Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Photo Friday - Midtown Greenway

The Midtown Greenway is a 5.7-mile trail in Minneapolis. Used both recreationally and for commuting, the Greenway runs east-west about one block north of Lake Street. It provides cyclists, inline skaters, runners and pedestrians a traffic-free route across the city.

The Greenway consists of two one-way bike lanes and one two-way walking path, though they are combined in some places. There are some space constrictions because of the historic nature of the corridor, and it cannot easily be widened or modified.

To the west the Greenway connects directly to the Southwest LRT Trail. It also connects to the Kenilworth Trail, which in turn connects to the Cedar Lake Trail, providing access to downtown Minneapolis and the western suburbs.

To the east, the Greenway connects to West River Parkway, a part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Along the way, there is access to the Chain of Lakes, as well as the Light Rail Trail, connecting the Greenway to the Downtown East community. Here you can see riders and walkers on a bridge for the Greenway which crosses the Lake of the Isles.

The Greenway was created in a former Milwaukee Road railroad corridor along 29th Street. The rail line was originally built between 1879 and 1881.

Bike traffic on the Greenway has jumped 30% in 2008 over ridership counts from 2007. ...

Minnesota: 2nd Best in the Nation for Kids' Well-Being

There didn't seem to be many articles specifically about our state, but Minnesota was ranked second in an annual Kids Count assessment of children’s well-being in the U.S. Minnesota has ranked first overall as recently as 2007 and consistently has been in the top four. Only New Hampshire ranks higher this year.

“It’s a good place for children to live,” said Tara Arzamendia, research director for Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota.

The 10 indicators of well-being that were taken into account for this list cover health, income, education and other factors. The statistics used include dropout rate, single-parent families, parental employment, teen birth rate, poverty rate, infant mortality rate and child and teen death rates. Minnesota ranked no less than 9th in any of the categories.

The authors of the Kids Count study said on a national level, the new data was mixed. Six factors showed improvement, and four got worse.

The study uses information from 2006 for health figures. The socioeconomic and education data dates to 2007. So the recession and unemployment of 2008 does not show up in the study.

Economic slowdown aside, this reinforces information that we've heard before about our state and about individual communities like Chanhassen, Edina, and Minneapolis: Minnesota is a wonderful place to live and a great place to raise a family.


Upcoming Arts Events in the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities arts scene is particularly hopping during the summer. There are a few important and fun events coming up that you should know about!

First there is KOOZA, the Cirque du Soleil show happening on the St. Paul riverfront for the rest of the week.  Written and directed by David Shiner for Cirque du Soleil, there are shows happening every day through August 2, when they pack up their giant tent and leave. Tickets are $42-$215. Call 1-800-450-1480 or order them online at

This Thursday and continuing through August 9th, the Minnesota Fringe Festival starts off its 15th installment.  This year, 160 productions will fill 11 days with 800 performances. The Fringe is the nation's largest nonjuried festival. Its performers, writers and companies test their work in a Darwinian scrum for audience approval and critical attention. Most are locals, but acts also appear from around the country and a few from Great Britain and Australia. Its taking place at 22 venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Tickets cost between $5 and $12, but admission to shows also require a $4 Fringe button. Multishow passes are available. Call 866-811-4111 or visit

Finally, next weekend on August 7, 8, and 9 the Uptown Art Fair takes places at the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue and “The Mall” in Southwest Minneapolis. Perues a variety of creative and original works of art including sculptures, paintings, photographs, woodcarvings, glasswork, jewelry, multimedia compositions and more. Over $2.5 million of art is sold during the festival, but there are other events happening too.  Enjoy food and drinks from over 20 vendors, as well as non-stop entertainment on the CBS Outdoor Performance Stage. Relax in the Wine Garden, or create your own art at the Family Imagination Station activity area. Visit the website here.

Also, it's...

What Do Enchiladas Have To Do With Staging?

In today's busy world, time is at a premium for hardworking people. "Multi-tasking" has been engrained in our daily habits so much that it is almost second-nature. For example, at this moment I am writing a blog, updating my Facebook status, planning three vacant staging projects for next week, and cooking enchiladas for dinner (beef, not chicken).

Staging your house while juggling kids, work, and the dog may drive busy sellers over the edge. In situations like this, it is essential for these sellers to have a "plan of attack" when preparing their house for sale. It is the goal of home staging professional to give suggestions for color choices, furniture arrangement, and home accent placement. However, good staging consultations do not stop there. Realizing the importance of your time, stagers should prioritize your staging To-Do List.

