The Green Institute began more than 15 years ago as a protest against the City’s plans to place a garbage transfer station in the Phillips neighborhood. Park Commissioner Annie Young led the charge to stop the transfer station, and she was the leading organizer for the establishment of the Green Institute. Since that time they have helped thousands of people with recycled building materials through their Reuse Centers, helped plan community gardens, encouraged the construction and rehabilitation of green buildings and began plans for sources of community energy.
Now the city is threatening to foreclose on their building. Currently, they are almost $60,000 behind in loans to the City for their building on 21st Avenue. This near default is on a second mortgage of $216,189 that was taken to cover a default on the first mortgage.
In a very ironic twist of fate, a former executive director of the Green Institute, Michael Krause, was himself the object of a community campaign to ban a project he had developed while at the Institute to use the same site as the formerly proposed garbage transfer station. He and business partners formed Kandiyohi Development to use the site to burn wood to produce electricity. When people in the community found out the amount of toxic chemicals that would be released into the air in South Minneapolis, they organized a campaign that eventually killed the project.
Mike Krause’s tenure at the Green Institute was controversial. Many people believed he unfairly pushed Annie Young out and spent a lot of Green Institute money on globetrotting junkets.
Annie Young is recovering from double knee joint replacement surgery, but she took time out from one of her recuperative naps to tell us that the situation is serious but not tragic. There should be a community meeting to discuss ways to save the building and the organization: “There are people in this city who could turn this thing around. There are plenty of things the community could do.”