CommonBond Communities of Minnesota is back with the same bad idea of the Crestwood Ridge, mixed income apartments, on the corner of Crestwood Drive NW and Edgewood Road NW.
That tiny, busy corner still is the wrong place. Although the city planning commission and the city council voted to deny the rezoning request, CommonBond still is trying to salvage their $8 million tax credit. Because of the sensitive (read: political) nature of this project, most of the city council backs it. And by not listening to facts or neighborhood experience, there is little regard for the people in it or the neighbors around it. On paper, it looks great. But nothing can be guaranteed or known to work for sure. Once that building goes up, there’s no taking it back down. And when we’re proven right, it will be the people in the complex or the neighborhood that will suffer the consequences and expenses. Visit the corner and imagine a three-story, 45-unit structure, the size of our own City Hall, on that tiny lot. Then imagine your children playing on that street corner!
The neighborhood is not opposed to the nature of this project; but the size, density, challenges, size of the lot and safety on such a busy corner. CommonBond cannot FIX those issues. We are trying to look out for everyone that will be in our neighborhood. Something this large and family oriented, should not be packed onto an insanely small, dangerous corner. Maybe they think the residents won’t notice, “we’re doing good so it can’t be wrong” or “it’s better than they have now.” But shouldn’t we be giving them our “Best Effort”? But in an overzealous attempt to be helpful, they have chosen the wrong location, when another perfectly suitable one is available very close by.
And what about the money? CommonBond’s Executive Vice President, Thomas Stanberry swears this project is not about money. Are they volunteers? NO, they’re paid employees of a niche company that is involved in over 100 such ventures. They sell their tax credits to investors for cash, at a discount. The investors make a profit and CommonBond converts their credit into cash. Attempting to salvage this big paycheck, they are trying to drive this square peg of a project, into a tiny round hole. Forcing it “to work” at all costs. Cash is at stake. There is no shame. Don’t future tenants deserve a safe, suitable place to call home? Don’t the neighbors deserve to preserve their neighborhoods without having added costs and problems because of this misplaced development? Doesn’t our city deserve to not to incur expenses to accommodate this fiasco. Maybe we’re not a bigoted, noisy crowd as portrayed by some. JUST MAYBE, we are looking out for everyone. No one should be forced to settle for this development just to ensure CommonBond’s payday. They have every opportunity to reapply for funds, for a new development, at the correct location. If Mr. Stanberry is to be believed, then halting this project now and starting work on a new project, to help those same people will be his next step.
• Bill Divis is a 20 year resident of Crestwood Dr. and raised his family in the neighborhood.