Guest post, photos and video by the Hawthorne Hawkman
I'm looking forward to John Hoff returning from his road trip. There's just so many great things happening in NoMi that it takes at least two people to keep up. Today heralded even more redevelopment along West Broadway in NoMi. KMOJ 89.9 FM will be coming back home to NoMi and Delisi's restaurant will reopen as well (although it's not known if it will still be called Delisi's or something different).
Longtime Hawthorne board member and all around activist Jim Wentzell has often said his dream is to have "a steak and a Manhattan at Delisi's on Broadway." Well, that dream is going to become a reality, and this blog is making a promise to Mr. Wentzell: you'll get that steak and Manhattan, but we're not going to let you pay for it. I've talked with plenty of people who would be honored to cover that first celebratory meal as a way to thank you for your years--no, decades!--of commitment to our neighborhood.
The festivities got started when...
The emcee, who I think was a representative from Catalyst, introduced the lineup of speakers. As soon as he mentioned that the mayor would be speaking, someone who apparently doesn't even live in north Minneapolis started to shout about...well, who knows what? It was kind of hard to hear him when the WHOLE ROOM shouted him down and told him to stop (he didn't, but thankfully our other speakers had a microphone).
I should point out that fringe mayoral candidate James Everett was in attendance as well, and he at least showed an ability to behave himself in public. Hopefully that gets him ranked ahead of SOMEBODY as we test-drive IRV.
Here's a quick video of some of what Mayor Rybak had to say. I was taking photos during part of it, and missed recording my favorite line. He was speaking about how people said we couldn't bring change to north Minneapolis, how nothing good would come to West Broadway, and "the real voices of the community" stood up and made it happen.
The general manager of KMOJ spoke as well, and likened their return to someone who goes off to college, becomes educated and a better person, and is now returning to give back to their community. Speakers also pointed to the original owner of Delisi's and the ever-present Stu Ackerberg and thanked them for their dedication and hard work.
Mark Stenglein and Barb Johnson also spoke, setting the table for the cleanup hitter, 5th Ward Council Member Don Samuels. My camera ran out of batteries, but at least caught a decent portion of what he had to say.
Commissioner Stenglein often complains about having to speak after Don Samuels, and now I start to understand his frustration. How do you top what was said in that video? Is there a better way to sum up what this event was all about? I'm just going to write out what he said in case you haven't watched:
"It is the good will of everybody in this room, and many who are not in this room, who have CAUGHT the vision for a transformation of a part of this community that has been far too long neglected."