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Current issues and challenges

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years ago

Current Issues and Challenges

As with much of Minneapolis, residents and business owners of Dinkytown have asked the city council to address traffic problems, graffiti, public drunkeness, housing regulations, and snow emergency procedures (1).

 

In 2007, the University of Minnesota published an executive summary of a longer report, Moving Forward Together: U of M Minneapolis Area Neighborhood Impact Report. Though this report itself does not seem to be online, the summary remains in the Google cache system. Based on Appendix 2 of this report, there are a number of issues affecting Dinkytown — many of these linked to the University of Minnesota.

 

By the 1980s, the area was already experiencing decline in home ownership, with conversion of single-family units to rental and tear-downs for garden apartment rentals catering to the student market. This trend continues today. The neighborhood has a strong interdependence with the University, but its recent housing development along the riverfront is responding to renewed market demand spreading out from downtown and the Old Saint Anthony area along Hennepin Avenue E. Business owners in Dinkytown estimate that up to 70% of their customers are either students or visitors coming into the neighborhood for University events.

 

The University of Minnesota proposed several steps to reduce the negative affects of the University on the Dinkytown area. Those mentioned in Moving Forward include:

  • Engage young residents in neighborhood initiatives and planning.
  • Regulate rental housing—increase inspections to maintain safety, quality, and livability.
  • Expand the University’s code of conduct to off-campus student housing in this University District.
  • Design guidelines for all new housing developments to implement neighborhood goals and priorities.
  • Collaborate with the University to improve gateways into campus (University Ave, 4th and 5th Ave).
  • Collaborate with the University to manage traffic from University sporting events
  • Manage on-street parking; ensure adequate parking for business customers.
  • Build stronger working relationships with City and University police—complemented with volunteer crime watches.

 

Minneapolis City Council

Dinkytown is within Ward 3 of Minneapolis. As of 2007, Ward 3 is represented by Diane Hofstede. The ward includes the following neighborhoods:

  • Boom Island
  • Central Avenue
  • Dinkytown
  • Farview Park
  • Grain Belt Brewery
  • Mississippi Riverfront
  • Nicollet Island
  • West Broadway

 

The city provides detailed information on Ward 3 on the Minneapolis Web pages. There is also an e-mail newsletter covering issues of interest to residents of Ward 3.

 

This census data demonstrates that the Dinkytown residents are largely students with low-incomes

 

Make Them Care(#) Letter to City Pages

I work as a community organizer with the homeless. I appreciated your recent article highlighting the lives of people who are homeless in Dinkytown. I think it's important to humanize people and educate the general public on the lives that people really live. I would have liked to see more information on the causes of homelessness, though. I think you had a unique opportunity to not only tell stories, but shed light on the fact that many people who are homeless are so for an array of reasons. Who are the homeless? They are members of our community, they vote, they volunteer, they work in our grocery stores and build our houses. They are victims of domestic abuse, victims of sexual abuse, people who have severe mental health issues, people leaving correctional institutions, people with drug and alcohol addictions, and people with mental health issues that self medicate with drugs and alcohol. Many simply cannot make it on minimum wage or without supplemental support. Awareness and education on the issues is a good first step, but I'd like to see City Pages take it one step further and instill in people a desire to do something about the issue of homelessness.

Stephanie (last name withheld at author's request)

Minneapolis

 

 


(1) Source: Ward 3 Newsletter issues

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