In 1987, with signs of neighborhood decline in Minneapolis becoming increasingly apparent, the Mayor and City Council launched a process that eventually created the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program. First, a Housing and Economic Development Task Force reported in May 1988 that a) physical revitalization of the city's neighborhoods would cost over $3 billion; b) many successful revitalization efforts feature flexible, efficient use of public resources and a strategically coordinated approach, tailored to specific neighborhoods; and c) the city should initiate a citywide planning effort with guidance from neighborhood residents.

Next, an Implementation Advisory Committee was established to determine how to finance and execute such a plan. By May 1989, they outlined an approach to "protect" fundamentally sound neighborhoods, "revitalize" those showing signs of decline and "redirect" those with extensive problems. They suggested a neighborhood-based planning process focused on new strategies rather than new programs. The committee concluded that "neighborhood revitalization is the most urgent long-term challenge facing Minneapolis over the coming two decades".

By October 1989, a Technical Advisory Committee composed of key local government staff was working out the mechanics of the NRP. They developed process by which the jurisdictions serving Minneapolis could work cooperatively to maximize existing resources to support neighborhood priorities.

Finally, in 1990, the Minnesota Legislature and the City Council established the NRP and dedicated $20 million a year for 2O years to fund it. On February 15, 1991, the first six neighborhoods were selected to begin their Neighborhood Action Plan.
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