There are hundreds of ways to strengthen neighborhoods, and most of these seemed to come out at a community conversation on Neighborhoods and the New Normal on March 23 on West Broadway in North Minneapolis. We asked a group Northsiders, “In a time of budget deficits and decreasing resources, how can we best promote the economic vitality and livability in our neighborhoods?” This was a group of highly engaged citizens and neighbors-the kind of people who sit on the board of neighborhood groups, bring pies over to their new neighbors, and value economic and neighborhood development highly. Here’s what they had to say:
To me, the two biggest ways to do so are through collaborating/pooling of resources, and being intentional about non-profit/government work that will spur private development. We don’t have to do it all ourselves; we can create initiatives that incentivize others to action.
The best ways to work in the “new normal” is to focus on collaboration and accountability. There should be more collaboration and partnerships between different government levels and non-profits. There should be more accountability for non-profits and government/citizens/community members.
Elect people at all levels of government that reflect our priorities and goals. Hold them accountable. Take personal responsibility for making our communities great, whatever that means to you. For example, know your neighbor, promote community all the time, support local businesses, pay attention to what’s going on, and participate in a way that makes personal sense.
In my mind it’s a matter of building relationships and alliances with other people, organizations and institutions etc. to work on common concerns. Then build on those victories to create an ever-increasing base of power and engagement through which a shared vision can be developed. That this increasing base of power can work to achieve.
1. Organic, authentic, civility networks of outreach.
2. Help celebrate the “seeds and gems” in communities. Raise them up as viable resources to champion efforts to improve livability while valuing the diverse or diversity of rthe community.
3. Empowerment to take action. How: A. Toast Masters in the community. B. Expert development. C. Coach for successful support.
Alissa D. Luepke Pier
By creating opportunities for people to experience unique, good, amazing, wonderful and positive things on the Northside. Therefore exceeding expectations and challenging assumptions to create a new perception.
Nonprofits and neighborhood associations which work with housing and community issues should be given or, in some cases, continue to be given funding to offer people down payment assistance, rental assistance, etc. Also, low interest small business loans should be more readily available to folks who are willing to start their own businesses. The issue here in NOMI is not only a lack of amenities, but also a lack of employment opportunities for low-income people without high school diplomas and with no access to transportation other than the bus. In order to produce economic vitality everyone (all stakeholders) need to be at the table, otherwise these discussions are not worth much.
Precise targeted action to make the neighborhoods safer, more welcoming, and actually good for investment.
We need to come together across racial, ethnic, and economic lines to truly inform and engage our full community. We cannot accept half-hearted attempt at “diversity.” Instead, we must engage residents so that all know and have the opportunity to participate about the resources and engagement opportunities that do exist (however limited they are). And we need to address the legitimate mistrust of the police that a large part of our community has.
We need to get back to the basics of neighbors reaching out to neighbors. Block by block, then those blocks could be stitched together when it comes to the larger issues. Accountability and communication among those who are paid to do the work. Government needs to get back to doing what individuals can’t do for themselves.
1. Be a good example of a Northside resident.
2. Shop local whenever possible.
3. I moved to the Northside to show clients it is safe to live here (after living in South for 25 years).
4. I do want more accountability from public employees.
5. 311 keeps officials from dealing with people’s real frustrations.
I believe this has to be accomplished from the “inside out.” Building neighbor, block, neighborhood relationships. People who know each other make a neighborhood stronger both socially and economically. Strong neighborhoods will attract more services. A great restaurant does not make a great neighborhood. Money spent on creating stronger neighborhoods is well spent. Like National Night Out, neighborhood clean up, etc.