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Affordable Housing Community Conversation: Recap and Insights 

Sabathani Community Center hosted a conversation on Thursday, August 10, focused on the affordable housing in development for the Sabathani campus. The gathering was attended by approximately 20 neighborhood residents, plus two members of the project development team, Sabathani staff CEO Scott Redd and Miranda Walker. Also present was Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins and Sabathani Communications Coordinator, Justin Leaf. 

Creating Community Connection 

The community meeting commenced with warm welcomes and introductions. Leaf provided an overview of the diverse spectrum of ongoing and upcoming Sabathani programs, reinforcing the center’s commitment to holistic community enrichment. 

The focal point of the discussion rested on specific updates regarding the affordable housing project from CEO Scott Redd and developer Miranda Walker. Their presentation included a handout that offered attendees a rendering of the forthcoming structure. CEO Redd passionately underscored Sabathani’s dedication to seeing that all Sabathani’s programs, including this new development, be an asset to the broader community.  

Miranda Walker elaborated on the meticulous process, highlighting that the ongoing community feedback sessions are designed to integrate the neighborhood’s voice into the project’s evolution. She shared their plans to initiate the design phase shortly after the conclusion of ongoing financing applications, with groundbreaking possibly ready to begin by the close of 2024.  

Diverse Perspectives Shape Dialogue 

Residents presented questions and perspectives, capturing a collective desire to create a thriving neighborhood. The contributions ranged from expressions of support to insightful concerns, yielding a dialogue that reflected our bright, caring, and engaged community. 

Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins, an advocate for affordable housing, added to the conversation by delving into the broader context of Minneapolis’s housing challenges. She highlighted the multifaceted support needed for affordable housing and illustrated how thoughtful development can alleviate these pressing issues. 

Addressing Concerns 

As voices of concern were raised regarding the size of the building and potential impacts on adjacent properties, the team assured attendees that a comprehensive shading study would be conducted. This study, designed to evaluate potential shadowing effects on neighboring gardens, would be shared transparently with the community. Moreover, the financing considerations were addressed by Miranda Walker, who clarified the necessity of the building’s scale to secure viable funding. 

CEO Redd reflected on the apprehensions shared previously about the development’s potential impact on public safety. He conveyed Sabathani’s commitment to ensuring that the new residents are supported with an inclusive environment, community resources, and opportunities for building generational wealth. 

Insights and Unity for the Future 

The dialogue included questions about the rendering, including an open throughway connecting Clinton Avenue. Walker explained that the areas surrounding this throughway are intended to foster community connections, and that it will be designed to discourage shortcut traffic. This approach reflects Sabathani’s commitment to facilitating connections within the neighborhood. 

Answers to Additional Questions 

The evening culminated with some additional Q&A session that covered various aspects of the project. Attendees received clarity on a variety of points:

Q: Will the building have just a few units priced as “affordable”?
A: 100% of building units will be priced at the affordable rate. 

Q: Could there be speed bumps?
A: Speed bumps aren’t paid for by the city, but they could be added and paid for as part of the project, to be determined. 

Q: What will happen to the current playground? Will a new playground be built immediately? Isn’t that a requirement since the Sabathani houses a daycare?
A: The pass-through will be built through the current playground and a new playground will be built in a different area. The timeline for that is to be determined and will be managed in coordination with the daycare.

Q: The playground was named for community advocate Ernestine Belton. Will the new playground keep that name?
A: That’s to be determined.

Q: What will happen to the water retention pond?
A: That will change, and the water will be diverted another way.

Q: For the courtyard space by the Senior housing, will that be used by people in affordable housing space as well?
A: Sabathani supports opportunities for intergenerational exchange and would like to see the spaces on the Sabathani campus, including that courtyard, to be used by a spectrum of residents, fostering deeper community connections. 

A Vision for the Future 

Sabathani expressed gratitude to all participants for their invaluable input and dedication to the community. The presence and insights shared by City Council President Jenkins illuminated the broader vision for Minneapolis’s affordable housing landscape. As notes were gathered and discussions concluded, it was announced that these summaries would be shared on the Sabathani blog. 

Looking Ahead 

The contributions of community members will continue to shape Sabathani’s journey toward creating sustainable, affordable housing. Sabathani warmly invites all interested individuals to engage in the ongoing dialogue, with the next session scheduled for Thursday, September 14.  

Can’t attend? Your thoughts are still crucial—send your comments or questions to info@sabathani.org

Thanks to the dedication, passion, and care exhibited by all participants. As the community and the development move forward together, Sabathani remains committed to fostering an inclusive, thriving neighborhood for everyone to enjoy. 

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