UPDATE ON THE EAST PHILLIPS INDOOR URBAN FARM vs HIAWATHA EXPANSION PROJECT
From the Newsletter of City Council Member Alondra Cano –
On April 30th, the City Council voted 12-1 in favor of a staff direction to suspend the City’s expansion of the Hiawatha facility in East Phillips. In addition, at the Business, Housing, Inspections, and Zoning Committee (BHIZ) on May 4, the associated Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) was postponed until August 5th at Committee of the Whole (COW).
The staff direction requires City staff to return to the City Council on August 5th with a full report on the following:
Suspend the City’s work to expand the Hiawatha Maintenance Facility at 1860 East 28th Street East and 2717 Longfellow Avenue South.
Return with a report on the financial and operational implications of terminating the City’s interest in this parcel and identifying another site for a facility, including but not limited to a process, a timeline, and budgetary needs.
Recommend a process for how to sell all or a portion of the City-owned property not needed for municipal operations at 1860 East 28th Street and 2717 Longfellow Avenue South in a way that is aligned with community interests and engages community-based organizations.
What does this mean?
The city’s proposed Hiawatha Expansion Project is on hold until the August 5th vote. Before August 5th, we need to garner the 7+ City Council votes to permanently suspend the Hiawatha Expansion Project AND to move forward with the community’s plan for the Roof Depot site, the East Phillips Indoor Urban Farm.
According to Alondra Cano, the city council could choose to approve the EAW at the August 5th meeting. This means that we need to keep talking to the city council, the mayor, the governor, and our state representatives.
WHAT IS AN EAW?
An Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is a document that lays out details of a proposed project and its potential impact on the environment. An EAW helps determine if further environmental review is necessary, such as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). However, the City’s current EAW is flawed and leaves out decades of cumulative pollution and the negative health impacts our low-income, BIPOC community has experienced.
FLAWS OF THE EAW
The EAW fails to take into account that East Phillips is an environmental justice area.
As a designated Green Zone, East Phillips should be prioritized in pollution reduction and health-oriented green investment.
The EAW has not addressed the cumulative impacts of the Hiawatha Expansion project.
The nature and extent of potential air pollution caused by the Hiawatha Expansion project is inadequately assessed.
Increased traffic-related air pollution would occur in the community surrounding the Hiawatha Expansion project, causing harms that should be assessed in an EIS.
The EAW identifies a toxic chemical plume present in groundwater under the Roof Depot site.
The sampling and analysis of soils and fill beneath the Roof Depot site and the surrounding paved surfaces is inadequate.
The EAW fails to describe the cumulative impact on local roadway traffic.
The EAW does not adequately address climate change impacts.
The EAW makes unsupported claims about the benefits of the Hiawatha expansion project to the surrounding community.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Continue sending your comments to Council Members; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mayor also must sign off on this. So, don’t forget to include him when you’re sending comments: email@example.com.
Ask them why the City doesn’t follow State Clark/Berglin Environmental Justice law? Ask them why their project violates the 2040 plan, why it ignores Green Zone policy, and why it ignores Climate Crisis guidelines and Racial Crisis guidelines. Ask the to support our overwhelmingly BIPOC community in building the Indoor Urban Farm – a project that will bring clean energy, nutritious food, jobs, local business, and affordable housing to the community.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Sign the petition (button below).
Donate at GoFundMe (button below).
Volunteer! We host meetings every Wednesday evening open to all!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) is suing the City of Minneapolis, and we need your help.
The City of Minneapolis plans to relocate and expand their Public Works maintenance yard into our East Phillips neighborhood–a plan that will bring more pollution to our already overburdened community. Additionally, they refuse to have good faith discussions about our alternative community-based development project that would ensure environmental justice for our neighborhood. East Phillip neighborhood residents are predominantly low-income Native American, Latinx, African American, East African and other historically marginalized residents.
We can’t say it enough! We need your help raising funds for legal expenses: to post bond to stop the City’s proposed demolition of the Roof Depot, to have our case heard, and to continue the fight for our environmental rights in court. Toxic environmental pollution impacts our health, and we have some of the worst racial health disparities in Minneapolis. It’s imperative for our future and our children’s future that we stop the City’s project and have our day in court.