Marcy-Holmes finalizing master plan, seeking feedback

The Marcy-Holmes master plan update, which will guide growth and development in the neighborhood, was released Wednesday for public comment.

The 2014 update to the master plan incorporates the in-progress Dinkytown small area plan. Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association members discussed at a meeting Tuesday night how the plan can manage the current neighborhood’s divide on how to develop the area.

Master Plan steering committee leader Bob Stableski said the neighborhood’s character spots — from the riverfront to industry and residential areas — are each facing different problems.

“This isn’t a homogeneous neighborhood,” he said. “The value of the plan is that we can look at these things on a neighborhood-wide basis and also break them down into the five different character areas.”

The neighborhood has come up with six themes that come into play throughout the plan: “Be one neighborhood,” “live here now,” “make the streets ours,” “make change contribute,” “love the riverfront” and “welcome the tension of complexity and contradiction.”

Proposed projects include improving riverfront connections, encouraging investment along Fifth Street Southeast to create more livable streets, increasing the frequency of transit on University Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street Southeast, and expanding the Dinkytown commercial area while preserving its historic qualities.

The update also proposes improving areas between campus and the Stone Arch Bridge. MHNA President Cordelia Pierson said the neighborhood is looking forward to partnering with the University to do that.

“[The idea has] been on the books for about 20 years,” she said. “It’s just needed some focus and prioritizing, so we’re hoping to bring that to life.”

The city approved the neighborhood’s first master plan in 2003, which came from hearing what residents liked or disliked about the neighborhood, what aspects they wanted to preserve, what goals they wanted to achieve and what they wanted to avoid. Since then, the neighborhood has amended the plan several times, but it will fully update the plan every decade.

Pierson said she was “very happy” about the public input the MHNA has received during the planning process and is proud of the diversity of participants.

“Many of the people who participated and provided input on the Dinkytown planning part had not traditionally been involved in neighborhood and land-use planning,” she said. “We think we did a good job reaching people and hearing from people who aren’t the traditional show-up-at-evening-meetings people.”

The MHNA has also received student input from its Minnesota Student Association board representative Clay Wagar, who said he appreciated the level of student feedback sought.

“Cordelia did make a lot of effort to engage students,” he said. “My concerns were listened to and met enthusiastically by the rest of the board.”

Minneapolis city planner Haila Maze, who has been working on the project, said the next step for the plan is publishing the update on the city’s website and beginning the 45-day review period during which the city welcomes public comments. The City Council will then approve it, likely by the summer.

Maze said the city will respond comment by comment and encourages public feedback.

“People care a lot about the Dinkytown, Marcy-Holmes area,” she said. “We need to support the area so it’s sustainable and livable.”

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