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Plans for Lowry Avenue upset property owner
Written by Jim Chaudoir, Northeast Minneapolis resident
Posted  11/17/2010
We had to put the new Lowry bridge in. Even in this time of economic downturn we had to spend that money...taxpayer money ....almost everyone understands that.

Now Mark StengleIn says reconstructing and widening Lowry Avenue to the east is "still an active plan." He says he thinks there is enough money left over from the North Minneapolis project for a "scoping plan" to "acquire" Lowry Avenue properties. Also he says he has to "assemble the funds now."

Well, being a Northeast resident living on Lowry Avenue for about 25 years, I have a few problems with that. One, the money "left over" from the North Minneapolis project is not his money....that’s taxpayer money. Two, his "assembling of the funds" means pulling more money out of your pocket for an extremely expensive/extensive project that is not necessary, or even wanted by many. Three, "acquiring" properties means legally stealing property from homeowners who don’t want to sell their property, probably at a price that they would never sell it for. Four, how can a Lowry/University landmark put so much money into a beautiful overhaul thinking they may be torn down soon?

Here are a few things to think about:

1. What happens to the property taxes on all those properties that will be bulldozed? The city would lose all that money forever. That loss will be rolled into everyone’s taxes...forever.

2. How much will the property taxes go up again to pay for the project?

3. How much is it going to cost to "acquire" all of those homes and businesses?

4. What happens to the services and revenue that is brought to Northeast by these businesses?

5. If it were your home or business, would you like to be told that the city was booting you out? I don’t think so.

How about the hardship to those property owners? I bought my house 25 years ago as a "fixer upper." I’ve spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars fixing it to my comfort and taste, not to sell it, to live in it. If I wanted to sell it I would have. Property values are pathetic for sellers now and many of these homeowners owe more than their property is worth. Who makes up that monetary difference? Who is paying moving costs if I have to move? Who pays for all of the backbreaking work and materials I’ve put into this property? Who pays all the closing costs on the new place I would have to find?

Compounding these problems, if we did want to sell, no buyer wants to buy a house that they might tear down in a couple years. Neighbors don’t want to upgrade anything on their own house because of the uncertainty. Some of my neighbors were afraid to spend the money to roof their house or do landscaping or replace a garage. We literally are held hostage in our own homes.

Keep the road up by all means, but put that "extra money" and the property taxes on both sides of Lowry for fixing the rest of the bridges (Plymouth Avenue now? What’s next?) or hire a few more police officers or firefighters. Keep your hands out of my pocket and your derriere off my property!

Jim Chaudoir
Northeast Minneapolis

Northeaster Opinion