Homeless shelter, parking ramp, food co-op raise traffic and quality of life concerns in Dayton’s Bluff


Dayton’s Bluff Land Use committee and a handful of community residents met at the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council office on February 3 to hear representatives from Mississippi Market, Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation, Metropolitan State University, and the Dorothy Day relocation project.

Mississippi Market presented an update on its Seventh Street building plan, façade, and a first look at potential green space. Meetings with various city departments are in process. Any time business or services expand or locate within or near a residential area, accompanying traffic can challenge the quality of life for those who live in the neighborhood. Proposed traffic patterns and traffic flow on Maple Avenue are being closely monitored by area residents who are already working with Metropolitan State and its proposed parking ramp. The proposed ramp is wrapped by north/south Maria and Bates Avenues and east/west Seventh and Sixth Streets. Ramp exits and entrances will be on Maria and Bates. Sixth Street is both a residential street and feeder street to I-94. Some neighbors fear that vehicles entering and exiting the future ramp will create more congestion and increase accidents on Sixth Street.

Bev Turner, Gerry Lauer, and Tracy Berglund of Catholic Charities joined Nancy Homans of Mayor Coleman’s office to speak on the relocation of the Dorothy Day Center. Turner acknowledged that regrettably, the relocation announcement was made before reaction from the surrounding neighborhoods was sought. Residents overwhelmingly agreed that better provision was needed for emergency shelter. Countering this was the effect that another shelter in close proximity to Gospel Mission/Bethel Hotel would have on the already struggling Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood.

It was noted that Swede Hollow Park has become a campground for people who are homeless and choose not to stay in the shelters. With this has come excessive, public use of alcohol, drugs and other negative behaviors. Without help from the city, residents have attempted to keep, in reality and perception, the Hollow clean and safe for bicyclists, walkers, and immediate neighbors. Lower Dayton’s Bluff has just begun to come alive again with rehabbed houses, new home owners, and revived life on East 7th Street. Residents at Monday’s meeting pleaded, that if the city relocates Dorothy Day Center to the proposed site, that the city would help stabilize Bruce Vento Sanctuary and Swede Hollow before relocating the Center to the edge of already fragile Dayton’s Bluff.