Sunday, February 8, 2009

Filling in the Gaps: Things I Wish Were in Uptown

I might complain about the people who spend their time trying to make Uptown into something that it's not, never has been, and never should become, but that doesn't mean that I don't have my own wish list of things that would make this neighborhood better place to live. The difference, I think, is that my list builds on what Uptown already has, rather than trying to fundamentally change the area and its nature. I think these additions will only improve the neighborhood and boost its already-considerable assets.

So, in no particular order, here's a wish list for Uptown:
  1. A Farmer's Market. What's not to love? A weekly farmer's market gives locals the chance to buy fresh, locally-grown food, all while enjoying wandering around outdoors with your friends and family. The best farmer's markets offer something for everyone: fruits and vegetables, of course, but also local soaps, nuts, crafts, prepared foods, and entertainment. They attract a diverse audience, and would be beneficial to all of Uptown's various constituencies. A farmer's market could truly be a community gathering place. Our farmer's market should accept food stamps, welcome and encourage Uptown vendors, offer a broad selection of food, including "ethnic" options, and be open as much of the year as possible.
  2. Good Mexican food. Minneapolis has plenty of good Mexican restaurants and bakeries in other neighborhoods - let's get some more taco and burrito options in Uptown itself. I'd like both more authentic cheap taco stand-type places as well as perhaps a more formal sit-down place.
  3. A Post Office. It doesn't have to be a full-service place, just a basic substation will do. Remember when Calhoun Square used to have one tucked away in the back? This is such a neighborhood essential - let's figure out how to get one back.
  4. A Light Rail Station. Really, is there any need to explain this? The vast majority of Uptown residents want our neighborhood plugged into the larger Twin Cities transit network, and buses alone aren't the option. Let's all cross our fingers (and send some emails) and hope that Uptown gets its much-needed station.
  5. A Community Garden. Check out the Dowling Community Garden for an interesting example of how these can work. Uptown - especially apartment-dense areas such as those found in the Wedge and in parts of CARAG - could really benefit from one of these. It's healthy, provides yet more sense of community-building opportunities, environmentally-friendly, and gives everyone a chance to get outside and enjoy the benefits - health, taste, and economic - of growing produce or even just flowers.

This is just a partial list, of course, but any or all of these things would certainly add to my quality of life. Here's to hoping that they all come true.


  1. No. 3 stands out as the big Who Cares in the middle of four otherwise solid suggestions.

  2. anon 4:10 you are a mark

    Isn't there a community garden off the greenway at lyndale?

    the ones listed are great suggestions

    hardware store.
    chinese food. (not gross kinh do)

  3. There are a few community gardens that are close--they don't advertise themselves much though. The Soo Line Community Garden is the most well known(off the greenway near Lyndale/Harriet St.). There's also LaSalle Community Garden in Steven's Square and Eat Street Community Garden in Whittier (1st and 24th ish).

    Also, I really want a Farmer's market too. And a decent Indian restaurant that survives more than a year--something like Gandhi Mahal (on Lake and Minnehaha).

  4. Uptown's got 10x more than lots of neighborhood (not a gripe, just pointing it out). This is what a lot of the "UpDale" protests were about in the 80s.

  5. An excellent livable neighborhood has to have a hardware store, a grocery store, a post office, a drugstore, a bookstore, and decent public transportation. Uptown is THIS CLOSE to being great.

  6. I've been thinking about Mexican food in Uptown for the past 9 months. I think the space next to Duplex would be perfect for it and would also create a nice restaurant row right in the middle of Hennepin between Lake and Franklin. Think about it...