So many times I find sellers cleaning out underneath the bed before cleaning the stain on the carpet that Fluffy left behind. (If you are taking notes... Pet stains on carpet take priority over the junk under your bed.)

Take me for example... although my Facebook status is long overdue for an update, it is not as important as planning my upcoming staging projects. And...

Photo Friday - The Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is a revered center for theater performance, production, education, and professional training.

It is located in the Twin Cities as a result of Sir Tyrone Guthrie, who wanted to to create a resident acting company that would produce and perform the classics in an atmosphere far away from the commercial pressures of Broadway. After Guthrie published an invitation in 1959 soliciting interest and involvement in a resident theater, Minneapolis was one of seven cities to respond. The Twin Cities was chosen not only because it's people were interested but also enutisatic for theater. The Guthrie seen below was completed in 1963.

The Guthrie opened its doors to the public on May 7, 1963, with a production of Hamlet. Throughout the 1960, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s it had many successful shows and won critical acclaim for performances such as of Henry V, Three Sisters, Oedipus the King, Love's Labour's Lost, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Marriage of Figaro, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, Medea and As You Like It. The production of The House of Atreus in 1968 was such a success it was taken on the road in a national tour that was a first for a resident theater.

Also in 1968 the Guthrie started expanding to other parts of the Twin Cities. A series of plays were done on the smaller stages of the Crawford-Livingston Theater and The Other Place. In 1985, artistic direct Garland Wright wanted to have a second, smaller stage that could act as a lab to enable the exploration of new work and performance techniques and thus the Guthrie Laboratory was born in the Minneapolis Warehouse District.


Minneapolis is the Happiest City for Families

It should come as no surprise that the company that introduced the Happy Meal would also commission a study to find "The Happiest Cities for Families." It should also come as no surpise that Minneapolis came out at the top of the happy family list.

Comissioned by McDonald's, Sperling's Best Places set out to find the happiest, family-friendliest cities in America. The results were based on social activities, recreational resources and household expenditures on fun activities. Minneapolis receives high marks for social activities such as neighborhood get-togethers, spending time with friends, and sharing meals with family members.  Researchers also noted that the Minneapolis park system is known as one of the nation's best, providing many sports fields, ample tennis courts, and ample ice rinks.

The rest of the top 10:

2. Atlanta
3. Virginia Beach, Va.
4. Washington
5. Portland, Ore.
6. Denver
7. Baltimore
8. Seattle
9. Kansas City, Mo.
10. Austin, Texas.

Twin Cities communities are really gaining some national attention these days.  Earlier this month, Money Magazine voted Chanhassen as the second-best place to live in the U.S. Chanhassen came in behind only Louisville, Colorado. Additionally, Edina was named by Family Circle in its annual top ten list of best cities and towns for families. Want to join the fun? Check out Minneapolis, Edina, and Chanhassen real estate!


The Happiest Place on Earth?

Disney World is considered (by the Disney Corporation), the "Happiest Place on Earth." If you have ever been to the parks, you can reminisce how mouse ears, fairy princesses, and non-stop cheery music create a magical world that most children, young and old, cannot resist.

Over-zealous mouse fans can unintentionally turn Disney charm into a home staging nightmare when trying to imitate the Magic Kingdom in their own room...

Snow White, Bambi, and a myriad of characters turn this room into a cluttered sight. Notice there is no furniture, no decor, just walls full of a busy print. Therefore, when selling a house, it is essential to neutralize the space for buyers.

Neutralizing walls have positive effects:
  • Suits various decor styles and colors
  • Increases the visual size of the room
  • Reduces a cluttered atmosphere
  • Appeals to a larger segment of buyers

This room in the picture above has a happy ending... but you will need to check out future blogs to find out!

KFM Staging & Design is a Minnesota home staging company that creates "First Impressions that Sell" in the Twin Cites and Western Wisconsin. KFM specializes in vacant staging and staging consultations. Visit our website for staging tips or to schedule your in-home or online...

