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Minneapolis asks public for input on equity in street paving spending

The discussion goes public next week over how to inject racial and economic equity into the city’s beefed up street paving program.

The city will hold a meeting Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Minneapolis Central Library to discuss potential equity criteria to supplement the more typical public works parameters in selecting street projects for the accelerated paving program that begins next year.

The idea of bringing fairness into paving regardless of income or racial makeup of an area was mandated by the City Council in April. It directed that when it approved spending $21.2 million more annually to stem declining street conditions.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, which will get $11 million more annually under the spending deal between the board and City Hall, led the way on equity criteria. Superintendent Jayne Miller proposed a spending program for park rehab money that funnels the first five years of money to parks in racially concentrated areas of poverty. That recommendation reflected a series of criteria including poverty, racial makeup, population density and safety surrounding parks.

“We’re not going to end up too much different,” Kathleen Mayell, of the Public Works transportation planning and programming division, told the city’s bike advisory committee this week.

Whatever equity criteria are adopted will supplement a ranking of projects that also relies on more traditional factors such as pavement condition and age, a street’s compatibility with current design standards, transit projects, outside funding opportunities, volume of use and geographic balance.

The revamped list of projects isn’t going to be ready for the Aug. 10 budget presentation by Mayor Betsy Hodges, according to Public Works staff. They said it should be ready for the department’s budget presentation to the City Council this fall.


Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438

Twitter: @brandtmpls

Mpls. police seek help to solve fatal stabbing of activist last year

Minneapolis police detectives want the public’s help in finding whoever killed prominent North Side activist and artist Susan Spiller in her home last year.

Spiller, 68, was found beaten or stabbed to death in her Lind-Bohanon neighborhood home on the morning of July 16, 2015. The grisly killing shocked residents and police officials with its brutality and apparent randomness.

No one has ever been charged.

“We need some fresh information as far as a suspect and we’re looking for the community to help us with that,” said Sgt. Darcy Klund, a detective assigned to the case.

Police have interviewed several people in the case and evidence recovered from the scene was sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension crime lab for analysis, Klund said in a short video posted on the department’s website Friday.

“What can help with this case is for people to generate some conversation about it, to talk about it,” Klund said in the video.

Police didn’t reveal any other details of their investigation.

Officers found Spiller, who was a personal friend of City Council President Barb Johnson, badly beaten on that July morning in her modest wood-frame house on the 5100 block of Dupont Avenue N. When they arrived, the officers found signs of forced entry. Spiller was pronounced dead at the scene.

The killing shocked the neighborhood, where violent crime had receded recently.

An autopsy concluded that she died of “complex homicidal violence,” suggesting that there was more than one type of trauma.

Police briefly considered a teenager with a long history of run-ins with the law as a likely suspect, but he was never questioned because investigators couldn’t locate him, according to a department official.

Hours after Spiller’s death, officials hastily called a news conference on the steps of City Hall to say that authorities would not rest until the killer was caught.

A cash reward is being offered for information leading to a suspect’s arrest. Police are asking those with information to call the department’s tip line, 612-692-8477, or text “MPD (the tip)” to 847411. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through CrimeStoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or texting “Tip 747” plus the tip to 274637.


Libor Jany • 612-673-4064