Senate bill to cement Alliance’s place

No money made available in bill, provides support for organization

A bill designed to encourage the University District Partnership Alliance to continue working together is making its way through the Minnesota Senate. Written by Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis , the bill does not give the group any money, but its existence provides support and helps establish the Alliance as a permanent entity. âÄúTheyâÄôve seen what weâÄôve done and they say, âÄòYouâÄôve done good work but we donâÄôt have any money for you now,âÄô âÄù Melissa Bean, Marcy Holmes neighborhood director and a member of the Alliance said. âÄúThe hope is that with this entity, you can go on and in the future, hopefully, there will be more money for you.âÄù The Legislature authorized the creation of the Alliance âÄî a group of representatives from the University of Minnesota, the University-area neighborhoods and the city that makes plans for the future of the community âÄî two years ago. âÄúWeâÄôd like to give them flexibility,âÄù Pogemiller said. âÄúTheyâÄôve been working really well together. We want to give them the ability to continue working together.âÄù In late March, the bill was rolled into the Economic Development Omnibus Bill , which passed the Senate finance committee Monday. âÄúThe importance here is to establish the University Alliance as an enduring partnership in which the University, the city and the neighborhoods can mutually participate and can look ahead, long term, to the future,âÄù Jan Morlock, director of University Relations and a member of the Alliance, said. When the Alliance was formed, the Legislature appropriated $750,000 to begin neighborhood improvement projects, a majority of which Morlock said had been used to give single-family homeowners incentives to buy in the neighborhoods and to sell to other single-family owners. âÄúThe campus environment doesnâÄôt exist in isolation,âÄù Morlock said. âÄúIt is dependent on the communities around it. We need to think about campus life not just as what happens on campus property but what happens in communities that are close by.âÄù Wendy Menken, one of Southeast ComoâÄôs representatives on the Alliance , said that other university neighborhoods with comparable situations had received monies from the universities they were near and the government in amounts near $30 million. Menken said that often, though, these communities had seen more signs of decay than the neighborhoods around the University. The Senate is expected to hear the bill Tuesday. âÄúThe whole idea is that a few years from now,âÄù Pogemiller said, âÄúwhen the economy comes back, there will be a request to the state, along with the city and University, to make a financial commitment.âÄù