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The Central Corridor light rail system is taking shape – too slowly for many, fairly quickly for others. Rails have already been laid down close to the storage and maintenance facility that the old Gillette Building is becoming, but the infrastructure is taking shape along University Avenue as we watch the station stops rise from the rubble of sewer and electric re-installation and new road laid alongside the work now navigable. The cars will be running in 2014. There’s excitement in the air, along with consternation.
When the inevitable development hits, land values shoot up because demand skyrockets around fixed rail. This puts present renters, homeowners and small businesses in a bind because they can see their property taxes and rents shoot up right along with those values, leaving current residents unable to pay the freight. It’s worse, of course, in this no growth, high unemployment economy when folks who live around there have lost their jobs in higher numbers than most. The unemployment rate in our core cities hovers around 20%-25% or more. Unforgivable that they should suffer any further. Housing affordability is paramount.
Most of the folks who live and work in these areas are getting their advocates out there and groups concerned with affordable housing issues are coalescing to plan and stave off the potential exploitation that often arrives with the rails. The Metropolitan Council will oversee affordable housing planning, but it should involve many organizations and communities.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query four of such activists – a small slice of the large community coming together – about the beginnings of plans to assure that housing that rises or survives in that area meets the needs of the community at least as much as those wishing to move into the new, transit-friendly structures that will dot the Central Corridor from downtown St. Paul to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis.
METRIC GILES – Organizing and Policy Specialist, Community Stabilization Project
EVE MARIE SWAN – Facilitator, Save Our Homes; Central Corridor Community Advocate
CAM GORDON – Councilmember, Ward 2, Minneapolis
CHIP HALBACH –Executive Director, Minnesota Housing Partnership
CENTRAL CORRIDOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PARTNERSHIP
Central Corridor & Affordable Housing Resource Library
"2 x 4" Quarterly Housing Indicators
THE BIG PICTURE PROJECT Community Meeting Flyer
PROGRESS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEPENDS ON BROAD COLLABORATION
First Person Radio Aug 31: BRENDA CHILD, PhD, MIGUEL VARGAS: UofM Indian Studies and Boarding School Author-AUDIO HERE
Laura Waterman Wittstock (with Andy Driscoll) talks with Professor Brenda Child, Chair of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota and the Department's Community Outreach Coordinator, Miguel Vargas.
At the University of Minnesota, Child was recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service. She was born on and remains a citizen of the Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Dr. Child received her PhD in History at the University of Iowa and was a Katrin Lamon Fellow at the School of American Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her book, Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940 (University of Nebraska, 1998), won the North American Indian Prose Award.
Child was a consultant to the exhibit, “Remembering Our Indian School Days” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona and co-author of the book that accompanied the exhibit, Away From Home (Heard, 2000). She is a board member of the Minnesota Historical Society, the Division of Indian Works, and The Circle newspaper in Minnesota, and chairs the American Indian advisory board to the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis.
Miguel Vargas has been Outreach Coordinator since Fall 2007. He coordinates the Ojibwemodaa Eta! Language Programs and Scholarships, outreaching to K-12 Schools/Youth Programs for visiting opportunities, and moderating the Minnesota Indian Affairs Listserv (MINN-IND).