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.

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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...

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 www.cirquedusoleil.com.

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...