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Pillsbury Commons Developers to Make the Rounds in Richfield

Representatives of Ron Clark Construction & Design will be on hand during a special city council work session, as well as at a public meeting at a local church this week.

Ron Clark Construction & Design, the developer of the , is making the Richfield rounds this week, making stops at a Richfield City Council work session Tuesday night as well as an informal public meeting at Thursday morning.

The roughly $12.6 million development——would see a substantial multi-unit housing development constructed, on a largely undeveloped block of Richfield, at the corner of 77th Street and Pillsbury Avenue.

According to Tuesday's council agenda, developers will present revised design plans and some community feedback it gathered from an open house held in late November 2011.

As for the Thursday morning informational meeting, in addition to presenting the details, company representatives will hold a question and answer session. This event was organized by the Attainable Housing Committee of the Richfield Community Council.

Tuesday's session will run from 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Bartholomew Conference Room at . Thursday's meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the church. Both meetings are open to the public.

Roger Kint January 24, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I would take this over the plain brick box apartments by my house any day. Plus they would be getting rid of the ugly old buildings there now and cleaning up the contamination. I can't believe some people are against that. But I guess I don't live near there so if it sits like it is for another 15 years it's not my problem. Would be nice to get it on the tax rolls though.
David Haines January 24, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Roger, this plan contradicts what the city's own study of the area recommended. Check out www.76street.org, I got this from there. There is more info on this but this will let you know a source of the opposition. "Back when the City did its “Richfield Corridor Housing Initiative” in 2007-2008 what came out of it was plan for the 76th Street and Pleasant Avenue site was low to medium density residential mix (2 – 3 story height limit) that included different household sizes and incomes (low and moderate income families). This is what the neighborhood told the City and what the planners said would economically work. The neighbors understood and were fine with the development including a mix of affordable and market rate housing. It was supposed to be designed for public safety, including “eyes on the street.” (1) Unfortunately Ron Clark Construction’s proposal meets none of the criteria developed by the neighborhood in the guidelines. The proposal is now for a high density development which is out of character of the neighborhood. Instead of mixed income it is made up completely of low income housing units. By making the development all low-income, the renters there will wind up being stigmatized as the people living in a “low-income” development. One of rationals for having mixed income developments to prevent stigmatization and to help integrate people into the community. "
David Haines January 24, 2012 at 10:05 PM
There is also a facebook page to follow for updates if you are on: http://www.facebook.com/RichfieldMinnesota
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 24, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I'm heading to the special session tonight and I will have a story tomorrow about the "revised" plans and how the council reacts. Stay tuned!
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Hi Caitlin we hope that you had a chance to see the city council in action.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 25, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Yes, Barry. I was there! Working on a story right now!
Kay Nelson January 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I'm concerned about the effect this project would have on Richfield Schools. Can we really support this?
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Hi there Roger. What are do you live in? (Wondering what apartments you're not so happy with in your neighborhood.)
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM
HI there Kay. What are your specific concerns?
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Caitlin, Let some facts roll, Lets start with the Richfield schools, compared with Ednia graduation rate of 98% with only 3% free Lunch Program, Bloomington Graduates 94% with 7% free lunches and RICHFIELD Graduates 48% with 53% free lunches...Poverty condensed in one system never has worked. Just look at what has happened in the metro area.
David Haines January 25, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I had thought the Richfield school system had it's share of 'challenges' but Barry, I am glad you have the facts that I was lacking to really put it into perspective. If those numbers are correct, we as a city have some serious issues to address before thinking about opening the gates to anymore low-income housing or anything else for that matter. Those statistics are worrysome and should really be priority #1 for our leaders if we are going to have these students be productive and contributing tax-payers some day.
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 08:07 PM
You can also look at the State of Minnesota Finance Housing report: http://www.mnhousing.gov/idc/groups/secure/documents/admin/mhfa_010263.pdf
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 08:14 PM
There is one main question, Why is city council building a 100% work force housing when they, HRA and City Council do not have any idea what the housing inventory is in Richfield. See HRA Meeting http://www.cityofrichfield.org/Videos/CurrentlyPlaying.htm
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 08:21 PM
There was a question asked in the open forum: Why is the city selling the property for $415 thousand when the county assessors have a 2010 appraisal for 2.9 million Dollars and Ron Clark is asking for $250 thousand in TIF funding to clean the site. What should be asked is the 2 million dollar question, why is he getting the land for almost free? And the city will be picking up the tab for clean up of property....?
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Yes I would call each School board member and ask what the issues are. As this is a very basic level stat, but the main part is we have 300 homes on section 8 that city of Richfield voucher system out. We need to help the people here. We have issues now. Please lets take care of our neighbors. What I do ask where is EDNIA why can they not help in taking in section 42 work force housing?
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 25, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Hey everyone. You are bringing up some great discussion topics. I'm in talks with Ron Clark Construction right now to have a "Cover it Live" - or live blogging/discussion session - on the site. I've done it once before and it was awesome. The whole conversation, every question and answer, will be recorded as well. I'll keep you posted on if they agree to be a part of it or not. But, you'll be able to come to the site and submit commentary and questions on the project just like a forum.
Barry L. January 25, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Great, so can we ask questions? Can you give us a days notice?
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 25, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Yep. I would be the moderator and anyone who wishes will be able to submit questions and they can respond. You will definitely have some notice. I am hoping to do it in the evening around 7 p.m. That way people can get home from work, have some dinner and then log on.
Barry L. January 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Any word from Ron Clarks group?
Ghislaine Ball February 14, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I just posted this comment to another article but I believe that it's relevant here as well. This proposed high-density project includes a phase 1 of 70 1-3 bedroom units with 1-3 persons per bedroom. Alone, this project does not follow best practices for affordable housing developments which clearly state that integration into a mixed income area is most desirable. When you take into account that the first phase of this project (phase two could include up to 80-90 additional units of 100% affordable housing) sits smack dab in the middle of an existing 943 units of affordable and Section 8 - you've now created a slum. The community actively supported the low-medium density, mixed-income project but since the 'bait-and-switch' (the developer will receive approx. $10 million in TIF financing for 100% affordable vs. considerably less if anything at all - that's pretty big incentive on a $12.6 million project) we have actively fought what we feel will be the proverbial straw that will break the back of this already struggling low-mid income area.
Ghislaine Ball February 14, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Hey Caitlin - the opposition would also very much like the opportunity to respond to the community about their concerns with this project and to clarify so misleading and partial information that is being disseminated. Please contact either myself or Barry LeBlanc.
Barry L. February 15, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Last Night more bait and switch, now instead of only having 1 unit section 8, to 3 units section 8 see last Special Council Work Session 01/24/2012 but now it includes all the 3 bedroom units qualify for Section 8, so what dose that mean? 19 more bed rooms for possible section 8. watch for video feed from Richfield city

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