As longtime residents of the historic Southeast/Northeast area of Minneapolis that now contains the controversial development site that includes the new proposal for housing on the Nye’s site (“Support wavers for Nye’s plan,” March 27) on the east bank of the Mississippi, my husband and I have seen many changes. When we got married almost 65 years ago and settled in southeast Minneapolis, the riverfront was a decaying industrial area, unsightly and crime-prone on both sides of the river. Main Street was not a street one used at night.
In the last half of the 20th century, local community and political leaders — many graduates of De La Salle — worked hard to redevelop this historic area, preserving some aspects of the neighborhood and building what many of us now enjoy as residences and a revitalized East Hennepin commercial area.
Now living in La Rive, a 28-story building a block from Nye’s and above Main Street, we look out on a revitalized downtown area with a park stretching on both sides of the river from the Stone Arch Bridge to Plymouth Avenue. As a former chair of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association and its Land Use Committee, I know how difficult change is for many. It takes collaboration between residents and other property owners who propose new developments.
Minneapolis needs more density and a greater tax base, which this Nye’s property and others being proposed here on the East Bank of the Mississippi will provide. This neighborhood is a rare one. It is historic, but it has space to expand and grow, and the Nicollet Island East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) worked hard this past year to develop a small area plan that promotes density, livability and open space.
Change is inevitable, and it disturbs many. While Our Lady of Lourdes is the oldest continuously used church in Minneapolis, it was originally a Protestant church until the French-Canadian community in this neighborhood bought it in the 1880s and renovated it. It is a landmark, and the Nye’s property developers have been careful in their proposal not to disturb the bedrock on which the church and some of the Nye’s parking lot stand. The development will enhance rather than detract from the lovely church.
We who live, work or worship in this historic community should be willing to share it with newcomers who will be attracted here because this is a historic and very livable and attractive urban area that many in this area worked hard to achieve.
Arvonne Fraser lives in Minneapolis.