UDA responds to neighborhood association criticism

The University District Alliance passed a resolution to support joint planning between the University and surrounding district neighborhoods

by Eliana Schreiber

Following criticism from the Prospect Park Association (PPA), the University District Alliance (UDA) passed a resolution for more joint planning between area neighborhoods and the University of Minnesota.

Amid discussions about the University’s proposal to demolish grain elevators near TCF Bank Stadium to relocate an already existing sports bubble, the PPA sent a letter in August criticizing the University and UDA for its perceived lack of collaboration with neighborhood organizations.

At its Sept. 22 meeting, UDA passed a resolution to increase joint planning between the University and nearby neighborhoods.

“There is a sense of frustration that the whole exercise [of the UDA] is pointless,” said PPA Secretary Eric Amel.

Amel said the UDA resolution acknowledges its lack of joint planning and promises to help engage local community members.

The resolution consists of creating a task force of seven representatives from the University, the city of Minneapolis, two neighborhood organizations, a business association, a student leader and an outside party.

“I think this can still be a group of a size that will be able to wrangle with the questions and bring back some recommendations,” said University Director of Community Relations and UDA member Jan Morlock.

The resolution was also made to address the University area’s high population and neighborhood safety issues which require joint planning, said UDA Chair Doug Carlson.

Carlson said the task force will help participant groups come together and understand the driving forces on collaboration.

The task force will report back to UDA with its recommendations by the end of January.

In the meantime, the Board of Regents will vote at its Oct. 13 meeting whether to demolish the grain elevators near TCF to make room for the athletic bubble.

“We think … that the sports bubble would be best suited where the steel elevators are,” said Board Chair Dean Johnson.

Johnson said the elevators are dangerous for people who try to climb in them and that the University plans to continue expanding into the Prospect Park area.

The board has reviewed numerous letters it received in response to the proposed facility, Johnson said.

Amel said the neighborhood doesn’t want the sports bubble, and the elevators are an important historical monument in the neighborhood.

“They make the University and the neighborhood a unique place,” he said.

Amel said PPA wants regents to address feedback from those in the area and consider all options before proceeding with the project.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated who the Prospect Park Association’s letter criticized. The letter criticized both the University itself and the University District Alliance.