Comments from Elizabeth Sowden, who is on the Board of the Citizens for Loring Park Community

To Whom it May Concern:

Last summer, I spent an evening at a home in North Minneapolis discussing the city’s future with a group of engaged citizens. A black woman who was a long-time resident of the North side expressed her fear that she would be driven out of her neighborhood by gentrification. She cried. The rest of us cried with her.

I serve on the board of directors of the Citizens for the Loring Park Community and am co-chair of the Land Use Committee. When city representatives came to one of our meetings to discuss the 2040 Comp plan, we expressed concern that the plan paints with too broad a brush and up-zones blocks without consideration to existing homes, businesses, etc. We were told that going in with a finer brush would be too difficult.

But isn’t that what neighborhood associations and small area plans are for? We are the ones who let the city know what we want to keep and what we’d like to change. Over the past few months, I have been working with my neighbors to save the businesses on the 1400 block of Nicollet Avenue. If there is one thing that I have learned from this experience, is that equity is not achievable when you paint with a broad brush as the 2040 plan does. Some people will win under this plan but it creates too many losers, and the people who lose will disproportionately represent immigrants, women and people of color — the same people that it purports to uplift.

We’ve been told that the 2040 plan is “just a draft.” As a writer, I can tell you that sometimes the only thing to do with a draft is to crumple it up and start over.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Elizabeth Sowden
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