Dear Steering Group Members:
DCE would like to host the next Hydra Connect in our hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota in Fall 2015. Since we’re not a typical university host, our proposal is a little more open and has more room for Steering Group input than others might. Most specifically, we will need to rent a conference venue giving us a significant amount of leeway over the sizing and timing of the meeting. If our bid is accepted, we would work with the Hydra SG to finalize a short list of dates in September or October, select an attendance cap, and distribute RFPs to local conference venues and hotels to finalize locations and dates.
We think Minneapolis has a lot to offer as a venue for the event, and we hope a Hydra event in the Twin Cities might help spur an increased interest in Hydra throughout the greater Midwest.
I hope I’ve covered most questions in the proposal details below; please don’t hesitate to let me know if I’ve left something out or if you have other questions.
- Mark & the DCE team
We feel confident that we can arrange meeting spaces up to 250 people; although, we would be more interested in keeping the event to 175-200 attendees. Potential conference venues include:
* The University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus: http://www.stthomas.edu/eventservices/facilities/byeventtype/conferences/minneapoliscampus/ (Mark’s an alumni)
* The University of Minnesota: http://www.mac-events.org/rooms/ (we might have a friend here)
* Hennepin County Central Library: http://www.hclib.org/about/meeting-rooms/facility-rental + http://www.hclib.org/about/meeting-rooms?roomLocation=Minneapolis Central
With over 5000 hotel rooms within walking distance of all of our proposed venues, we can easily identify a host hotel and a variety of backup options. Street (non-negotiated) prices for hotel rooms in the city range from $119-$350 per night double occupancy; based on past Hydra Camps in Minneapolis, we expect to be able to reserve a room block under $165/night (less if we’re willing to commit to a higher block size). There’s also great public transit for those wishing to investigate Air B-n-B type options.
As a regional airport hub, Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is easy to reach for both US and International attendees. There is easy public transport from both airport terminals direct to downtown Minneapolis. Once downtown, all facilities would be in easy walking distance. Minneapolis also offers a free shuttle along Nicollet Mall the main downtown retail corridor - most hotels are on or directly adjacent to the mall. Those wishing to explore further can take advantage of Nice Ride, the Twin Cities bike sharing system.
We do not have a typical university budget; however, we have calculated that sending the entire DCE team to Hydra Connect runs us between $5000-$7500; therefore, we would happily apply this amount to offset conference and meeting room expenses. We still anticipate that facility rentals and catering may run between $10,000-$12,500. Therefore, we might need to look at conference fees between $75-$125 to offset expenses depending upon final venue selection. Final pricing would be set once a final set of dates and venue have been selected.
Here’s the ‘Official’ Visitors Guide
Minneapolis offers a wealth of culture and entertainment opportunities for those wishing to extend their stay:
* World renowned Guthrie Theater
* Missisippi Riverfront and Grand Rounds Scenic Byway - walking and biking directly adjacent to downtown
* The Mall of America - we don’t usually shop there, but folks have usually heard about it ;)
Minneapolis is a foodie city and we have lots of friends in the restaurant and catering business, so we’re pretty sure we can come up with lots of good dining recommendations along with a great conference dinner! We’re also home to lots of local craft breweries including Surly for those that lean that way. Because there’s so much else to do, though, we figure we can come up with some great evening social options for those looking for non-alcohol focused events, possibly a theater outing or museum evening.