Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I have had dogs since I was a kid - mostly large breeds, and some (well, one) with socialization issues. I understand that dogs are a lot of work, and that sometimes they have genetic or puppyhood-related personality issues which can be challenging. I am totally sympathetic to this.
Nevertheless, it ultimately an owner's responsibility to keep their animals under control, and - if they have socialization issues - away from other people/dogs/etc to which they might do harm.
Unfortunately, not everybody seems to get that. And what is even MORE unfortunate, is that it seems often the folks who are most irresponsible with their animals happen to own breeds which ALREADY face challenges due to perceptions of genetic propensities toward violence.
I am speaking, of course, of Pitbulls, Rottweilers and similar.
Take, for example, my neighbors. Not only do they have three huge Rottweilers that live 24/7 outside, are un-fixed, bark and snarl their brains out ALL FREAKING DAY, but, on TOP OF THAT, their fence is so broken-down that the animals regularly escape and terrorize the neighborhood. I myself have called animal control no less than three times over the last two years when these animals escaped.
I feel sorry for them, really. The dogs, I mean. They have a terrible life. They are stuck in the hot sun in a dirt yard all day and night, with nothing to do - they don't get walked EVER... but seriously people. This is not cool:
Monday, July 12, 2010
For those of you who don't already know, Saturday, July 24th is the date of the 2010 FLOW Northside Arts Crawl!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
So, I was seriously thinking about urban chickens BEFORE spotting a random free one on the dog walk this evening... but I must admit the sighting got me even more interested. (Where did that chicken come from??? I know of at least one person with chickens in North Minneapolis, but they are not close by to where we spotted this little hen.)
These things have produced a MASSIVE amount of seeds.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Check out the preservation forum. It's still quite bare-bones, and needs a splash page, etc... but it's up, and I welcome your feedback if you're interested.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The Sheltering Arms House is a massive, vacant, four-unit structure at
Per the MLS, the City of
(These dates are important because they refute any potential argument about the house being un-marketable to private buyers. The house was not languishing on the market for an unreasonable amount of time.)
The City acquired this property for the purpose of demolition and land-banking, according to staff of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council.
So the first question is: Why?
Why didn’t the City leave this house for a private investor to purchase and renovate? We have no indications that this house is or was un-salable, nor do we have any illustration of it being deteriorated beyond reasonable hope of repair.
Subsequent to the City’s initial moves to purchase, neighbors began to research a bit of the history, and learned of the house’s beginnings as the Sheltering Arms orphanage. While I will not personally make the argument here that such information qualifies it as historic, it is only because I do not deem that necessary.
What I mean to say is: random demolition of single structures around the city should be a last-resort – saved only for those cases where a home is NOT SALVAGEABLE. This is especially true in our older neighborhoods, where the removal of a home which fits the character of the street will cause an obvious hole; a discontinuity that damages the flow of the block.
The Sheltering Arms house is valuable to the block, and valuable to the community, because –as a structure- it contributes to the architectural and cultural fabric thereof. The fact that it has an interesting history is gravy.
(One need only look at the Phillips neighborhood[s] in order to understand the impact of piecemeal demolition on block character and integrity. The most stable residential blocks in those neighborhoods are, were, and will continue to be the blocks which have the most original structures, which, incidentally, are overwhelmingly occupied by their owners.)
But anyway, today I am less interested in elaborating the folly of these past demolitions than I am in helping determine where we go from here.
The Sheltering Arms house is a good place to begin. It still stands, and it does not have to come down.
But beyond that, what?
There are a few options, the more conventional of which involve the City giving/selling the place to developer, either non-profit or for-profit, for rehabilitation.
I am a fan of a less-conventional method, myself… an approach which I think will ultimately be better for the house, the block, and the neighborhood.
I propose that the City GIVE THE STRUCTURE AWAY.
As in, a lottery.
As in, a lottery.
The neighborhood and other interested individuals could spread the word far and wide, and I am confident that many folks would throw their hats into the ring. Why? Because the house is free. And because it’s got potential to be a beautiful place. And an interesting history.
Of course there should be a few rules involved in entering this lottery, such as:
- Owner agrees to enter into a restoration agreement with the City, and post a bond of some amount which is returned after some amount of time.
- Owner agrees to occupy the house for some number of years. (There should be some monetary penalty if they cease to comply before the term is completed.)
- Owner can provide proof of qualification for a loan (or of cash funds) in some amount for the rehab. (But let’s not be unreasonable here – they should be permitted to do some things with sweat-equity, like painting, sanding their own floors, etcetera.)
It is very simple. The City gets rid of the house (and taxpayer dollars do not have to be spent to demolish it,) someone gets a new home, and the neighborhood gets to maintain an architectural asset AND gain an invested owner-occupant.
Or, you know, we could just go with another vacant lot. I'm not sure NoMi has quite enough of those yet...