Landlords form new neighborhood group in Marcy-Holmes

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A group of landlords, as well as a representative of the Minnesota Greek Alumni Association, have formed a new neighborhood organization in response to what they see as poor development decisions made by the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (MHNA), as well as bylaws that shut out certain community members. MHNA is the city’s officially designated neighborhood group for the area.

At the same time the MHNA board was meeting on April 21, a group of landlords with rental property in Marcy-Holmes were electing their own board of directors. The newly elected director of the group, William Wells, came to the MHNA board meeting to introduce the new president, Tim Harmsen, to the board. Harmsen and his wife, Karen, are the co-owners of Dinkytown Rentals.

Wells prefaced his introduction of Harmsen by saying that he had been “very disturbed” about development decisions being made in Marcy-Holmes. Beyond the development decisions, Wells’ primary concern seemed to be that, according to MHNA bylaws, a person must live in Marcy-Holmes to be an MHNA member. This restriction prevents many landlords from being members of the neighborhood organization. Wells said that this differed from “most other neighborhoods” but didn’t give examples of neighborhoods that allowed nonresidents to serve on their organizations.

According to an April 21 article in the Minnesota Daily, Wells said MHNA has not been including students, not allowing property owners their legal right to due process and uses “the notion of the word historic to serve an agenda.”

Addressing the MHNA board, Harmsen focused mostly on the landlord organization’s power to positively influence landlords who aren’t taking good care of their properties.

“Dinkytown can be a great place. We just need to clean it up a little,” said Harmsen. Harmsen said he hopes to use the organization’s influence to encourage landlords to keep their walks shoveled, their lawns mowed, their trash picked up and their properties up to code. Harmsen said that he looks forward to more open communication with MHNA.

Ryan Ahlberg, an attorney in Minneapolis, came to observe the meeting at William Wells’ request.

The board asked for a list of the landlord organization’s board of directors and a roster of its members. They thanked Harmsen and Wells for attending. Wells told the Minnesota Daily that the neighborhood association’s reaction to their organization was “good,” according to the April 21 article.

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