The Minneapolis City Council approved rezoning last week that will allow the CSL plasma center to move away from campus, the Minnesota Daily reported Sept. 24. This was the last hurdle for WaHu Student Housing, a massive, long-delayed apartment complex proposed for the site.
At 333 units, WaHu is the largest planned development around the University of Minnesota. It will displace the 30-year-old CSL Plasma Center, which takes 400 to 600 donations per day.
The drama surrounding the relocation reveals troubling attitudes that have dominated discussion of development throughout the University district.
“Better here than Dinkytown,” one commenter said of WaHu on the Daily’s Facebook page.
Rather than weighing the needs of students a sustainable community, most have simply said of development, “not in my backyard.”
This “NIMBYism” underscored CSL’s attempt to move a few blocks further east into Prospect Park last year. The area’s neighborhood association opposed the move, the Daily reported in December, and business owners complained that the center attracted litter and crime.
But the city’s only plasma center also attracts students who donate to make ends meet, and many more people who rely on public transit. CSL’s new location on Lake Street is not as accessible by many bus lines or light rail, especially compared to its current site.
CSL and its large community of donors stood to benefit from staying in Prospect Park, but instead a NIMBY attitude needlessly delayed WaHu and stuck the center with a site that’s much less accessible to students.
The community’s problems with CSL largely stemmed from poor management. In December, City Councilman Gary Schiff told the Daily, “We hear complaints about badly managed bars, but that doesn’t mean we ban bars.”
The neighborhood should have worked with CSL to both improve it and keep it nearby, rather than push a perceived blight on another neighborhood.
Furthermore, if students are against large luxury apartment buildings like WaHu — another issue entirely — they should fight to keep them out of all University neighborhoods, not just Dinkytown.