October 12, 2017

EPIC Community Meeting Minutes 10 - 12 - 2017

10-12-2017, 6:30 – 8:50
Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address: eastphillips-epic.com
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: (612) -280-8418

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Laura Dale, Mary Gonsior, Tom Harris, Cassandra Holmes, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, Linda Vermillion.
Board Members Present: Rosie Cruz, Laura Dale, Mary Gonsior, Tom Harris, Cassandra Holmes, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, Linda Vermillion.
Board Members Not Present: Jenny Bjorgo.
Members: Brad Pass, Jolene Jones, Michael Green, Andrew Sheard, Lida Sheard, Halima Abdi, Kim Hayden
Guests: Shirley Heyer,

6:30     Social Time/ Greetings and Introductions

6:50     Approval of Proposed Agenda: MG, LD, approved.
Approval of September 14th General Membership Draft Minutes, LV, MG, approved.

7:00     Announcements:

o    Highway closing: Construction has begun on Hwy 35W and will go on for 2 years. Working from the Tunnel south, the Franklin Ave. and Lake St bridges as well as 26th and 28th Street bridges will be impacted. You can sign up for a weekly email update on the construction from City of Minneapolis/Transportation. Detours for 35W include Hwy 100 and Hwy 62, Cedar bridge, Hiawatha, and Minnehaha.

o  Next EPIC Board Meeting, Saturday, November 4th, 10:00 am-noon, EPIC’s office at 2433 Bloomington Ave. S.

o  Next EPIC Community Meeting, Thursday, November 9th, 6:30 - 8:45, East Phillips Park

o    Phillips Clean Sweep, Saturday, October 14th starting at 9:00 AM with a free Breakfast at the Welna Hardware parking lot, then Clean the ‘Hood, followed by Free lunch and entertainment at Stewart Park.
o    EPIC’s East Phillips Community 17th Ave. Garden Fall Harvest Party on Saturday, October 21st starting at 4:30 PM at the Garden. Party continues until the fire goes out.
o    Banyan Dinner, EPIC will send board members to Banyan annual dinner on Oct. 25 (5-8 pm.) This is an opportunity to get to know an organization working in our neighborhood, better.

7:05   25th Street Barrier is GONE! One Way Signs are UP! Roundabout on 17th is up! Comments?  What’s Next?

  • Have seen a ticket on a car that has been parked in the wrong direction for two days.
  • Have seen the police address a driver who ignored the “do not enter” sign.
  • Have seen cars slow down at the roundabout.
    • Most people reporting that they “like it”.
    • One comment “it’s too narrow” to have a round-about.
  • It looks cleaner by the SA.
  • Don’t feel “boxed in” when walking home from the bus stop.
  • EPIC should flyer the neighborhood regarding parking restrictions for these changes.
7:25   Little Earth funding request for proposed playground- NRP Plan Modification from old NRP before the neighborhood split up into four pieces. What is a plan modification?

The board received a proposal from Little Earth Residents Association to brought forth a motion to provide funding for a proposed playground

Board MOTION:  EPIC will provide $4,500 to provide funding to their proposal to build a Youth and Elder Memorial Playground. LL, CH, approved.

MOTION: EPIC will move $2,210.43 from 24 -hour youth center to Playgrounds in our NRP Phase I funding, for the purpose of funding the Little Earth Youth and Elder Memorial Playground. AS, TH, approved.

NOTE: EPIC will bring this motion back for Review to next Community Meeting for Final Vote.

7:45   Up Date:   Roof Depot Site – Hiawatha Public Works Expansion, The latest on the neighborhood project, the Indoor Urban Farm

Presentation of maps of the site, including original building site (was originally the “Sears Warehouse”!!) The city plans to remove the entire building, built in 1947. The building is clean and solid as a rock. There is no lead paint, and the building is in very good condition.

In the 1930’s there was a grasshopper epidemic, and tons of arsenic were deposited on this site, causing huge contamination. The area is known as the arsenic triangle, and the city went all over to inspect for wells, as the poison is still there. The EPA did remove a large proportion of the contaminated soil, in the triangle and all over the neighborhood.

Because this building was built in the 40’s, there is arsenic “encapsulated” under the building. If they tear this down, they will expose the neighborhood to widespread exposure to this poison again.

EPIC is asking the city to give us 3 acres and authorize us to convert a portion of the existing building into a year-round indoor urban agriculture (low tech). EPIC also wants to build needed housing with garden space on the rooftop of the building.

The proximity of these improvements will provide added motivation to reduce other pollution in the area, including the asphalt plant whose smokestacks are pouring out over their fence into an apartment playground.

This is information that every resident of East Philips needs to know. Discussed options (newsletters, alley, star Tribune, Somali radio) for communicating this information to people in the city, especially in light of upcoming elections. Public Works Dept. was tasked by the City Council to work with the neighborhood regarding any space that they don’t intend to use.

MOTION: EPIC supports the efforts of EPNI to create a sustainable indoor urban farm which includes a bicycle repair facility, a small retail operation , affordable housing, and other amenities as described in the EPNI goals as listed below. LL, LD, approved.

Organizational Goals (as revised at the 10/3/2017 meeting)

      • Create quality green jobs for people of East Phillips,
      • In an East Phillips facility that will house;
      • A Sustainable Organic Indoor Urban Farm,
      • An affordable bike repair, building and training facility,
      • A small coffee shop and additional entrepreneurial space to sell some of the produce from the farm, and other neighborhood culturally specific arts & crafts.
      • Space permitting, a play area for children.
      • Required exterior green areas will be farmed or be used, in part, as a children’s play area.
      • Fundraise to complete project.
      • Incorporate Affordable Housing.
      • Provide Job training with Completion Certification and “Recovery & Second Chance” opportunity serving the Phillips Neighborhood.
      • Deindustrialize East Phillips.

8:15   Housing Issues: No more NEW HOMES?

One of EPIC’s main ways of fighting crimes is building houses on the empty lots. EPIC has been told that the city will not sell city-owned property to anyone outside of the land going into a land trust. There are pros and cons to this situation. Some people want to own the land. Houses in a land trust are not allowed to deteriorate, and help for homeowners is readily available. EPIC will do further research into this situation. We might want to contact the ACLU about the legality of this stance.

8:25     29th Street & Bloomington Avenue; Improvement Project progress on the “Woonerf”. 

The Woonerf is a system that is used to make the street more pedestrian friendly. Trucks and vehicles are eliminated. The Midtown Greenway Coalition, who received the grant to study the possibility of this design at this intersection. There were a lot of complaints about the picnic table that was set out as a trial, as it was used constantly for prostitution and drug use, so it was given to an apartment building nearby. Some residents are disappointed, and some residents are unhappy and didn’t have any input or notice of the project.

8:40   Crime Concerns.....

Our crime prevention specialist, Brett Nyman, has been invited to our meetings but has not responded.

There are three gangs set up in Powderhorn Park, but they have moved into East and West Phillips. They are camping in houses under construction and on intersections under bridges.

Gunfire too nearby. What can we do to help?

Homeowners and businesses have been asked to trim hedges and other plants – removing places to hide.

8:50     Adjournment