As the New Year is here I see this emerging as one of my priorities for 2008.
On December 19 at Morrill Hall The University Area Neighborhood Alliance had our first real working meeting. This is the new collaborative effort we worked so hard to get formed as part of the legislation that funded the new Gophers football stadium
. It grew from the 2007 report
by the University of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis, and area the neighborhoods entitled “Moving Forward Together
In response to the report, and along with approving funding for the stadium, the legislature appropriated $750,000 to support the creation of the alliance and to provide for one or more demonstration projects. The alliance includes the neighborhoods of Cedar Riverside, Marcy-Holmes, South East Como, University and Prospect Park.
The seventeen-member alliance steering committee is comprised of a representative of each of the neighborhoods, as well as four business association representatives, two student representatives, three City of Minneapolis representatives and three University of Minnesota representatives. I am one of the City’s representatives. Each of the neighborhood organizations represented on the alliance has two votes in matters that come before the alliance.
The Alliance is Charged to.
1. Facilitate, initiate, or manage projects with the Board of Regents, City of Minneapolis, or other public or private entities that are intended to maintain the university partnership district as a viable place to study, research, and live.
2. Develop and implement through its member partners one or more demonstration projects provided for in the legislation, pursuant to the direction expressed in the neighborhood impact report.
3. Develop a vision and master plan for the University Partnership District.
4. Identify and engage other partners, financial resources, and potential leverage to achieve the vision for the district.
5. Enlist the participation of other essential stakeholders in the University Partnership District.
6. Communicate effectively with the broader constituencies of the alliance members and other partners, to build and sustain consensus and support for the work of the alliance.
7. Review and assess effectiveness of the organizational structure, geographic boundaries, scope, and strategic direction of the alliance, and adjust as necessary by January 2009.
8. Submit a report to the MN Legislature that shows positive outcomes from the demonstration projects, the accomplishments of the alliance, an inspiring plan for future action, and a proposal for sustained and substantial State support for the future work of the alliance by January 2009.
At the first meeting we elected two co-chairs: Dick Poppele, Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association President, and Karen Himle, Vice President for University Relations.
We also established four work teams. I will be leading up and convening meetings the Demonstration Project(s) work team.
Here’s a list of the teams and members:
a) Demonstration Project(s) Work Team: Cam Gordon, Marilyn Burns, Doris Wickstrom, Kris Nelson, Mike Christenson, Melissa Bean, Jan Morlock.
b) Early Start Initiatives Work Team: Wendy Menken, Kendre Turonie, Jan Morlock.
c) Resources and Partnerships Work Team: Arvonne Fraser, Karen Himle, Jan Morlock.
d) Vision and Long Term Plan Work Team: Wendy Menken, Dick Gilyard, Fitz, Alex Fink, Jan Morlock.
At this time there is great pressure and a great opportunity centered about the "demonstration project." I think that if we can show that the Alliance is an effective tool for really making positive change in the area we can leverage that success to leverage more resources and establish the Alliance and more lasting organization to insure the long term quality of neighborhoods around the University.
Clearly this group has enormous potential to transform the relationships between the neighborhoods, the University and the City in more effective and positive collaborative ways.
I am very excited about the next steering committee meeting Thursday, January 24, and all the work ahead on this in 2008.