Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association
Minutes from
July 13, 1999 Board of Directors Meeting

A regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, Inc. (DMNA) was held on Tuesday, July 13, 1999 at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Room 310, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I.    Call to Order and Announcements

With a quorum present, Monroe Bell, Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.  Other board members present were Larry Calhoun, Dolores Cotten, Secretary, Andy Hauer, Sue Jahn, Ashu Kataria, Al Smith, Treasurer, and Carletta Sweet, Co-Secretary.  Board members unable to attend were Jonathan Specktor, and Joan Wilshire.  Nonboard members in attendance included Ken Becker (resident of The Crossings), Lisa Goodman (7th Ward Councilmember) and her Administrative Assistant, Douglas Gardner, Scott Engel (DMNA/NRP Coordinator), Sharon Fisher (University of St. Thomas), Laura Lazar (DMNA Finance Committee member), Annette Rodriquez (People Serving People, Inc.), and Neil Weber (Architect for PSP). 

The Chair announced that the recent resignation of Michael Murphy created two DMNA vacancies:  a board of director vacancy (which Sharon Fisher of St. Thomas had expressed to the Chair a desire to fulfill and for which action would be taken at a later date), and a Restorative Justice committee member vacancy.

The Chair also announced Paul Barber’s pending move from Centre Village to Loring Park, and assured the board that despite this move, under city law, Paul is still eligible to continue his association with DMNA as webmaster and as DMNA representative on LRT since he continues to be a downtown employee, and that Paul expressed a desire to continue in this capacity.

The Chair then brought the board up-to-date regarding the issue of a fiscal agent.  Upon the recommendation of the DMNA Finance Committee to obtain a fiscal agent, the Chair spoke with Bob Miller, Director of the city’s NRP, who strongly urged DMNA to follow through on this since it would strengthen the association to have its accounting work done according to state and city regulations, and recommended to the Chair to seek the assistance of Project for Pride in Living for such a fiscal agent.  After speaking with Project for Pride in Living, they referred the Chair to a University of St. Thomas publication that Michael Murphy’s office subsequently provided.  In that publication (Exhibit 1), which is supported by seven organizations (e.g., MAP for Nonprofits, the McKnight Foundation, United Way), were explanations as to why these organizations are turning away from using a fiscal agent.  So for the time being this issue remains unresolved.

The Chair also expressed the desire to continue conducting DMNA Executive Committee meetings approximately mid way between the scheduled monthly Board of Directors meeting, the next one proposed for Saturday, July 31.

II.  Action on the Minutes

The Chair turned to the matter of the minutes from the June 8, 1999 board meeting for comments/revisions.  Dee moved that since she had called the Chair prior to the last meeting to advise of her absence, that her name be included as “unable to attend.”  Carletta seconded the motion and there being no further discussion or debate, the motion was carried unanimously.

III.    People Serving People (PSP) Housing Update

The Chair prefaced his introduction of the PSP and downtown zoning and housing updates by emphasizing their importance on DMNA’s agenda.  Since affordable housing is a critical issue in the city of Minneapolis, and since DMNA’s First Step Plan had only allocated 15 to 20 percent of its NRP funds to this issue (as opposed to the required 50 percent), going forward DMNA would be legally required to allocate almost 100 percent of its next $1.5 million NRP funds to housing.  Therefore, in an attempt to rectify the affordable housing situation, the Chair felt that the emergency transitional housing project would be an appropriate agenda item.  The Chair then distributed a draft memo (Exhibit 2) in support of the PSP project (echoing the support of the Mayor, Councilmembers Joan Campbell and Lisa Goodman, the County Commissioner, and the neighborhood associations from Elliott Park and Stevens Square), for board review.

Annette Rodriguez explained that since PSP’s lease at 400 South 10th Street would not be renewed, they purchased the property at 251 Portland Avenue, and are now in the process of disseminating information about the organization (a shelter for families and children) to all of the appropriate neighborhood associations to garner support.  Annette enumerated some of the statistics related to PSP’s current operation:  nightly housing for up to 400 people (a 98 percent occupancy rate) mostly through vouchers from Hennepin County; average family size of 3 (one adult with two children); over 200 children housed per night; average child’s age of 7 years.  Annette distributed PSP’s Capital Initiative 2001 plan for board review (Exhibit 3).  Neil Weber further explained that PSP is going through a programming phase to put physical shape to their “ideal” requirements in their new facility with the goal of helping people from dysfunctional situations by providing them with the necessary skills and counseling to enable them to move into mainstream society.

