Clean up properties to promote stronger, safer neighborhoods
Thanks to $1.25 million in additional funding provided by Hennepin County, Minneapolis is beginning an accelerated effort on the North Side to improve neighborhood livability and encourage investment by demolishing the vacant and boarded properties that are unrecoverable and the most detrimental to neighborhoods. The demolition work is one way Minneapolis and its partners are working collaboratively to stabilize and secure neighborhoods, especially in areas hard-hit by foreclosures. The Hennepin County funding is geared toward north-side neighborhoods, but the additional funding gives Minneapolis the flexibility to address properties in all areas of the city.
In an average year, Minneapolis carries out about 50 tear-downs. This summer, City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County staff did field surveys of 250 properties on the City’s Chapter 249 list, which consists of vacant and boarded buildings. Through a careful screening process, they worked to identify 50 additional properties that were the best candidates for demolition. In some cases, vacant and boarded buildings are more than an eyesore; they can decrease the security of a neighborhood and even pose a public safety threat. Many properties also have structural problems that would prohibit them from ever being rehabilitated into quality housing.
A maintenance plan has been put in place to guarantee that the vacant lots will be well-maintained once the structures are removed. Each lot will be graded and seeded for grass, and City staff will inspect the properties weekly for the next year to ensure they are well maintained by the owners.
Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development has in place a five-point strategy to restore a healthy housing market in north Minneapolis that addresses foreclosures and focuses on prevention of, rehabilitation and removal of boarded and vacant properties. Work also focuses on the promotion of reinvestment in neighborhoods, the retention of residents and ways attract a healthy mix of stable residents. As part of that work, the City has increased funding for the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program and coordinates closely with non-profit partners to quickly acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed
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