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BEST GROUND ZERO Minneapolis 2000 -

Nearly a decade has passed since the local NAACP joined with public-housing tenants and the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis to sue the city, state, and federal governments for creating a segregated public-housing district along Olson Memorial Highway just west of I-94, and it has been five years since the suit was ostensibly settled. Yet to date the Hollman Decree has resulted in virtually no new housing for Minneapolis's lower-income residents--just hundreds of displaced tenants and bulldozed apartments, plus seemingly endless bouts of political wrangling. Now Minneapolis city officials sincerely, tearily assure us the posturing is over and the rebuilding can begin. Assuming the project continues on its current course, in a few years the city's near-north neighborhood will sport a big chunk of new, upwardly mobile property values. Of course, with precious few of the 900 planned units earmarked for low-income tenants, that's small consolation to the 700-plus families who have been set adrift in the roiling Twin Cities housing market. And there's the niggling fact that no one's quite sure how to cover the development's $200 million price tag. Perhaps, in the long run, those are small quibbles. Time will tell.

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