Kingfield Neighbor Michael Vanderford took the time to attend the City of Minneapolis Budget Hearing and testify to the value of all 82 neighborhood associations’ role in creating a safer and more connected city. Here is what he said:
” I am Michael Vanderford, 4154 Blaisdell Avenue, 8th Ward, Kingfield Neighborhood.
I ask that you support an amendment to the 2023-2024 City Budget proposal to comply with the City Council’s resolution of May 25, 2019, assuring “Base Funding” of $25,000 per year to the 85 neighborhood organizations. [approved by the Council (including an “Aye” vote from Andrea Jenkins), and approved and signed by Mayor Jacob Frey, on May 22, 2022.]
Your 2023-24 Budget proposal sounds a death knell for the City’s neighborhood organizations such as my Kingfield Neighborhood Association. The City’s 85 neighborhood organizations can’t operate on the $10,000 administrative base funding in the current budget proposal. The current Budget proposal also defaults on the City Council’s, and the Mayor’s, Resolution 2019R-153, copies which are distributed to each of you. On the tabbed 2nd page, the Council and Mayor commit to: “The minimum neighborhood base funding allocation will be $25,000.” Your budget proposal cuts this to $10K each.
So What? Why is this important? Because you are killing one of the City’s best investments in public safety.
An example is that after 15 years of Christine Kreitz’s murder (1985) at ML King Park by gang violence, it was still hard to get families from the neighborhood to come to King Park. There was still a strong feeling that it wasn’t a safe place to bring your kids. The Kingfield Neighborhood Association Executive Director turned this around, starting in 2002, by recruiting volunteers, the ML King Park Director, and NRP funds to establish the “Little Kickers” soccer program at ML King. 20+ years later, we have 175 kids and their families gathering every Wednesday evening in the summer, playing silly games with soccer balls.
If you fail to keep your Resolution 2019R-153 commitment to neighborhood organization base administrative funding, such community safety efforts cannot continue.”
Those of you that know Michael might know him as the volunteer that has led the above-mentioned Little Kicker’s soccer program at MLK Park since 2002. Clearly good ideas don’t go very far without dedicated and determined volunteers! We are thankful for Michael’s activism to speak directly the City Council on KFNA and other neighborhood groups behalf, and for his twenty-year commitment to the Little Kickers program.