Mid-City residents seek representation

A neighborhood left behind looks to Southeast Como for representation.

Residents from the mostly industrial Mid-City neighborhood are looking to join the Southeast Como Improvement Association to, among other things, gain access to city funds. Mid-City âÄî surrounded by Interstate 35W, Hennepin Avenue East and 33rd Avenue Southeast âÄî is not represented by any of the cityâÄôs official neighborhood organizations. The SECIA board has ignored the issue for several years but officially put it on the table at a board meeting last week. SECIA President Wendy Menken said Mid-City was an industrial location until the opening of Cream of Wheat Lofts and 1901 Lofts five years ago. These are the only residential buildings in the neighborhood. Second Ward Councilmember Cam Gordon said Mid-City residents have not contacted him about the issue, adding that the most convenient solution would be for them to join an existing neighborhood organization. âÄúThe area is awfully small to be called a neighborhood,âÄù Gordon said. Judy Winiecki , a Cream of Wheat Lofts resident, said Mid-City is working with SECIA to find ways the two condominiums could join the association. âÄúThey are willing to assist us, and we are hopeful that Southeast Como will represent us,âÄù Winiecki said. Southeast Como neighborhood coordinator James De Sota said it would be significant for Mid-City residents to be part of a recognized neighborhood association. âÄúTheir voices can be heard more on the local city level because now they donâÄôt have access to all the information they probably need,âÄù De Sota said. Menken emphasized that Como is not trying to change its boundaries or take over the Mid-City neighborhood. Even though Mid-City is surrounded by several other recognized neighborhoods, Menken said they approached Southeast Como because they like the neighborhoodâÄôs stance on environmental issues. Gordon said Mid-City feels closer and more connected to the residents in the Southeast Como neighborhood, a remark with which Winiecki agrees. Gordon said, like many neighborhoods, Southeast Como receives various grants from the city, including environmental grants that help with conducting studies and cleanup projects. They recently received a grant that helps them reuse old furniture and appliances thrown out by renters, Gordon said. Menken said she doesnâÄôt think her association will get more funding from the city if they represent Mid-City, but Gordon said it would be a possibility since some grants depend on population. Menken said it is not certain that Southeast Como will represent Mid-City, but it is certain that it will be represented by one of the surrounding neighborhoods. De Sota said the neighborhoods will have discussions with the city to figure out ways in which the proposed issue can move forward.