Friday, February 27, 2009

Panelaky for Marcy-Holmes

Time is running out for the old-world charm of Marcy-Holmes. In a swift coup of "urban renewal", the city of Minneaoplis' Orwellian Community Planning and Economic Development agency is working with big developers to bring "luxury" high rise block housing to the city's first residential neighborhood. But the CPED's massive restructuring of the community is not without its detractors.

Homeowners of Marcy-Holmes are angered by what they have called a "closed process" to reshape the neighborhood. Desperately trying to engage in dialogue with the Rybak appointed 15th Avenue SE Urban Design Plan commission, they claim their cries for consultation are being ignored. The commission refutes these claims as they have pointed out that a five week discussion period permitted by the city produced nothing. The top-down run Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association also approved the city's plan for mass development.

However, homeowners and residents claim they are being shut out of the final decision and are having the future of the neighborhood dictated by developers who are ultimately writing the plan for the Community Planning and Economic Development department.

Some speculate that the city wants to push out of Marcy-Holmes what they deem as overoccupied slum housing perpetuated by deadbeat landlords. Whatever the case may be, it appears the city will prevail in the effort to gentrify the area. With other recent projects in the area going up at the abandoned Bunge Factory as well as near St. Anthony Falls, the city hopes to capitalize on extending the glam of downtown across the Mississippi. However, as many residents have already questioned. who will pay to live in these overpriced apartment blocks?

In former communist Czechoslovakia, these state-promoted blocks of flats were infamously known for shoddy construction and aesthetic cruelty. They were rediculed and despised by the derrogatory name of panelaky. If Marcy-Holmes' development is steered by similar broken programs, the panelaky will stand in the city's oldest neighborhood marring its subtle grandeur, forever a monument to mediocrity.

So after all, in these days of economic crisis, who will pay for the high priced, low quality apartment living? Most likely, none.

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