Posts Tagged ‘Nicollet Mall’



February 20, 2014

Brace yourself! We’ve had the invigorating respite now that reminded us Minnesota is not just snow, ice and the devastating north winds. And just in case we were outdoors too much and smiled too much over the last 48 hours, the misery is returning.

Personally I am not sure two days was a sufficient recovery time but we have no choice in the matter. Here we go again into Round Two and as I remember well, March and early April are often the real tests of our resilience.

And today is no exception….ISES at 11:15; the Guthrie by 12 noon for the East Downtown Business Forum and a client subcommittee meeting I wanted to at least call in for that also conflicts in time. I don’t know if I will be glad I am walking/running thru the streets to ensure I fit it all in, or if I will be cursing the decision to get rid of the car!


I, too, remember Lake Minnetonka of the 1950s…home to our summer “church camp” and the magical weeks I spent there every summer through my youth.

I, too, am unimpressed with what “progress” has yielded in the area …and am having a hard time imagining what the new “push” for increased “tourism “ will do. I feel like they are trying to return to their roots; but the “good old days” is not that easy to recreate!


I liked a good bit of the plans for the Nicollet Mile that I saw last night, but someone should tell those folks we already have a Nicollet Island. It is a key point in the native people’s story of Creation and Rebirth so tied to the Mississippi River. And a lot of folks LIVE on that island that I am sure do not want to be thought of as living on 7th and Nicollet!

So although the redesign of the 7th street intersection is great (and helps as best it can for taking away my once-favorite event space in downtown – the surface lot that became Block E) the new gathering area should not be called Nicollet Island!

And even though we are only “8% into the design phase”, why have those local folks working with the design team not pointed this out to them before it was presented to a large audience last night?


The first two things I saw this morning before I even opened the Strib were TWO illustrated presentations.

One covered a topic I’m not even interested in…but I was totally hooked on the METHOD within the first couple seconds, watched the whole thing, and even found myself taking notes!

So one more time, I am convinced we are on the right track with our illustrator approach presented to a recent client. Unfortunately our client is less concerned about retention, proven learning methods, and changed behaviors than they are for the quest for a 1990s “WOW Factor”…long since proven to spike one’s BUDGET, but not retention , engagement nor learning. Of course, at the same time, they are also questioning why 19 general sessions in 4 different spaces with 15 different keynote speakers for 5000 people is going to cost $200,000!

Nevertheless, that did not stop my brain. Just now, it immediately started signaling to me we have missed an important interactive piece in our plans! We should include “doodle boards” for employees themselves to tell us what they thought of the meeting, to gather additional input for client use going forward, and to help measure impact. It would complete the illustration circle and provide meaningful data.

So the truth is, I guess we should not be questioning them, but should be questioning ourselves and why we even thought we would be a good fit for this project! Just proves what you don’t know ahead of time can hurt you! For me, there may be an escape route; but what did I do to the team when I got them involved in this?

Nevertheless, whatever the outcome for all, it is encouraging to see we were not off-base with our creative approach, and I think I can leave this world in June with no regrets. Creative Events had a good run in MSP for 21 years; built upon on a strong foundation laid during those first 23 years in the corporate world. I am just sorry that circumstances beyond my control have led to a messy ending. Nevertheless, I am done here and my brain has indeed moved on to start noodling (and doodling) about how I mold that third career of the future!



October 12, 2013

An interesting exercise to visualize what should replace Holidazzle in the STRIB today…

…but after reading it, I’d say those interviewed should keep their “day” job and we ought to stick with letting Leah Wong and the Downtown Council develop their own plan.  At least there is concrete evidence in reading their 2025 Vision for Minneapolis that they are looking forward, not backward…or askew!

Tom Fisher’s idea to “let the community” participate in generating ideas was the most viable and on target as it reflects exactly what the city has been doing over the last  few years, as it has concentrated on creative city and place making.  Otherwise, the STRIB and the answers seem to have fallen into all the old traps.

 All interviewed focused on the Nicollet Mall as it exists today -except for one chap who thinks it “goes all the way to the river” when in today’s world, It ENDS at Washington Avenue and the beautiful building housing ING.

