Year in Review – President’s Report

A Year in Review

St. Anthony East: Where Downtown Meets Hometown

 

St Anthony East is a safe neighborhood with a wide range of housing options, two parks, a community garden, a few local businesses, and is in close proximity to the river (and that community with businesses and restaurants) as well as downtown. The neighborhood extends from Broadway St NE to the north, Central Ave NE to the east, 2nd Ave NE to the south, and 5th and Washington streets NE to the west.

With a population of 2,038 people, it is the sixth smallest out of the 13 neighborhoods in Northeast Minneapolis, and it is the 14thsmallest neighborhood out of the 86 neighborhoods citywide. The overall population fell by 110 people from 2000 to 2010 but became more ethnically diverse with increased Hispanic and African American populations.

 

Although the population declined by 110 people, 14 housing units were added from 2000-2010. There are 1,141 total housing units in St. Anthony East. Approximately 36% of these are homestead properties. The remaining 64% of non-homestead properties shows the high proportion of residents who rent a housing unit. Like many other neighborhoods in Minneapolis, St. Anthony East was hit hard by the significant housing decline in the past five years. The estimated market value for 1-3 unit homes fell over 22% from 2006-2010. Sale prices for single-family homes also decreased between 12%- 30% in that same time. The value of residential property permits was lower than the Minneapolis average and the number of residential properties with housing violations was higher than the Minneapolis average. However, St. Anthony East has fewer foreclosures in the past 5 years than most Northeast neighborhoods. Only 48 of the 1,214 foreclosures that occurred in Northeast came from St. Anthony East between 2006 to April of 2011.

 

With the new Old Third Town Homes project, we will have five low-income housing developments; two public housing buildings on Spring St, Clare Housing, and Teamster Manor making up the rest. Most of the homes in St. Anthony East were built between 1900 and 1930 and many are in the Craftsman Foursquare, Colonial, and Bungalow style. Newer single-family homes as well as townhomes make up the southern border along 3rd Avenue as this land was once cleared for a proposed freeway (livemsp.com). There are also several medium-density apartment buildings scattered throughout the neighborhood

 

Since Webster Open School closed, there are no K-12 schools in SAE, though Webster is still used for early education classes and community events. Only 13% of St. Anthony East residents are under 18 years old, making its population slightly older than other Northeast neighbors, some of which have over 25% of residents under the age of 18. However, the neighborhood’s abundant green space and low violent crime statistics make it an attractive destination for families. 86 crimes were reported from May 2010 to May of 2011. Part 1 crimes include murder, robbery, rape, assault, larceny, arson, burglary, and theft of motor vehicle. There were 30 reported Part 1 crimes in 2011. Most of the 30 reported crimes were larceny or other property crimes. These statistics are comparable to other Northeast neighborhoods of similar size. Initiatives such as increased safety street lighting, neighborhood walks, and block club involvement are important steps to minimize criminal activity in the neighborhood.

 

 

What is SAENA’s role in the neighborhood?

 

SAENA’s purpose is to promote the betterment of the community and improve the human environment within the neighborhood boundaries and surrounding area(s), through plans and projects as may be appropriate to accomplish these purposes.

 

Over the last year, SAENA has sought to effectuate its purpose primarily by increasing communication with residents to identify issues of concern and to identify opportunities to increase SAE resident involvement in community building for the purpose of improving our neighborhood.  Our activities fell under the umbrella of two main functions: (1) Neighborhood Revitalization and (2) Community Engagement and Development.

 

Neighborhood Revitalization

 

SAENA receives funding through the city’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) to improve the neighborhood’s infrastructure and housing needs, and address other resident priorities. The majority of NRP funds are allocated to housing programs that help improve the quality and safety of homes in St. Anthony East. Other revitalization efforts have gone towards updating parks, calming traffic, Cops on Bikes, neighborhood infrastructure, and community health programs for senior citizens. NRP funds help allow residents to shape the kind of neighborhood they want to live in.

 

Community Engagement and Development

It is our goal to strengthen the community and improve the lives of those who live and work here. We want to know what problems or issues residents are facing and direct them to resources that can help them. SAENA also wants to know what kind of activities residents enjoy so we can plan events that make the neighborhood a fun place to live. We want to know what makes you tick and we will incorporate that into our activities. Further, we want to build strong networks in the community that bring together people with common needs, interests, or goals. We do this through a variety of communications outlets, direct engagement with residents, and neighborhood events.

