Posts Tagged ‘Community Building’



May 21, 2012

Different writers; different tone this morning on the North Minneapolis tornado, so I definitely complained too soon.  Today we learned that 80% of the rebuild cost was covered by insurance; that claims payments averaged 41 days; and most were settled by year-end, 2011.  FEMA covered the majority of city costs…the MPRB spent $1.1 million and Mpls $800,000 that will not be reimbursed.

But it seems to me, the real story here was two-fold:  one, the outpouring of help from individuals and corporations that volunteered time and raised money to assist.  Both American Red Cross and the Minneapolis Foundation reported large donations.  The Minneapolis Foundation reported “it was the largest amount of money raised and contributed for a disaster in the foundation’s history (1915).”  And kudos also to Second Harvest Food Bank and Urban Homeworks who supplied 51,000 individuals with food and cooking supplies!

“All disasters start local and end local,” said Kris Eide. The state’s director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…”And Minneapolis, I think, did a terrific job of doing exactly that.”(achieving cost savings).

And the second and most important part of the story is the community collaboration and what they learned about themselves, as was told in the “short take” on the editorial page by Louis King, chair of the North Side Community Response Team:

“We were literally blown together by a storm and held together by a crisis…we have built bridges where there were none.  And it was amazing to see leaders and residents come together and take risks-all with the goal of benefiting the North Side…the 2011 tornado  stirred up winds of change that have the potential to bring about positive transformation.  We have made amazing progress, but there is much more work to be done to ensure that the community is able to weather its social and economic storms.”

THAT is the commitment and signs of collaboration I witnessed at the Capri on May 8. THAT was why I objected to the “EMPTY HOMES; EMPTY HOPE story yesterday.  I remember Rochester had a tornado once that devastated a sleepy little farm community in SE Minnesota; out of that came the Mayo Clinic. With a little help and encouragement, who knows what good things will rise from this disaster.

Maybe some of the statistics from today need to be shared in a new art project on West Broadway…surely there is boarded up storefront that can become public art…a brief recap of today’s good news and a simple question “How were you helped ?/How can you help going forward”” sounds like a good Candy Chang-type project to keep this community together, and reassured that they were and are not alone in their struggle to survive.  How we all respond can change the future of North Minneapolis forever.

PS TO CHRIS FIELDS:  Your understanding and commitment to community building was over-shadowed today when you chose to make the North Minneapolis disaster a political wedge in hopes to win an election.  Looks to me like posturing for personal gain, not necessarily a heartfelt attempt to collaborate across party divides for the good of the community available for disaster relief.