Following a breezy presentation from Ron Clark Construction & Design, the Richfield Planning Commission opened the floodgates to a public hearing Tuesday night, allowing residents to express their concern or support for the Pillsbury Commons project.
The following are snippets of what residents had to say:
Bob Olson, 74th Street and Pillsbury Avenue resident:
“I think Richfield needs to attract people that are upwardly mobile and not just focus on affordable housing. Richfield needs to look years ahead. Don’t let Mr. Clark’s proposal lead us in a direction that we don’t want to go. Please consider the ramifications.”
Wendy Holland, 72nd Street and 17th Avenue resident:
“I live extremely close to Old Cedar and if anyone wants to talk about the affects of subsidized housing, take a drive down the Cedar Avenue.”
Camillo DeSantis, 65th Street and Newton Avenue resident:
“There have been previous studies that have said the same thing. … Why conduct studies if we don’t make use of them. Those who say we have enough rental housing, specifically affordable, then why Lyndale Plaza? In any event, we need two and three bedroom apartments to keep families in Richfield and attract other families to Richfield.”
Deb Harms, 63rd Street and 5th Avenue resident:
“As a life-long resident of Richfield, … I absolutely cannot comprehend why you are even considering this project. … Since Richfield is landlocked, we should be very careful of what developments we allow. I urge you not to allow this project to continue.”
Rebecca Bowers, 65th Street and Knox Avenue resident:
"The existing buildings are an eyesore and from what I’ve heard tonight, contaminated. ... Richfield residents benefit by having newer, higher quality apartments."
Lou Hanson, 76th Street and Garfield Avenue resident:
“I’m not opposed to low-income housing; I think we need it. But this is not the location.
Holly Hanson, 76th Street and Harriet resident:
“We’re minutes from Mall of America. We’re minutes from Southdale. We’re minutes from the airport. … You want single-family homes there. You want townhomes. You want anything other than what he’s proposing.”
Ann Dougherty, 68th Street and James Avenue resident:
“We do not have enough three bedrooms. … If these families would have the option of a three-bedroom apartment they would end up as a Richfield homeowner eventually. I really think that Richfield needs this.”
Joe Hoover, 76th Street and Harriet Avenue resident:
“The Stanec report stated that we needed housing options at both ends of the spectrum. We do need to attract young, urban professionals. Camillo is right, we don’t have many housing options for low-income families. … But what we don’t need is a new, large-scale apartment complex.”
*Patrick Meniboon, 75th Street and Nicollet Avenue resident:
“Look at me, who do you think I am? I own a house, I have a master’s degree, I have worked everyday of my life since I came to the U.S. … I speak with an accent. So what? It doesn’t matter. We need to concern ourselves with the type of structure that will be put in place. Rather than us being personal … we should just state the facts here. … I think that this project is going to benefit me. Let’s put aside all this crap of demographics. It’s so political and it’s so tiring.”
More from Tuesday night's planning commission meeting will follow in a separate article. To see more Patch coverage of this controversial project, visit the Pillsbury Commons topic page.
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Editor's Note: Patrick Meniboon's last name was originally misspelled. The correction has been made.