Ideas for “Neighborhood Revitalization??”

Three weeks ago, despite countless warnings, I moved into the St. Regis Apartments (up the block from the Kozy). My goal is to be a part of (spearhead?) a revitalization, of sorts. I figure, if something is going to change, I must be an active participant in it (as opposed to ye olde hoping/praying method). The current phase involves increasing the aesthetic through art (murals, etc.). I’m quite curious if anyone has thoughts on this, and most certainly, if anyone would like to get involved. Oh, won’t you please…be my neighbor?

36 Comments

Danny

about 13 years ago

Four words: Good luck with that.

freebird218

about 13 years ago

Get a neighborhood watch going. I know the cops step up when a community doesn't police itself. My neighborhood has two nice ladies who walk around with flashlights all hours of the night. Nothing makes me feel more safe than Betsy welcoming me home when I get there late... I don't know how safe I feel for Betsy, but a can of bear mace and a 500,000-volt taser probably keep her sleeping soundly at night both after and during her midnight ventures.

brautigan

about 13 years ago

I'm not saying it's a super fun and easy fall project. It's daunting, to say the least. I honestly thought there would be some support- or at least ideas (thanks freebird)- for this type of thing.

conrad

about 13 years ago

I would be your neighbor but I don't live even remotely close to there.  I like the idea though.

Bad Cat!

about 13 years ago

When I read the first part of your post, I thought "Yikes!" Many years ago I was looking for an apartment and found those, and kept driving.

But you're totally right, in order to make a neighborhood better, someone has to go first. You are literally living the social change that needs to be made. I think that's awesome and hope that it works.

As far as getting the neighborhood involved in the plan, something as simple as a veggie garden would do wonders. Also visual things like clearing litter, removing graffiti, painting murals (or just painting to look nice) might help to.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

dbrewing

about 13 years ago

Convince your landlord not to rent to drug dealers.

adam

about 13 years ago

Get the Kozy to stop letting St. Regis residents start tabs. That would be a good start.

Tyler Nelson

about 13 years ago

Tag "Clean our neighborhood" on every outdoor surface. It'll get the point across to everyone. Really though, I'll lend a hand where needed. Possibly even two.

Tom

about 13 years ago

Step 1: Convince people that they should care whether the neighborhood changes or not. 

Step 2: Convince people that they can change their neighborhood. 

Step 3: Change the neighborhood by finding the leaders that already exist within the neighborhood.

Step 4: Write a book about how you did it.

Step 5: Move to a better neighborhood with profits from the book.

Oh ... and you're gonna need a lot of allies, so just talk to every stakeholder you can think of and find out what they want the change to look like ... otherwise you'll get lonely really fast.

Get in touch with Allen Richardson at CHUM. He's their community organizer and might already be at work in the area. 

brautigan

about 13 years ago

Thanks everyone!! There are some damn fine ideas here. Don't stop...and stay tuned!

Bret

about 13 years ago

With the revitalization of Old Downtown, I suspect that the Regis Apartments will one day be in high demand.

I moved a few blocks from Selby and Dale in St. Paul in 1990, which was one of the toughest neighborhoods in the Twin Cities a few years earlier.  It's now one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Twin Cities.  So, keep the faith - I've seen it happen before.

Hillsider Newspaper editor

about 13 years ago

I think I did a short blurb about the new managers there about three years ago. I must not have uploaded it to the Hillsider blog. They seemed decent. I wonder if they are still there. They had two dogs. One was a Jack Russell terrier

Hillsider Newspaper editor

about 13 years ago

I ran something in August of 08:

Kim & Mike Kloos named property managers of
Rock Solid Properties, formerly St. Regis Apartments

"Laze"

about 13 years ago

Put some Banksy-esque paint up that is thick with irony, making the average sheep strolling by uncomfortable, spurring them to finally question exactly what their role is the big mix of things.

[img]http://senseslost.com/third-rail-content/uploads/2007/07/banksy.jpg[/img]

farglebargle

about 13 years ago

"Revitalize the neighborhood" always sounds nice, but what does that mean? Are you trying to make it a safe, livable area for people of all income levels? Or are you a vanguard for the real estate market? There's a big effort from Rob Link and others to gentrify downtown with condos. (It went on hold once the house market tanked, but they're waiting it out.) Artists typically are the unintentional forerunners of gentrification, creating hip little inner city niches. Then the developers come in, rents go up and both the poor and the artists are forced out.

