MARCY-HOLMES/UNIVERSITY NEIGHBORHOODS PROJECT
With a population of over 425K, the City of Minneapolis is home to 83 unique neighborhoods.
Advocating for these neighborhoods are 70+ independent, non-profit organizations, commonly referred to as Neighborhood Associations (NAs). Most NAs work for a single neighborhood on a 1:1 basis. However, some NAs cover two, three, and sometimes four neighborhoods.
The Marcy-Holmes neighborhood is one neighborhood, and the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association represents it. This 1:1 relationship is true for dozens of neighborhoods and their attendant NAs: Seward (Seward Neighborhood Group), Whittier (Whittier Alliance), and Prospect Park (Prospect Park Association), to name only a few.
Still, there remain two neighborhoods without a NA representing them: the University Neighborhood and the Mid-City Industrial Neighborhood.
in 2024, the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association will receive funding to explore the possibilities of working on behalf of two highly interrelated neighborhoods: the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood and the University Neighborhood. There are thousands of University Neighborhood residents, business owners, property owners and groups that do not have representation on the neighborhood level.
Why might this matter to the University Neighborhood?
While the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, with all its activities and obligations, academic courses and governing bodies, plays a significant role in the lives of many University Neighborhood residents and businesses, it is not the only environment in which these people exist. Above and beyond the U of M, these unrepresented and often underappreciated individuals live in a City. Undoubtedly, the U of M has ample resources to guide their students through their academic careers and extracurricular activities, but it doesn’t quite have the means, interest or objective to integrate them as citizens of the City of Minneapolis.
While MHNA fully respects that U of M students living within the University Neighborhood are part of a unique university community with myriad opportunities and challenges, it also strongly believes these individuals are citizens within a neighborhood that is inextricably linked to the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. MHNA imagines that many of these University Neighborhood residents and business owners would appreciate opportunities to enhance the sidewalks they walk on, to improve the transit they rely upon, and to expand the parkland space that they enjoy. A neighborhood association can offer these possibilities in a way that the U of M may be unable to.
While many University Neighborhood residents may have been born and raised within the metro, there are thousands more for whom this is their first experience living in a dense urban environment. A NA like MHNA can and must fill the gaps that the U of M—despite its myriad resources—simply cannot. New opportunities will empower these residents to not just be students at the U, but also be citizens of Minneapolis.
MHNA will spend the next 12 months working with residents, businesses, organizations, and representatives from the U of M to figure out if, broadly speaking, a Marcy-Holmes-University Neighborhood Association is tenable. Together, these groups will explore common interests and shared objectives, or the lack thereof. Together we will investigate the viability of committees and task forces, and how they could relate to a newly constructed board of directors. What could be a sustainable model for a board, when a significant portion of the two neighborhoods relocate with each academic year? Is a two-year term length even possible for a board of directors of these two neighborhoods? Is it possible to have different term lengths for different types of directors?
These questions, and countless more, will be explored through funding granted by the City of Minneapolis in 2024. This funding is limited to 2024—both the City and MHNA understand this is only an Interim arrangement for one year.
At year’s end, MHNA and the City envisions three possibilities for 2025 and beyond:
- If a viable, sustainable, and most importantly, equitably structured organization can be realized, MHNA will apply for renewed funding for 2025-2026. If successful, MHNA will permanently become the Marcy-Holmes-University Neighborhood Association. A better, more succinct NA name is likely.
- If the community within the University Neighborhood determines it would be better suited to create its own NA out of the work carried out in 2024, those parties will pursue that process for 2025 and MHNA would return to the original structure it followed in 2023.
- If there is no evident path to create a sustainable organization of the two neighborhoods, MHNA will return to its original 2023 structure, and the University Neighborhood will continue to be unrepresented.
This yearlong project is an exploration, it is not a decision. We welcome you to join us.
MHNA Executive Director