: Eco Gardens

Jeni and Howie Holt, Eco Gardens  Eco Gardens, Northfield, MN 
Eco Gardens opened two years ago this month in the old Tires Plus site at 6th  Division (blog post here).  Last summer, proprietors Howie and Jeni Holt revamped the exterior in a big way (see Ross Currier’s June 30th blog post, NDDC Board Visits ECO Gardens).

Old Tires Plus site, Northfield Old Tires Plus site, Northfield
That location has been transformed since Tires Plus moved out, first by Lee Lansing and his Garden Center and now by the Holts, with a little help from a matching grant from the Streetscape Task Force.

Downtown street signs upgraded. Is it the work of the Streetscape Task Force?

Last Friday,  I got this email and photo from Steve Wilmot:

downtown street sign removal photo by Steve WilmotGriff,

We may have some confused tourists today as all the street signs for Division Street appear to be in the back of this City truck.

Thought you would find this interesting.

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I took these photos over the weekend, assuming that the signage replacement was part of the Streetscape Task Force‘s downtown beautification efforts. The brackets used to hold up the signs appears to be consistent with the the other iron work used for the wayfinding signs, for example.

But maybe not. In the March 2 Admin Memo, TJ Heinricy, Streets and Parks Supervisor reports:

Staff has been preparing street identification signage that will be installed soon. These signs are part of the ongoing street signage replacement project.

USPS puts Northfield Post Office building on sale for $845,000. Now what?

Northfield US Post Office building for sale

The government’s listing for the Northfield Post Office building reads:

14 Bridge Square, Northfield, Minnesota represents a unique opportunity to purchase a unique and beautiful former US Postal Service facility. The building is a 9,708 SF and is located on 0.53 acres. This architecturally distinct building was built in 1936 and sits prominently in the historic center of Northfield. The property includes 15 surface stalls in the off-street parking lot.

The realtor is Chris Gliedman, CBRE, based in Mpls.

The Northfield Roundtable held two planning sessions last week, focused on Bridge Square.  The notes from that day are not yet available but see the Feb. 4 Nfld News: Northfield Roundtable focuses on Bridge Square. According to the article, these were some ideas generated at Friday’s session that were Post Office-related:

The downtown post office could be turned into a Northfield Business Center, serving as an incubator and housing the Chamber, NDDC and NEC, along with small shops.

By tying Bridge Square with the service areas and alleys surrounding the post office building and the buildings facing Division Street, all properties on the block could be on the river.

Should the Downtown Streetscape Taskforce buy it, since a year ago, the City Council rejected its recommendation to purchase the rental property at 304 Washington St. for a parking lot at a cost of $760,000?

Two bike repair stations installed in downtown Northfield

Back in June, 2011, I blogged about St. Olaf’s new bike repair stations and that we needed something like them in downtown Northfield. In mid-August, I commented: "Ross Currier told me this week that the Downtown Streetscape Task Force is considering installing one of these bicycle repair stations."

bike repair station in downtown Northfield bike repair station in downtown Northfield
Yesterday, two bike repair stands were installed, one at 5th and Division under the stairs of the McClaughry Building, the other at the Division St. entrance to the Northfield Library. Each bike repair stand (Dero Fixit) includes an air pump with a gauge, and seven tools, all tethered with security cables.  You can hang your bike on the stand by its seat post so you can more easily work on it.

Props to Ross Currier and members of the Downtown Streetscape Task Force for shifting some money to do this, to TJ Heinricy and his crew at the City of Northfield Streets, Parks & Facilities Divisions for getting them installed before spring, and to Jim Fisher, Grounds Manager at St. Olaf, for bringing this concept to Northfield.

Downtown Northfield hit with another graffiti outbreak

graffiti in downtown Northfield MN graffiti in downtown Northfield MN graffiti in downtown Northfield MN

graffiti in downtown Northfield MN graffiti in downtown Northfield MN graffiti in downtown Northfield MN

graffiti in downtown Northfield MN graffiti in downtown Northfield MN graffiti in downtown Northfield MN
Several downtown locations (businesses and public spaces) were tagged with graffiti over the weekend. I’m not sure when it happened. The last time there was a big outbreak was in March of 2008.

We discussed the graffiti ordinance in depth here on LoGro in March, 2010.  At that time, the Streetscape Task Force (STF), the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC), and Northfield in Bloom were involved in addressing the problem but I don’t remember anything getting resolved. Anyone familiar with the current state of affairs re: graffiti?

Update 11:20 PM: similar graffiti at the Carleton College Rec Center:

graffiti at the Carleton College Rec Center