“Don’t Dump on Northeast” signs that once marched boldly across Northeast have faded and faded from view. The threat has not. In fact, the Minneapolis-Hennepin County proposal to construct a “recycling and drop-off center” in the Holland neighborhood, at 340 27th Avenue NE near University Avenue, is currently boiling on the “front burner” at City Hall. The “Don’t Dump on Northeast” campaign has engaged all of the Northeast neighborhoods.
Though Holland residents are most immediately affected, other neighborhoods, including my own Windom Park, are concerned about a host of issues including pollution, truck traffic, and the inclination of City officials to dismiss the concerns of Minneapolitans who happen to live East of the Mississippi.
Spring 2012 is the proposed start of construction of the site which is projected to be fully operational by spring 2013. The project as outlined by the City will include two buildings that will house separate functions: The first building, approximately 26,000 square feet, will contain the Hennepin County Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Center (HHDC) and support offices. The second building, termed the Voucher Program Building (VPB), is approximately 22,800 square feet and is planned to operate as a drop-off point for construction and demolition materials and clean up debris for the City of Minneapolis voucher program whereby residents receive City vouchers to unload “household debris.”
More details re. the City-County plan for the Recycling-Drop-off Center are laid out in a recent detailed document with copious links to detailed reports, maps, studies, and other government-produced information.
And then there are the opinions of the affected Northeasters who have consistently and persistently organized and protested the City-County plan. When local residents sued to stop the project, largely on the basis that the dump does not meet zoning requirements, they were held at bay by the City Attorney’s contention that “the city will move to dismiss the lawsuit because no application is yet pending for the facility with the city.”
Another major bone of contention between Northeasters and the City of Minneapolis concern the very purpose of the facility. The City and County prefer the more benign “recycling and drop-off center” terminology. At the same time, plans seem to call for the move of the Hennepin County Southside Transfer Station to the site. Statistics indicate that only 1/3 of the materials at the Southside Transfer Station are recycled. Residents’ challenge on this issue could put a crimp in the plans for a joint City-County venture.
In spite of City officials’ assertion that there are no definite plans, residents argue that the taxpayers have already invested $2 million in the planning process. Opponents also object to the fact that several City staffers with whom they had been working have been reassigned.
The facts are indisputable: 1) The City continues to work on a recycling-drop off center (whatever it’s to be named) and 2) opposition to what is locally known as “the dump” in Northeast is alive and well. In today’s E-Democracy post local activist and Holland resident Bruce Shoemaker writes:
It’s time for the City (or the few proponents for this that are left among City staff) to face reality,[to] stop wasting their time and our money, and give up on the current plan. The opponents – who have won every neighborhood vote that has taken place in Northeast by substantial margins – aren’t going away. Every step of the process is going to be under intense scrutiny. We have a strong and compelling legal argument and a substantial majority of our community on our side and we are going to prevail.