City program aims to encourage neighborhood upkeep for the warmer season

“All Together Now!” is a partnership between the City, neighborhoods and small businesses to get residents to clean up around their property.

by Tiffany Bui

The melting snow means University neighborhood residents will have the opportunity to see what needs cleaning around their homes. 

The Minneapolis Department of Regulatory Services hopes the “All Together Now!” program will encourage property owners to address city code violations on their property’s exterior —  also called nuisance violations. The initiative will send mailings informing residents of their violations, as well as offer them discounts to local hardware stores for those who bring in the flyer. Inspectors will be in select neighborhoods to check for these violations later this spring.

Common nuisance violations include: tall grass and weeds, inoperable vehicles stored on residential property, vegetation hanging over sidewalks, and litter, brush and branches scattered across yards.

The Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods were among those chosen for the initiative this year. Officials share about the “All Together Now!” initiative Tuesday with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, who are participating for the first time this year.  

Neighborhoods are inspected and kept in the program until there is a clear reduction in amount of violations, said Mike Rumppe, director of housing inspection services for Minneapolis. 

Rumppe said neighborhoods selected for the program tend to have higher volumes of rental units, a dense population of people and a high number of nuisance orders in the past.

“It doesn’t mean that the people are bad, or unkempt … It’s just hard to have more people in a smaller area and keep that appearance that we like to have in the city,” said Rumppe. 

Regulatory services will send notices to both the property owner and the occupants when a nuisance violation is determined.

If there is a noncompliance, the department can issue a citation starting at $250. A city contractor will then clean up the property, and the owner will be charged for the services. 

“[Inspectors] do these types of things year round. The key is we’re giving people notice [and] they get a chance to resolve it before we get there,” said Rumppe.

Residents have noticed lack of upkeep in University neighborhoods.

“I’m hoping that it has a significant impact on the neighborhood … we do get a lot of livability concerns about issues like this,” said Chris Lautenschlager, executive director of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association. 

Neighborhood association leadership also noted trash accumulation is generally higher when renters are moving in and out.

“Up at the Talmage Crossing Garden … there are routinely mattresses … people dump them on public property and that’s extremely frustrating,” said Karl Smith, president of Southeast Como Improvement Association. The city has removed trash on public property in Southeast Como before.

The initiative offers discounts for residents with violation or inspection notices to purchase tools at local businesses. Many people have not utilized the discount in the past, said Pat Clough, owner of Oaks TW Hardware located on Como Avenue.

“It’s not a great amount that comes in, but some [use the discount],” Clough said.