Your Local Environmental Organization Meet Our People
The Mississippi Corridor Neighborhood Coalition (MCNC) is your local Mississippi River environmental watchdog group. We actively engage in advocacy and education. We prefer activism over “feel-good” or non-controversial projects.
MCNC was formed in 1993 with support from community groups in north and northeast Minneapolis. Since then, our membership has grown to 20 groups and many individuals, and includes people from all over the metropolitan area who want to see a restored and protected Mississippi River.
Focused on the Upper Mississippi River in Minneapolis
Our major focus area is the upper river corridor, above Saint Anthony Falls to the north city limits. This is the most industrialized section of the river in Minneapolis and has been the most neglected by public officials for more than 150 years.
Awards and Honors
May 1995: Conceptual River Corridor Plan won the prestigious Honor Award for Urban Design from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. This was the first time a Minnesota project won in the urban design category.
April 1996: Minneapolis Star-Tribune called the MCNC Conceptual River Corridor Plan a “national model.”
1998: received the Minnesota Horticultural Society Joseph E. Priley Award for Excellence in Community Beautification for upper river corridor reforestation project.
May 2000: “If At First You Don’t Succeed” Award presented by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission for the Marshall Street Walking Tour.
November 1993: passed resolution supporting a land use study of the upper river corridor, including a request for a moratorium on industrial development until the study is completed. This was the impetus for city’s eventual publication of a plan for upper corridor restoration in June 1999.
April 1994: Published an Environmental Inventory detailing 675 pollution sources, including 254 hazardous waste generators.
May 1994: Passed resolution-supporting efforts to stop the Kondirator metal shredder from being built on the riverfront. As of January 2004, the metal shredder has yet to be installed and has been kept off the river for more than 12 years.
June 1994: First annual river clean-up initiated.
July 1994: Passed resolution asking the Minneapolis Planning Commission to prepare a master plan for “total redevelopment of the riverfront in the urban corridor … on both sides of the river to the north city limits … [for] open space and housing on the riverfront … [and to] realize the results of this plan within one generation.”
October 1994: Request City Council to conduct an independent study on the feasibility of maintaining the Upper Harbor Terminal
March 1995: Publication of the Conceptual River Corridor Plan, the citizen-based plan for upper river and neighborhood revitalization
May 1995: Conceptual River Corridor Plan wins prestigious Honor Award for Urban Design from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. First time a Minnesota project won in the urban design category.
May 1995: Co-sponsor with Bottineau Citizens In Action and Concerned Citizens of Marshall Terrace the dedication of Gluek Riverside Park.
February 1997: MCNC lays out citizen participation process for the $600,000 upper river planning initiative led by Minneapolis Park Board; funds are direct result of advocacy efforts by MCNC
June 1998: MCDA awards MCNC grant to help regreen/redesign Marshall Street NE, augmented by McKnight Foundation grant. Working group established with public agencies, residents, businesses and Design Center for the American Urban Landscape. Marshall Street Redesign report published.
October 1998: Minneapolis Planning Department unveils its new city zoning map with no changes to riverfront zoning. MCNC asks for rezoned riverfront.
January 1999: MCNC members take leadership in public notification of public meetings on Above the Falls, the City’s upper river master plan. MCNC asks for meaningful stakeholder involvement process, which pressured the city to develop a more inclusive Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee.
April 1999: Request City of Minneapolis to address the air toxins in Minneapolis identified as a serious problem.
September 1999: Formation of the Mississippi Corridor Community Alliance for meaningful stakeholder participation in upper river planning, including neighborhoods, environmental groups and river corridor businesses
September 1999: Historic Walking Tour of Marshall Street Northeast under the auspices of Minneapolis Historic Preservation; 90 participants – largest group for a walking tour
October 1999: Collaboration with Mississippi River Revival on water quality monitoring and educational outreach projects
October 1999: Joined in lawsuit with Mississippi River Revival and West Side River Watch (St. Paul) against the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul for not having approved storm water permits for the Mississippi River
February 2000: Drafted position paper on a meaningful stakeholder implementation process for the Upper River Master Plan presented to Minneapolis Planning, Minneapolis Community Development Agency, elected officials, constituent groups
May 2000: “If At First You Don’t Succeed” Award granted from the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission for the Marshall Street Walking Tour
January 2001: Helped establish Working Group to design a stakeholder involvement process for Above the Falls upper corridor plan
January 2001: Held Legislative District meeting on environmental issues in partnership with Clean Water Action and the Izaak Walton League
February 2001: Worked with Senator Linda Higgins to support funding a study of the cumulative effects of pollution on north and northeast Minneapolis residents; resulted in additional air monitors for the community
March 2002: Collaborated with South East Community Improvement Association (SECIA) on an Environmental Agenda presented to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Minneapolis Environmental Management Deputy Director Bill Anderson (see “News” page). Document advocates for sustainability, accountability, and a more active citizen participation role in environmental planning and decisions
May 2002: Participated in Arbor Day and Grand Opening of North Mississippi Regional Park Interpretive Center where more than 600 people participated
July 2002: Mississippi River water testing for fecal coliform begins in collaboration with Minneapolis Park Board and Mississippi River Revival
August 2002: In collaboration with Twin Cities Tree Trust, arranged boat ride for the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee environmental caucus to take a look at the river from a different perspective
September 2002: Sponsored Energy and Environment Forum with Clean Water Action, Izaak Walton League and SE Como Improvement Association
September 2002: Established water testing program with State’s Voluntary Stream Monitoring Program (VSMP)
October 2002: Joined with West Side Citizens Organization (St. Paul), SE Como Improvement Association, Clean Water Action and Sierra Club to form Clean Energy Now (CEN) organization. CEN worked with the community to garner support for Xcel Energy’s Metro Emissions Reduction Plan (MERP) to convert metro coal plants to natural gas.
