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Funding for Municipal Shoveling, Open Streets Makes Progress in Minneapolis

Plus RIP Lakes & Legends, Chat GPT takes on the state flag, and Como Zoo goes viral in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:19 PM CST on December 1, 2023

Jerard Fagerberg; Our Streets|

Minnesota’s two genders.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Can We Have (Partially Funded) Nice Things?

Early last year, Racket reporter Jerard Fagerberg explored what municipal sidewalk clearing would like in Minneapolis. (Spoiler: a lot like what it currently looks like in Duluth*, CrystalRichfield, and Bloomington, as well as in Burlington, Buffalo, and Montreal.) But! Cue the Principal Skinner meme, because Minneapolis City Council momentum around the issue set off backlash from scarcity-pilled residents and mayors who balked at price tags like $40 million—or, by some estimates, about $50 annually per resident. That's a looong windup ahead of stating that, earlier today, the council voted to approve a 2024 budget amendment that would dedicate $595,000 to shoveling Pedestrian Priority Networks as part of a pilot program. Hey, it's a start.

That same council also voted today for an amendment that would fund Open Streets, the popular car-free festival whose future became murky this summer, to the tune of $250,000. "Residents shared how much they treasure the event, how it brings people together in a uniquely inclusive way, and how it helps them move towards a car-free, socially connected neighborhood," Council Member Robin Wonsley tells Racket. "I’m proud that Council Member Ellison and I worked together with ensure that this treasured program will be funded in 2024."

That's well short of the $851,000 recommended by founder/longtime organizer Our Streets Minneapolis to throw the five-date fest. (Since 2011 the advocacy group has operated Open Streets via in-kind contributions from the city that amount to about $35,000.) And those dollars would be available only through a request for bid process, meaning a new organizer could conceivably helm Open Streets in '24. In a press release, Our Streets accuses the Minneapolis Public Works Department and Mayor Jacob Frey of ignoring its cost estimates, and deems the $250K figure "insufficient." "The council relied on misinformation from the Public Works Department," Open Streets tweeted, adding that they're waiting to see if additional funding sources emerge. According to Our Streets Executive Director José Antonio Zayas Cabán: "After years of fostering community engagement and relationships, we remain steadfast in the belief there is no Open Streets without Our Streets.”

Where do the sidewalk, Open Streets, and several other amendments head now? Next week there'll be a final hearing on the $1.8 billion-ish budget, a vote by the City Council, and, finally, potential approval or veto by Mayor Jacob Frey.

*Down in the comments, Racket's Duluth correspondent accurately points out that Duluth does not, in fact, assist with sidewalk snow removal. We regret the error!

RIP Lakes & Legends

If you're anything like me, you enjoyed your first visit to Lakes & Legends Brewing Co. this past August, when the Minneapolis taproom served as an ideal place for your 10-team fantasy football league to conduct a draft while enjoying pizza and beers. But (again, if you're eerily similar to me...) make a mental note to find new plans next season, as the voluminous North Woods-themed Loring Park brewery's owners announced Friday that Lake & Legends be closing for good on the non-loaded date of January 6. "A lifetime of memories made, but all adventures have endings," reads an Instagram post from L&L. "A sincere thank you for 8 years of love and support." There'll be plenty of action inside the brewery at 1368 Lasalle Ave S. until then, including an 8th anniversary party scheduled for December 9.

Halt the Contest! Chat GBT Cooks Up Killer MN State Seal Candidates.

Canonically, Racket is not bullish on Minnesota's six new state flag and seal candidates or Chat GBT. Yet, when the concepts come together in an unholy union divined by journalist Tony Webster, incredible things happen:

The State Emblems Redesign Commission's still-open public comment period has been flooded with thousands of suggestions, the Strib reports. Its recommendation for a new flag and a new seal is due to the Legislature by January 1... assuming brakes aren't pumped to incorporate some of the outrageous designs from our eventual AI overlords.

Tiger Van FTW

All across the internet folks are spoofing video of a Euro model practicing ASMR on a pink Mercedes G-class truck. For our hyper-local money, there's no better parody than the one issued Thursday by the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory—200,000+ views! (This is how you do Minnesota accents, FX's Fargo.) Anyway TGIF, time to ride your proverbial tiger van into the weekend.

@comozooconservatory

Oh, hey there, fellow zoos! Let’s see your outreach vehicles! 🚐 #tigervan @Minnesota Zoo @Lake Superior Zoo @denverzoo

♬ original sound - Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

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