Construction of "Green home" helps revitalize north Minneapolis

Members of the Hawthorne community in north Minneapolis, elected officials, and community developer Project for Pride in Living (PPL), broke ground Thursday, Jan. 7 for a new, "green" single-family home in north Minneapolis. It’s being constructed in the EcoVillage Cluster, a four block area bounded by Lowry, 30th, and Lyndale avenues and 4th Street. When complete, the home will meet Minnesota Green Communities standards and will achieve LEED certification.

The homes will be sold to owner-occupants with incomes at less than 80% of the area median. The homes' designs will reflect the traditional style of the surrounding neighborhood, while the newer construction methods will result in a house which is accessible and much more economical to live in. Other projects underway in the EcoVillage cluster include a tree nursery where residents can obtain trees for their own homes. In the spring, final plant installation for a native plant demonstration garden will be completed. Hhere residents can learn about plant materials, sustainable landscape techniques, and transplanting their trees from the nursery.

Specific components of the cluster projects include the redevelopment of vacant and boarded homes, community outreach and organizing, the administration of a health impact assessment survey, a housing inspections component, foreclosure prevention and the establishment of a development partnership to identify and implement residential development opportunities within the cluster.

The construction of the new ecologically-friendly home is a further signal that redevelopment is underway in an area impacted by foreclosure and the attendant affects of blight and crime. Another "green" home is slated for construction in summer of 2010. The community’s redevelopment vision for this area is to create a new, welcoming and sustainable community. The development is supported by a $500,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation. 

As a member of the Northside Home Fund, the City worked with partners—Hawthorne Neighborhood Council, Tree Trust, Project for Pride in Living, The Home Depot Foundation and the Family Housing Fund—to create a model for livable communities and a vision for the neighborhood.

The City developed the cluster approach with the Family Housing Fund in order to assist communities most affected by foreclosures. The idea behind the focus on small geographic areas, or "clusters" is to make a noticeably positive impact on the housing stock and to stabilize and strengthen the homeownership market of North Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Published Jan 7, 2010