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November 20, Business Forum at Meet Minneapolis

November 20, 2014 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

DIDThe next East Downtown Council Business Forum is scheduled for Thursday, November 20.  This month’s event will take place at Meet Minneapolis – 250 Marquette Avenue South. The title of this month’s forum is “Beautiful and Safe: Urban Design and Programming in the Built Environment.”  Registration, lunch and networking starts at 11:30 a.m., with the EDC Update and guest presenters starting at Noon. The cost to attend the lunch is just $20. Please RSVP by sending an email to [email protected] by no later than Monday, November 17, at Noon.  


Urbanism studies show that greening and safety catalyze local investment, visitor spending, environmental cost-savings, and increased public health vitality.  As East Downtown becomes increasingly redeveloped it is important that all of the stakeholders in our district become aware of best practices for urban design and safety in the built environment such that we engage these important benefits. One key existing partner that is already doing this work in Downtown is the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (the “DID”).

The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID) is a non-profit entity that maintains a higher standard of care and behavior throughout downtown. It was formed in early 2009 after 5+ years of formative planning and advocacy by the Minneapolis Downtown Business Community.

The DID’s mission is to support, preserve, create and enhance a vibrant, competitive and thriving downtown that attracts and retains businesses, employees, residents and visitors. To that end, the DID pursues several goals: to create/support a competitive and thriving downtown through effective provision of clean, green, safe and better services; to pool resources and bring more effective implementation of services and initiatives; to bring a sustainable funding source to long-term initiatives; and to create and sustain an ecosystem that encourages a thriving public space in support of retailers, businesses, employees, visitors and residents.

At this month’s business forum, Ben Shardlow, the Director of Public Realm Initiatives for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown Improvement District, will discuss the overall work of the DID, specialized work of the Tactical Urbanism Initiative, and ways that EDC constituents can be aware and promote beauty and safety on our streets and in our open spaces.

In addition to Ben’s presentation, we will hear from three other guest speakers.  We will get an overall crime and safety report from The Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct Inspector Medaria Arradondo; Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant will give us an overview of how Minnesota won the Super Bowl bid for 2018; and Mortenson Construction will provide a Viking’s Stadium construction update.


  • Welcome and Introductions, Paul Mellblom, President EDC, Dan Collison, Executive Director EDC (10 Minutes)
  • Stadium Construction Update, Michele Kelm-Helgen, MSFA (5 Minutes)
  • Winning the Super Bowl Bid, Melvin Tennant, Meet Minneapolis (5 Minutes)
  • Crime and Safety Update, Inspector Rondo, Minneapolis Police Department (5 Minutes)
  • Urban Design and Programming in the Built Environment, Ben Shardlow, Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown improvement District (25 Minutes)
  • Q & A Moderated by Dan Collison (5 Minutes)
  • Preview of the October EDC Forum (5 Minutes)


Ben Shardlow, Director of Public Realm Initiatives for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown Improvement District

Ben Shardlow has been the Director of Public Realm Initiatives for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District since January 2014. He is an urban planner with a focus on public space and urban design. He received a bachelor degree in Politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree with a concentration in Land Use and Urban Design from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota.

Prior to joining the MDC/DID, Shardlow gained seven years of professional experience in commercial real estate development and management and three years of experience in applied social science research, with additional work in placemaking, urban planning consulting, and community engagement.

After 16 months as a project manager for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District on a contract basis, Shardlow was brought on to the MDC/DID staff to focus on implementing the public space goals in the MDC’s 2025 Plan and to direct strategic projects for DID. He is the staff lead for the MDC Greening & Public Realm Committee, the Green Streetscape Task Force, the Meaningful Daytime Activities Subcommittee of the MDC Homelessness Committee, and the DID Tactical Urbanism Initiative.

Medaria Arradondo, Inspector of the First Precinct

Inspector Arradondo received his bachelor degree in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State University and holds a master’s degree in Human Services from Concordia University. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston, Massachusetts as well as the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Inspector Arradondo is a 24-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department. He started his career with the MPD in 1989 working as a Public Housing Enforcement officer and School Liaison Officer. In 1997, he was promoted to Sergeant and worked in investigations, Internal Affairs and served as the assistant to the Chief of Police. In 2003, he was promoted to Lieutenant and oversaw the Federal Mediation Agreement, served as Public Information Officer, acting Inspector of the Second Precinct and worked many years in the Fourth Precinct.

In December 2012, Arradondo was appointed as Commander of the Internal Affairs Unit. He has been an active member in the community serving as a Board Member on the State Council on Black Minnesotans; African American Men’s Project; Police Community Relations Council; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Minnesota Criminal Justice Project. Inspector Arradondo also serves on the accountability sub-committee for the Chief’s Advisory Council.

Melvin Tennant, CEO and President of Meet Minneapolis

Melvin Tennant has been Chief Executive Officer and President of Meet Minneapolis since April 2008. Mr. Tennant served for more than 25 years in leadership positions for destination-marketing organizations, including the San Antonio, Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mr.

Since arriving in Minneapolis, Mr. Tennant serves as a Member of the Board of Directors at the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Council and HIRED, a leading Twin Cities area provider of job-skills training and employment training. Previously, Board Chair & Executive Committee Member of Destination Marketing Association International; Board of Trustees Members at Meeting Professionals International Foundation; International Executive Committee Member of Meeting Professionals International; Board Member of ASAE/Center for Association Leadership, Travel Industry Association of America, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, City of Charlotte Mayor’s International Cabinet (chair), March of Dimes (Charlotte Chapter), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts and Science Council, San Antonio Christian Business Chamber of Commerce.


November 20, 2014
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


East Downtown Council
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Meet Minneapolis
801 Marquette Ave S, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55402 United States
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