One year after the tornado, Northside sees significant rebuilding and lingering challenges

May 22 marked the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado that touched down in North Minneapolis. Residents, businesses, non-profits, the City, the Park Board, and many other partners are making significant progress toward rebuilding and improving the areas hit hardest by the storm. Nonetheless, major challenges remain.

Rebuilding and reinvesting

Of the 7,000 properties in the area, about 3,700 were damaged by the storm. In the year since the tornado, the City, government and non-profit partners, and thousands of volunteers have worked together to help people get back on their feet and rebuild a stronger north Minneapolis. By the end of April 2012, residents and property owners had made repairs and improvements to the vast majority of properties.

So far:

Helping with repairs

Following the tornado, many residents who didn’t have insurance, or whose insurance didn’t cover their damage, received help from government, nonprofit, and foundation partners who worked together to help make repairs. These efforts were coordinated through the Northside Community Response Team Housing Committee, which teamed up with the City and neighborhood organizations to door-knock at hundreds of properties to connect with residents, learn about their needs, and provide connections to these resources.

So far:

Rebuilding It Right is continuing to work on longer-term rebuilding plans and designs for the area.

Work still in progress

Although significant progress has been made in rebuilding and improving Northside neighborhoods, not all property owners have repaired their tornado damage. City inspectors worked closely with residents and property owners in the months following the tornado, giving people time to work with insurance companies and make repairs. After several months, inspectors began writing orders to property owners to take care of unrepaired damage.

As of the end of April 2012:

Help with housing

Heading Home Hennepin, the City/County plan to end homelessness, provided short-term rental and mortgage assistance to individuals and families affected by the tornado in order to help them retain housing.

Specifically:

Repairing infrastructure

The tornado caused damage to public infrastructure in north Minneapolis, including sidewalks, streetlights, traffic signals and signs. Most of the infrastructure repair work occurred throughout the summer of 2011, and was completed by the end of the year.

Specifically:

Replanting trees

The tornado caused extensive damage along a 3.5 mile path in North Minneapolis, destroying about 6,000 park and boulevard trees, along with many trees on private property.

To help reestablish our urban tree canopy:

Assisting businesses

Following the tornado, the City’s Community Planning and Economic Development Department worked with community partners to immediately assess the damage to business and connect business owners to resources. The City created the Business Recovery Loan Program to provide financing for building repairs, insurance deductibles and business losses. The City and its partners also reached out to the owners of each commercial property damaged by the tornado.

So far:

Since the tornado, the City has adopted the Penn Avenue North Redevelopment Plan and project area. The goal is to support redevelopment in line with the community’s vision for a rebuilt North Minneapolis and to rebuild bigger and better, rather than just replacing what was there previously.

 

 

Published May. 23, 2012