Stevens Square to unveil NRP Phase II plan

The Stevens Square Community Organization will host a neighborhood meeting to explain its Neighborhood Revitalization Program Phase II plan and seek comments Wednesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m., at the Van Dusen Mansion, 1900 LaSalle Ave.

SSCO has developed a $2.6 million, 5-year plan, organizing spending under the broad headings of Housing and Development ($1.5 million), Outreach ($455,000), Arts and Greening ($338,000) and Safety ($253,000).

The neighborhood group will use the 5-year plan to develop its NRP Phase II plan, said Executive Director Doug Kress. SSCO could expect to get roughly $1.6 million in the next round of NRP, according to the NRP website.

Big-ticket items in the 5-year plan include $500,000 for a residential rehabilitation loan fund and $500,000 for a new commercial loan fund. Small-ticket items include $10,100 to encourage the installation/adoption of window boxes.

SSCO will redraft the plan based on public comments, Kress said. It plans to bring a final plan to a neighborhood-wide vote in October. If residents OK the plan, it would go to the NRP Policy Board and City Council for final approval.

The Stevens Square/Loring Heights neighborhood borders are Franklin Avenue, Lyndale Avenue, I-94 and I-35W. It is a neighborhood with a high concentration of renters.

The City Council has put a premium on funding affordable housing in NRP Phase II.

The SSCO 5-year plan has more money for housing initiatives than it might appear, Kress said. In addition to the $500,000 residential rehabilitation loan fund, the $500,000 commercial loan program is intended to support mixed-use development along Nicollet Avenue — including both rental and home ownership opportunities.

Yet Stevens Square needed to add safety and commercial corridor development in addition to housing, Kress said.

"We need to be viable as a neighborhood for the residents," he said. "There needs to be places for people to shop and patronize, so we can welcome people — so we can compete with other communities."

The 5-year plan includes money for SSCO staff: $199,000 to carry out the housing and development plan; $175,000 for the safety coordinator, and $75,000 for the outreach and events coordinator. Those positions make up 17 percent of the $2.6 million budget.

Other items in the proposed 5-year plan include:

 

  • $250,000 to continue to build relationships with residents, businesses and community organizations through cultural training, translation services and interactive programs;

     

     

  • $180,000 to support development of Red Hot Art, a neighborhood art fair focusing on local talent;

     

     

  • $100,000 to enhance the Nicollet Avenue bridge;

     

     

  • $100,000 to encourage the development of the "Avenue of the Arts" concept on 3rd Avenue;

     

     

  • $100,000 to support Movies and Music in the Park; and

     

     

  • $20,000 to maintain and improve street lighting.

     

    For more information, call SSCO at 871-7307.