As consumer confidence and incomes rise, home building activity in the Twin Cities metro area continues to rebound. According to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), housing construction so far this year is up 23 percent from the same period in 2012, putting builders on a track for their best year since 2007.
During June alone, 496 permits were issued to build 912 units. Minneapolis led the top five cities permitting 380 units. Brooklyn Park and Woodbury were in the second position with 31 units, followed by Ramsey with 29. Construction of new homes in Blaine MN, Chanhassen MN and Lakeville MN tied for fifth place with 23 units permitted each.
So far this year, builders were...
There are some great green initiatives and events happening in Minnesota, contributing towards a cleaner environment for residents. Read
about how local communities are working towards creating a more
environmentally-friendly world. There are more entries than usual this month!
Prodded by a homeowner whose prairie plantings were mowed against his will, the city of Minneapolis has come up with a plan to let lawns go natural. Some suburbs have already taken the step of allowing natural plantings in place of grass, accepting their environmental benefits over the objections of some neighbors who think they look unkempt. The proposal defines the new type of landscaping as an intentional planting of native or non-native grasses, wildflowers, ferns, shrubs, trees or forbs. They're allowed to exceed the city's normal nuisance ordinance threshold of 8 inches in height, or grass that has gone or is about to go to seed. They can't include noxious weeds and have to be maintained to avoid "unintended...
May and June are great for undertaking activities in the green movement. Read on to find out about how Minnesota communities are working towards creating a more environmentally-friendly world.
First of all, businesses along University Avenue could use your patronage. Construction on the light-rail track installation for the Central Corridor is taking its toll on businesses left struggling. In some cases, revenues have decreased by half as customers forgo trying to get to their favorite places due to the mess. The construction zone stretches from Emerald Avenue on the Minneapolis border to Syndicate Street N. Go have a bite to eat, have some coffee or shop at local businesses as our Twin Cities try to make more public transportation options available to residents.
Melissa Rappaport Schifman and her husband, Jim Schifman, bought a 1950s rambler on a corner lot across from Cedar Lake in Minneapolis with plans to remodel it using green methods and materials. When they discovered what it would cost...
There have been some interesting environmental development happening around the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Here are some of the community-related green news and stories that broke in January.
An in-depth survey of 3,000 households in Ramsey and Anoka counties is providing environmental researchers at the University of Minnesota insight into what it would take to get people to make more of an effort to reduce their impact on the earth. They asked about thermostat settings, number of children, cars, bedrooms, miles driven to work, lawn size and fertilizer use, even whether there were vegetarians in the house. As it turns out, most people really do care about their impact on the environment. But what really drives them to change is knowing how they rank on their own personal pollution scores, how they compare to their neighbors, and where they can improve. In the end, the researchers hope to find out how best to influence social norms and change behavior toward a more eco-friendly culture.
Summer is in full swing in Minnesota. That means the news is filled with stories about our lakes, our parks, and our farmers markets. of course, all of those are topics we love to cover in Greening Minnesota.
Earlier this month, Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famous late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, visited Powderhorn Park on July 4 to promote an effort called Expedition: Blue Planet and to film a segment for it. Minneapolis was the first stop for the project’s film crew and biodiesel bus on its 14,500-mile tour across North America to investigate water issues and educate the public about water conservation. Some local organizations were there to help, too, like Blue Thumb, a clean-water program started by Rice Creek Watershed District that now has many chapters in Minnesota, and Metro Blooms, whose mission is to promote eco-friendly gardening that beautifies neighborhoods and protects the environment.
To help people recycle more when they're not at home, Ramsey County officials...
So maybe you've already bought a home. Or maybe you're not ready to buy one. Maybe you're a little uncertain about the economy, perhaps you're unemployed? Even if the federal tax credit deadline isn't tempting you to buy a house, maybe you can help build one!
When slow sales meant employees had to take some unpaid time off, manager Jim Boschuetz at Rockwell Automation in Roseville MN thought about what to do with the 4 1/2-day furlough. They decided to do something constructive. Literally. They helped work on an eight-unit townhouse complex being built in Ramsey by Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
The building, in the 14800 block of Olivine Street, is the last of three eight-unit townhouses built in Ramsey by Habitat. The $3.2 million development, which began in 2007, is just north of Ramsey's Town Center. To buy the land, Habitat received grants of $540,000 from Anoka County and $209,214 from the federal Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity...
Lake Minnetonka is a 14,528-acre lake in Minnesota, located west-southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The lake is an irregular shape with many bays and islands, giving it about 125 miles of shoreline. The lake has been a resort destination throughout its recorded history. Some of the cities that surround Lake Minnetonka include St. Bonifacus, Minnetrista, Mound, Spring Park, Minnetonka, Long Lake, Wayzata, Woodland, Deephaven, Shorewood, and Excelsior.
Blaine MN is a dynamic and active community that's seen a flurry of business and residential development within the last few years. With a population now of about 54,000, Blaine is truly a city “on the grow.” Stretched between both Anoka and Ramsey Counties, it is in a prime location to offer great access to the greater metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Blaine was named one of Money Magazine's Top 100 Places to Live in 2006, and it is easy to understand why. Blaine, MN has a wide variety of real estate and employment options for residents. The city is a well-planned mix of business, light manufacturing, commercial-retail and residential areas. Several large employers call Blaine home including Aveda, Dayton Rogers Manufacturing and the Anoka County Airport. Nine universities can be found in and near the city.
There are some great athletic, entertainment, and leisure activities available to the residents of Blaine MN. The National Sports Center is an Olympic-class training...
Though a lot of attention is paid to foreclosures and vacant homes
in cities, suburbs can have high rates of both. With 3,000 foreclosed propertie
s in Ramsey County last year and horror stories of rundown homes affecting area neighborhoods, a new foreclosure program is taking aim at the county's suburbs. 25 foreclosed houses in Maplewood MN
and Little Canada are going to get some work done, a face lift, and the chance to be a home again.
First time home buyers do not want to deal with homes that have a lot of problems or need a lot of fixing up. Especially since there are many perfectly good homes on the market without damage. The Ramsey County HRA has been working to find a model to make these suburban homes more marketable. A $350,000 federal grant, plus another $1.3 million in federal stimulus dollars,...
It was less than two weeks ago I was telling you about some recently approved, enacted, or improved home buyer programs within Minneapolis
, Saint Paul
, and St. Louis Park
. Now I have even more to tell you about.
First, the Ramsey County Housing and Redevelopment Authority has approved the acceptance of a $1.4 million federal grant to get buyers into suburban foreclosed properties in four target areas of Maplewood and Little Canada. The money in the Opening Doors program is to be used to buy property, demolish or fix up vacant buildings and provide financial assistance to qualified first-time homebuyers. Three parts of the program include:
- $100,000 for deferred loans for eligible buyers who purchase a property in one of the target areas. Eligible buyers will have incomes between 80 percent and 120 percent of area median income.
- $350,000 in deferred loan financing...