There were reassurances aplenty Monday night when officials from the city’s housing authority met with residents of the Glendale public housing townhomes complex for the first time since September, but many in the crowd remain skeptical about a planned redevelopment there.
The key points made at nearby Luxton Park by those trying to sell that project: No public housing units will be lost in the redevelopment; anyone forced to move temporarily will get federal relocation benefits with a right of return; the new public housing units will be bigger and nicer; and they’ll be perpetually subsidized.
Halima Yusuf was one skeptical resident. “We have big space now for our children,” she said of the current arrangement of two-story rowhouses. The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority wants to build up to 550 mixed-income housing units on the Glendale site in Prospect Park.
“I don’t want to move anywhere else,” resident Khadro Warsame said. She cited the space for kids to play and the proximity of nearby Pratt Community School, attended by many of Glendale’s children. Others said they feel their families are safe in the complex.
“We don’t know where they are going to throw us,” added another resident, Soka Dachaso.
The MPHA hopes to begin redevelopment of the Glendale in 2017, assuming that its plan to use project-based federal rental subsidies to pay for the 184 new units is approved by Washington. But many in the crowd were stuck on the issue of why, not how.
Nevertheless, MPHA is moving ahead with a series of meetings, after its top official on the project, Dean Carlson, apologized for the delay in not meeting with residents. He said that was because there was little to report until the Metro Council approved planning money in January and federal officials said in March they’d allow the agency to submit a plan for using the rental subsidies.
It has scheduled a meeting with residents for June 8 to talk about planning the layout of the revamped site. Carlson promised more detailed maps and images. Another session in July will focus on developer selection.
MPHA repeated its assertion that existing federal funding for capital needs of the city’s 6,000 public housing units in rowhouses, scattered, sites, apartments and high-rises is insufficient to address the aging Glendale complex. It was built in 1952.