Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oh and by the way -

I was vacationing abroad when this little nugget found its way to my email inbox, courtesy of a neighbor:

Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 3:26 PM
Subject: Please join us -- Hennepin County demolition initiative for
boarded and vacant houses in Minneapolis
Importance: High

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat would like to invite your office
to a news conference tomorrow morning announcing Hennepin County's
to demolish boarded and vacant homes in Minneapolis. We hope you are
able to attend. Please forward this message to other stakeholders who
may be
interested, and call or email me with any questions.

Hennepin County to fund demolition of at least 50 blighted properties in

A news conference will be held Wednesday to announce a Hennepin County
initiative providing $1.25 million in funding to demolish boarded and
homes in Minneapolis. The county will fund at least 50 demolitions of
properties that are blighted and pose a public safety threat to
Since many of the condemned homes have been abandoned because of
mortgage foreclosure, the initiative is aimed at accelerating the
housing market
turnaround and stabilizing and securing neighborhoods.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: 2914 Dupont Ave. N. in Minneapolis -- a condemned, burned-out
house that will be among the properties demolished by this initiative:
(See attached file: 2914 Dupont North (2).JPG)

WHO: Join Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, other elected
officials and staff from Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis,
and housing
and community organizations and residents.

CONTACT: Office of Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, 612-348-7881

DETAILS: Tuesday the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved a
resolution, authored by Commissioner Mike Opat, to address major blight
public safety issues in Minneapolis by demolishing at least 50 vacant
and boarded residential properties.

The resolution includes $1.25 million in Hennepin County funding --
$500,000 from the Environmental Response Fund for environmental
assessment and
cleanup; $500,000 in contingency funding for demolition work; and
$250,000 from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund for transport and waste
Environmental concerns for the properties include the presence of
lead-based paint, asbestos and other hazardous materials.

All of the properties will be demolished by Dec. 31 and final site
activities completed by June 30, 2009. An assessment of $17,500, or 70
percent of
the average cost for assessment, cleanup, demolition and disposal, will
be made on each property, repayable to Hennepin County.

Phil Essington
Office of Commissioner Mike Opat
Hennepin County
300 S. 6th St., Mpls, MN 55487-0240
612.348.5206, f) 612.348.8701

This makes me feel ill.


Margaret said...

Aw Ranty, we know you love the old houses. And some of them are great and have the potential to be wonderful again. The problem is, we don't have enough Rantys on the Northside. As I've commented before, I am a big fan of demolition where the housing stock no longer meets the needs of today's market or safety for that matter. Not to say that we can't have clever architects do changes or that materials can't be repurposed. In a lot of these cases, you've got stairs,windows, doorways, etc. that the city, State and Federal government won't let you rent with and you expect a working to middle class person or family to buy and live there? A few maybe, but not enough.

We are lucky that the city seems to be serious about trying to keep up. I am from Detroit and when there is a surfeit of derelict houses, it's not a good thing for a city.

Ranty said...

When I lived in Phillips, vacant lots were one of the biggest annoyances around. Not only did they serve to rip the visual fabric of the neighborhood architecture, but they also made highly convenient escape alleys for criminals ditching cops, kids skipping school, etc.

In the summer they were handy collectors of blown trash and hidden drugs, (particularly the MCDA-owned ones that didn't get mowed often enough in the summer) and in the winter their oft-unshoveled sections of walk were perfect for forcing my wheelchair-bound neighbors into the icy streets.

The ones on my block seemed always to remain vacant just until neighbors decided to garden them - then we'd get a shoddy GMHC house thrown up in response to the the big bad "housing crisis" (which nobody ever seemed to remember existed on demolition days.)

Margaret said...

I agree about the crappy housing that sometimes gets built after an old house is demolished. There was a whole wave of scam builders sucking up to the city awhile ago building "modular" homes that were pretty much just glorified trailers. That's a whole generation or more where that property will do nothing but lose value even without the collapse of the market.

Josh said...

It's a shame an organization like Habitat for Humanity doesn't get more involved with rehabilitating distressed urban properties-- especially considering the commuting cost associated with the cheap suburban/exurban lots they typically favor. Habitat and its army of volunteers seem like one of the only organizations that could cost-effectively rehab a quantity old houses for affordable owner-occupied use.

billy said... - Go ahead and tell me how you're going to rehab that house. I've got one just like it across the street. Bring on the bulldozers.

Ranty said...

Personally I wouldn't try to rehab that one Billy, you are right. It looks pretty far gone.

Unfortunately, for every one like that, there are 2-3 more candidates like this: