Roof Depot says no to city’s water yard


RoofDepotProtest_0810151610aBy TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN

For now, the city’s plan to move its water yard along the Midtown Greenway is stalled.

The Roof Depot owners have told city staff that they are no longer willing to sell the site at 1860 E. 28th St. in the Phillips neighborhood.

Photo above right: Community members gathered outside the Roof Depot site on Mon., Aug. 10 to protest trucks traffic, congestion and pollution in their neighborhood. (Photo submitted by the East Phillips Improvement Coalition)

“We don’t know if they chose to lease to someone else or are waiting for the city to raise their offer,” said Carol Pass of The East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC).  “However, the current pollution and congestion remains unacceptable! So we shall continue to press the city to respond to our needs and respect their own core principle: Those most impacted by a decision should be involved in that decision.”

The city’s decision to relocate its water yard maintenance facility from 2.4 acres in Ward 3 at Hennepin Ave. E. and 5th Ave. N. was met with stiff opposition by Phillips neighborhood residents. They had only recently learned of the city’s plan last fall and mobilized quickly against it.

“In order to grow our city equitably,”  stated Ward 9 City Council Member Alondra Cano Alondra Cano in her newsletter announcement about the decision, “we cannot keep on concentrating industrial uses in the most racially diverse and low-income areas of Minneapolis.”

She, along with fellow council members Andrew Johnson (Ward 12), Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8), and Cam Gordon (Ward 2) had opposed the plan to move the water yard.

A statement from Tamales Y Bicicletas credited community pressure for the change. “Let’s remember that the community fought, and the community won. ... We want to thank everyone for their hard work and energy.”

Moving forward, Tamales Y Bicicletas hopes that any person, institution or company who wants to move into the neighborhood first sign a Community Benefits Agreement on sustainability, inclusiveness, and employment.

“We will keep building and organizing for a real and lasting vision of environmental justice!” promised Cano on her Facebook page.

EPIC has proposed an alternate plan for the site. Designed by DJR Architecture, it would renew the Roof Depot building into an agribusiness that would offer jobs that local residents would have the skills for, thereby cutting down on traffic while offering employment within the neighborhood.

There would be solar panels on the roof, and a bike shop situated near the Greenway. These businesses would not require any rezoning of the property.

Future phases include mixed-use housing where the asphalt plant and foundry are currently located.

This would completely alter the area known by residents as “the death triangle.”


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