Interesting that within the STRIB it appears folks don’t seem to be talking to each other…. They recently featured not only the efforts to re-invent Nicollet Mall including the three finalists and the winning design team; they have featured the move to recognize and improve the Cultural Corridor from Nicollet to First Avenue; they have even alluded to other projects in the works from the Gateway to the Hennepin Underpass and the Walker, the redesign of Washington Avenue as well as various other Creative Placemaking efforts.  And yet, this article reads like a vision out of 1950! In short, we are in the process of re-inventing Nicollet Mall, folks, so you are mostly on the wrong track2.  All focused on developing a new plan probably with another “shelf life” of twenty years that totally disregards a changing demographic of the Minneapolis population that focuses only on old white man ideas.

Many focused on a retail world long since gone from Nicollet Mall instead of Nicollet Mall that has emerged as a business, cultural and residential center of today.

Dean Phillips’ idea for a Loring Park “Tivoli Gardens” may be worth considering as a stand- alone but hopefully stands for a “type” description and not a desire to copy an idea.  Perhaps his thoughts could be expanded to support the existing visions of creative city making in Mpls. that connect Loring/Sculpture Garden and address that dreary underpass    

 “Flooding” Nicollet Mall might have some repercussions to downtown businesses if the compacted, crowded utility lines underneath were accidently “flooded” along the way…not to say a rink is totally unreasonable – rinks in the Gateway,  Loring Park, Peavey or at the new gathering place at the south end of downtown Nicollet Mall could be viable.

 But the inclusion of Paul Ridgeway as the one expert in events? In case you all have missed it, we have many modern creatives in this town, doing a lot of experiential events – both large and small, and more than a few of them are gaining international fame and acclaim.  Ridgeway, on the other hand  threw in the buzzword “interactive” and recycled a pretty old idea.  Not to say a nostalgic experience from our childhood 50 years ago would not be appealing but….


Not one of these ideas capitalized on engaging interactive things we are all experimenting with in our daily lives and in events in the 21st century; nor do these ideas tie or expand  anything the city is in the midst of today.  Nor do they  captures Minneapolis of the future.  

All this to say, my faith is in Leah Wong and the Downtown Council-not in those interviewed today.






September 9, 2013


SYRIA Becomes Excuse….


Who ARE these people we vote into office?  Looking for an excuse, the US Congress is finding one.  SYRIA trumps Immigration….it’s now unlikely immigration will be addressed for “months” if at all this year. 


Again, this is one more reason for change big time in the 2014 election.  Two years of DO-NOTHING should signal VOTE NO from constituents!




One almost has to feel sorry for those Minnesota Republicans trying to move forward after the damage done by their one-time leader Tony Sutton.   Hard to stomach his picture on the STRIB front page this morning…it took me back to 2008 and the slimiest person I have ever encountered in my professional career.  Unfortunately, it is not surprising today’s news reports he has personally filed bankruptcy – why not, I guess – he had already bankrupted his party!




The tentative facelift to Nicollet Mall would be SO welcomed!  Finally, we could have a chance to fix the half-done design from the 1960s.  The magic worlds are more green connections – perhaps we could include a vertical farm and market along the way.  Can’t wait to see the three finalist designer plans revealed on September 17th!




Allina is experimenting with different ways to diagnose high blood pressure….with preliminary findings that indicate 30% of those on meds do not really need them!  Good for them…and good for me.  I have long held the opinion that many docs over-medicate. 




The Syrian War has now impacted Maa loula – the oldest Christian community in the world – so ancient they still speak the language of Jesus – Aramaic.


For the second time in four days, rebels swept through the town which had been abandoned a few days earlier by citizens and priests who oversaw the Mar Takla Nunnery.  The 27 nuns had remained to care for the dozen orphans housed at the nunnery.


Apparently no one was hurt, but this certainly shows the complexity of issues attached to this trouble from yet one more perspective.








More fallout from Snowden re the NSA….this time Germans protesting both NSA/GCHQ (British) eavesdropping on specific individuals.


I am still isolated out here in the world saying we’re approaching this all wrong,   Again, one more time…start familiarizing yourself with input like that discussed in “the New Digital World”….then rather than taking a path of 20th century knee-jerk reactions, let’s have a conversation based on the REALITIES of today’s world – what we gain and what we lose AND THEN debate what citizens of the world want going forward and how to accomplish that.