 

 

 

What did we set out to do in 2010-2011?

 

Since we were in between NRP Phase I and Phase II, we focused much of our attention on community engagement efforts. Our three main roles were to:

 

  • Increase communication and collect information from residents and community members about any issues, concerns, or needs that exist in St. Anthony East.
  • Identify resources in local government and non-profit organizations that can address these neighborhood issues and direct that information to residents.
  • Engage residents and begin development of active networks that build support and cooperation in the community to improve our living environment.

 

What did we do and how did we do it?

 

Increase communication and collect information from community members about issues, concerns, and needs in the neighborhood

 

Community Meetings

  • Residents voiced concerns on problem properties
  • Landlords provided input on what they need. They showed particular interest in a landlord workshop and our home improvement loan programs.
  • Residents gave input on what projects they are interested in for NRP Phase II

Neighborhood Events

  • Talked with many residents about neighborhood issues at the CEE energy reduction workshop, Ice Cream Social and Plant Give Away

Direct Engagement

  • Door knocking for neighborhood improvement initiatives, including an energy reduction workshop and safety street lighting petition
  • Neighborhood walks
  • Meeting with business owners
  • Responded to emails and phone calls from residents about questions and concerns

 

Identify government and non-profit resources and direct to neighborhood

 

The following is a list of partners we worked with in the past year:

  • Minneapolis Police Department, Council Member Diane Hofstede, NRP, NE Housing Resource Center, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, NE Farmers Market, Center for Energy and Environment, TC Habitat for Humanity, Rep. Dianne Loeffler, Senator Larry Pogemiller, NCR, NCEC, Public Works Department, Housing Inspections, Beltrami Neighborhood Council, St. Anthony West Neighborhood Organization, Audubon Neighborhood Association, Citizens for a Loring Park Community, and All Saints Church (Clearly we worked with some of these more than others, but this shows the breadth of our collaboration with other partners)
  • SAENA participated in the 2nd Precinct Advisory Committee (2PAC), East Side Court Watch, NE Network, and Community and Resource Exchange Committee (C.A.R.E.) meetings to help bring information on issues in the community and local government resources directly to residents in St. Anthony East.

 

Resources and information provided to community members?

  • How to effectively use 311 and 911
  • NRP Housing Loan Programs
  • Foreclosure assistance programs
  • Block Clubs
  • Eastside Court Watch
  • Crime alerts and statistics
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Transition from NRP to NCR
  • Landlord workshop in SAE
  • Community Energy Services program through CEE
  • Ability to use EBT at NE Farmers Market
  • New developments on dog park
  • Community garden
  • Public Events

 

Community Engagement and Development

  • Ice Cream Social and Plant Give Away – Dozens of people attended the Ice Cream Social and Plant Give Away – in spite of cold and rain!
  • Neighborhood Walksheld every Tuesday at 6:30.  They provide regular gatherings and give residents the opportunity to meet with and get to know one another.  It also increases visibility, safety, and beautification in the neighborhood.
  • Increased communication with landlords and scheduled a landlord workshop at Webster on June 30th
  • Community Meetings
  • Energy Reduction Workshop – 13 residents made their homes more energy efficient through Community Energy Services (Center for Energy and Environment)

 

Organizational Accomplishments

  • Community Participation Program (CPP) application submitted and approved bringing $26,450 to St. Anthony East
  • NRP Phase I Report submitted
  • SAENA office was updated and in the process of being organized
  • Maintained attractive and usable website
  • Increased regular communication with neighborhood residents by sending newsletters and more frequent email and postcard communication
  • Increased 311 calls and reports
  • Growing interest and support in community garden (5 people are on a waiting list)
  • Made many new connections with residents
  • Made progress on neighborhood dog park
  • 2011 Policing Plan
  • Worked with the Minneapolis Parks and Rec. Board to remove tree stumps and plant new trees in St. Anthony Park.

