The Windom Park Neighborhood is set to receive nearly $400,000 in improvements, its allotment in Phase II of the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). And according to Doron Clark, a neighborhood volunteer with Windom Park Citizens in Action (WPCiA), who co-chaired the committee that prepared the Phase II plan, there’s something the neighborhood needs before the improvements can begin: Champions.
“We are looking for champions of each area right now,” he said, and those “areas” include housing, traffic and transportation, safety, and parks.
“There’s a small group already working on the park issues,” he said. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is planning a $150,000 renovation for Windom Park in 2014, he said, and “we want to piggy-back on that. If there are economies of scale we can take advantage of, that’s what we want to do.”
“A champion gets to lead the charge,” in a given area, he said, and anyone interested in being one should contact email@example.com.
Windom Park’s initial Phase II allocation was $563,421. Minneapolis City Council actions last year, however, reduced the amount available for Phase II neighborhood plans to about 66 percent of the allocation; or, for Windom Park, a total of $371,955.
Clark said it was left to the neighborhood groups to decide how to absorb the funding cut, and that WPCiA decided to “drop everything by 30 percent.”
The following breakdown uses the pre-cut allocation figures from Windom Park’s Phase II Action Plan, so the actual amounts spent in each area will likely be about 30 percent less than the figures noted.
Neighborhood groups are required to spend 70 percent of their NRP allocations on housing, and the Windom Park Phase II plan complies, with a pre-cut allocation of $396,670. Of that, about $167,000 is set for home improvement programs, $28,000 for residential security mini-grants, $20,000 for a residential livability and access program, $150,000 for a dilapidated residential property fund and $10,000 to evaluate the group’s housing programs.
The home improvement program might include a low-interest revolving loan program modeled after Windom Park’s Phase I program, grants for energy audits, and low-interest loans for improvements suggested by the audits.
Security mini-grants might fund motion detector lights, window and door locks and home security audits.Livability grants might fund wheelchair access ramps, handrails, lighting, air conditioning.
The dilapidated properties money might fund acquisition, rehabilitation, demolition or replacement of unoccupied residential buildings.
The transportation portion of the pre-cut Phase II allocation includes about $9,000 for a neighborhood transportation plan, $9,000 for pedestrian crossings (which could include bump-outs, improved striping and signage), $4,000 for bicycle racks, and $6,000 to improve compliance with traffic laws. The plan also calls for unfunded projects to improve access to bicycle routes, trails and sharing programs.
Safety initiatives call for about $9,000 to organize block clubs, $13,000 to help fund their activities, $9,000 to improve community contact (which might include maintaining a contact database for volunteers, promoting sign-up for WPCiA newsletters, promoting the group’s web site and social media, and posting or reposting safety information from local sources), and $21,000 for commercial security mini-grants (which might fund motion detector lights, window and door locks, and surveillance systems).
Park funding includes about $54,500 for a “signature” play item (with local designers participating in the plan), $15,000 to update and improve access to bathrooms and water fountains, $7,500 to encourage Windom Park improvements that reflect the strong artist community in the neighborhood, and $7,500 to increase cultural, community, and family-focused activities at the park. The plan also calls for unfunded projects to expand the community use of the park’s upper building, and to improve ongoing maintenance and enhancement of Windom Park facilities.
And, to administer all that, the plan calls for about $7,700 provide staffing, communications, outreach and organizational support for ongoing Phase I-funded activities, and $15,000 to support and complete development of the Phase II plan.
Again, all of these numbers are based on the group’s full NRP allocation, and the group is likely to receive only about 66 percent of that, and plans to cut allocations “across the board” before implementing plans.
The Windom Park Neighborhood is bordered by Central Avenue on the west, Lowry Avenue on the north, New Brighton Boulevard on the east and 18th Avenue on the south. According to the neighborhood profile in the Phase II Neighborhood Action Plan, its housing is about evenly split between owner-occupied and rental units. Most of the houses in the western portion were built between 1895 and 1910, most in the eastern half were built after World War II, and only about 6 percent were built after 1960.
The median age is 37, 17 percent are 60 or older, 21 percent are under 18, 11 percent are under 10. About 81 percent of residents are white, 9 percent are black, 4 percent are Hispanic.
According to Jack Whitehurst of the City’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Relations, Holland and Marshall Terrace are now the only Northeast neighborhoods that have yet to complete a Phase II NRP plan.