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Monday, January 17, 2011
2:08 PM | Posted by The I.I. | | Edit Post
This blog thread posted by the Irving Inquisition uses some explicit language, as well as depicting some aspects of life in North Minneapolis that some readers may find objectionable. Reader discretion is advised.
1st Up: The Story About 2210 Irving Avenue North
This is a sad sight to see… Yet another house in NoMi is going to be demolished. Before we mourn or celebrate, (depends on which camp you’re in on the preservation issue) let me tell you the story of 2210 Irving Avenue North.
For the past fifteen years, 2210 Irving has been a rental. When I moved into the neighborhood in 2005, this house had all white siding. It was inhabited by no less than six people, and there was lots of hustle and bustle. For years the inhabitants of this house mingled with those of its immediate neighbor, 2206 Irving. Indeed, this was a drug house. Dealers stood outside in groups of five or six for hours at a time.
|If this is what they did to the outside, imagine what they did to the inside.|
Then the mortgage crisis came, and the owner of this house, Devikanand Peters, lost it out to foreclosure… Indeed, the whole east side of Irving by the triangle was emptied due to the crisis and became desolate. By the time January 2008 rolled around, the Irving triangle section of Glengale Park was essentially a ghost town. Of the ten houses nestled around the north and east sections of the Irving triangle, and up to the stop sign; only two were left inhabited, and my house was one of them. The 2210 Irving property was then scooped up by Magdelena Torres during that period of time after the first wave of the mortgage crisis.
A whole new group of property owners emerged after the sweep. So come 2009, everything was back to status quo at the triangle. Drug deals, loud parties, gun shots, you know; the whole nine yards. This would continue on for quite some time until late spring of 2009.
|Utilities at 2210 Irving Avenue North have been disconnected.|
Credit where credit’s due; Don Samuels listened to the complaints and concerns of those of us forced to live near the menace. Thanks to Samuels, one day, the SWAT team came and raided all of the drug houses lining Skid Row on Irving. Four properties were emptied of thugs, dealing drugs. Just like that, 2210 Irving was empty once more. Unable to rent the house, Torres would lose this property to foreclosure just like her predecessor, Peters. As a token of appreciation; somebody—don’t know who—decided to vandalize the property, by ripping off most of the siding.
In the chaos of 2009, a new friend from the neighborhood convinced me to stay in NoMi. He challenged me to get involved in the neighborhood. In retrospect, getting involved was one of the best things I ever did. It was the sensible thing to do. If you’ve got properties falling faster than dominoes, drug dealers running rampant, deafening boom cars, and gangsters loitering; what are you going to do? Sit there on your ass and just feel sorry for yourself?
|After being torn down, there will be a better view of the church from my window.|
My involvement in this story came in the form of championing a recommendation. By means of following the process within the city, I recommended that Skid Row be purchased by the Twin Cities Land Bank. Enough with slumlords letting their tenants run rampant and destroy all property stock in site. This cycle simply had to stop. So that’s exactly what happened.
There is an unexpected turn of events to this story. Habitat for Humanity acquired several properties from TCLB, and 2210 Irving was one of them. Since then Skid Row has simply sat their; devoid of anything, no revitalization, no demolition, no-nothing… That is until last week. It took Habitat for Humanity 18 months to pull the plug on 2210 Irving, and call the shot to demolish.
I’m not happy about how all of this turned out. It would be preferential to have somebody come in and fix the place up, but realistically, that house is so far gone that it would take a saint with a lot of time to do that job. If the choice is to have crack house with drug dealers loitering out front, or have a boarded up vacancy that’s ready to fall over, or have a nice view of the church because of the empty plot… I’ll take the view of the church.
Jerk Du Jour: Habitat for Humanity
There’s a simmering boil of fury here in NoMi. Like any other place in the American landscape, it’s populated with people of varying viewpoints. And as such, a lot of those people have become my friends. It’s become fairly clear that there’s a performance issue amongst SOME—certainly not all or even most—of the non-profits in the restoration business. Habitat for Humanity has been sitting on 2210 Irving and 2200 Irving for 18 months. GMHC has been sitting on 2601 Penn and 3725 Penn for a similar amount of time. See the trend?
From a purely performance and revitalization perspective, it doesn’t matter who owns the place. If it’s a feel good name like HfH or nefarious slumlord Steven Meldahl; a boarded up, run-down, vacant house, hurts the community all the same. I tried to get some information from HfH regarding the two properties on Irving, but my voice mails appear to have found a home in Limbo. Nobody returned my calls.
Let’s cut to the chase and skip the lip service for a minute. Perhaps a closer look on this matter is warranted? From the perspective of a corporate professional—that’s me—everyone is pushed, success is coveted, expectations are stratospheric, and performance demands are very high. So why should we have such extreme exceptions for a handful of firms? Does the lexicon with the words “non-profit” simply act as a synonym for “non-performance”, or “low-standards”?
Remember, I said that does not apply to most of the non-profits out there? I’m just pointing out that there is a growing voice of frustration over this situation. Just like the scenario of working at any job, “Do your job or else we will find someone else who can.” Same thing applies to companies as well. And in terms of non-profit housing restoration firms that have been failing to perform to reasonable standards, consider this… Start repairing your run down houses that you committed to repairing within a reasonable amount of time. And if you can’t or won’t, we’ll find someone else that can.
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- ▼ January (16)