 

Evaluation

 

This past year was a fantastic opportunity for SAENA to increase outreach in the neighborhood and continue the ongoing efforts that help build community. Through various communication outlets, neighborhood events, and community meetings, we addressed the needs of the neighborhood and its individuals. However, this year was not without difficulties. We had to adapt to changes in the way the City supports neighborhoods, with the transition of the NRP to NCR and reductions to NRP Phase II funds taking place. We were in between NRP Phase I and Phase II, so we did not roll out any new, large projects. Even the weather was a challenging factor in our efforts. We went door-to-door in the coldest weeks of the year for the CEE workshop, had our first neighborhood walk in 102˚ weather and were rained out of two others, were rained out of our original Plant Give Away, and got rain toward the end of the rescheduled Plant Give Away and Ice Cream Social. Despite the unfavorable weather, our residents braved the elements and came out to participate in these events with their family, friends, and neighbors. We are proud of our accomplishments and want to continue to build our capacity. Our goals include increasing involvement in our neighborhood association, community engagement and community building, use of our NRP home loan programs, enroll more block club leaders, increase 311 and 911 calls, and commencement of our NRP Phase II Neighborhood Action Plan.

 

We are excited to have made connections with many residents and look forward to building on the progress made this next year. We will continue our forward momentum, but to be truly successful, we need your involvement.  We want your ideas and your commitment.  It is your neighborhood, and it can be as great as you want it to be.

Plan for the Coming Year

 

NRP Phase II

 

We will submit our Phase II Neighborhood Action Plan and begin implementing programs and projects this year. As of right now our funding for Phase II is $239,336. At least 70% of this needs to go to housing programs, so we will be making decisions on how to distribute the remaining $71,800. We intend to use part of this money to develop a master plan for the neighborhood and will solicit your input as we move forward on that. After gauging input in a neighborhood meeting, residents identified neighborhood priorities and provided input on projects they would like to invest in. This is a list of priorities that were identified:

 

  • Safety Lighting
  • Master Planning
  • Housing Loan Programs
  • Professional newsletter
  • Increase Neighborhood Involvement
  • Focused Inspections
  • Neighborhood Beautification
  • Public Safety (overtime police)
  • Traffic Calming
  • More Youth Programs
  • Encouragement of home ownership of multi-unit dwellings

 

We have begun pursuing some of these areas already and have found promising results in the following:

 

  • Implement housing programs that positively impact the safety, livability, and value of properties in St. Anthony East. We will continue to work with the Housing Resource Center to establish housing programs that fit the needs specific to our neighborhood.
  • Develop a master plan for the neighborhood. This would help the neighborhood shape future decisions in land use, housing and business development, and ensure that the neighborhood’s interest is always accounted for. Appointment of Task Force to lead the effort.
  • Add safety street lighting in the neighborhood, starting with Madison and Jefferson Streets. These streets were selected for the pilot project based upon recommendations by our Crime Prevention Specialists. We have received the required initial indication of interest by obtaining the required 35% approval from residents on these Streets.   Our next step is to send this petition to the City.  The City will evaluate the project and advise of next steps. The next phase will require support from 70% of affected property owners.

 

Dog Park

  • The dog park has the unique benefits of promote community building and safety by utilizing a space that is currently unused. It will increase activity in Community Commons Park and reduce the opportunity for crime. We are speaking with residents that live next to the proposed dog park location through door-to-door conversations and will establish a process for dealing with issues that may arise.

 

New Annual Event

  • SAENA will establish a new Annual Community Event this year. We want your ideas on what you want for this event and your involvement in making it happen. Good food, entertainment, and games will be offered.

 

Increase Block Club Involvement

  • Facilitate block club activity by recruiting individuals to become block club leaders and increase communication with existing block clubs

 

Restructure Meetings, Add Committees and Advisory Board

  • Our regular meetings will better serve the neighborhood by using the full time allotment for community discussion and presentations focused on a single issue that is important to the neighborhood. We will have time before the community meetings to have a snack and socialize with each other. My recommendation to the board at our next meeting will be to hold board meetings on a quarterly basis.
  • We are adding committees and have sign-up sheets available in the back of the room.  Initial committees include annual event, community builder awards, block club leaders and Master Planning.
  • In addition, to avail ourselves of the wisdom of people who have a long history of community involvement and leadership, but are stepping down from the Board, I am establishing an Advisory Board and will ask for continued service in this format, perhaps with meetings 2x per year, although details have yet to be finalized.

 

Communications and Reach in the Neighborhood

  • Continue quarterly newsletters, increase email database, use phone banking to promote initiatives, increase traffic on SAENA website, and use public space and local businesses to post information.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s