MINNEAPOLIS — For nearly half a century, Jakeeno’s Pizza and Pasta has been a south Minneapolis mainstay.
“I think the longevity in the community is definitely something that sets us apart,” said Amy Keegan, co-owner of Jakeeno’s.
But that staying power has been tested in recent years. Part of their recent struggles is due to their location, just two blocks north of.
“Right now, we’re really struggling with getting people to come into the door,” said Amy Keegan.
It’s something Amy Keegan even brought up at a recent Minneapolis City Council meeting.
“As you can imagine, it’s definitely been a struggle over the last few years,” said Amy Keegan, during the council meeting.
“I think the perception of what people see when they come into this area is the challenge that we’re definitely facing,” said Amy Keegan.
The re-routing of people is also part of the problem, with both bus routes and traffic routing away from the area, ever since George Floyd’s murder and the unrest that followed.
“Hundreds of people would be coming by every day on that bus route and now they turn the corner and miss us. We’re not getting that stopped traffic,” said co-owner Patty Keegan.
The goal now is getting people back in and giving them a reason to stay.
This past year, the owners have re-done the facade and are adding a bar, with hopes for a hard liquor license. Both will be coming soon, if all goes as planned. The owners will be seeking their hard liquor license approval at the city council on Tuesday.
“We had a local woodworker do the bar top. We’re also trying to also find ways for people to stay a little bit longer, so we brought in the TVs as well,” said Amy Keegan.
The two owners said it’s about addressing misconceptions that the area is unsafe, while re-investing in their community, to ensure their place for another half-century.
“We feel safe and so we just need those people to kind of think outside the box of what their current comfort level is and kind of reinvigorate them coming back into the community,” said Amy Keegan.
Why Legislators Want to End Minneapolis 2040 Lawsuit
Backers of a lawsuit to slow down implementation of a sweeping Minneapolis 2040 land use plan have been winning in the courts.
They may be about to lose in the Legislature.
Bills filed in both the House and Senate would amend current environmental law so that it can’t be used to challenge comprehensive plans like the Minneapolis 2040 plan that seek to increase urban and suburban population density. The bills make the change retroactive to before the Minneapolis plan was approved by the City Council in 2018.
The effect would be to make the lawsuit filed in 2018 by Smart Growth Minneapolis invalid and allow the city to ask a judge to dismiss it. House File 4028 and its Senate companion SF 4183 would also clarify state law going forward and make another batch of proposed housing density bills less vulnerable to legal challenges.
Rep. Mike Howard, DFL-Richfield, chairs the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee and said the bills will “make sure the cities have the ability to plan and move forward.”
“We believe it will have support from our cities and have support from our environmental community as well,” Howard said.
The Minneapolis 2040 plan is in some ways the model behind sweeping legislation introduced this session to require many cities and suburbs to allow “missing middle” housing and multifamily apartments in commercial zones. But sponsors of those bills fear lawsuits similar to the one in Minneapolis, which cites the landmark Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA). Not clarifying MERA could delay the rollout of new housing types that increase density.
The housing density bills and the proposed changes to MERA, therefore, work in tandem.
“In our reading [of the Supreme Court ruling], the court told us to fix the language, so that is our plan,” said Sen. Lindsey Port, DFL-Burnsville, who chairs the Senate housing committee. She is also a prime sponsor of the housing density bills moving through the Legislature.
“The 2040 Plan is one of the various options around the state that cities are doing to understand that we need to densify, we need more housing, we need to think about this in a different way than we did 40, 50, 70 years ago when our neighborhoods were built,” she said.
The bills to remove the threat of litigation using MERA are meant to give cities in the seven-county metro area — not just Minneapolis — assurances that plans that increase density can’t be held up in court or trigger expensive environmental studies, sponsors said.
Supporters of the lawsuit say it serves as a rescue for the city after it lost key court rulings on the Minneapolis 2040 Plan.
“Because the City has lost in the courts with its argument that the Minneapolis 2040 Plan is not subject to the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, it is asking the Legislature to amend that Act to make it inapplicable to the 2040 Plan,” John Goetz, the president of Smart Growth Minneapolis, said in an email. He said retroactively changing laws in the midst of litigation (the lawsuit is working its way through a second round of appeals) is rare and that he isn’t sure what legal remedies the group would have should the bill become law.
The 2018 lawsuit to block the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan allowing for projects to increase population density in built-out parts of the city sought to require the city to conduct a review of the environmental impacts of the changes. Smart Growth Minneapolis asserted the review was required by MERA for any project or plan that could produce negative environmental impacts.
Unlike a bill introduced last session that would have exempted comprehensive plans from MERA, the 2024 version of the bill is more narrow. It includes a set of legislative findings that increasing urban and suburban densities is “beneficial to the environment and public health.”
Under this year’s version, a comprehensive plan adopted by cities and approved by the Met Council that increases residential density is beneficial and “does not constitute conduct that causes or is likely to cause pollution, impairment or destruction” as defined by MERA. Plans that increase density are deemed to be beneficial because they can prevent sprawl into land that sequesters carbon, provides habitat and preserves farmland.
Peter Wagenius, the legislative director for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, said many environmental groups were uncomfortable with last session’s bill that exempted comprehensive plans in their entirety from MERA. The 2024 version exempts residential density from MERA but leaves open that comprehensive plans could be challenged on other grounds.
“The court has acknowledged there’s an incongruity … in the law. We are taking that as an invitation to resolve that incongruity,” Wagenius said. While the lawsuit was against the Minneapolis plan, Wagenius said suburban cities have expressed concern that they, too, could be sued if their plans attempt to increase residential density.
