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Tearing Down the Kmart’s the Easy Part

Plus rural newspapers still struggling, a mansion with a trick basement, and a singing football man in today's Flyover.

4:34 PM CDT on May 3, 2023

Tony Webster

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

Mpls to Take the Nicollet Reconnection Nice and Slow

Over at MinnPost today, Kyle Stokes takes a look at why the process of reconnecting Nicollet may take as long as a decade, despite a near-universal consensus that the Kmart standing athwart that avenue right now needs to be razed. Survey results show that area residents have a wishlist for the nine-acre site that includes a grocery store, “gathering spots,” and a place to buy household items (like, for instance, a Kmart). Folks are also interested in seeing “trees, landscaping, greenery” in the area.

So what’s the holdup? First off, the city has to find a developer who won’t fuck it up, if such a creature exists. “If you just sell it to the highest bidder, they’re just going to build what the market will provide their highest return on, [which] doesn’t give you as many public benefits as we would like to see,” according to Rebecca Parrell, a project supervisor with the Minneapolis Community Planning & Economic Development department. And as Kelsey Fogt, a senior transportation planner with the city’s Department of Public Works, tells Stokes, rushing a decision is likely what got us the Kmart in the first place.

Rural Newspapers Ready to Try Anything

At MPR News today, Mathew Holding Eagle III looks at a report on rural newspapers by the Center for Rural Policy and Development, and as you might expect, the news ain’t pretty. Between 2000 and 2021, Minnesota lost about a quarter of its newspapers—60% outstate and 40% in the metro, and the number of people working at papers dropped 70%. Among the diverse revenue streams the report recommends are raising subscription rates or, on the other hand, pivoting to free distribution. Or you can become a nonprofit (though the report notes that philanthropy is more limited in rural areas).

The story also looks at what papers are doing to survive. In Fergus Falls, the Daily Journal has a sponsored feature called Yard of the Week, selected by the police chief. Publisher Ken Harty is also optimistic about digital revenue. Reed Afinson, who publishes three papers in west-central Minnesota and thinks rural journalism should get government subsidies through the ag bill, disagrees about digital. "Digital is not going to save the day, at least not anytime soon,” he says. “Well, I'd say never, it's not going to save the day ever.”

Wanna Buy This Ramsey Mansion With a '50s Themed Basement Diner?

The first few-dozen photos in the listing for 4680 152nd Ct. NW—sprawling lawn, tasteful white tile, millennial gray walls, bathroom wall-art platitudes—are exactly what you’d expect from a suburban mansion asking $1,595,000. It's not until you get to photo 37 of 57 that you're treated to the basement-level diner, complete with checkered floors, red vinyl booths, a pinball machine, and an Elvis statue.

Edina Realty

"Step back in time & rock out to your favorite tunes in the nostalgic Rock & Roll diner that transports you to the 1950s!" the listing boasts. You've gotta check out the whole thing via Edina Realty.

A Viking Will Sing at the Fine Line

Two years ago, Minnesota Vikings receiver Blake Proehl suffered a season-ending knee injury, which, he told Racket, put him in a dark place at the time. However, he did find some light in the darkness: singing. And, to his surprise, it turns out he’s actually pretty good at it. “It brought some family members to tears, because it was just a shock,” he told us in September. “Right then and there, I remember feeling how much power there is in music.” 

While his sports career is going to be an upward battle with his knee, his music career seems to be prospering. Proehl’s music-focused TikTok has grown to over 580K followers and over seven million likes, and last summer he was the opening act for Rachel Grae at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. This summer, he’ll be the headliner, playing covers of popular R&B, country, and pop tunes at the Fine Line. Tickets for the show, scheduled for Saturday, July 15, go on sale this Friday.

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