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The Direction of Community Planning and Economic Development

On January 29th, 2020, the Minneapolis City Council reappointed Director David Frank to the City's Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) department. Dozens of community members showed up to testify and call for a CPED that has a bolder vision and a community strategy. The hope is that these comments will lead to a directive from City Council that CPED prioritize issues that are important to community like affordable housing and stopping gentrification.

What is CPED and why does it matter?

CPED is organized into four divisions: Long Range Planning, Housing Development and Policy, Economic Development and Policy, and Development Services. The department oversees permits for new development and other building projects in the city. Their budget is over $100 million, which is a lot of your property tax dollars.

The graphic below, by our friends at The Alliance, does a great job explaining:

So what's the problem?

Community members across the city have seen development happening in their neighborhoods that doesn't reflect the people who live there. While there is good work coming out of the CPED department, our city is still struggling with a housing crisis, small businesses need more support to be successful and compete with large corporations, and large-scale development continues to gentrify communities and create disproportionate investment in different areas of Minneapolis.

How does this impact Powderhorn?

A great example is the new SoPhi building that was just built on the corner of Chicago Ave and Lake St. Despite a lot of community concern about the lack of affordability and the potential consequences for our neighborhood, there was no way for that community input to change the course of events. Even though many community members showed up to testify, there is no process for the City to prevent development based on community concern, and this is something we need CPED's help to change.

What are we asking for?

A group of advocates, renters, and community members are calling on City Council to direct CPED to shift priorities and practices to create the city we claim we want: one where everyone is housed, small businesses can thrive, and people aren't pushed out of their neighborhoods. We are calling for a CPED that prioritizes the needs and desires of the residents of Minneapolis over large developers looking to make a profit.

This should be large scale commitments, like racial justice training for staff or acknowledging that there is an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis. It should also include more pointed, specific tactics like creating requirements that housing developments include units available at 30% AMI and lower rather than 60%, championing policy changes, or overhauling the City's 2% loan program.

Council Members Lisa Bender, Jeremy Schroeder, and Cam Gordon are working on a directive that would guide CPED into a shift; that should materialize in the next week or two. In the meantime, City Council did approve the reappointment of CPED Director David Frank. We look forward to working with him to shape the changes of the department to better reflect priorities of the people living in Minneapolis.



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