Framework for the Future – NRP

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Options for the focus, funding and governance of NRP Program and Action Plan activities after 2009

Final Report of the NRP Work Group to the City Council Committee of the Whole

July 24, 2008
Report of the NRP Work Group:
Council President Barbara Johnson
Council Vice-President Robert Lilligren
Council Member Paul Ostrow, Chair, Ways & Means/Budget Committee
Council Member Betsy Hodges, Chair, Inter-Governmental Relations Committee
Bob Miller, Director, Neighborhood Revitalization Program
Cara Letofsky, Policy Aide, Office of Mayor R.T. Rybak

The Neighborhood Revitalization Program was created in 1990 as a twenty-year program to revitalize all of the City’s neighborhoods. While the program itself will not end in 2009, the authorization from the State Legislature for the funding that it provides for the implementation of neighborhood plans will expire in December 2009. To prepare for the future of the program, the City Council, on November 2, 2007, created an NRP Work Group to establish a City position on:

1. a proposed administrative structure to support community engagement activities;
2. expectations of services community or neighborhood organizations would provide through citizen participation contracts; and
3. extending or not a formal program of using discretionary funds for community-initiated projects.
The NRP Work Group began its work by identifying each member’s interests related to the continuation of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) and outlining a program to address those interests. These interests (included as Attachment A to this report) informed the draft framework presented to the City Council’s Committee of the Whole on December 20, 2007. The draft “Framework for the Future” outlined a structure for the continuation of the NRP beyond 2009 and its connection to the broader community participation work of the City. In many ways, this Framework is the culmination of the original vision of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, then titled the Twenty-Year Revitalization Plan, which called for neighborhood planning to be the basis for enhanced governmental cooperation and coordination for the planning and delivery of public services.

The key components of the draft Framework included recommendations to preserve neighborhood groups’ autonomy, provide additional resources to support the administrative needs of neighborhood groups, provide for discretionary funding for neighborhood groups, restructure the City’s organizational structure to create a greater focus on community participation, create more resident oversight of the City’s community participation efforts, and provide for a greater alignment of neighborhoods’ visions and City goals and processes.

The Committee of the Whole received the draft Framework and released it for public comment. Those comments were received and reported back to the Committee of the Whole on April 3, 2008. (The full text of the comments received is available on the City’s Web site at http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/communications/CETrack3_home.asp.)

The NRP Work Group reconvened on April 11, 2008, to begin its work to refine and revise the draft Framework. It has met eighteen times over three months to add details to the original draft proposal and to consider the input submitted by neighborhood organizations and residents. (A summary of the responses and how they have affected this report is included as Attachment B to this report.)

The framework that follows represents the culmination of the discussions of the NRP Work Group on the future focus, funding and governance of the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

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CONTINUING THE NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION PROGRAM:
A Commitment to Partnership
The City and its neighborhood organizations have long partnered to make the City a better place to live, work, learn and play. Each has a unique role to play in the improvement of our City.

The Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program has been, and will continue to be, a key component of this partnership.

The Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program is an innovative effort to bring residents into the priority-setting process of their city. Its mission is to revitalize Minneapolis neighborhoods through a cooperative and coordinated service planning and delivery process involving neighborhood residents, public agencies and private interests. It is based on the belief that the empowerment of residents and the mobilization of untapped resources, energy and creativity can make our collective desire for a better future a reality.

In its next phase, the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program will continue to be an investment program with neighborhood organizing, planning, priority-setting, and implementation at its core. Residents and other neighborhood stakeholders will create neighborhood plans that describe the neighborhood they want in the future, goals and objectives that they will need to achieve that vision, and specific strategies and actions that will help accomplish their objectives, goals and vision. Funding will be provided to each neighborhood to help implement their approved plans.

Neighborhoods also will have access to a new grant fund designed to augment their work on creating innovative approaches to the City’s goals and priorities. The fund will encourage collaborations between neighborhood organizations and between neighborhood organizations and other community-based organizations.

A major focus of the program will be an enhanced integration of neighborhood-level work with the work of the City. A resident-controlled advisory board, staffed by a new department dedicated to the full breadth of this work, will provide overall direction to the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and advise the Mayor, City Council and City departments on community issues and needs related to community participation and the City’s community participation system.

To support this work at the neighborhood level, the City will provide officially designated neighborhood organizations with a base level of administrative support and access to the new Neighborhood Investment and Community Innovation Funds.

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Administrative Funding to Neighborhood Organizations

Resident involvement is essential to building a great city. The capacity to organize at the neighborhood level is a basic city service for which the City will provide funding of approximately $3,000,000 per year to neighborhood organizations. (This amount is based on an analysis of the annual level of NRP funding used by neighborhood organizations to cover the staffing and operating expenses associated with the services that they provide to the community.)

Funding for this administrative support may be provided through the City’s annual budget or funds generated through the redevelopment tax increment financing district (see page 5), or a combination of these sources. A formula (including such variables as population, housing and income) will be used to allocate these administrative funds to officially designated neighborhood organizations. Neighborhood organizations will remain autonomous organizations.

Administrative Support Allocations will be provided to those neighborhood organizations that meet certain eligibility criteria (such as those criteria recommended by the 2007 Community Engagement Task Force). The sole purpose of these allocations will be to provide base support to those qualifying organizations to provide basic outreach, communication and coordination support for the neighborhood. The City will provide administrative support allocations to only one organization per neighborhood. (An organization may represent more than one neighborhood.) This will be the officially designated neighborhood organization for community participation in that neighborhood. These allocations will replace the current neighborhood funding provided through the City’s Citizen Participation Program.

While there may be inherent advantages to neighborhood organizations sharing staff, offices or other administrative costs, there will be no requirement for neighborhood organizations to do so. The funding formula, however, should be designed to ensure that it does not penalize neighborhood organizations wishing to collaborate.
Receipt of an administrative support allocation will qualify a neighborhood organization to participate in other neighborhood-based initiatives such as neighborhood planning for allocation of Neighborhood Investment Fund dollars and competing for grants through the Community Innovation Fund.

The Neighborhood Investment Fund:
Discretionary Funding for Neighborhood-Identified Priorities

A Neighborhood Investment Fund will be established to provide dedicated funds to neighborhood organizations that have qualified for administrative support funding from the City. The allocation of investment funds will be directed by neighborhoods to help address neighborhood-identified priorities.