2002-2003: Co-sponsored community public meetings on pollution permit renewals for Owens-Corning, Xcel Energy and Diamond Vogel Paint
Incorporated MCNC’s water testing data for fecal coliform river contamination and data from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
Developed and constructed fecal coliform levels signage in collaboration with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Mississippi River Revival
Fecal coliform signage revised, brochure developed, including addition of various languages reflecting the ethnic communities living in the upper corridor, in collaboration with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Mississippi River Revival and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
Reviewed Minneapolis’ Critical Area Plan: compared plan to state statute requirements for two upper river corridor projects (GRACO and Riverview Supper Club) and made them available to the City of Minneapolis and the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee
Updated MCNC’s 1994 Environmental Inventory
Reconstructed our web site with many new features to increase public awareness of environmental issues, including a poll wizard to provide “instant feedback” on issues
Conducted successful 10th Annual River Clean-up in collaboration with Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Hennepin County, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and Three Rivers Park District
Participated with Clean Energy Now in the successful outcome of Xcel Energy’s Metro Emissions Reduction Plan (MERP), a voluntary proposal to reduce emissions at three metro plants, including Riverside in northeast Minneapolis. The Public Utilities Commission approved MERP in December 2003. This was a major victory for citizens all over the metro area, and MCNC is proud to have been a part of this successful environmental milestone.
Environmental Justice and Cumulative Effects of Pollution: worked with the MPCA, legislators, health experts and others to look at the effects of cumulative pollution in this area. MPCA recently agreed to use these data in determining the cumulative health effects associated with the inordinate pollution sources in our community. This is a major breakthrough.
Working with the Minnesota Tree Trust on a regreening initiative in the upper corridor by suppling Tree Trust with in-kind services. Corridor business contacts were provided, an on-the-river assessment was conducted, photography was provided and a resulting display showing the areas to be considered for re-greening was produced
Participated with the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) that did preliminary work, development, and determination of the content and language for Citizen Water Monitoring criteria.
Planned Activities for 2004
Hosting a series of forums on environmental and health issues. These forums will be held in February, March and April of 2004.
Formed an alliance with the Sierra Club and the St. Paul Macalester-Groveland Community Council to begin planning a dialogue on the potential for closing the locks and dams in the metro area; spring 2004 forum planned.
Raise environmental and neighborhood issues with the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee to press for more representation from communities of color, more attention to restoring the river’s ecological health, design principles to address environmental protection and reduction of the cumulative effects of the hundreds of pollution sources remaining in the upper corridor.
Funders and Sponsors
Thank you to the foundations, businesses, organizations and individuals who provide financial support for our work.
• Bush Foundation
• McKnight Foundation
• Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
• Hennepin County
• Hawthorne Area Community Council
• Headwaters Foundation for Justice
• Mississippi River Revival
• Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
• Our neighbors and friends
Randy is one of the founding members of MCNC, and has served as president for the past three years. As a river-front resident for over thirty years Randy has been an active advocate for a healthy river, speaking for the Upper Mississippi Corridor and environmental health issues of the neighborhoods which border it. He has founded Homeowners on the Mississippi for the Ecosystem, and has played an active role in the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee for over eight years, and has served on numerous environmental planning task forces such as the Minnehaha Falls Advisory Board and the Edgewater Park and Gluek Park Advisory Boards. Randy’s advice for anyone who thinks this river is safe and clean is to go jump in and see.
On Randy: “Heart of gold but stubborn as a mule and tough as a bulldog.”
Vice President Vrcitypol@aol.com
Since the late 1990’s I have been an active member of the Northeast community. The greatest natural asset we have here is the Mississippi River! Having seen the great volunteer work that the MCNC group had accomplished and was working on, I felt compelled to join and have now taken the position as vice chair.
Having been raised in a family that respects the earth as much as our community, it is concerning to me to believe that we still have a hard time being good stewards for our natural environment. I believe that we should work to protect and educate about our natural environment. This includes the air we breathe and the water we drink.
I am proud to be associated with this wonderful neighborhood group that takes on such a daunting task with endless passion and dedication.
Louise Olsen 612-788-0249
Never underestimate the affect of the ripple created by a single fallen
droplet, aged leaf, or tossed pebble ontop of or within a body of water.
In it’s own way; it eventually creates a new wave, alters an existing
current, or churns up a tide that effects tsunami sea change.
Area of Concern: The Cedar Riverside Community and the Mississippi River which forms its eastern border. Personal Passion: Striving for significant environmental change. Involvement with MCNC: Yearly coordinator at River Clean-Up. Ongoing hopes, dreams, work to be done, wishes: I hope for a healthy, natural and habitat-friendly neighborhood. I dream of a neighborhood that is involved in the planning of pedestrian-friendly spaces. There is much work to be done to reduce this area’s dependance on cars and awn and snow-melt chemicals, as well as in restoring the natural habitat along the river, monitoring and remediating toxic waste sites on the West Bank, and educating the neighborhood on the environmental issues that affect their lives. I wish all a healthy neighborhood in which to live, work, and play.