IV.  Downtown Zoning & Housing Update

Lisa stated that she has been very active on the council regarding affordable housing issues.  As context, she further explained that the city recently reconstituted the City County Homelessness Task Force that was developed in 1989 and contained a series of recommendations that helped solve some of the housing problems in the early ‘90s.  Now that the city is back to square one with serious symptomatic housing problems, they are hoping this joint task force will address these current housing problems.  Lisa expressed the opinion that PSP’s current location is an abominable situation since it is a gateway to downtown and that the building is in horrific condition (next to a formerly premier building, the Drake Hotel, that is also being used as transitional housing), that the city is not thrilled about how PSP operates, and as a result the current owners of the property will not renew PSP’s lease.  However PSP is facing serious obstacles in relocating to  251 Portland Avenue due to a significant lack of neighbor (e.g., Star Tribune) support, and the special zoning requirements to operate a transitional/supportive/ homelessness-type housing which in order for PSP property to comply would require a change in the zoning code.  Under the new H Zoning code (an overlay), 75 percent of the property owners within a 300-yard radius of the site must agree to the zoning change and since votes are weighed by the total amount of property owned, PSP currently lacks the necessary votes.  However since the city is revamping its entire zoning code classifications, the city will most likely redraft the code to accommodate the proposed PSP facility.

Andy moved and Dee seconded supporting the proposed PSP facility at 251 Portland Avenue. There being no further discussion or debate, the motion was carried unanimously.

Turning to the more specific issue of zoning, Lisa distributed and then summarized the Downtown Council’s and BOMA’s Report from the Ad Hoc Zoning Committee (Exhibit 4).  The proposed downtown zoning code (as presented and as testified to in public hearings) enjoys broad support from downtown residents and many of the small downtown businesses, but continues to receive strong opposition from large developers and large downtown business owners whose primary concern involves the site planning review process.

In closing, Lisa announced to upcoming events:  Lunch with Lisa on July 28 at 11:45 a.m., at the Acadia Café with Representative Margaret ______________________ (Scott please verify) who will give a legislative report; and National Night Out on August 3 at 5:00.

V.  Land Use and Development Committee Resolutions

The Chair distributed Al Smith’s and Scott Engel’s resolution to form a standing committee of the DMNA on Land Use & Development, and to include Sue Jahn to sit on said committee in addition to the five names (Ken Beck who sits on the Minneapolis Police Department Civilian Review Board, and Michael Kraus (Scott please verify), Executive Director of the Green Institute and contributing writer of the Skyway News, both nonboard members) listed on the resolution.  Andy moved and Dee seconded adoption of said resolution.  After further discussion regarding the committee’s role, the motion was carried unanimously.

VI.  NRP Implementation Committee Report

Scott advised the board that the Implementation Committee has begun advertising (through the Twin Cities neighborhood email forum, University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute, etc.), for the housing coordinator position.  The DMNA Employment Committee will review all potential candidates and will expect to have a recommendation for board approval by the August 10 board meeting.   Scott also mentioned that the Downtown Council is working on hiring a coordinator for the ambassador program, and that since the police buyback contract has been approved, the Implementation Committee will meet with Sergeant Pat Helen and Luther Kruger of PCP Safe at their next meeting on Thursday, July 15.  In addition, the committee is working with the Historic Preservation Commission to further develop the word mural project, and working with the Public Works Department on the kiosk project developing the orientation signs.  No action was required of the board.

VII.  Other Business

Addressing the issue of the Restorative Justice committee member vacancy, Dee moved and Andy seconded to appoint Laura Lazar (a downtown resident and downtown employee) to serve along with Dee as DMNA’s main representatives on the Restorative Justice committee, with Monroe serving as alternate.  The motion was unanimously carried.

The Chair expressed concern that since the Restorative Justice program has been in place for 3 years and is attempting to move from a pilot program status to a permanent program status, and since no DMNA board member has seen or received an auditor’s report or any other financial statement, and further since DMNA appears on the Restorative Justice program letterhead, the Chair has insisted that this type of information be routinely submitted to the board henceforth.

The Chair then updated the board on current board member terms:  that four board members are serving their first year of a 2-year term (Dee Cotton, Larry Calhoun, Sue Jahn, and Al Smith), and that the remaining eight board members’ 2-year terms will expire in November.  Board vacancy replacements are not eligible to serve out the remaining term of the vacancy filled.

Cecile Bedor of the Central Community Housing Trust (established in 1986) briefed the board on CCHT’s board membership (i.e., 2 representatives elected from each of the five CCNP organizations, seven members elected by residents of her building, then they in turn appoint seven members at large who bring special expertise to the board), and its mission (i.e, to serve the homeless, working poor, and those at the high end of moderate income).  Cecile also noted that CCHT will not do a project without a city-recognized citizen participation organization approval.

The Chair then mentioned that Jonathan had previously requested of Joan to serve on the DMNA Employment Committee and that Joan agreed to do so if appointed.  Larry then moved and Carletta seconded to appoint Joan Wilshire to the DMNA Employment Committee.  There being no further discussion or debate, the motion was carried unanimously.

Sue updated the board on her and Dee’s activities (securing gift certifications from several local restaurants and musical entertainment by Corn Bread Harris) in preparation for National Night Out to be located on Second Avenue North and First Street North on Tuesday, August 3, 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Carletta then moved and Larry seconded that Scott include all exhibits and attachments related to the minutes going forward.  The motion was carried unanimously.

VIII.  Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Exhibit 1

 [Insert University of St. Thomas brochure]

Exhibit 2

[Insert Chair’s draft memo in support of PSP project]

Exhibit 3

[Insert PSP’s Capital Initiative 2001 document]

Exhibit 4

[Insert Report from the Ad Hoc Zoning Committee]