“They are saying, ‘Do something about this before the lawsuits arrive,’” he said. “Will this end all bad-faith litigation against cities? No. But it will prevent some and protect them and their ability to do their jobs.” He cited plans like Burnsville’s Heart of the City development and St. Louis Park’s West End that creates downtown-like environments as examples of what some suburbs are doing to address density as well as affordability and housing supply.
In an article for the American Planning Association, Alex Schieferdecker addressed the chilling effect the ongoing litigation could have on city planning.
“If these plans are to be vulnerable to nuisance environmental lawsuits, then every city and town in the region will be forced to complete their 2050 plans while constantly looking over their shoulder and potentially compromising policy to appease their most litigious residents,” Schieferdecker wrote.
A city is obligated to update its comprehensive plan once a decade to accommodate updated population projections made by the Met Council. It is that document that guides development, and cities must make sure their zoning codes and ordinances match the plan.
Minneapolis received nationwide attention for the way its plan pushed for increased density as a way of concentrating population growth in areas already served by infrastructure, including transit. It determined that single-family neighborhoods should accommodate so-called missing middle housing such as duplexes. And multi-family housing would be allowed in corridors close to transit lines. Parking minimums were cut, and zoning changes were made in many areas to allow more development.
The Smart Growth suit asserted that if the new plan increases city population to the maximum level possible, it could degrade the environment by increasing the amount of paved surfaces that could increase the impact of stormwater runoff, by increasing the number of people straining wastewater systems, by reducing tree canopy and by increasing air pollution.
Caitlin Clark delivers dazzling performance in Minneapolis
Between the sold-out crowd, the line to get in and the applause, one would think there was a parade in Minneapolis on Wednesday. It was just Caitlin Clark.
Fans stood outside in 17-degree weather for nearly two hours before the game started to watch Clark. Many made the four-and-a-half-hour trek from Iowa City, Iowa to Williams just to watch her play.
Clark didn’t take long to show Minneapolis why she is the leading NCAA women’s basketball scorer. Each time she shot the ball, a sea of fans wearing Gopher maroon and Hawkeye gold jumped to their feet in awe.
“It’s cool just to see the impact we’ve had across the country,” Clark said.
The excitement for Clark seemed to wear off later in the game until she made history again by breaking Lynette Woodward’s women’s college basketball scoring record on a 3-point shot late in the fourth quarter.
Clark’s record-breaking night came just 13 days after she broke Kelsey Plum’s women’s NCAA all-time scoring record.
“The NCAA didn’t want to recognize women and what they did back in the 1980s,” Clark said. “I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be able to do what I’m doing every single night if it wasn’t for people like her.”
The Gophers were no strangers to Clark’s abilities from beyond the arc. Several Gophers defenders guarded her at once, leaving Clark no choice but to dish out a cross-court pass to her teammates down to the corners of the arc.
A sigh of relief came for the Gophers when Clark checked out after reaching her third foul.
Even without Clark, Iowa was still dominant as exemplified by Hawkeye guard Gabbie Marshall’s quickness on the court which led to a 16-point performance.
Head coach for the Gophers Dawn Plitzuweit said her goal for the team coming into the game was to have all of her players walk away saying they competed at a “high level.”
“I don’t think we really did that,” Plitzuweit said.
The Gophers put up shots short of the rim in the first half, addressed the issue at halftime, and then rushed shots in the second half.
Stopping the Hawkeyes was a critical yet seemingly impossible task for the Gophers throughout the game.
Battle was among several Gophers players who routinely dove to the ground fighting for control of the ball as if they would never see another possession.
“It was pretty tough,” Battle said.
Clark’s 33 points contributed to a dominating 108-60 win over the Gophers. After breaking Woodward’s record, she is just 17 points away from breaking Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old scoring record of 3,667 career points.
Lately, Clark has been in a scoring slump from her typical above-30-point nights, averaging 27 through her last three matches.
Head coach for Iowa Lisa Bluder said Clark’s achievements throughout the season are hopefully a wake-up call to the NCAA.
“Why would you not recognize the women that played in the 70s and 80s,” Bluder said. “It makes no sense, but maybe, maybe the NCAA will realize that now.”
Clark’s next match is against Ohio State on Sunday. She’s played 29 games this season and scored 909 points.
While Clark has yet to make any decision on whether she will return for a fifth year, fans made clear what they want from her after the game, chanting “one more year.”
This story has been updated.
Man shot in Minneapolis this week charged in 2023 mass shooting at same spot
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – An 18-year-old man who was among four victims shot this week in Minneapolis is now charged with nine counts of attempted murder for a mass shooting last summer at the same spot.
Jaden Butcher was charged on Wednesday with the shooting at East Franklin Avenue and Chicago Avenue in August 2023.
In that shooting, officers said two men got out of a vehicle and opened fire on a crowd of people playing dice near that intersection. Eight people were injured in the volley of gunfire.
Using surveillance video, police were able to connect the vehicle used in the shooting to Butcher’s legal guardian. Officers say that the vehicle had also been used in another attempted homicide at a Valvoline. In the days after the 2023 shooting, officers tracked down Butcher, but he was able to escape the authorities during a high-speed chase.
Officers weren’t able to arrest Butcher until six months later, when he showed up at a hospital after being shot at East Franklin and Chicago on Tuesday.
Butcher was among four people shot outside a market at the spot. The charges state that at least five guns were fired in the Tuesday shootout and 100 discharged casings were recovered.
Butcher was shot in the foot during the recent shooting. He has now been moved from the hospital to Hennepin County Jail.
Police are requesting high bail for Butcher, who they say “represents an extreme danger to the public.”
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