Stevens Square to vote on revised NRP plan Nov. 11

The Stevens Square Community Organization’s (SSCO) quarterly meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 11 at the Van Dusen Mansion, 1900 LaSalle Ave. at 6:30 p.m. The agenda includes a vote on the organization’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program’s (NRP) Phase II action plan.

The original plan was approved this spring, when SSCO’s estimated share was $1.6 million. Since then, budget problems forced public officials to roll that back to $376,000. The SSCO must revise its action plan and receive approval from a quorum of at least 25 Stevens Square residents. The original vote included over 80 residents.

Commercial-development funding was cut from the budget. SSCO had planned economic development incentives using loans, grants and matching funds to help develop a Nicollet Avenue The plan, to spend $100,000 per year for five years, has been abandoned.

"Given that 70 percent had to go to housing, all we could fund was a small amount into staffing in the realm of housing development and safety," said Julie Filapek, SSCO’s director. "Each of those are at $45,000. Eleven thousand dollars went to two other areas. One was the environment, for things like public gardening, the other was for citizen engagement and outreach events."

SSCO is the city’s officially recognized citizen participation group for Stevens Square, which stretches from Lyndale Avenue to I-35W between I-94 and West Franklin Avenue. The neighborhood has approximately 3,950 residents.

The NRP money comes with stipulations. No more than 70 percent can be spent in the first three years, and at least 70 percent must be earmarked for housing and housing-related purposes.

"The money will be spent to create a stable and desirable neighborhood and create opportunities for long-term residency," Filapek said.