Map Monday: Neighborhood Funding in Minneapolis

Here’s a map from a recent Star Tribune column on Minneapolis’ long-standing neighborhood engagement funding showing the “unspent funding” allocated neighborhood funding for each of the city’s neighborhoods.

mpls-nrp-map

Dark green = more unspent money.

 

The history of this program is complex, but connects to debates over civic engagement and tensions between renters and homeowners throughout the city. The article is a good read. Here’s a highlight:

Few cities in the country can boast Minneapolis’ robust network of neighborhood organizations, which now rely on about $3.8 million annually from the city. Their current funding is a fraction of what it was in the 1990s, when $184 million was doled out over 10 years as part of the now-defunct Neighborhood Revitalization Program. The money went to assist with housing projects, community engagement and other neighborhood activities.

The new program is more focused on community engagement than capital investments. Its funding comes from taxes paid by property owners in a checkerboard of special districts mostly near downtown. The districts were created more than 35 years ago to pay for nearby economic development. Those areas — the North Loop, Downtown East, Loring Park and the Hennepin-Lake area — are flourishing now and more money is projected to pour in.

That money — which previously hovered around $10 million a year — can only be divided between the two uses allowed by the Legislature: paying off Target Center debt and “neighborhood revitalization purposes.”

But neighborhood revitalization means different things to different people.

Read the rest here.

Correction: this tweet from Eric Roper clarifies what the map is actually showing.

Re: Map Monday, that map is shaded by allocation. You see the unspent if you click on each neighborhood.

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4 Responses to Map Monday: Neighborhood Funding in Minneapolis

  1. Matt Brillhart October 13, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    “That money — which previously hovered around $10 million a year — can only be divided between the two uses allowed by the Legislature: paying off Target Center debt and “neighborhood revitalization purposes.””

    Man, I would hope that we’d choose to aggressively pay down the Target Center debt. It’s crazy enough that we’re still paying down debt on an arena that opened 24 years ago – in 1990. That’s not even including the 2014 renovations funded by city sales taxes and through the Vikings stadium legislation.

    A good number of the neighborhoods receiving NRP funds are fully revitalized (which is open to interpretation, of course). Now, those areas pay a lot of property taxes, funding a great deal of citywide services, so I’m not at all suggesting cutting them off. It does seem that the funding formula should be reworked, or that we should sunset some of these TIF districts early, moving the tax revenue into the general fund.

    • Matt Steele
      Matt Steele October 13, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      True, but the problem is the city clawed back money that was never theirs. The TIF money was set aside by state legislation and handed directly to neighborhoods via NRP. As much as I dislike some of the decisions made with NRP money (and the WORSE decisions that are made when boards constantly feel under pressure to spend money or lose it), I dislike the city usurping power even more.

  2. Janne Flisrand
    Janne October 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    Another key strategic decision with this program was to structure it similar to social security — if EVERYONE in the city has access to some funds, everyone including the politically powerful wealthier neighborhoods will fight to protect the funds over the long term. That worked pretty well, and the usurping power Matt S. notes was mitigated by those neighborhoods getting in the way of an even bigger clawback.

    I’ll note for Matt B. that the neighborhoods were segmented into three categories, ranging from those needing it to those who never needed it in the first place from day one. Everyone had access to funds, but those with bigger challenges got more funds. Things that went into the funding formula included poverty rates and a whole bunch more — I think they did a pretty darn good job sending more money to where it was more needed.

  3. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg October 14, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Janne brings up an important point – allocations were based on need at the time. Some neighborhoods didn’t have the programs to spend the money on, while others like mine (Standish-Ericsson) offered a lot of loans that were paid back, and thus, we have a fair amount of money. The problem is we don’t have a long-term source of new revenue and thus are in savings mode.

    But threaten to take away money from neighborhoods, even if the mission of the original money has been accomplished, and those neighborhoods howl!

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