Bang

about 13 years ago

You are basically talking about community organizing.  As Tom suggested, talk to Allen Richardson at CHUM, there are already organized neighbors in the area, no need to re-invent the wheel.  This is the first thing you should do.     

If you really want to be effective, go into this with as little ego as possible and make an effort to be pragmatic and flexible.  

As a former organizer in the hillside, I saw so many opportunities lost to individual goal-seeking.  Trying to get people organized to change their neighborhood is extremely challenging, but very possible.  Have your goals, but recognize victories outside of your own goals as victories, not as personal slights.     

Goals pertaining to 'revitalization' change from building to building and from block to block.  Being clear about what you want, plugging into organized groups, and using existing momentum to your advantage are the most efficient ways to see change in your neighborhood.

brautigan

about 13 years ago

THANK YOU ALL who've offered encouragement and wisdom here!! I will certainly take all this and humbly hobble with it! Also, Farglebargle: I hear what you're saying about artists = gentrification. It's a scary thought. The new owner (a certain former owner of a certain historic theater), the new management and I are on the same page as far as the kinds of people we are hoping to attract. Generally speaking, artists are low income, but they certainly aren't the only ones (especially in this town!). Sheesh! Suffice to say, whatever happens here can almost certainly be called "revitalization," as the place has nowhere to go but UP. Will it be its eventual demise? I think it's worth the risk. The Kozy isn't going anywhere any time soon.

Hillsider Newspaper editor

about 13 years ago

So do they have the same managers, Kim & Mike Kloos, or are there new managers?

Milk

about 13 years ago

Look, it's time to face it - the best thing for Minnesota would be for Duluth to be destroyed with cruise missiles, and be replaced with a State Park.

The economy sucks up here, all the old houses suck, the climate is total shit, the populace is basically boring as hell, there is NO local cuisine other than dreck such as smoked fish, the fave local pastime is getting wasted, we have a big problem with the fact that the only people moving to Duluth in large numbers are very-low income people from urban areas, the local politics are clearly either totally incompetent or totally corrupt, housing is illogically expensive, and um... okay, there are a couple of bright spots, but nothing you wouldn't find in your average college town of 10,000 like St. Peter. Cruise missiles.

Hillsider Newspaper editor

about 13 years ago

Milk,
W????

What a terrible thing to say. We moved here because we wanted to. The old houses are wonderful. The tall trees and the hills add to the charm. Duluth still has its own personality, it isn't just another suburb. Duluth has a lot going on. 

For a town of its size there is lots of music, theater, clubs to join. Not a day goes by where there aren't two or things to do at the same time.

I wonder if you just posted that as a troll or a plant to raise a ruckus...

If it is so terrible why do you stay? 

I'll say it again, we could have gone to the Twin Cities or further away. We chose to come to Duluth.

eco eco

about 13 years ago

I'll be moving back to town in about 5 weeks and staying til midMay--what's the rent like at Regis? Is it roach infested?

TimK

about 13 years ago

Milk, you are a tool (if not a troll). Let me go through your list of grievances:

Old houses -- would you prefer tract upon tract of McMansions in foreclosure?

Climate -- some of us actually enjoy all four seasons.

Populace boring -- really? Speak for yourself, blowhard. More than 40 intelligent, eloquent, well-read, well-traveled Duluthians came to my BBQ yesterday. I couldn't invite EVERY cool person I know in Duluth.

Local cuisine -- Smoked fish is pretty good in my book. So are the following eateries (an incomplete list): Duluth Grill, Uncle Louie's, Zeitgeist, Hanabi, Lake Ave. Cafe, AtSara's Table, Clyde Iron, Va Bene, New Scenic Cafe, Burrito Union and the Brewhouse. You don't have to eat at a chain in this town if you don't want to -- good gawd!

Local pastime -- Duluth is home to how many live theater companies? How many venues? Here's another incomplete list of venues -- Teatro Zuccone, the Duluth Playhouse, the Play Ground, Luce, RT's, Brewhouse, Mitchell, Weber, Sacred Heart, Zinema, Clyde Iron, Amazing Grace, Sir Ben's, DSSO at the DECC, Carmody, etc. Have you heard of Homegrown Music Fest? Oh, maybe YOU are too wasted to know what a plethora of fantastic things there are to do and see in Duluth. It is also an out-and-out lie that there are "large numbers of low-income" people moving in from urban areas. This myth is being propagated by Brad Bennett and his flock of complete droolers on local hate radio. 

As for politics, the citizens of Duluth often have the highest or next to highest voter turnout in the nation! Only an engaged, civic-minded citizenry would come out to vote, so I'm thinking they've made fairly good choices. Duluthians didn't give Bush or Pawlenty a lot of votes. 

Houses are not "illogically expensive" here either. Compare the number of single family homes in Duluth to any comparably sized community in the United States and we rank pretty high on affordability.

So, back to your cave, troll!

Bret

about 13 years ago

What TimK said!

brautigan

about 13 years ago

Well, it takes all kinds, I guess! Again, thanks to all who have shown any interest in this topic whatsoever (Yes, even Milk.). 

As for the management, it has been taken over by the Kozy management team, who -- I must say -- are some of the most dedicated, patient, and friendly(!) people I've met in a while. The things these folks put up with!

As for the rent, etc.: you can check out the Craigslist ad I just posted. It's pretty radical, but why not?!

$830/3br - 3 bedrooms in stylin' building

And just between you and I, there is some wiggle room on the rent. Oh! and it's by no means roach infested!!! And there are plenty of open apartments.

zra

about 13 years ago

@ Tim: you forgot the BWCAW and SHT, along with the North Shore, and were spot on about the Bennett Bullshit (no relation to me, thank god!)

Larry

about 13 years ago

I agree with you. Milk, if you find it so reprehensible and don't want to do anything but gripe about it, you ought to leave immediately.

Larry

about 13 years ago

Thanks, TimK. Couldn't have said it better myself. I live here because I choose to live here. I imagine Milk is here for the same reason, but he could certainly MOVE. No big loss.

Hillsider_Editor

about 13 years ago

Well, I thought about telling Milk he could leave, but then I didn't want to be the cliched "Love it or leave it."

Claire

about 13 years ago

Milk, you sure you and I live in the same city? There is so much creative energy in this town, so many cool people who could succeed anywhere, so much to do. I have friends who live outside of large cities, and they are bored there b/c there's nothing going on in their towns. All the most creative people go off and do their thing in the nearby large city. I think we're really lucky to live here. Only buildings I would bomb are the Radisson and the downtown Library. They suck, it's too bad they're not gorgeous, they would have been if they'd been built to complement the Depot's architectural style. I think it's telling that a lot of politicians running for statewide office spent their Labor Day in Duluth. The only thing holding Duluth back is this inferiority complex some like this guy Milk seems to have. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Duluth is poised on the edge of greatness.

edub

about 13 years ago

The potential of the area is great, but there are many hurdles.  The problems and solutions vary, but I feel the solution with the greatest impact would be ending all one-way streets.  Originally part of a nuclear disaster plan to enable max exodus from a community, cities across the country have found that slowing down traffic by turning one-way streets into two-way has a great influence on community from lowering crime to increasing retail opportunities via foot traffic.  There are a number of studies that have proven this.  There is the upfront infrastructure cost, but the benefits far out weigh it in the long term.

The Opponent

about 13 years ago

I am looking for a lair.  What is the rent?  Who do I call?  By the by, as anyone who has lived in an actual metropolitan city can attest the St. Regis and Kozy does not a ghetto make.  Try paying $1200 per month to live in a studio apartment in San Francisco's Tenderloin.

The Big E

about 13 years ago

Milk's spot under the bridge is unoccupied right now, Opponent.

The Opponent

about 13 years ago

I have lived under a bridge.  It was drafty, but the sunrises, don't get me started.

brautigan

about 13 years ago

The Opponent: I've posted the link to the craigslist ad in a previous post. BTW: I've had a couple of very enthusiastic responses! Thanks again for everyone's two cents...even Milk. In Milk's defense, I've had some similar bitter sentiments after not having a substantial b.m. for a few days...hmmm...

Mary

about 13 years ago

I work downtown and am a resident of central hillside and love the idea (and practice) of art in public places.  (Beautification goes a long way.)  Duluth has a few good places for that, but has the potential for so much more!  I would totally be interested in getting involved with a more formal effort to bring more public art to town, so if there is a way for us to get in touch that would be cool.

Wonderer

about 13 years ago

I realize this posting is old, but does anyone have any experience renting at St. Regis? What's it like?

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