Elliot Park's neighborhood group elected eight board members at its annual meeting May 24 -- some returning members and a few fresh faces.
About 50 residents and business owners also approved Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc.'s (EPNI) plan to engage the community in deciding how to spend $648,504 in Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) Phase II money.
A major challenge will be involving the neighborhood's non-English-speakers. Elliot Park has seen a significant influx of East African immigrants in the past decade -- an 89 percent increase since 1990, according to the Census.
NRP Phase II funding is down considerably since Phase I, which earmarked $4.8 million for the neighborhood.
EPNI has used Phase I dollars to leverage more than $151 million in public and private money for neighborhood improvements, according to a report presented to the community at the annual meeting. Those projects include:
-$530,000 for a home-loan program;
-$500,000 for the East Village Apartments, a 180-unit, mixed-use housing and commercial complex at 11th Avenue and 14th Street;
-$300,000 for Grant Park, a high-end 27-story condo tower with brownstone town homes at 500 E. Grant St.;
-$226,000 for improvements to the Hinkle Murphy Mansion, 619 10th St. S.;
-$165,000 for renovations at Elliot Park Grocery, 1600 Chicago Ave.; and
-$110,000 to help rehabilitate the popular Band Box diner, 729 S. 10th St.
The 19-member EPNI board includes members who represent residents and those in "institutional" seats, which includes neighborhood churches, nonprofits and businesses.
Board members elected at the meeting were residents Kent Bakken, a current board member who studies archaeology at the University of Minnesota; Kristina Kliber, an incumbent and eight-year resident; Jeff Millikan, a former board member involved in EPNI's formation; Patti Wettlin, a long-time resident; Abdul Yusuf, an East Village resident; and Mohamed Mohamoud, a long-time resident.
Others elected include Adam Ali, owner of Elliot Park Grocery, 1600 Chicago Ave. and Kenny's Market, 737 E. 14th St.; Elizabeth Beissel, senior pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church, 704 11th Ave. S.; Tracy Berglund, a Catholic Charities administrator; and Carl Crimmins, who represents the Minneapolis Plumbers Union at 10th and Park.
Board members serve two-year terms and represent residents and property owners in Elliot Park, which is home to 6,476 people, according to the 2000 Census. The neighborhood's borders are roughly 5th Avenue, South 7th Street, I-35W and I-94.
Board members attend monthly meetings and serve on committees that spearhead neighborhood events, review development proposals and address "livability" issues, among other things.