CNO Submits Comments on Streetcar-Era Commercial Nodes

At its June meeting, the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization’s Board of Directors decided to submit comments to the City of Minneapolis regarding the future of streetcar-era business intersections, such as Corcoran’s business node of 35th Street and 23rd Avenue South. The comments, drafted by CNO’s Economic Development Committee, were intended to help the City consider how it will support similar business nodes as it crafts its 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

The intersection of 35th Street and 23rd Avenue South is an important commercial and social hub for the Corcoran Neighborhood. Like many other small commercial intersections in the interiors of neighborhoods, that corner sprung up around a streetcar line that once zig-zagged through Corcoran. Today, the 22 bus line follows the approximate route of the streetcar and makes a turn at that intersection.

The mix of local independent businesses at the intersection are valued by our neighborhood for the goods, services, and jobs they provide, as well as the positive foot traffic they generate.  Many of the local business and property owners on this intersection work hard not just to generate profit, but to support local initiatives and serve the community’s needs.

Since 2014, CNO has engaged neighborhood residents and business owners surrounding in identifying the value in that node as it stands, the obstacles faced by business owners there, and a positive vision for its future.  As a result of that engagement, CNO has begun collaborating with business and property owners at the node coordinate joint marketing initiatives, events, and investments in the intersection.

One major challenge that the Economic Development Committee has identified at the intersection is that it is not currently eligible for the City’s economic development programs that are intended to help businesses, such as its’ façade improvement matching grants. Other similar commercial nodes that are wedged in the heart of neighborhoods and sprung up around historic streetcar lines face the same challenge.

This comments to be submitted to the City lay out principles that CNO believes the City of Minneapolis should take into consideration for supporting the future of streetcar-era nodes similar to the one at 35th Street and 23rd Avenue. Some of those principles include:

Maintaining diversity and accessibility: Many commercial nodes in the interior of neighborhoods serve as entry points for small and early-stage businesses. The City should ensure that its tools and resources are made available to help these small businesses thrive and grow.

Design pedestrian-oriented streetscapes and a vibrant public realm: One of the best things about streetcar-era nodes is that the businesses in them often serve neighbors within walking distance. The City should take care to ensure pedestrian safety at these nodes and do what it can to calm motorized traffic. Additionally, where welcomed by local businesses, the City should consider methods for encouraging the use of sidewalk furniture and other amenities at these intersections.

Guide new development: Given current market conditions, CNO believes that significant new construction at the intersection of 35th Street and 23rd Avenue is unlikely in the near future. However, if new development were proposed, CNO encourages the City and developers to seek neighborhood input. New developments should include a mix of uses, contribute to the pedestrian experience, and prioritize locally-owned businesses in new commercial spaces.

These comments will be considered by City planners as they develop the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. In the meantime, CNO will continue working with businesses and residents at the intersection of 35th & 23rd to help it meet the needs of the neighborhood and thrive. Stay tuned for future articles exploring more of the history and future of this intersection!

Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets 2017



The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization and the Midtown Farmers Market are thrilled to announce that we will once again participate in Open Streets Minneapolis on Sunday, July 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  This year’s route includes both Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue, which will be blocked-off to be enjoyed by bicyclists and pedestrians for nearly four miles through southeast Minneapolis.  

This year for Open Streets Lake Street + Minnehaha Avenue, the Midtown Farmers Market will once again be holding a breakdancing battle right beneath the Hiawatha Avenue bridge. In addition to breakdancing and all styles competitions, the Midtown Farmers Market will also be hosting an Urban Agriculture and Gardening Fair, food trucks and market vendors. Dance competitions will include an $800 prize for the top 4 vs. 4 crew, along with prizes for an all styles competition and farmers market triva.  Be sure to check out the action under the Hiawatha Avenue bridge on Lake Street!

Humanize Hi-Lake!

At Open Streets 2015, CNO kicked off a campaign to “humanize” the Hiawatha and Lake Street-intersection area.  We partnered with the Sierra Club, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, Lake Street Council and Longfellow Community Council to gather signatures on more than 500 petition postcards to raise awareness of the concerns at the intersection.  The City and County responded with the Hi-Lake Interchange Study which recommended many specific changes to improve the intersection for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists.

The CNO Land Use and Housing Committee held two public meetings to determine the most critical improvements.  They top picks were: ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps, “smart channels” to calm motor vehicle traffic, additional lighting and trees, and leading pedestrian intervals to give pedestrians a head-start at crosswalks.  

At Open Streets 2017, we want to hear directly from neighbors about your top priorities for specific changes to the intersection.  We will tally the community’s response and ask our elected leaders at the City and County to fund the improvements.  


Volunteers Needed!

Please help inform your neighbors and gather the voices of Open Streets attendees to Humanize Hi-Lake!  Sign-up to volunteer here!


