Third Ward Summit
- I hosted the 3rd Annual Third Ward Summit to celebrate community achievements, outline future goals, and expand dialogue about safety, livability, transportation and economic equity. The focus of this Summit was transportation and economic development. The event allowed valuable dialogue between constituents and transportation officials emphasizing the value of expanded transit options and complete streets, which at the time was a new idea.
- I initiated the revocation of liquor licenses for Johnny A’s and Wafana’s in North Minneapolis which resulted in a reduction in drug crimes and was a significant step toward the revitalization and safety in the area. I worked with departments insure that effective action was taken.
- I was an author on two city ordinances meant to address rental housing problems and noise issues. The City Council passed both ordinances calling for stricter rental requirements, more regulation, better monitoring and enforcement of noise limits at commercial buildings.
- To address concerns that unoccupied buildings pose a safety risk of explosion, I authored a gas shut-off ordinance, which passed the City Council. The ordinance requires that owners of buildings left vacant or unoccupied, boarded or otherwise, for a period longer than 60 days, must winterize their building, including shutting off gas to the building. If the owner fails to comply, the director of inspections has the authority to order the utility company to do so. CenterPoint is in the process of making this a national, company-wide program.
- Copper theft was part of the problem of gas explosions so once we passed our City ordinance we went to the state level to advocate that the state develop copper theft legislation, which it did.
- This is the second year in which the Third Ward is #2 in productivity removing bad properties: 56 problem properties, boarded and uninhabitable vacant homes were demolished after years of neglect. My office worked to help achieve this goal.
- Second and Fourth Police Precincts: My office, in combination with proactive policing, youth violence prevention and our concerned citizens, has helped Minneapolis reach a second year of crime reductions. The Second Precinct, in our ward, led the city in crime reduction, is the most productive police precinct in the city, increased traffic stops by 21,000, an 8% increase. The Fourth Precinct, also in our ward, was second in citywide crime reduction with much success in community outreach and dealing with problem properties, boarded & vacant buildings, and animal abuse issues.
- In order to address the growing home foreclosure crisis in Third Ward neighborhoods, I helped the City of Minneapolis implement a five-point housing strategy to restore a healthy housing market by:
- preventing foreclosures
- preventing properties from becoming boarded and vacant
- rehabilitating or removing boarded or vacant buildings
- promoting reinvestment and
- attracting and retaining a mix of stable residents that includes homeowners and renters.
- Working together, I, the City of Minneapolis, the Family Housing Fund, MN Housing and the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC) created an $11 million Strategic Acquisition Fund, which allowed GMHC to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed, boarded or vacant properties. In partnership with Hennepin County, we tore down vacant and burned-out buildings.
- We implemented the Foreclosure Prevention Funders Council to create a healthy housing market by focusing existing and future investment to address the recent surge in residential foreclosures and to revitalize the neighborhoods. The Funders Council addresses foreclosures at three stages: pre-purchase, post-purchase, and remediation.
- The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 Neighborhood Stabilization Program is providing $5.6 million to the City of Minneapolis. Eligible uses of the funds include: financing mechanisms, purchase and rehabilitation of abandoned and foreclosed homes, land banks, demolition of blighted structures, and redevelopment of demolished or vacant properties. There are four Third Ward neighborhoods who qualify to receive these funds; Beltrami, Hawthorne, McKinley and Sheridan.
- It is important that we have “eyes” on the streets to combat potential criminal activities in areas with vacant homes. I initiated a community safety forum in partnership with the Hawthorne Area Community Council and the General Mills Foundation. This was part of the ongoing Hawthorne Huddle, sponsored by the General Mills Foundation.
- I authored legislation to increase the vacant building registration fee to $6,000. This increase is based on the high volume of police and fire services associated with vacant properties, inspections services, unpaid water and sanitation bills, and expenses for garbage removal, grass cutting and securing of structures. The fee is waived if the owner of the property enters into restoration agreement.
- Over the last three years, one of my goals was to improve the Mississippi Riverfront and the 2008 Minnesota legislature approved legislation authorizing the creation of the Minneapolis Riverfront Organization, in which I co-chair the organization. In the week of June 16th 2008 the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board granted approval of the non-profit organization and was signed by the Mayor. This new organization will be the outcome of an inter-agency study to explore organizational changes that would allow Minneapolis to continue its riverfront revitalization efforts in a more effective, efficient manner.
The 2008 Bicycle Master Plan addressed the lack of bike paths in North, Northeast, and Southeast Minneapolis. I was active in the public and private meetings that resulted in that plan. Major bike projects were identified for the Third Ward: The beginning of our bike trails in Northeast and North Minneapolis are:
- 18th Avenue N.E. Trail
- 22nd Ave. N.E. Bike Boulevard
- 26th Ave. N Greenway.