Marcy-Holmes residents weigh upgrade options

by Neil Munshi

Residents of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood discussed how to evaluate proposals for improving the community Thursday.

The proposals are a part of Phase II of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

The workshop at the University Lutheran Church of Hope was open to all neighborhood residents and involved narrowing down a list of 18 resident-proposed initiatives, said Elissa Cortell, the Neighborhood Revitalization Program’s coordinator.

“Housing proposals are the most difficult part of the process, because there is almost no money (available),” said Gordon Kepner, Neighborhood Revitalization Program Committee chairman.

Residents had the opportunity to prioritize proposals – which varied from holding an environmentally friendly home-options fair to providing grants for exterior housing improvements – and recommend reasonable dollar amounts for each, Cortell said.

Because the Phase II housing budget is limited to $431,000 of the $684,000 the neighborhood has been allocated, the program’s implementation committee sought input on which proposals to go with, Cortell said.

“Not that I’m trying to argue the case for one over the other, but some might argue that spending money on planning (is better), because we don’t have the money for bricks-and-mortar-type stuff,” Cortell said.

Residents suggested evaluating proposals based on how many people they would affect and suggested continuing previous popular programs.

Money for the 14-year-old program is generated through portions of taxes on downtown Minneapolis developments, said Bob Miller, Neighborhood Revitilization Program director. During the first phase, the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood was allocated $4.3 million for both housing and nonhousing projects.

Cortell said the fine-tuned list of proposals will be unveiled as a ballot in a neighborhoodwide meeting March 7 in which residents can vote on how much funding and which proposals will be accepted.