About Open Streets, from Open Streets Minneapolis brings together community groups and local businesses to temporarily close major thoroughfares to car traffic, and open them up for people walking, biking, skating, and playing. This community event is in its sixth year, and is co-sponsored by the City of Minneapolis.

More than a street festival, Open Streets Minneapolis gives residents an opportunity to explore their neighborhood and local businesses in a safe, fun, and family-friendly way. It encourages the use of active transportation and healthy living, and has a goal of giving residents an opportunity to rethink our streets as public space.


Hot Wheels


Image courtesy of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.

With the long sun finally shining on Minneapolis, summer is a great time to enjoy the city by bicycle. Here are a few easy tips to keep you cool and healthy while biking in the dog days of summer.

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Lend a Hand to Your Neighbors as Violation Sweeps Begin

Starting this spring, the City of Minneapolis will be conducting code enforcement sweeps in the Corcoran neighborhood.  In particular, inspectors will be focusing on vacant properties or properties with repeated nuisance violations.  Common violations that inspectors will be looking for include: tall grass and weeds; inoperable vehicles; vegetation overhanging the sidewalk, alley, or street; garbage, litter and junk; brush and branches. 

Let’s work together to ensure a safe, healthy, and livable neighborhood.  Consider mowing your elderly neighbor’s lawn or informing your renter neighbors that inspectors are coming and what they’re looking for (the City only notifies property owners).  Have an intentional prairie or an eclectic outdoor collection?  Be sure to put a sign noting the intention and give the inspections department a call ahead of time to avoid confusion. 

The City has partnered with a handful of businesses offering home improvement discounts.  Stop in the CNO office for a coupon or visit

Questions? or call 311 (612-673-3000 from phones outside of Minneapolis)

Opening of the Hennepin County South Minneapolis Human Service Center


The new Hennepin County South Minneapolis Human Service Center opened on May 15, 2017 at 2215 East Lake Street.  The completion culminated nineteen months of construction and years of planning.  The South Minneapolis Human Service Center is the sixth human service center in the County’s effort to decentralize services beyond downtown Minneapolis.  Other county human service center locations include Brooklyn Center, Bloomington, Hopkins, North Minneapolis and downtown Minneapolis.  A full list of services offered at the human service centers can be found at this link:

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Corcoran Elects Three New Board Members, Re-elects Vice Chair and Treasurer


CNO's newest Board Members, from left to right - Siyad Warsame, Mandie Kender, Lori Kinzel-Auer

On the beautiful spring evening of May 10th, over 50 residents gathered at Corcoran Community Garden to enjoy live music by Parks and Wreck drummer Joe Forest and guitarist Oscar Cozza (with a special appearance by Oscar del Sebastien), to enjoy grilled burgers and share homemade dishes, to mingle with neighbors, and to elect members for the CNO Board.

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Summer is Near, Join Us at the Midtown Farmers Market!

The month of June at the Midtown Farmers Market is an exciting time as we enter summer and stalls begin to fill with produce. Strawberries will be arriving, the weather will be heating up, and there will be lots of activity at the market. Along with the ever growing selection of produce there will also be plenty of great programming at the market this month as well. We’ll be celebrating Bees and Pollinators on June 10th and the African American community on June 24th. The 24th will also include the second installment of our Summer Poetry Series at the market. There will also be a 2nd Saturday Arts for All activity on the 10th, along with Market Science activities and gardening advice from Hennepin County Master Gardeners each week.


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Energy Efficiency for Tenants and Landlords

Corcoran Neighborhood Organizers are working on a project that brings energy efficiency incentives to tenants and landlords. If you are a tenant with a refrigerator that is leaking, air conditioner that is not running correctly, or cracked windows, you might benefit from these programs. Programs include the Low Income Energy Assistance Program and Energy Assistance Program.

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Business Spotlight: Blackbird's Music Store

Empowering music makers, learners, and builders to create together.


Charlotte Matis, Neal Swanger and Russel Rayfield | 612-326-5745

I love music, but am no musician, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into Blackbird’s Music Store to interview Charlotte and company.  Having put my clarinet down years ago, I never took to strings and am often intimidated by those more musically talented than I. 

Upon entering the store, I was immediately greeted with smiles, offered a choice of coffee or tea and told to make myself at home.   As I looked around, I was surrounded by stringed instruments of all kinds lining the unassuming walls. The cheery chirping of Charlotte’s resident finches filled the air rather than the usual awkward silence of some stores.  Blackbird’s has a homey, somewhat familiar feel that put me at ease.  The group likes to joke about their “folk retailing”, but it does describe their relaxed atmosphere quite well.

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15th Annual Standish, Ericsson & Corcoran Neighborhood Garage Sale


Saturday, June 10th, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Start spring-cleaning now for the largest neighborhood garage sale in Minneapolis! The 15th Annual Standish, Ericsson & Corcoran Neighborhood Garage Sale will be on June 10th. Last year’s event involved over 120 households, brought approximately $25,000 into the neighborhood, and rehomed thousands of items.

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