Dinkytown's historic preservation debate advances to City Council

Portions of Dinkytown could be declared a historic district this summer, and Minneapolis' citizen advisory board unanimously green lighted the area for historic designation at a public hearing held by the Heritage Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

The area in question rests in the 4 blocks across University Avenue from the original entrance to the University of Minnesota in southeast Minneapolis, the TC Daily Planet described. Now, the "Dinkytown Historic District Designation Study" will likely be considered by the City Council July 10 pending HPC recommendations. City voices are divided; the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association voted unanimously to support the historic designation in May, and the Dinkytown Business Alliance rejected it a few days later.

When a district is "preserved," building owners and developers must adhere to guidelines when changing the exterior of their buildings. Demolition and major changes would need approval by the HPC, but demolition is rarely allowed.

The paper said principal city planner Haila Maze has circulated a map with 35 properties that could be considered part of Dinkytown's historical fabric, and also a smaller section of buildings that showcase the transition from horse-drawn carriage to streetcar. There are 21 structures still standing from "the streetcar commercial district," most built between 1900 and 1929.

Following the HPC hearing, the City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee will take a look on July 10 and defer to a full council.

Organizers with nonprofit "Preserve Historic Dinkytown" will be in attendance, and have been championing 3 main efforts.

Preserve Dinkytown's 3 goals:

"Ensure preservation of the iconic core of Dinkytown's Historic Commercial District (over 100 years old); including its physical assets, scale and character.

Inform the city's historic designation study; document and share Dinkytown's contributions to America's transformational cultural movements of the mid 1950s to mid 1970s via: events, social media, exhibits etc.

Collaborate with established public archives and reach out through our network to gather, process and provide long-term repository for the socio-cultural history of the University's East and West-bank."

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