The Early Years
The Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) has actively advocated for neighborhood issues for more than 25 years. SECIA is open to anyone who lives in the neighborhood or who represents a business, church, civic organization, or other entity located within its borders. Over the years, membership and board representation have come primarily from homeowners and businesses.
In 1994-95, Como’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) process began when Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA) developed and entered into the Participation Agreement with the City of Minneapolis.
Throughout the summer of 1995, SECIA distributed fliers and recruited volunteers to serve on the NRP Steering Committee. The first Town Meeting was held on October 5, 1995, at which time the process and purpose of NRP were introduced, issues brainstormed, more volunteers were sought, and the Steering Committee was elected. Following that meeting the Steering Committee met monthly to organize the NRP in Como, hire a part-time staff and get the wheels rolling.
Neighborhood Task Forces & Developing a First Step Plan
A second Town Meeting was held on October 29, 1996, where the results of the survey were presented and eight task forces were formed on:
- Public safety
- Community services
- Business/economic development
Over the next six months, the task forces identified and researched neighborhood issues and opportunities and developed proposed goals, objectives and strategies. These were presented at a third Town Meeting on May 20th, 1997 where over 150 participants cast their straw vote indicating their priority objectives and ones which raised red flags.
Each task force used this response to focus on a selected number of goals and objectives for the First Step Plan. The task forces spent the summer of 1997 further researching appropriate strategies, identifying implementation partners, and developing budgets. The task forces combined their proposals into the draft First Step Plan which was presented to the neighborhood at the Fourth NRP Town Meeting on November 18, 1997, and overwhelmingly approved by the attendees.
In 1998, SECIA and its NRP Steering Committee and task forces started to develop the full Neighborhood Action Plan while beginning to implement the First Step Plan. Among the first accomplishments of the First Step Plan were the volunteer-based construction of the Tuttle School playground in September and Unitree/Minnesota RedLeaf tree planting in October.
A workshop for SECIA Board members, committee, and task force members on November 8, 1998, kicked off the Action Planning process. All committees/Task Forces worked throughout the winter and spring investigating and preparing their Action Plan proposals. In addition, Como participated in a major joint Thoroughfare Study and held the cooperative Como-Tuttle Shebang event attended by more than 170 residents.
The Housing Loan Program was kicked off with a large open meeting on February 10, 1999. The draft Neighborhood Action Plan was distributed to every household (via the Comotion newsletter) and was presented at a Town Meeting on June 15, 1999, where participants cast their straw vote indicating their priority objectives and ones which raised red flags. The committees/task forces then refined their proposals, reached consensus on the budget, and presented the plan at an All Task Force Meeting on September 30, 1999. The Action Plan has gone through NRP staff and legal review. The neighborhood approved the plan on November 30, 1999, with 70 people attending and only 1 dissenting voter.
The summary of these planning efforts are found in Southeast Como’s Phase I Review.
As Phase 1 wrapped up, SE Como began its planning for NRP Phase II.