The other neighborhood in the East Downtown business district is the Elliot Park neighborhood. Elliot Park is bounded on the north by Fifth Street South, on the east by I-35W, on the south by I-94 and on the west by Fifth Avenue South.
Elliot Park Neighborhood represents the northern half of the East Town District and is one of Minneapolis’s oldest neighborhoods, with plots set for housing as early as 1856. It was close to industrial developments on the nearby banks of the Mississippi River making it a popular settlement for early Swedish immigrants. Dr. Joseph Elliot, a community physician, donated his farm land to the city in 1893 and his donation became the site of the current Elliot Park as well as a second community park, Franklin Steele Park.
The neighborhood achieved wealth near the end of the 19th century as Downtown Minneapolis began to experience rapid growth. During that time the neighborhood was home to the city’s only two parks, making it a fashionable area to live in. Today the community is very proud of five neighborhood properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and of the South Ninth Street Historic District, all of which beautifully highlight a flourishing time in the neighborhood’s history.
Times change, however, and 20th century suburban flight ensued marking decades of disinvestment in the neighborhood. Even the 1980 appearance of the Metrodome, home to three sports teams, could not turn the tide toward revitalization. Indeed, it more likely exacerbated the situation as underutilized/unused buildings were torn down to make room for much needed parking in order to better accommodate visiting sports fans.
In 1976 community volunteers, united around issues and concerns, organized as Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc., and began working towards stabilizing the community and creating more housing opportunities. Those efforts were successful and area nonprofit affordable housing developers, most notably Aeon, are credited with strengthening and increasing affordable housing options in the neighborhood.
Today, Elliot Park Neighborhood is experiencing a resurgence that decades ago the community could only dream about and hope for. A mix of diverse housing developments is bringing in new residents of varied economic means – a trend that is already beginning to attract new small businesses back into the area. HCMC has completed construction of their massive new state-of-the-art Clinic and Specialty Center and Kraus Anderson Construction has completed their new headquarters on a full-block re-development site. Much more is in the works and on the horizon. Despite the bustle, though, this is a community that continues to reinvent itself yet always maintains the calming air of its original urban village roots.
Learn more about this community at www.elliotpark.org.