Patch Dot Com reported the much hoped for, much anticipated new Webber Park Library has been removed from the 2013 Hennepin County budget. Instead, improvements will be made to the old library.
Patch Dot Com said, "The action was taken because efforts to assemble properties for the site of the new library – in particular, a parcel at 1423 45th Ave. N. – were unsuccessful. Acquisition of that site was considered essential."
Of course, Patch Dot Com didn't take things to the next level and name the names of the progress-destroying, neighborhood-screwing lone hold outs.
Well, this ain't Patch Dot Com.
There will be bloggy hell to pay...
Here's what I'm hearing on the "North Talk" Facebook forum, the "I Am North Minneapolis" Facebook forum and behind the scenes, in exchanges of messages from a source who has been involved and following the issue closely.
Kevin and Valerie Holder, who according to city property records reside at 4111 Washburn Ave. N., own the rental property at 1423 45th Ave. N. The house, I am told, "needs work" and isn't very impressive, but it happens to be the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle to build a new library the way the county wants it built. Oh, sure, there's talk of finding a way to get around the "property hold out" problem. I suppose you could build a library shaped like a big lumberjack boot if somebody sat their ass down in its proposed path and said, "I shall not be moved," but who wants to live in a giant piece of footwear like the old woman in the English nursery rhyme?
A library is a 100 year investment in the community, so you better do it right. Hennepin County wasn't going to twist the plan into a pretzel around the lone holdouts. However, word is Hennepin County was unwilling to use eminent domain to get the property, even though "crappy rental property holdout stands in way of new library for a working class neighborhood" is probably one of the best, most justified uses of eminent domain you're likely to find.
Here's what I'm being told by my "involved in the issue" source:
I called (Mike) Opat's office and was told they recently had a mediator from the neighborhood who is a lawyer try to mediate the issue. The owners won't negotiate. The county probably wants to wrap it up as the owners do not show any signs of being reasonable.
In our Victory FB group someone said they were offered WELL over the market price (up to a million!). Okay that sounds like a lot. But it's strange that they had it for sale until the county wanted to buy it don't you think? It seems as though the owners don't mind sitting on it, because they're convinced the country is going to fork over a huge amount of money for it.
The place is not that great and looks like it needs a lot of work. They probably thought their ship had come in and now they probably screwed themselves. And the whole neighborhood too.
(Minor spelling and grammar edits by Johnny Northside)
In a discussion on the Victory Neighborhood FB page, one commenter wrote:
The lone house remaining on the block is the problem. It was for sale before Hennepin County wanted it, then they decided it wasn't for sale.
In defense of the owners of the property, another commenter wrote:
I actually know the owners of the house and they are moving there soon. In addition there is a business on the property as well. None of this matters since there is plenty of room to build a library on that site without using the space occupied by the house.
To this I respond:
Really? There's a business at that property? Because I looked on the city's property website, and it only lists an expired business license from 1995. In regard to the owners of the house moving there soon, well, don't be surprised if all the neighbors have frowny faces that seem to say, "Oh, you're the greedy dirtbags who screwed our neighborhood out of a new library."
My source summed it up well, as follows:
To which I respond: I beg to differ. Believe me, there is no milk of human kindness in this blog post in response to this news, only the pissy smelling vinegar of scorn, scorn, scorn.
Kevin M. & Valerie Holler, I scorn thee. Consider yourselves scorned.