When the University proposed building the TCF Bank Stadium, the state required a neighborhood impact study that would survey the effects of the University on surrounding neighborhoods.
The study, conducted by the University’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs in spring 2007, found that crime, housing deterioration and over-occupancy are major issues for the neighborhoods.
Because of the study, state legislators deemed it necessary to allocate $750,000 to develop a formal alliance between
the neighborhoods, the University and the city of Minneapolis.
The University Neighborhood Alliance was thus created in December to strengthen the relationship between them, and is the first type of alliance between these groups.
Members of the alliance will hold a meeting tonight to discuss the framework for operation.
Jan Morlock, director of University Relations, said the recently formed alliance includes Prospect Park, Southeast Como, Cedar-Riverside and Marcy-Holmes – neighborhoods that directly border the University.
“We hope that it is going to put us on a track for a stronger partnership,” she said, “to really have first-rate places for people to live and work and go to school and do business.”
The Minnesota Student Association representative to the alliance and political science senior Adam Engelman said he hopes to see safety and housing improve in University-area neighborhoods with the alliance’s help.
Engelman said Morlock approached him to serve as a student in the alliance.
“Something that we could address is safety and trying to get more police in our area,” he said. “I just know it’s impacting more and more students and we really need to make sure it’s addressed.”
Because people on the board are more neighborhood- and homeowner-oriented, Engelman said he’d like to see rental housing as a priority because a majority of students live in rental housing.
Dick Poppele, president of the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association and University professor emeritus, is the co-chair of the alliance with Karen Himle, who is also vice president of University Relations.
While living and working in both the University and the neighborhood for nearly 40 years, Poppele said he has a unique perspective on how the alliance will function.
“I can bring a perspective that I hope can be helpful in bringing elements of the alliance together,” he said. “I think I can relate to at least two sides, not necessarily relate to the city side as much, but at least those two sides.”