City of Minneapolis suppressed staff report favorable to the East Phillips Urban Farm Project

The city of Minneapolis inexplicably has kept a report from public view that would provide a win-win-win-win — for the East Phillips’ Urban Farm development, the city’s Water Works facility upgrade, the city’s climate goals, and the city taxpayer.

The report was leaked to the public, apparently some time last week.

The city’s Public Works Department issued a statement that the report was no more than “an informal, internally drafted report for contingency planning purposes only.”

Joe Vital, a South Minneapolis community organizer who backs the East Phillips Urban Farm project, said it was “disheartening” that the city suppressed the document.

It “puts into question transparency in this city,” he said. “If we are missing information at this level, it makes me wonder where else it exists?”

“It invites the question: Who is really steering this Hiawatha Expansion Project?”

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Critical vote on East Phillips Urban Farm Wednesday: Will Mpls City Council live up to its promises?

West side of the old Roof Depot building in the East Phillips neighborhood.

The old Roof Depot site near East 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue in the East Phillips neighborhood covers a city block and its waiting for redevelopment.

Starkly different proposals are on the table: One would consolidate the city of Minneapolis’ Public Works facilities to create greater efficiencies; the other would create an Indoor Urban Farm, with affordable housing and neighborhood friendly-businesses.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fulfill a community-led, community-owned project — an economic investment in an economically depressed area,” said Joe Vital, a volunteer with East Phillips Neighborhood Initiative and Urban Farm supporter.

A key vote on these divergent plans is expected Wednesday, Aug. 18, 1:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis City Council’s Policy and Government Oversight Committee. This committee includes all 13 council members.

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Northern Metal Recycling remains nuisance property, Minneapolis neighbors say, time to shut it down

Work continues at Northern Metal’s Minneapolis plant

Northern Metal Recycling operated in North Minneapolis from 2009-2019 and was cited numerous times for air quality violations before finally being forced out of town to a new facility in Becker. The company no longer processes scrap metal in Minneapolis, but it continues to use the yard to collect scrap metal.

Neighbors say — again– they’ve had enough.

Some 50-60 people gathered outside the plant at 2800 Pacific Ave. N. on Tuesday to symbolically issue a restraining order and demand government leaders close the remaining operations permanently.

“Northern Metal has never been kind to us,” said Roxxanne O’Brien, a member of Community Members for Environmental Justice (CMEJ) and event organizer. “We must start holding people accountable.”

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