The City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board are currently revising the Above the Falls (ATF) Master Plan for redevelopment along the Upper Mississippi Riverfront in North and Northeast Minneapolis.
Along with the City’s revised Plan, the Minneapolis Health Department recently released a draft health impact assessment (HIA) to understand how proposed redevelopment may affect the health of North and Northeast Minneapolis residents. The public comment period for the draft plan is open through Thursday, January 24, 2013. The ATF Plan, of which the HIA is included as an appendix, is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, February 19th. A City Staff Report, which will include all public comments and City staff responses to those comments, will be available online during the first couple weeks of February.
The ATF HIA examined how proposed changes to employment, access to parks and open spaces, and environmental quality might influence obesity, mental health, asthma rates, and water quality. A key HIA finding was related to proposed increases in jobs and employment, which according to the public health literature has one of the strongest connections to health. Although the need for jobs and employment is perceived to be high in the study area, the HIA found that many local residents did not perceive the proposed increase in the number of light industry jobs as having a positive impact on their own health. The impact on health of increased jobs and employment could only be maximized if new employers provided job training and established local hiring policies to make the jobs available to local residents in and around the ATF Plan area. Additionally, the revised plan proposes continuous trails and parkland along the Upper Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis. The HIA suggests that the proposed changes in access to trails and parkland will have a strong and positive future impact on obesity rates and mental health. The continuous parkland along the Riverfront will likely decrease levels of water pollution as well.
Read the draft HIA (PDF) (See Appendix D: Health Impact Analysis)
This HIA is supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.