Southeast residents are more than “concerned” about Grand Rounds proposal

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Southeast residents are more than “concerned” about Grand Rounds proposal: Next meeting NOVEMBER 1

As a Southeast Como resident, I eagerly looked in the October issue of The Bridge for coverage on the Grand Rounds meeting on Sept. 18, because it is a compelling local issue; a proposal that may cause approximately 72 residential and business properties in the heart of the Southeast Como neighborhood to be significantly altered or destroyed. I finally found the story buried on page 18 of 20, “Grand Rounds meeting draws a crowd, concerns,” and the tone of the article was but a pale reflection of the events of that meeting.

Opinion: Southeast residents are more than ‘concerned’ about Grand Rounds proposal

Next Citizen’s Advisory Board meeting on November 1, 6-8 p.m.
MPRB Administrative Offices
2117 West River Road
Minnehaha Room (2nd Floor)
Minneapolis, MN 55411-2227
Telephone: 612-230-6400

For additional coverage of Grand Rounds plans:
Debate over the ‘Missing Link’ (TC Daily Planet)
Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) annual meeting report (The Bridge)
Grand plans for the ‘Missing Link’ TC Daily Planet
Grand Rounds plans meet Como opposition (The Bridge)

The Sept. 18 meeting showed that residents of Southeast Como are not just “concerned” about the route options. We are outraged and indignant, and we said so in no uncertain terms. More than 200 attendees were drawn together in a hot, crowded gym in Northeast Minneapolis. This intense meeting truly was an example of citizen participation and interest in community affairs in the best possible way.

When we bought our Southeast Como home in 1988, it was because of its proximity to the University of Minnesota and both cities, as well as for the sense of community and families. In the ensuing 20 years, many of the community values that first lured me here seem to have fallen by the wayside. The SE library has been shuttered; the Tuttle School two blocks from my home now stands vacant. The University of Minnesota values a football stadium over the neighborhood. The nearby I-35 bridge collapse scene is a daily reminder of a tragic event that should not happen in the United States.

The latest attack on the SE community and neighborhood is exemplified by the Ground Rounds’ proposals, especially Route E, which would run along 18th Avenue Southeast. When the Grand Rounds was conceived of more than 100 years ago, there were few homes in the Southeast area. Today, we are told that one of the intentions of the construction of the “missing link” of the Grand Rounds is “to improve connections between neighborhoods and the regional transportation system.” How does one improve neighborhood connections by destroying homes? Perhaps the notion of completing the 3.5-mile gap in the Ground Rounds today is an idea whose time has passed.

In the ensuing weeks and months, there will be more meetings on this issue, and more uncertainty for residents. On Nov. 1, the Citizens Advisory Committee will recommend routes to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Please eliminate Route E from consideration. The fate of Southeast Como lies in the hands of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness that we are forced to be fighting this fight, but with it, I have a growing sense of resolve and solidarity with my Southeast Como community. I wish to thank Commissioner Walter Dziedzic for his statement near the end of the Sept. 18 meeting. He said words to the effect that he could not sleep at night if he had helped turn his neighbors out of their homes. We are not sleeping much either.