Minneapolis Green Zone

Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County (CAP-HC) is partnering with the City of Minneapolis to contract with Public Policy Project & Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee to engage North and a portion of Northeast Minneapolis residents. The Public Policy Project & Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee was selected by a committee through an open Request for Proposals process. The Public Policy Project & Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee will work primarily in the Hawthorne, McKinley, Sheridan, Bottineau and Marshall Terrace neighborhood to develop recommendations as to how the community should spend the Northern Metals settlement. The settlement is $200,000 per year for 3 years, within the stipulations of the consent decree. Concurrently the Public Policy Project & Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee will develop a work plan for the Northside Green Zone to execute the recommendations. The selection committee consisted of CAP-HC board members, Northern Metals Consent Decree Advisory Council members (appointed community members representing the specific neighborhoods), and City of Minneapolis staff. Three proposals were received and reviewed. Ultimately the Public Policy Project & Environmental Justice Coordinating Committee proposal was chosen by the selection committee.

Green Zone Background:

Low-income communities and people of color in Minneapolis experience unequal health, wealth, employment, and education outcomes, and also are overburdened by environmental conditions such as traffic and stationary pollution sources, brownfield sites, blight and substandard housing. Evidence of these disparities has been documented thoroughly by local agencies and organizations in the Twin Cities. A collection of this data was mapped as part of the first phase of the Green Zones initiative on this website: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/sustainability/policies/WCMSP-187876 

The vision of the Green Zones is to create a racially equitable future where all Minneapolis neighborhoods enjoy a similarly high quality of life with good air quality, safe and affordable housing, a clean environment, well-paid jobs, and low- or no-carbon energy sources that preserve this quality of life for future generations.

A core focus will be reviewing existing initiatives inside and outside of city government. Such programs may include the North Minneapolis Promise Zone, Greater MSP’s Center Cities program, coalitions already forming to address naturally occurring affordable housing, equitable economic development, including new financing tools for entrepreneurs and small businesses, community-driven initiatives like the Green Zones project in the Phillips community, and more. Green Zones plans to be an action-oriented initiative that taps into and accelerates these existing efforts. The questions we will ask include what are the challenges, what is working and what is not and why, adapting programs to the needs of specific communities, breaking down silos across departments, fine-tuning programs and targeting resources to where the need is greatest. The Green Zones pilot initiative signals approval for city staff who generally implement city-wide initiatives to customize, target and enhance resources in specific geographic areas.

The focus of this phase is to test out how to create sustainable, institutional change for city programs and policies. The next step will be taking the successes and the lessons learned from the pilot and establishing a city policy that outlines the resources and activities that become targeted, aligned or enhanced in overburdened communities.

Northern Metals Settlement Background:

The city Council has formally accepted ($200,000 per year for 3 years, within the stipulations of the consent decree) from the Consent Decree with Northern Metals for health mitigation strategies. The court's decree stipulates that the $200,000 a year for 3 years shall be used solely for mitigation projects in North and Northeast Minneapolis that “include projects in the impacted neighborhoods to (1) identify and educate at-risk residents on asthma triggers; (2) enroll families with children suffering from poorly controlled asthma in a new asthma trigger mitigation program; and (3) implement community and block-by-block blood lead level screening events in cooperation with local clinics which will offer follow-up venous blood screening as needed; and (4) identify and connect affected individuals with resources to help reduce environmental exposure to lead."  After receiving public comment on the Consent Decree the Council passed a resolution directing staff to work with community members from North and Northeast Minneapolis to plan for the use of the $600,000 earmarked for community health projects as well as any additional funding that comes to the city from the consent decree with Northern Metals. You can read the full resolution and Consent Decree and can find more information here: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/meetings/legislation/WCMSP-198419