University neighborhood associations relax membership, voting requirements

Print

Following concerns that some residents were excluded, University of Minnesota neighborhood associations are making it easier to join and vote.

Minneapolis officials told some neighborhoods last year they would have to relax their membership and voting requirements to keep getting city funding.

The city gave $450,000 to the four neighborhoods surrounding the University in its most recent funding cycle, which runs through this year.

Several neighborhood residents said city funding is important to keep their associations active.

Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association uses the funding to rent office space and hire staff, said treasurer Dick Poppele.

“We could certainly survive without it,” he said, but with less investment into neighborhood projects.

City funding was a major factor in helping the neighborhood renovate and reopen the Pratt Community School in the 1990s, Poppele said.

Prospect Park’s neighborhood association removed its membership dues in April. That will make it easier for students to join, said University alumnus and association member Paul Zerby.

“A lot of the stalwarts of the neighborhood are people that have been doing it for a long time,” he said. “We’re looking to get more young blood involved.”

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association voted last week to remove a bylaw that made new members wait a month before voting or making motions at meetings.

“In Marcy-Holmes’ defense, they saw that as a way of making the logistics easier,” said Stacy Sorenson, a Minneapolis neighborhood support specialist.

In a letter to the neighborhood last year, the city asked Marcy-Holmes to remove the bylaw, Sorenson said, because officials were concerned it would discourage participation.

Pick up Wednesday’s Minnesota Daily to hear how the neighborhood changes will affect student participation.