Neighborhoods get reduced NRP allotments

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May 3, 2004 // UPDATED 1:28 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) Policy Board has approved the final neighborhood Phase II allocations -- including a new $537,000 American Indian set-aside

program.

The overall pot of money the Board earmarked for neighborhoods is estimated at $47.7 million, according to a memo posted on the NRP Web site.

Downtown neighborhood allocations are:

- Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, $916,167

- Elliot Park, $678,504

- Loring Park, $502,173

- North Loop, $293,007

- Nicollet Island/East Bank, $176,119.

The dollars are down significantly from Phase I. For instance, Elliot Park got $4.8 million in Phase I, according to the Web site. The Common Project -- a pool of city development property tax dollars that funds NRP -- has less money than in the past.

The NRP Board voted to deduct small amounts from each neighborhood to fund the American Indian set-aside, based on each neighborhood's American Indian population, said NRP Executive Director Bob Miller. In the Downtown area, fund contributions ranged from Elliot Park's $11,687 to Nicollet Island/East Bank's $321.

The Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors will oversee the program, Miller said. The program will focus on the Phillips and Ventura Village neighborhoods, which have high numbers of American Indians.

NRP Board Member and City Council President Paul Ostrow (1st Ward) said he voted against the measure because the board did not give neighborhood groups a chance to comment. The Policy Board itself only got a few days' advance notice before it voted, he said.

"I have been supportive of set-asides," he said. "They have always been done after we have taken them out to the neighborhoods for comment."

Gretchen Nicholls, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Center for Neighborhoods, said the new set-aside raises a fairness issue. The Somali, Latino and Hmong communities may want similar treatment.

"It is a stark inequity of allocation that one group gets some and no one else is being offered that," she said.

Miller said American Indians stand apart from other communities because the federal government recognizes them as a unique group with a separate legal status. Second, American Indians face bigger problems -- in infant mortality, life expectancy and home ownership -- than any other population in the city, he said.

While acknowledging he could have given the NRP Policy Board more notice, Miller chided Ostrow for leading the charge for neighborhood comment.

Ostrow had pushed a $1 million NRP community policing set-aside in 2003. "He pushed the worst set-aside we've had since we started," Miller said. "We got [neighborhood] comment back -- which was split pretty heavily on it. Then we ended up doing it. We were going to do it anyway."