This article was written by Danielle Tietjen
Neighborhoods have a long history of being defined around commercial hubs, schools or through issue based organizing. However, in the early 1990s, the division of the city into official neighborhoods and communities occurred as part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). This funding is in addition to the Community Participation Program (CPP), which funds community engagement and programing that fit the needs of the community they serve.
The City’s current contract with roughly 70 Neighborhood Associations are schedule to conclude at the end of 2020. Minneapolis residents have varied experiences with neighborhood associations and the impact they’ve had. For some, neighborhood associations have historically been ineffective in their communication and engagement with outdated or selective programing. To others, neighborhood associations have been pivotal in advocating for equitable development, emergency services, youth programming, access to information and more.
For the Northside, neighborhood associations have seen great change over the last few years. Boards are more reflective of the communities they serve, bridging a gap with disenfranchised groups of renters, POCI and younger folks. The programs and events being offered are working towards greater accessibility and transparency with a focus on celebrating the beautiful multicultural strength of the community they serve.
Neighborhoods 2020 is a Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) project to reflect and build on what was an innovative localized neighborhood program 20 years ago. For the last couple of years, NCR has engaged the community in multiple listening sessions, taken public feedback and created Work Groups to build and restructure what the future of neighborhood associations could look like. Work Groups are broken down into three sections: Work group 1 – Programs, Funding and Implementation; Work group 2 – Governance Structure; Work group 3 – Citywide Community Engagement Framework.
The framework suggestions created by the work groups will be presented to the City Council in January. If approved, this will launch a 45 day open comment period for the public to give feedback about the proposed structure and framework. The Northside Neighborhood Council (NNC), a collection of Northside Neighborhood Associations, is working on strategic engagement plans to mobilize and empower community members to participate in giving feedback. This could likely include listening sessions, door knocking, media blasts, feedback group nights and more. Neighborhood associations have had their hand in important and transformative work giving residents a voice to be heard at the city level. It is important for the community to see these changes and give their valuable input on how neighborhood associations can serve their communities in the future years to come.
To learn more about the Work Groups and progress, visit minneapolismn.gov/ncr/2020. The NNC will be hosting a strategy meeting for events and engagement around the Work Groups in January. A schedule of events will be listed in the February Camden Community News, as well as individual neighborhood associations will be notifying their communities through emails, social media and fliers. If you would like to know more about the NNC, volunteer to help organize or have questions contact Dani at firstname.lastname@example.org.