Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Is North Minneapolis Becoming "Non Profits Ville?"
First of all, I did not coin the term "Non Profits Ville," though I wish I had. A friend of mine coined the term...OH HOW I WISH SHE WERE MORE THAN A FRIEND, but we won't go there.
"Non Profits Ville" is the idea that...
...many of the affordable houses and lots in North Minneapolis are being snapped up by do-gooder organizations like Habitat for Humanity, PPL, Urban Homeworks...you name it, they're snapping up houses. And this is a good thing, right?
I think it is, but my friend says "North Minneapolis is becoming Non Profits Ville." Rather than an influx of homeowners, we are getting an influx of 501(c)(3) organizations. If North Minneapolis becomes "Non Profits Ville," what will that future look like?
I argue the alternative: it is far better than the alternative: Slumlordia. Since eco-yuppies have yet to come in droves (despite my best efforts, though I'm hardly alone) one alternative to slumlords is non-profit organizations. ANYTHING has to be better than slumlords, right? RIGHT?!!!!
I'm not hearing shouts of agreement. I think discussion might be heavy in the air, like a humid summer day that needs experience heat lightning.
The photo above shows a house on Bryant Avenue North. The area of Bryant close to Broadway (and the new planned YWCA) is seeing activity, lately, with this house one example. I swear, gremlins are repairing it. I never see it happening, but when I go by, there is progress. All this siding was stripped off in just the last few days. About a week ago there was a sign advertising how this was a youth project aimed at building skills, keeping youth in school.
When I see a sign like that, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand: excellent program, glad it's happening, and surely somebody wants to promote it. On the other hand, it reminds me of a sign I saw once in a barrio in Hermosillo, Mexico. A big billboard advertised how this neighborhood had CLEAN, HEALTHY DRINKING WATER and it was all thanks to some wonderful program put on by the oh-so-benevolent and far-sighted government , through the PRI, if I recall correctly. (Party of Revolutionary Institutions)
How does that make you feel if you live in that neighborhood? Your neighborhood is in such a state somebody has to advertise "clean drinking water?" If I lived in that barrio, would I feel proud, or would I feel like that sign actually stigmatizes my neighborhood? My son--who lives in the southern suburbs, who does 11th grade math though he is only in 6th grade and will soon test for some kind of special program through the U of M--would never see a sign like that emerge in his neighborhood, just like he would never see roving gangs of youth who do not realize on the 8th Day God made sidewalks so people won't have to walk in the middle of the street.
So, yeah...Non Profits Ville. Good or bad or Johnny Northside is the devil? Discuss.