Also in this issue:
Save money and energy at home
Nice Ride expands North
Local talent to revitalize Peavey Plaza
Keeping pets and people safer
Neighborhoods USA 2013
Election Day is two weeks away
Serve on a City board
Follow the 2011 budget process
Learn about the flu and flu shots
Take the fire-safety quiz
Also on the web:
Neighborhood revitalization, the Minneapolis way
A few weeks ago, we were honored that President Jimmy and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter came to the Hawthorne EcoVillage section North Minneapolis to build and rehab homes with Habitat for Humanity, and I think of that week as the coming-out party for the EcoVillage. The Carters’ visit helped shine a spotlight on the successes of the cluster approach to neighborhood revitalization that we have adopted there in close collaboration with a wide variety of partners and with key assistance from the federal government.
The innovative cluster approach is a community-partnership model of shared responsibility that focuses intensive resources on small geographic areas, or “clusters.” It draws its strength from the shared commitment of neighborhood residents, community organizations, government and nonprofits who dedicate themselves to working in partnership to bring stable, affordable housing, safe streets and neighborhood connection back to a relatively small area that has been devastated by the foreclosure crisis.
Just a few years ago, this section of the Hawthorne neighborhood was the worst of the worst: foreclosures were rampant, crime permeated every block and longtime residents were ready to leave, even if it meant taking a loss on their homes. We simply had to take a stand — and since the EcoVillage cluster initiative began in 2006, the neighborhood has started to transform. Residents, the neighborhood organization, police, code enforcement and many other partners worked hard to build relationships of trust with each other, and together we got results: we removed the blighting influence of 39 properties in and around the cluster and helped drive violent crime down 73%. This day-to-day work of community engagement set the stage for the Carters’ critically important work project, which I believe will prove to be the much-deserved dipping for the neighborhood.
So many partners have helped revitalize the EcoVillage and other neighborhoods around Minneapolis, but I have to single out the federal government and the more than $30 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds that the City has won in recent years, much of it from the federal Recovery Act. We have put it to good use: Secretary Shaun Donovan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently praised Minneapolis’ approach to neighborhood revitalization.
The foreclosure crisis is not over and we still have much work to do to bring our neighborhoods and our housing market back to health, but the Minneapolis way of innovatively targeting resources and working in close partnership is getting results.
Mayor R.T. Rybak
P.S.: For President Carters take on neighborhood revitalization and just to be inspired by a truly great former president watch his press conference in the EcoVillage here.
2,000 Home Energy Audits
Last week marked the 2,000th home energy audit of the Community Energy Services program. Community Energy Services is full-service, one-stop shop that connects residents to easy ways to save money, reduce energy waste and improve our environment. There are three easy steps: first, attending a workshop on energy savings sponsored by your neighborhood organization; then, getting a home energy audit conducted by the Center for Energy and the Environment; and finally, getting up to $400 worth of energy-saving equipment and materials installed — all for a small initial fee that averages around $30 per household. Once materials are installed, residents can save anywhere from $125 to $300 a year on utility bills. Community Energy Services is currently available in 28 pilot neighborhoods but will soon be available citywide and serve 4,000 more households. Sign up for your audit today — and for more ideas about how you can save money and energy at home, click here.
Nice Ride Bike Share Expanding to North Minneapolis
Minneapolis already has the largest bike-share system in America in Nice Ride Minnesota, and it’s about to become even larger. Thanks to the federal Recovery Act, North Minneapolis will be connected to the other neighborhoods where the system currently operates, with funds used to conduct a community-engagement process with residents, business owners and key stakeholders, and to identify locations and purchase equipment for at least five new kiosks on the North Side. Nice Ride Minnesota started in June and in August surpassed 50,000 rides. Currently, 700 bikes are available at 65 kiosks located throughout downtown, the U of M campus and other neighborhoods in the center of Minneapolis. (For a map of locations, go to www.niceridemn.org. Many thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and Transit for Livable Communities’ Bike Walk Twin Cities program for their support of Nice Ride.)
Minneapolis Talent to Revitalize Peavey Plaza
Peavey Plaza, one of downtown’s premier spaces, will be revitalized — and Minneapolis talent will do the work. After an international search, the City has shortlisted four Minneapolis architectural firms as finalists. Peavey Plaza was completed in 1975 and over time, challenges inherent in its unique have made it costly for the City to maintain in its current form. The City is collaborating with the Minnesota Orchestra on the revitalization of Peavey Plaza and Orchestra Hall as a single project. The winning firm will be named on November 19. Construction will begin in spring 2012 and be completed in 2013.
City Helps Survivors of Domestic Abuse and their Pets
Because current research shows up to 48% of battered women delay leaving abusive situations out of fear for the safety of their animals, Minneapolis has started a new program to help them. Animal Care & Control and the Minneapolis Police Department are now partnering to provide temporary, no-cost kenneling of pets for survivors of domestic violence. Under the program, animals can be sheltered for free for up to five days to help a domestic-violence survivor transition out of a dangerous situation. The City will partner with the Minnesota Alliance for Families and Animal Safety, and the Humane Society of the United States to continue to address the connection between animal cruelty and human violence. Read more in the City’s newsroom.
Minneapolis to Host 2013 Neighborhoods USA Conference
Minneapolis has been selected to host the 2013 Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) Conference. NUSA is a national non-profit organization committed to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations, and the conference is expected to bring 500 to 600 neighborhood activists and professionals from across the country to Minneapolis in May 2013. The City’s Neighborhood and Community Relations Department, in collaboration with Meet Minneapolis, will plan and develop the conference, and Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson will serve as lead elected officials. Read more in the City’s newsroom.
Last updated Mar. 28, 2012