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Continued: Getting creative about a city code in Brooklyn Park

  • Article by: ANNA PRATT , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 2, 2014 - 6:10 PM

The video augments other changes the city has made in recent months to make the codes more comprehensible.

For example, it has revised the notices it gives out to people, using plain language. Non-English speakers are directed to a phone number for a translation. The notice also points people to the video link.

Furthermore, initial home inspections now include a step for outreach.

Knocking on someone’s door or calling them to talk about an issue is an official part of the process. It happened before, but “this makes it more intentional,” Newby said. “It gives people the chance to get to know their inspector.”

Nothing beats face-to-face interaction, he said, adding that casting city workers in the film was purposeful, to make them recognizable to residents.

Also, if there’s a language barrier or another issue, hopefully it can be identified right away, Newby added.

“Rave cards,” sort of like business cards, will provide QR codes that people can scan with their smartphones to view the video. The cards will be included in welcome bags that the city gives out to recent residents through its New Connect program, according to Josie Shardlow, the city’s neighborhood relations specialist. The materials also will be distributed at community meetings and other events.

Additionally, the video will soon play on TVs at City Hall.

All in all, the video is a tool that “helps to level the playing field, to make sure that everyone has the same information,” Shardlow said.

To watch the videos or to learn more about the “Know the Code” videos, go to

Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance writer. She can be reached at

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