An opportunity for West Bank

With development on the way, Cedar-Riverside should learn from Dinkytown and Stadium Village’s mistakes.

Daily Editorial Board

Two Cedar-Riverside community groups met last week to discuss adjusting the neighborhood’s small area plan in the face of a potential surge in development, the Minnesota Daily reported Monday.

At a joint meeting Thursday, residents discussed the potential effects of new development adjacent to the Green Line light-rail stop on the West Bank.

Group members said they’re worried about higher property rates and their impact on small, renting businesses. Leadership also said the neighborhood’s current plan didn’t have adequate input from immigrant communities.

The Green Line — set to open next year — brings tremendous opportunities to add density, sustainable design, new business and more students to Cedar-Riverside while preserving the area’s character and small businesses.

This goal might sound familiar, and for a good reason. Cedar-Riverside should learn from the mistakes of other neighborhoods around campus as it begins planning for the future.

First, Cedar-Riverside residents should not fight development completely. This kind of hardline stance slows healthy growth and hasn’t been successful in Dinkytown. Instead, a small area plan should offer explicit guidance for developers. By meeting last week, Cedar-Riverside already has a solid start here, and it stands to benefit by getting in front of development with a plan as soon as possible.

The neighborhood should also exist as one community. Dinkytown and Stadium Village are part of Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park, respectively, but both have grown into their own distinct communities, creating divisions between students and current residents. Dinkytown is even creating its own separate small area plan. This could be avoided in Cedar-Riverside by making sure all parties affected by development are involved in the small area plan from the beginning.

With sufficient planning and a spirit of cooperation, Cedar-Riverside can sidestep some of the development drama that has hit other campus neighborhoods and benefit from its prime spot on both light-rail lines.