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Marcy-Holmes tests out merging University housing into neighborhood association

Both neighborhoods are deciding to operate under one neighborhood association for 2024 as talks of merging continue.
Image by Wejdan al Balushi
The Marcy-Holmes/University Project and the University Neighborhood Partnership are working at the same time.

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (MHNA) started this year a temporary arrangement where the students living in on-campus housing near the University of Minnesota will be a part of the neighborhood association. 

By joining the neighborhood association, residents living in on-campus housing could see improvements in public transit, sidewalks and parks. 

MHNA has started working on behalf of the University and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods as a trial arrangement for 2024. 

The University neighborhood does not have a neighborhood association because the majority of the neighborhood is students who move too quickly out of the neighborhood, leaving a lack of representation. 

Chris Lautenschlager, MHNA executive director, said MHNA is a natural fit with the University, as it is next to the University’s East Bank and has similar demographics. 

MHNA has received $30,000 from the city in support of this project. The money came from the funds of the city in exchange for merging with the University neighborhood, Lautenschlager said. 

The association wants to help students get involved in things outside of the University, like working with council members, state representatives and the mayor, Lautenschlager said.

While MHNA will continue to cover both Marcy-Holmes and University neighborhoods, the University Neighborhoods Partnership (UNP) is still in the works. 

UNP is a parallel project to the Marcy-Holmes and University merger, Lautenschlager said. 

Jake Ricker, the University’s Senior Public Relations Director, said in an email statement to The Minnesota Daily that the University is working with MHNA and hopes to explore merging further. 

Along with MHNA, the Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) and Nicollet Island East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) are moving forward with discussions.  

SECIA voted to continue discussions of the UNP merger in a neighborhood association meeting on Tuesday, 

DeWayne Townsend, the president of SECIA’s board, said the association will use different types of outreach to see how the merger will look. 

“There is going to be a lot of sort of outreach, a lot of polling, trying to get different ideas together to figure out what this merger organization might look like and make sure that the needs and desires of our community are being met,” Townsend said. 

Barry Clegg, the president of NIEBNA, said the association has agreed to continue discussions of merging into UNP in their January meeting. 

Prospect Park dropped out of the UNP discussions in January. 

UNP is moving forward and has until the end of this year to see what comes out of it, Lautenschlager said.

At the end of the year, MHNA has three options about its future with the University neighborhood: 

  1. MHNA and the University will either merge permanently to become the Marcy-Holmes-University Neighborhood Association.
  2. MHNA will return to its original structure and the University Neighborhood will create its own neighborhood association.
  3. MHNA will return to its original 2023 structure and the University Neighborhood will continue not to have a neighborhood association. 
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