The Gordon Center Overview:
The Willard School (in particular, the Gordon Center) has been proposed to be used as a high-volume, short-term, high-turnover, emergency shelter. This unprecedented zoning proposal creates a lopsided women-only housing corridor on the Northside and lacked input from the community or our BIPOC leadership on the Northside. We believe this proposal is well-intentioned but ultimately misplaced. This proposal asks the Northside to divert a needed asset from the community (space for youth programming, next to a playground) to meet the County's desires for temporary housing, without regard to feedback from the community it is purporting to serve. We hope our voices are worth the few additional months of time it will take to find another location. If there can be flexibility on this placement, the community would stand behind this proposal.
Despite the optics of being "for" women of color, women in BIPOC leadership positions are firmly in opposition to this proposal.
Timeline of the (lack) of Community Notification
- This timeline indicated the violation of the approval process required by the city. To see those notification requirements, click here
- To donate to our legal fund to file an injunction based on the lack of BIPOC community engagement or legal notification click here
- If you're wondering why this timeline does not match with Irene Fernando or other official statements, we hope they are simply confused about the timeline themselves. The documents we cite by Appendix are here. You can see a fact-check of the timeline represented by Commission Fernando by clicking "Fact Check Fernando" in the tab above.
Nov. 12, 2019: Date Land Use Application for the Gordon Center deemed complete
Appendix document 1
Nov. 12, 2019: Letter from Margo Geffen to NRRC president Martine Smaller and Jeremiah Ellison requesting a community meeting for Nov or Dec 2019
Appendix document 2
Nov. 13, 2019: City of Minneapolis approved the request to submit the Land Use Application
Appendix document 1
November 25th 2019: Margo Geffen states NRRC, Councilmember Ellison, and residents within 350 feet were sent a letter indicating the Dec. 5th vote with the Zoning and Planning Committee. Because the notification indicates the hearing will be held Dec. 5th, the notice is sent less than the 15 day and 21 day notification requirements.
November 27, 2019: Letter asking for an extension for the 60-day decision period until March 13,2020
Appendix document 3
Dec. 5, 2019: Zoning and Planning Committee meeting were to vote on the application but moved the vote to the meeting of Jan. 9, 2020 (Jeremiah Ellison present). There is not a second notice sent to NRRC or the community indicating the change and new date of the hearing.
Appendix document 6
Dec. 5, 2019: Land Use Application Summary submitted to the Zoning and Planning Committee notes that “Staff is not in receipt of public comments regarding the proposed shelter”
Dec. 9, 2019: The county goes to standard, monthly NRRC RCTF meeting on December 9. The idea is presented to NRRC as an idea or exploratory conversation. Neither NRRC or the city publicize or flyer the neighborhood about this meeting. Feedback at this meeting is not recorded or submitted with application.
- Dec. 19, 2019: Final date to submit notice to registered neighborhood group, NRRC (21 days before Jan.9 vote). This notice was not sent.
- Dec. 24, 2020: Final date to submit notice to residents (15 days before vote Jan.9 vote). These notices were not sent.
Jan. 9, 2020: Zoning and Planning Committee meeting voted on application delivered by Shanna Sether, motion was approved. No notice was sent to the community or NRRC about this rescheduled vote.
NOTE: Jeremiah Ellison absent – no one at the meeting who voted represents the Northside
Appendix document 7
January 17, 2020: City Council meeting – approved the approval from above Jan. 9 Zoning and Planning Committee
Appendix document 8
January 30, 2020: First publicized community meeting about “proposed” women’s shelter held at Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center with Jeremiah Ellison and Commissioner Conley
NOTE: This meeting takes place AFTER the city council has already approved the plan. The community meetings must take place before approval. Announced on Social Media pages of Angela Conley and Jeremiah Ellison. Verbiage still describes a “proposed” shelter.
Appendix document 9
July 30th, 2020: Northside Residents Redevelopment Council meeting to discuss the Gordon Center
Appendix document 9
July 31, 2020: Irene Fernando, Hennepin County Dist. 2 issues first Public Statement on Planned Shelter at the Gordon Center
Appendix document 10