A report by John Keefe on the Cedar-Riverside and urban renewal project. Includes various interviews with local residents.
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There is a small unique area in Minneapolis located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River and adjacent to the university. It is known as cedar-riverside. This area is the object of a planned urban renewal project since its origination. The renewal project has been the object of very much controversy due largely to the fact that the residents are especially fond of their Community as it is I asked some of the residents and shopkeepers to describe their area.It's really a very strange neighborhood until probably about 15 years ago. It was mainly bars and I think a red light district and third of a colorful while other side of the tracks type of neighborhood. Then why don't the university expanded over here a lot of fun with happening in Dinkytown, maybe 10 years ago is happening over here. Now coffee houses. So small shops handmade stuff a lot of young people living in sort of unconventional lifestyles and it's that's not good combination. It's probably about half people under 25 and maybe the other half people over 65 and we get along pretty well. Like I think this part of town is that can't be beat as far as the good things for the people and they're doing things that are going to It's constantly moving and it's a very fluid station around here. Four five years ago very few students and lot of older people. And every year did changes and it gets a reputation and the reputation of course enhance the sorts of ideas and people coming to the area for those kinds of things. It's known to have a lot of heads and it's known to have a lot of little Meat Shops. And yeah, I'm sure there people that take old tourist tours around the area. And it's kind of helped by. By the fact that once he gets a reputation certain other things help it along. I don't like a lot of the buildings that are giant pains and one almost feels that you're living in cartoonland and the age of the kids has gone down lower and lower. We have a lot of 16 14 year olds lot of kids who come in after school and dress and a lot of kids who are from rich neighborhood to come and live here for the summer or whatever. And so it's it's it's gradually changing and And supposedly I suppose in the Twin City area to place where you know, what heads can meet other heads and where dope can be bought but there are a lot of other things that happen to have one of the best thing very good dance company theaters to have a lot of just need people, you know, the reality of it is a very complex thing and I get very uptight when people try to do is superficial to sort of thing either by saying it's just all hippies and it's got to be cleaned up for this is real and they had to really freaking eat place to live on somewhere. There's a reality Theron its Community made up of Have a really wide Continuum of different types of different personalities and so far they've been integrating quite well. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority has very comprehensive plans for this area the Cedar Riverside urban renewal plan, which was passed by the city council in 1968 was specifically designed to recognize the potentiality of the area and is designed to provide desperately needed housing for students and staff of the educational and medical institutions in the area. University community properties is the corporation which owns most of the property involved. It is operated by the partners of Heller and Siegel. They have worked very hard at developing plans to submit to HRA for approval. They seem to be Progressive and complete but the residents have reservations about the plan and also resent the fact that they haven't been consulted about it for the Ministerial Association simply because we haven't had a chance to meet since this issue became current but I think I can speak for a memorial for a moral point and also let you know in a way it's a logical point and won't be I won't be too long but the point is that People any many people have Ohio ride higher than than any human law has to control their own destiny and something very significant is happening in that regard in this area. And that is people are beginning to come together into a real Community which will speak with one voice on your shoes. When any member of a community is threatened from Forsyth outside. Community. Now, I'm in coming together this way we are or what we're saying is that no longer are we to be dealt with piecemeal and one-by-one like when you deal with one of us to deal with all of us is that This kind of community is something new. It's something is happening all over our country and all over the world. I think it's something you wanted to happening right here in Minneapolis now right here in Cedar Riverside and what it is raining at is a new kind of society in which humanity is the first value not money not profit but humanity and people's individual and Collective fulfillment as human being and that kind of fulfillment in take place. Only if people are the people's rights to determine their own destiny are recognized by everyone who deals with him and for a long time. I was taking the church a long time to recognize this I thinking more and more of the church is recognizing this and I just want to say that from my point of view and from front of you a lot of my brother clergyman, the the church is solidly behind efforts like this at expressing the collective will of the community. A very into that and they have cook Professor cooperman sociology how we all plan planning integration of different economic Force Communications, you know, like sidewalks will be designed for people to talk. And wonderful feeling that's really nice. But you know takes all the response of the living from me this hope kind of planned Community is a very scary thing is very scary and that you're taking a plan of living type amount that would appeal to certain people and not other people. By making it so complete. You really excluding a certain population a certain type that you really don't want a scary to have planned. It's playing Community looking at me funny scary. Just you know, okay, wherever you live in your house or whatever you're living with somebody else's ideas, you know as far as architecture and you can change things, but when everything is brought up to the optimum conditions of plan living version of Apple Valley kids and young college professors, and so we have a nice intellectual Apple Valley. Did you see the best way to kill this kind of an area in this kind of character would be to eliminate possibility for grade 2 verse? People won't be able to live here. Sigal avin mind eventually is the whole area. Apartments and they're what their idea of shops is that and they also want to take down most of the shops that line Cedar Avenue. I don't know what their idea of what should go there is but sort of a stainless steel type of little man or less department store type thing like Dayton here in the house thing with little things to appeal to Suburban high school students or something. So therefore they were black. This presents of volatile situation, whereby the concerns of the young are clashing with those of the institutions and as with similar confrontations throughout the country