Cedar-Riverside offers a sense of community

Benjamin Sandell

Every year, freshmen cram into University residence halls. Inevitably, there is not enough room for all students seeking University housing.
However, the population is not just dense at the University; many surrounding neighborhoods are teeming with students as well. One of the central off-campus student locations is the Cedar-Riverside area.
Walk from the West Bank campus down Cedar Avenue and you will notice many landmarks. The towering apartment buildings catch the eye right away, with their pink, blue and yellow panels.
Many unique little stores and bars jump out from all directions. Go down an alley to escape the commotion and find a bunch of pictures and paintings hung outside on a building wall.
Then come back and make a stop at the infamous Hard Times Cafe — this is Cedar-Riverside.
“I love it,” said Anthony Kuehn, a theatre major and a one-year resident of the neighborhood. “There’s a strong sense of community, despite the danger.”
This comment was frequent among the people in the area, leaving the impression that Cedar-Riverside is a good neighborhood, but not completely safe. When asked if the neighborhood has been his favorite place to live, Kuehn remarked, “Probably … but it keeps you on your toes.”
Between the months of January and May 1999, Cedar-Riverside had zero homicides and three rapes, according to Minneapolis police reports. The crime statistics remained consistent during the same period this year.
All told, there were 215 reported crimes during these months in 1999 and 144 this year, a 33 percent drop during the two-year period.
Comparatively, the University neighborhood, which includes the West Bank, had 40 reported crimes in 1999 and 44 to date this year — a 9 percent increase.
There is little available housing in Cedar-Riverside, with a 0.5 percent vacancy rate, according to the Minnesota Housing Authority.
The conditions of the residential buildings, according to the Minneapolis Geographic Information Systems Print Room, are normal. The city rates the buildings on a scale from one to nine, one meaning brand new and nine meaning uninhabitable. The buildings in Cedar-Riverside got an average rating of 4.7.
The average assessed market value for these buildings is fairly low. According to the GIS department, it is $60,573, which has increased $13,379 from five years ago.
Cedar-Riverside is bordered by interstates 94, 35W and the Mississippi River. According to University Parking and Transportation, as of 1998 there were approximately 1,320 student residents per square mile in this area.
For comparison, Uptown had 870 students per square mile, and near Dinkytown, the student density was a staggering 4,310 per square mile.
University student Ariel Pinkerton works as a bartender at Hard Times Cafe and has lived in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood for 11 years.
“The basic community has stayed pretty much the same,” he said. “It’s artistic … one of the more culturally diversified melting pots around.”