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Nov. 30th Meal, Meeting, & Vote: The Roof Depot Site: East Phillips Institute 3 Acre Plan Decision

Aerial concept rendering by DJR Architects of the 7 Acre former Roof Depot site with the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute’s 3 Acre Plan shown in color.

BY BRAD PASS

An estimated two hundred community members came together on the last day of November to hear two plans, the City Plan and the Community Plan, for the Roof Depot Site at the intersection of the Midtown Greenway and E 28th St in South Minneapolis. They came together to exercise their right as defined by the first principal of community engagement, passed by the Minneapolis City Council in 2007; “Public participation is based on belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.”

City representatives Lisa Cerney and Mark Ruff gave a presentation explaining the critical importance of providing safe and reliable water and sewer for the city and the need for a new facility from which to operate.

Community members including State Rep. Karen Clark, EPIC Board President Carol Pass, C.M. Alondra Cano, all members of the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) with help from Hennepin County Commissioner Debby Goetell and Dean Dovolis – founder of DJR Architecture, Inc, presented the Community Plan.

They pointed out the horrific health consequences this economically challenged and racially diverse community suffers as a result of years of unrelenting pollution, both vehicular and industrial. They explained that the Community plan will provide a buffer between residential housing and the activities in the proposed water yard; that the Indoor Urban Farm with East Phillips World Café and Farm Store along with the affordable bike repair shop will create good paying, meaningful jobs for the community and the entire plan will take up only 3 acres of the combined city property in the “Hiawatha” site of 16.42 Acres. That’s just 18.27% of the Total Public Works land in our neighborhood. The presentation was punctuated with a slide show showing pictures and renderings of the Community and its Plan.

After food, provided by Papi Fiesco and the Jubba Grill and paid for by C.M. Cano’s Office, a vote was taken. Of the estimated 150 neighbors who voted, it was nearly unanimous in favor of the Community Plan. Two opposed, probably because they thought the community should have the entire 7+ acres of the Roof Depot Site, and one abstention.

Thanks to all who attended. It was an inspiring evening. Our work is just beginning!

EPNI, East Phillips Institute, is a collaboration of Tamales y Bicicletas, DJR Architecture, the East Phillips Improvement Coalition-EPIC, Little Earth of United Tribes, Somali Family Chemical Awareness, Precision Green Houses, Women’s Environmental Institute and many neighbors. A comprehensive future-oriented plan has been formed. The collaborators on the Indoor Urban Farm project came together under the name East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) and sought and received a planning grant of $319,000 from the State of Minnesota because of the project’s job creating potential for this challenged area and population.

City Council Member Alondra Cano explained the Community Plan and her support at the Nov. 30th Town Hall meeting attended by approximately 200 people

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