Prioritizing residents

New development may threaten the character of Dinkytown, but it is also displacing students.

by Daily Editorial Board

The Save Dinkytown group spurred an environmental review of a new apartment complex last month when it presented a petition to the Minneapolis City Planning Commission claiming the yet-unnamed development could hurt the “unique history, aesthetic character and identity of Dinkytown,” according to a Minnesota Daily article published May 29.

The concerns of Save Dinkytown — which has garnered support from students — are legitimate. However, their priorities should be with students, not the interest of businesses or the abstract “character” of the area.

The proposed 140-unit development would replace five Dinkytown businesses and two large surface parking lots. Two affected business owners, including Laurel Bauer, owner of the 80-year-old House of Hanson, have supported the project.

Just a few blocks away, two other developments are displacing students and current residents. One planned project by local developer CPM will raze existing housing on 17 parcels to make way for 202 new apartments.

According to a May 29 Minnesota Daily article, the move came as a surprise to some students in the area, who were told in early May they would have to move out in 60 days. Another University alumna and 22-year resident of the area sold her townhouse to make way for the same development.

Dinkytown has a colorful history, and the area is uniquely vital to the University of Minnesota community. However, Dinkytown’s identity is not static nor is it tied to a handful of businesses.

Attempting to preserve the area’s small-town charm is not an unworthy goal, but Save Dinkytown should be spending more time advocating for those who live in and around the group’s namesake.