Let’s start this one by thanking everyone involved in another great Park B4 Dark last Thursday. Once again Terri Banaszewski from Sunrise Banks and Mary Hamel from MetroIBA were my primary co-conspirators in the summer series. The merchants go the extra mile to make sure we have special and interesting offerings, like the very creative Bibelot staff who offered their crafts next to the Tiki Tim’s food truck and their fantastic seafood specials, or the music in the Bistro patio arranged by Ross Johnson and supported by the Foundation and Sandra, the new owner of the Bistro, or the music by Danny and his Allstars up at Speedy, not to mention their tasty BBQ-looza. 

The Colossal had some very tasty grilled sausage coils and craft beer, Peapods had their usual colorful sidewalk art opps for the kids, Muffuletta had a full house on their patio enjoying their BBQ plate, the rest of the Milton Square shops offered discounts and there was the always popular wine-tasting at the little wine shoppe. Have I missed anyone? It’s a really fun event so make sure you mark the final one of the summer on your calendar for August 15, 5-8pm. 

D12 – Just came from a meeting hosted by the Trust for Public Land around the topic of “Green Line Parks & Commons.” Neighbor Susan Schmidt, who heads up TPL’s Minnesota branch has facilitated a great forum for imagining the parts of urban development that often get left out, or left to the very end, when there is no longer space to include the kinds of things that make the difference between a building and a loved place. 

We are challenged in the Creative Enterprise Zone as there is little existing greenspace and the higher property values tend to prevent the idea of building fewer revenue-producing units in favor of plazas. A team of design consultants, who have worked around the country on projects that include POPS (Privately Owned Public Spaces,) is working with Green Line stakeholders and developers to send the message that public space enhances developments and there can be creative ways to pay for the loss of profit producing units. Think about the public places you have been to in your life that make you want to return, my guess is that it wasn’t a corner where a building meets a 5 foot sidewalk. Onward! 

That was this morning’s get-together, this afternoon I got a chance to meet Rockstar Supply Company’s new Executive Director, Chad Kampe, in their new digs on the SW corner of University and Raymond in the old Urban Blueprint space. Chad is the first full-time E.D. in their short existence as a center for tutoring help for our public school students. The prototype for their nonprofit is the Pirate Supply Company started by author Dave Eggers in San Francisco, which blended fanciful retail with creatives willing to tutor. They will be looking for additional funders and tutors in the coming month and have worked extensively at Como High School so are well-known and appreciated by folks over there.  They have already contacted Avalon School and will be working with them this fall. Stop in, get to know them and see what they are up to – we are lucky to have them here. 

Kyle Mianulli has recently joined the staff of D12 and was immediately put to work on PR for the Creative Enterprise Zone. He is putting out a monthly newsletter, will begin a series of weekly interviews with area stakeholders and is manning the Fb and website development. Go to the CEZ website to get connected to all of this and more. 

Listserv – Our branch library is reopening Monday, August 5 at noon and will host a grand reopening party on Wednesday, August 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. Yay! We’ve certainly missed it while it was closed for remodeling…National Night Out is Tuesday, Aug. 6, for more info and support materials contact the D12 office. In a related area, I’ve heard a little controversy about Neighborhood Watch programs, pointing out that it shouldn’t be a “Watch” program as much as a “See” program, the difference being that watching suggest something a little creepy and disengaged while seeing implies engagement and being a part of the community. It’s an important distinction and makes me think of the calls the staff at D12 get from time to time from residents who want the staff to go talk to their neighbors re behavior they find annoying. While there might be situations where safety is an issue, I would say 99% of the time in our community getting to know your neighbor will alleviate the problem. I think the Night Out is an excellent way to get to know your neighbors, so join in. By the way, if you hungry during the NNO, head over to the Muffuletta for their “Pigroast on the Patio” from 6:30-9:30pm. A whole roasted hog will be served with some delicious fixings in honor of their 36th anniversary. Nummy. 

StAPnotes - Last Friday night I joined about 200 or so people from all over the metro to taste some delicious craft beer at our very first neighborhood brewery, Urban Growler, in SSA. Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch unveiled their new space and their talent at making beer over two nights, and by the size of the turnout and the enjoyment of the tasters, I’d say they will be long term neighbors. They offered samples of 8 different beers, which were all good (I did miss their rhubarb ale which was so popular they ran out) and sold some merchandise. They are still looking for investors, so visit their website and get in on the ground floor of what could be the next Summit Brewing Co.

A final thanks on the 4th of July, apparently in all my different shout outs, I forgot to mention the two people who head it all up, Julie Glowka and Cindy Thrasher! They are the ones who crank the wheel and it would not happen without them. If you see them, tell them you appreciate their hard work and then tell them you'd like to volunteer for next year.

That’s all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor. Oh, and enjoy the summer!