Penn Avenue Community Works January Project Update

Revised HCWT Penn Ave banner

January 6, 2014



Patricia Fitzgerald
Project Manager

Kayla Bromelkamp
Hennepin County Public Affairs


Penn Avenue Community Works is a collaboration between Hennepin County Public Works, the City of Minneapolis and Metro Transit, to support the Penn Avenue communities’ efforts to realize their vision for transportation access, economic opportunity and improved quality of life.

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U of M students complete Penn Avenue research

Four graduate students from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School fall 2013 Neighborhood Revitalization class recently completed a plan review of the Penn Avenue Community Works project area.

According to their report, Penn Avenue BRT has "strong potential to be successful" in its impact on development due to the combination of good ridership, amenities, and government support.

Their work included: 

  • a community snapshot of household demographics
  • a survey of related land use, development and capital investment plans
  • reviews of corridor-scale investment strategies, including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  • a definition of equitable development and a set of guiding principles to support it

The full report will be available on the Penn Avenue Community Works webpage in late January.

West Broadway Crescent breaks ground

With a groundbreaking in early December and completion set for fall 2014, the West Broadway Crescent is getting ready to provide 54 affordable rental apartments for Northside residents, including 11 three-bedroom units suitable for families. Located just south of Logan Avenue along West Broadway, the project includes a transit plaza designed by Juxtaposition Arts.

West Broadway Crescent

Developer CommonBond Communities received more than $500,000 for the $12 million project from Hennepin County's Affordable Housing Incentive Fund and Environmental Response Fund, as well as a wide range of resources from the City of Minneapolis, the Met Council and Minnesota Housing. 

The new Basilica of St. Mary's North Side Housing Fund will support CommonBond's on-site Advantage Services Program, which provides supportive tools and connections to local community resources that help families be successful and seniors and people with disabilities maintain their independence.

Community Spotlight: Staci Horwitz


Staci Horwitz learned how a stable home environment contributes to the academic success of young people while working at an after school program years ago. Now she is a Northside resident and homeowner, who helps families find that kind of long term security through her work at the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT).

CLCLT creates and preserves affordable home ownership opportunities in Minneapolis for low-to-moderate income households. A range of CLCLT programs help fill the gap between the mortgage a home-buyer can afford and the cost of the newly built or renovated home. CLCLT holds the gap "in trust" for the community, and this investment remains with the home to ensure long term affordability if it is resold or refinanced down the road.

Staci Horwitz

 "I love the people best—our work is not just about houses, but about families and communities," Staci said. Her provocative presentation “When ‘Too Much' is Not Enough” explored the issue of affordable housing during the the North First Fall Social back in September. She urges people to consider that affordability is relative, and that CLCLT clients are administrative assistants, construction workers, government employees, hair stylists, and even graphic designers and lawyers.

Staci brings this fresh perspective to her service on the Penn Avenue Community Works Project Implementation Committee. "We need to go beyond simply defining our needs on the Northside," Staci said. "We need to frame ambitious solutions from the community’s perspective in order to give people something to mobilize behind. We have a mutual responsibility to work toward that consensus."

Find downpayment assistance

Downpayment Assistance Tool

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center (MHOC) recently launched an easy-to-use interactive tool for would-be home buyers to identify eligible down payment assistance based on answers to a few simple questions. 

"Many first time buyers are unaware that they may qualify for down payment or other entry cost assistance programs in Minnesota," said MHOC Executive Director Julie Gugin. "This new online tool will simplify access to important information that home buyers need in order to become, and remain, successful homeowners."

Creative CityMaking exhibit extended through March 8

"This is Our City," the Creative CityMaking exhibit at Intermedia Arts has been extended through March 8. Come see and hear what artists Ashley Hanson and Wing Young Huie and Minneapolis planner Jim Voll found out from the Penn Avenue community through bus stop jeopardy, chalk board conversations, pop-up galleries and other activities. If you can't make it to Intermedia Arts, check out the Create Place website and newspaper.

Chalk board conversation