NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday August 18th 2017

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Wellness: by Coalitions and Compromises No New Pollution and Congestion – for now. Owner of Roof Depot Site Rejects City’s Water Works Offer

Neighbors rally for Clean Air at the Roof Depot Site. (East 28th St. at Longfellow)

Neighbors rally for Clean Air at the Roof Depot Site. (East 28th St. at Longfellow)

By Carol Ann Pass

Many East Phillips families and their children thank and appreciate the fact that the Owner of the Roof Depot Site said NO (at least for now) to the city’s plan to interject more pollution and unwanted traffic to the already health and congestion challenged East Phillips Neighborhood.

The city plan was to move all the operations of the City’s water maintenance facility along with their fleet of 68 large maintenance trucks, many of them diesel, and the personal vehicles of their large work force into our already polluted and congested neighborhood – specifically, into the current Roof Depot site at 1860 E 28th St. In pushing this plan forward, the City of Minneapolis Public Works Dept. has worked for over a decade without so much as mentioning this major plan to the surrounding residents, or considering including them in the planning process. This is disturbing and disappointing, given the past responsible actions of Public Works involving citizens in the work that had already gone on in the nearby Public Works site on E. 26th St. The question ‘What has changed?’ needs to be asked.

It is never good enough to simply be against something, one must also be for something better.

The Better Plan for the Roof Depot Site:

The People of East Phillips are in the process of working on a plan and are exploring sources of financial support to turn this site into one of the largest Urban Agricultural sites in the State, a potential national model of cutting edge sustainable urban organic food production.

The current building is well suited to indoor agriculture including aquaculture, hydroponics and year-round greenhouse gardening. The roof could support one of the largest photovoltaic solar arrays in the State providing most, if not all, of the electrical energy required to supply organic produce year round to Twin City’s consumers, stores and restaurants. This plan could provide hundreds of quality jobs for the people of Phillips many of whom could walk or use public transportation to the site. The plan, if carried out, could radically reduce pollution, congestion and the ill will generated by the City’s disregard of the people’s right to have a voice in decisions that affect them. It could also anchor one of the City’s real Green Zones and bring about a major change in the future of Phillips’ children, by not adding to their burden of health challenges, thus ushering in a huge and welcome change in the whole character of East Phillips as a more positive place for families and children.

Carol Ann Pass is a Phillips resident and President of East Phillips Improvement Coalition.

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