Whittier approves draft $7.4-millon NRP Phase II plan

The Whittier Alliance has approved a draft plan for its $7.4-million second phase of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program. Plan goals include:


  • Increasing home ownership through conversion of rental units and new construction



  • Increasing safety by adding pedestrian lighting



  • Making Whittier more kid-friendly, including a search for a neighborhood youth space.


    The draft plan devotes:


  • $3.7 million to housing (50 percent of the NRP budget);



  • $912,000 to safety (12.5 percent);



  • $912,000 to youth (12.5 percent);



  • $730,000 to business and local economy (10 percent);



  • $730,000 to administration (10 percent); and



  • $365,000 for community building (5 percent).


    The figures could change depending on NRP’s funding.

    The Alliance invites residents, workers and property owners to a Wednesday Aug. 7 meeting at Whittier School, West 26th and Grand Avenue, 7-8:30 p.m., for comment.

    The Alliance will then write a final version of the plan and make it available by Sept. 1, Alliance staff said. A final neighborhood vote is set for Sept. 25.

    Whittier is bounded by Lyndale Avenue, Franklin Avenue, I-35W and Lake Street and includes Eat Street, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and a diverse population. Of its 7,000-plus housing units, 89 percent are rental.

    The plan’s highlights include the following;

    Housing. The plan devotes $730,000 — or 20 percent of all housing dollars — to affordable housing. It also has $500,000 for a deferred loan program to encourage historic preservation. The top priority is converting rental property to home ownership.

    Safety. The top priority is hiring a full-time safety coordinator using existing staff time. The largest single expenditure is $500,000 for pedestrian lighting. Other items include adding police and bike patrols ($150,000 NRP; $150,000 other sources) and childcare ($25,000).

    Youth. The top priority is developing a neighborhood youth resources databank and a feasibility study for a neighborhood youth space — "a common space where youth and families can access information about programs, computer labs, tutoring/mentoring/employment programs…"

    Community-building. The top priority is outreach to the diverse groups in the neighborhood, including Hispanic and Somali residents ($200,000 from NRP, $100,000 other sources).

    After the neighborhood and board approve the plan, it needs to pass the NRP Policy Board and the City Council. Alliance staff said it hopes to get all necessary approvals by year’s end to start work in 2003.

    For more information, call the Alliance at 871-7756.