“We joined SCCA to learn from and work with other successful businesses in the Seward neighborhood.”
SCCA Member: Jim Welna, Welna II Hardware

Open Streets – Organizing the Community

By Deborah Ervin

OS Franklin Logo 2015

On Sunday, August 16th Franklin Avenue will burst into a colorful, bustling hubbub of activity for Open Streets Franklin. From 11am-5pm, the street will be closed to car traffic for the second year in a row, and bikers, skaters, and pedestrians will take over.

The idea behind Open Streets is to allow us to enjoy each other and our community spaces in new ways; it’s a special experience to move freely down the middle of a street normally reserved for cars, surrounded by music, food, and games. Our event stretches along Franklin Avenue from 28th Avenue in Seward to Portland Avenue in Phillips. It’s huge!

Living Room

In my role as an organizer, hired by the Seward Civic and Commerce Association (SCCA), it’s a pleasure to meet with business owners in the months leading up to the event. The process of community planning is as important as the magic of the big day itself. This year the planning committee was dedicated to reaching out to the East African residents of Seward.

Reflecting that prioritization, we’ll be delivering fliers announcing the event in English and Somali to every apartment in the Seward Towers. Special thanks to Melinda Studer at Common Bond for making that possible. Seward Neighborhood Group is hosting two Somali artists on the street in front of their parking lot at 2323 E. Franklin: Asma Farah (an emerging spoken word artist originally born in Gambia and raised on the West Bank) and Abdulkadir Said (a 65-year-old local Somali oud player). Ashley Freitag from the SNG board coordinated with The Cedar Cultural Center to make this happen. And the Blue Nile will be selling Ethiopian street food on Franklin Avenue, and have their patio open all day with their full bar and food menu available!

Electric Fetus

I’m super excited for our second year of Open Streets. East Lake Street’s event drew almost 17,000 people this year, and some businesses report it to be their busiest day of the year. That’s where Franklin Avenue is headed. The Bike Coalition tells us regularly how Franklin Avenue is the most organized and enthusiastic group of all the 8 events this summer. The level of engagement and civic mindedness they’ve noted characterizes our neighborhood year round, and is what’s going to make Open Streets on Franklin awesome!

Don Barton and his player piano at Luce

Open Streets B-I-N-G-O: SCCA is coordinating a joint neighborhood BINGO with Phillips neighborhood to encourage folks to visit both sides of Franklin. Players can pick up a bingo card at one of the 25 participating businesses, and win prizes or discounts by getting your card stamped to complete a full row on the card.

FACEBOOK:  Here’s the Facebook event for Open Streets on Franklin. Feel free to use this on your website, or share it in your social media posts. You’re also entirely welcome to create your own Facebook event. TWITTER: Open Streets’ Twitter handle is @OpenStreetsMPLS – hashtag is #OpenStreetsMPLS

Open Streets Minneapolis is an initiative of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition supported by the City of Minneapolis, and presented by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention. You can read more about them, and their other seven events this summer, here.

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