Students Build Support for new Housing in Minneapolis

Thanks to the initiative of two college students, there may soon be a new transit village near the Franklin Avenue light rail station. That’s the goal of Seward Redesign, a nonprofit community developer and the lead for the project. Redesign recently submitted a vision to Catalyze the Future of Urban Living as a grant proposal for the Pepsi Refresh Project, a yearlong national initiative designed to support grassroots ideas for local development.

Applying for the grant was the idea of Megan Sheridan, a 22-year-old intern at Seward Redesign and senior in environmental studies at the University of St. Thomas. She enlisted the help of fellow intern Sally Holzapfel, a University of Minnesota architecture alum starting the graduate program in urban and regional planning at the U of M this fall. Together, they drafted the proposal and video for application.

The application was recently approved by Pepsi for consideration by the public. The public can vote through Monday, May 31, at the Future of Urban Living website to win funding for the project. The top two vote getters in each category will be selected to receive a $250,000 grant.

If successful, Redesign will use the $250,000 to transform a four-acre site between Minnehaha Avenue and the Hiawatha light rail line into a bike- and transit-friendly development that incorporates rooftop gardens, solar power and locally supplied power generated by an anaerobic digester that converts organic waste into clean burning gas.

“The light rail is a valuable asset for Seward, but so far it has not been a catalyst for development. As a neighborhood-based developer, we are working to change the area around the station into a gateway for the neighborhood that expresses the values of the people who live here,” said Seward Redesign’s executive director Brian Miller.

Seward Redesign is a nonprofit community development corporation that has served the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis and the adjacent neighborhoods since 1967.