Student-led Marcy-Holmes committee to focus on neighborhood design

The Urban Design and Infrastructure Committee heard from residents on pedestrian safety and accessibility Wednesday.

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association committee of urban design meets at the Purple Onion on Wednesday, March 6.

Jasmin Kemp

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association committee of urban design meets at the Purple Onion on Wednesday, March 6.

Imani Cruzen

A student-led Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association committee met for the first time last week to hear from residents about potential design and infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood.

An infrastructure committee had previously existed in Marcy-Holmes but had been inactive for more than a year. Committee chair and University of Minnesota student Grant Simons said the new Urban Design and Infrastructure Committee can help facilitate discussions on neighborhood projects with City of Minneapolis officials and local organizations.

“I want to take it over and bring it back from the past, just so that we can still be on top of projects and so that we could actually be a little bit more progressive about projects as well,” said Simons. “And by that I mean don’t wait until the City brings something forward to us but actually bring the City to us and work with them on projects and how we can change it.”

Simons said he hopes to bring an element of urban design to the committee, meaning members will focus on both individual infrastructure projects and larger scale issues that connect Marcy-Holmes to the rest of Minneapolis.

Residents who attended the meeting expressed interest in increasing green space in the area and improving intersection safety and winter accessibility. Attendees were also able to write notes on a neighborhood map to point out areas of interest.

Laura Checovich, a new Marcy-Holmes resident, said the neighborhood could be more pedestrian-friendly in some areas, so she appreciated the meeting’s focus on accessibility in the winter.

“This new committee seemed like an awesome opportunity to get involved and impact [the neighborhood],” Checovich said. “My hope for being on the committee is learning more about the relationship between the city and the neighborhood because it has to be collaborative in order for us to accomplish our goals.”

Other attendees also agreed pedestrian-friendliness should be a focus for the committee. University graduate student Ari Del Rosario said walkability is one of his priorities. 

“I definitely think thinking about greenery … pedestrian crossings, trying to make it easier for people to cross the road,” Del Rosario said.

Simons said some of the neighborhood’s current major projects, such as the General Mills development and the City’s upcoming Transportation Action Plan, were an incentive to get the committee started again.

“I think it was successful for kind of laying out a plan of where we want some of our meetings to go in the future, or who I should be inviting to these meetings so that we can plan around those,” Simons said.