Photo Friday - Stone Arch Cinema

The Stone Arch Cinema, previously known as the St. Anthony Main Theatre, is located not-so-coincidentally at the St. Anthony Main shopping and office complex, just down the road from the Stone Arch Bridge (hence the name). It is located on Main Street in the Nicollet Island/East Bank neighborhood of Southeast Minneapolis. Saint Anthony Main fronts the river at Saint Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River, and sits next to the Hennepin Island Hydroelectric Plant, host of the Water Power Park.

Saint Anthony Main opened as a festival marketplace in the 1980s to revitalize the area. Though initially popular, it had economic troubles after noise restrictions reduced its hours of operation.

The area has since undergone a resurgence, thanks in part to the condominium boom in the early 2000s that spurred projects in and around the area, including the Pillsbury A Mill complex and the Gold Medal Flour complex. Saint Anthony Main is now home to the Stone Arch Cinema, four bars and restaurants, a small cafe, and a Segway tour operator. (Yes, you read that right).

Some of the buildings in the Saint Anthony Main complex date from the 1850s when the Village of Saint Anthony on the northeast side of the Mississippi River was still separate from the City of Minneapolis.

While taking a picture of Pillsbury's Best Flour sign (which I'll have to get a better picture of soon), I noticed that Saint Anthony (or the Stone Arch Cinema itself) has a green roof installed on top that is clearly visible from a nearby sidewalk. Doesn't it look nice?

Fact: The 2008 Minneapolis - Saint Paul International Film Festival...

Greening Minnesota - June / July

The regular Greening Minnesota feature was interrupted in June because we were moving over to the new website. But that doesn't mean that the collection of green stories stopped. This month's edition includes stories from and for June and July 2009. This is in some-what chronological order for when the stories were published.

Four creative containers for recycleables (and only recycleables) were unveiled in Mears Park. The Lowertown park is the third location to take part in an experiment by St. Paul and Eureka Recycling to see whether "public space recycling" can be cost effective and help the environment. People can recycle aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles. If you see them, make sure you don't put garbage in them! That can take away from  some of the benefits. St. Paul has set a goal to be waste free by 2020.

Speaking of recycling, you probably know places where you can recycle electronics and cellphones in Minneapolis and St. Paul. But what about electronic chargers? A recent article by the Star Tribune answers that question for you.

Cub Foods and Supervalu have announced that a Cub store has become the first grocer in Minnesota to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold NC2.2 Certification. The Cub store, located in the Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul, is one of three grocery stores in the nation to successfully achieve LEED Gold Certification. Check out the link to read all about the store's green technology, including its 44 skylights that illuminate 75 percent of regularly occupied spaces using a solar powered GPS system that tracks and redirects sunlight as needed.

Workers have given the Target Center some of its first patches of green. Once completed, the $5.3 million, 2 1/2 acre project will be the fifth-largest green roof in the United States. It will prevent an estimated 3.68 million gallons of rainwater annually from draining into the Mississippi River. It is the the third...

Money Magazine: Chanhassen is #2 Place to Live

Money magazine has named Chanhassen as one of the best places in the nation to live. The Twin Cities suburb was named the second-best small American town to call home. For the 2009 rankings, Money focused on "small towns," defined as having a population between 8,500 and 50,000. Chanhassen came in behind only Louisville, Colorado.

Money ranks the communities based on financial data, housing, safety, crime rates, weather and similar factors. Reasons for the ranking include an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, falling property taxes and rising median income. Here is what Money Magazine had to say about Chanhassen:

Apparently Chanhassen never got the memo that it's supposed to be in a recession. Unemployment here was more than three percentage points below the national average in May, thanks to a broad jobs base in the Twin Cities area.

Property taxes have dropped every year in the past five, even as median home prices have crept up. And the town still boasts a per­fect triple-A bond rating.

But Chanhassen has much more going for it than terrific numbers. "There's a genuine small-town feel," says Sarah Pinamonti, 41, who moved here with her husband, Rick, 43, in 2002. They've never regret­ted it. "We rarely have to leave town to have fun," says Rick.

No wonder: The town has 11 lakes, 34 parks, and the 1,047-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Come winter there's a carnival, ice-fishing contests on Lake Ann, and skating and hockey everywhere (town officials flood grassy areas to create outdoor rinks). Wimps beware: Those activi­ties require braving temps that often dip into single digits.

This isn't the first time a Twin Cities community has breached the Top 10. Last year, Plymouth was listed at the #1 place in America to live. Eden Prairie was listed at the #10 best place to live in the U.S. in 2006.

Though no other city in...