Fourth Ward Report

Fourth Ward Report

Council Member Barbara A. Johnson

Phone: 612-673-2204 

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Penn Avenue housing initiatives to assist homebuyers and current owners

Two new housing programs from Hennepin County as part of Penn Avenue Community Works are now available to both encourage people to buy homes in the Penn Avenue corridor and help current homeowners fix-up their properties.

The Front Yard Fix Up program is an effort to help beautify, deter crime, and signal investment in the Penn Ave. corridor. It will provide homeowners a no-interest forgivable loan up to $5,000 for improvements that can be seen from the street (exterior lighting, concrete, porch, landscaping, etc.). It is available to low- and moderate-income owner-occupied households on Penn Ave between I-394 and 44th Ave. N. and along Osseo Rd. from 44th Ave. N. to 49th Ave. N. Residents with total household incomes up to $102,960 are eligible to apply for this program. Deadline is September 1.

There is also a homebuyer assistance program that is offering financial assistance of up to $3,000 to help with down payments and closing costs. This funding is available for buyers who purchase a single family home, duplex, townhouse, or condominium unit in the Penn Avenue corridor, which extends from I-394 to 49th Avenue North and includes Penn, Oliver and Queen Avenues. The program aims to make homeownership more affordable. Homebuyers with total household incomes up to $102,960 are eligible to apply. Visit and search “Penn Ave. Community Works” for more information on both programs.

City Council passes municipal minimum wage ordinance

The City Council approved a municipal minimum wage ordinance that requires large employers to pay Minneapolis workers $15 an hour in five years and gives small employers seven years to reach the target wage. Large businesses are defined as having more than 100 employees and small businesses as 100 or fewer workers. To be consistent with State law, the minimum wage policy will apply to anyone who works in Minneapolis for any amount of time. The minimum wage will be indexed to inflation after the target $15 an hour wage is reached. The City’s Department of Civil Rights will oversee enforcement of the municipal minimum wage.

The passage of the municipal minimum wage ordinance comes as many Minneapolis workers struggle to pay for basic needs. There are more than 84,000 people in Minneapolis with incomes below the federal poverty level. An increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour would benefit 23 percent of workers in Minneapolis.

Help ease traffic by keeping intersections clear

Construction projects on freeways and streets are increasing traffic congestion throughout north Minneapolis. The 42nd Ave reconstruction project and I-94 construction has caused increased traffic in our neighborhoods. The City is taking steps to lessen the impact to drivers, MPD and Public Works are monitoring traffic and adding patrols. Please remember to enter an intersection only when there is enough room to make it completely through during a green light, don’t “block the box” and also take extra caution to keep crosswalks clear to allow safe passage for pedestrians. We ask neighbors for patience during this heavy construction season. If you have traffic concerns, please call 311 or contact the 4th Ward office.

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