Minneapolis looks to clean up neighborhoods in summer project

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The City of Minneapolis is cleaning up three neighborhoods as part of a summer project called “Bettering the Block.”

The project is part of an ongoing effort to try and make the city safer, and crews were already out Friday cleaning East Lake Street.

Officials say the project is driven by the hope that cleaning up neighborhoods will, in turn, increase public safety.

This summer, city members went out to talk with small business owners and residents in the Lake Street Corridor, West Broadway in North Minneapolis, and along Franklin Avenue to talk about living conditions – as well as what people would like to see get done.

They also looked at data from 911 and 311 complaints in those areas.

The city then decided to take what it is calling an “all hands on deck” approach to repaint street lines, wash and sweep the areas and clean up trash – which happened in the area Friday morning.

It also happens about every two weeks, and small business owners hope the effort will bring much-needed relief to the area.

“I field calls maybe once a week where people ask me if it’s safe to come into Minneapolis, you have to encourage them and say yeah, it’s fine,” said Nancy Ford, the owner of Repair Lair. “I think we need to work really hard to support local businesses, keep money in your zip code because a healthy business environment is, or a health business hub or corridor, it’s the backbone the neighborhood needs to have a healthy vibrant neighborhood.”

Friday’s cleaning comes ahead of Open Streets, which begins on East Lake starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.