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Monday August 8th 2022

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East Phillips is not a Sacrificial Zone- EPNI continues to Negotiate with Minneapolis

By EPNI BOARD

On June 30th the City Council of Minneapolis approved 13-0 to move forward with its negotiations with East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) on Mayor Frey’s proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) offer regarding the City’s “Hiawatha Expansion Project” proposal from the City Council to the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. We are aware of the confusing messaging that has been released by the City that conveys a “finalized deal” and we affirm EPNI’s ongoing commitment to transparency and to health and safety for our low-income, majority BIPOC neighborhood. In pursuance of the City’s proposed Hiawatha Expansion Project, which they would locate in East Phillips across the street from Little Earth of United Tribes Housing, a day-care and numerous family residences, the city has offered EPNI: 3 acres of land and 24 months of exclusive development rights along with vague commitments of financial assistance and social programming. This offer comes at a serious legal and health cost to the neighborhood and to all taxpayers. EPNI would need to end its current environmental justice lawsuits against the City of Minneapolis and to forgo any legal action against the city in the future. Their current proposed MOU offer would also allow the city to go forward to build its project by demolishing the huge 230,000 sq. foot former Roof Depot warehouse – thereby releasing toxic arsenic now safely encapsulated in the soil underneath. It would also bring on-site an additional 400 vehicles, including diesel trucks – further polluting East Phillips residents’ already overburdened exposure to toxic air pollution from existing traffic congestion. It is important to note that EPNI has not approved or signed any deal with Minneapolis. We will continue to meet with our neighbors and work in good faith with the City to find a path forward that benefits Minneapolis without sacrificing the health and safety of East Phillips residents.

The East Phillips Urban Farm project is a community-led project that seeks to promote food security, create affordable-low income housing, create green living wage jobs and support small culturally based businesses in the East Phillips community. Please email Epnifarm@gmail.com with any questions or ideas for the project.

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