misconceptions hostilities and frustrations arise. Just come down to one thing that people that want to make money off the money. They have you got so much money. You want to make more money? how to make more money and I want to make more money All I want to do is get us out of here. Are plastic stainless steel pipe American culture seems to be assertive. Encroaching all the time. So the powers that are in control right now the university in the inhaler and seal refuse to let the residents have a voice and refused it. Recognize the community is being the people rather than the physical structures. Then there's going to have to be a confrontation. This one guy who is SO2 meeting recently. Probably about 60 65 and he's pretty fired up about on you saying that he's not planning on leaving, you know until the bulldozers come. carry more physically or something The residents do have many extremely good suggestions. They have very legitimate concerns. That should be taken into account. a lot of fun what's nice about the area's lot of the buildings really are physically, really nice lot of the triangle bars the complex of buildings between 24th and 3rd on cedar for the this big mural Daniel Hall Bashas bookstore up the street and Old Fire Barn coincidentally just got bought out by Helen C going to snap to try to relocate someplace. How do you change your email from by the people remove to housing inspector? Okay, if you're going to be okay, I talked I criticize Helen seigel for not being realistic and play This Land is extremely expensive. So I realize that if you're going to do anything with it that we just can't have one and two-story walk has no land values won't permit that I mean that's unfortunate land values have been inflated. I realize that now they're artificially inflated. But okay, that's a situation. That's a situation have to deal with I think that there have been some interesting models to study. Unfortunately, I think a couple years ago you could have maybe 10 things like with Philadelphia's to it. Philadelphia is asking a certain type of frame on the outside and you can do anything you want in the inside. They're doing a colonial thing. And they're having pretty much except son. The World's Fair in Montreal, you know of different types. They weren't a square building but everybody had like a you know, like some Landon, you know, like a little planning and one got the feeling that you were living in a piece of thing that was a house, you know, just because you weren't on stacked on top of one another I can't I don't know they were cubicos that were placed on each other and different angles. I don't know if that gives you an idea what I'm talking about student housing is doing some interesting things. Now that there are programs that are designed to me high density possible. I'm not an architect. So I really can't give you program but I know kind of the things that would that would be that people want people want some place where one of the biggest things if you can have a whole house. How has certain kind of connotations? It's yours, even if you're renting to me. And it has a connotation has two boy, and I think we're really worried about it. Some place like you see out by the airport since of these Google units where people move in for 6 months. this area scary enough, you know to live because You know, you have a situation where everything is temporary temporary that you going to school with temporary that you're only making so much money temporary that you only living in this place. And if you have apartment buildings like a bistro by the airport or lot of other places. you know, I mean I really start believing that that really starts having an effect on you on this debility of your lie, and I thought I think that there are other alternatives. Is an emotional part that music as well. I mean everybody that I know is moved into apartment has the major regeneration, you know people of painted and then meet things I mean just have to walk around the area and see these nice houses and with these people be so inspired if they had a brand new apartment building anything brand new unfortunately seem so sterile that People, you know, what does environment start feeling very hostile towards that environment. I think it's a financially greater risk to start billing, you know for that reason. a realistic side of realize that you can only hold so many people in these apartments and And if there is going to be have to be some change me the certain feelings, I'd like to maintain just because her beautiful Billings, cautious which is an Old Firehouse in this is truly need bookstore according to my car. So can you ask him about apart there's tons and tons of books and he'll say oh, yes. I think it's over there and pick it up for you and it's and it's I think it's one of the oldest Firehouse listen to sippy. I was telling you earlier about above Richter's drugstore. It's really nice. It's it's like an old theater it has it shaped like a horseshoe. It has a horseshoe balcony. It's really beautiful. The building itself is quite neat. Really very nice. Holtermann's is known throughout the city and I'm sure the price in Minnesota is Scandinavian that's been here, things. There are like 1920 vintage. And for so many of us these things are for stability just because they are old and in their their point of reference. You know, if anything if we've learned anything about communal living or psychology of living in the city is that people have to have points of references. No, and the urban renewal program that I've seen like a Gateway Center the towers. Please have any points of references and I think that's why people start becoming hostile and start attacking their environment. No name Lee the apartment building. Don't matter how many plans Optimum eating places you have on sidewalks until you have those kinds of points of reference. I don't think you're going to have the community that you want. To implement these plans and proposals they have to be acknowledged either by university community properties or the HRA. They have no power without that acknowledgement. They are organizing and striving for that goal He is building an organization known as the Cedar Riverside Community Union. This organization will enable us to take the steps necessary for the people of our community to have a voice in the makeup and style of this area. It is not our intention to back university community properties into a corner. We are prepared to negotiate these issues and to allow university community property to establish true ties of solidarity with the residents of the West Bank. According to federal law HRA can designate a residents group called a pack group project area committee. Which can play a part in the planning for a project the knot. They don't have to do that. What we're trying to do is set up a group that can could feasibly be designated pack group and get enough community support and enough power to pressure HRA into Doesn't my next pack group that's the ultimate goal is community control of the community. Let's hope that this effort won't be ignored by the institutions involved in the future of Cedar Riverside. I'd like to thank Father Bill Tesco Steve Lowry and Katie Gruen and other residents and shopkeepers in the area and also the Department of Housing and Redevelopment for their cooperation in this program.