Campus neighborhoods offer convenience to U

by Tom Ford

While the neighborhoods southeast of the University – Stadium Village and Prospect Park – offer tremendous convenience with their proximity to campus and downtown, there are few other similarities.

Stadium Village, extending south from Washington Avenue to East River Road and between Oak Street and the Mississippi River, is located next to the heart of the University and is better suited for younger students desiring a campus atmosphere.

Prospect Park, stretching from Huron Boulevard to Emerald Street along East River Road and University Avenue, is largely a settled neighborhood of families and long-time residents, essentially sheltered from campus.

The neighborhood primarily attracts graduate students, University employees and those looking for a more peaceful area.

Residents of both neighborhoods, however, enjoy their proximity to campus, Interstate 94 and the Mississippi River.

Both neighborhoods are within one mile of the East Bank campus.

Parissa Delavari, a three-year Stadium Village resident and graduate student, said she has always been able to walk to her classes.

Although walking is less convenient from Prospect Park, some residents do. A bike or car ride can take as little as five minutes.

Both neighborhoods also provide quick access to downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Entrances to Interstate 94 are located on Huron Boulevard and a few blocks east of Prospect Park on University Avenue. Route 16 buses, which stop on University Avenue just east of Prospect Park, travel to both downtowns.

The central metro location of Prospect Park is one of its greatest benefits, said Steve Cross, a seven-year resident of the neighborhood and president of the Prospect Park neighborhood association.

“There’s not that many places to go on weekends (in Stadium Village),” Delavari said. But with Interstate 94 nearby, she can get to Uptown for entertainment, she said.

There are several coffeehouses – such as the European Grind – in or near Stadium Village, which are good places to study, Delavari said.

Also, the Harvard Market grocery stores are located in Stadium Village along with numerous nearby restaurants and bars, such as Chipotle and Stub and Herb’s.

Prospect Park and Stadium Village are both bordered to the south by the Mississippi River, which provides scenic views and opportunities for recreation.

“Since I’m right by the river, there’s lots of paths for rollerblading and biking and working out,” Delavari said.

Despite their shared conveniences, the neighborhoods differ in rental costs, housing quality, parking availability and overall atmosphere.

Prospect Park sits atop Tower Hill with winding, elevated streets lined with hundreds of large trees shading almost the entire area.

The quiet, peaceful neighborhood is hidden from the University’s view. From within Prospect Park, only the view from the historic Witch’s Hat Tower offers a sight of campus.

The neighborhood is mostly made up of older homes but also has a variety of apartment buildings and duplexes. Rent is fairly high in the area compared to other campus neighborhoods, with costs for a one-bedroom apartments starting at about $550.

While costs are greater, the quality of the homes and apartments is high in return.

Rob Benson, a University junior, lives in a house in Prospect Park with five roommates. Although they pay $2,800 in rent, the house has wood floors and is well-lit with numerous windows, making it worth the higher cost, Benson said.

Off-street parking spots are typically provided to Prospect Park renters, though on-street parking is also available.

Benson’s house, like many other neighborhood houses, has a driveway where his roommates each have a spot for their cars. On-street parking would cost only $10 annually, Benson said.

Bob Sylvester, who rents out two apartment buildings, said about 75 percent of his renters are graduate students who receive preference for spots. Undergraduates account for about 10 percent of his tenants, Sylvester said.

Prospect Park residents and police are firmly against loud partying and noise, which appeals to people wanting an escape from the activity of campus neighborhoods.

“(Here) there’s no one walking from party to party like in Dinkytown,” Benson said. He likes having the chance to “get away from everything” while still being close enough to campus to find parties when he wants to go, Benson said.

Stadium Village is predominantly a student community. The neighborhood is made up of small homes, fraternity houses and apartment buildings – several of them recently built – along with a couple residence houses, such as the Argyle and Dinnaken houses.

The large presence of students offers both benefits and distractions to residents.

Zhiqin Chai, a graduate student who has lived in Stadium Village for a year, said one of the best advantages of the neighborhood is having many other students with whom to study and work on assignments.

On the other hand, parties and noise levels can make for loud and unpleasant weekends, Delavari said.

Stadium Village has much less aesthetic appeal than Prospect Park, with flat, straight streets and fewer trees and vegetation.

But rental costs are more affordable for younger students. Rates for one-bedroom apartments start as low as $345.

With the lower costs, the housing quality is typically lower as well.

Chai said many houses are small and old, and most houses in the neighborhood are very similar.

Parking is much less convenient in Stadium Village. On-street parking spots are hard to come by and maintain. Off-street parking is usually provided to renters but can cost up to 10 percent of rental fees, Chai said.

At the same time, fewer Stadium Village residents need or have cars due to their proximity to campus. Walking, even in winter months, is much less of a burden.


Tom Ford welcomes comments at [email protected]