Praise for Ventura Village | the Gassenzeitung

of the series Peace House Community – A Place of Belonging


Praise for Ventura Village | the Gassenzeitung
Marti Maltby

This article may sound like I am pandering or really self-serving, but I want to praise what I see in The Alley and Ventura Village.

When I started writing articles for The Alley about five years ago, I didn’t really expect anyone to read it. I thought it would be a little neighborhood paper that sat on the shelves of the local grocery store and got recycled with the next issue. I’ve been proven wrong many times. I don’t know how many times people have written me comments on something I’ve written, and I still think to myself, “You actually read my article? Why?” It turns out that A LOT of people are genuinely interested in what’s happening in their own neighborhoods and want to engage with each other, both in print and in person.

This shouldn’t surprise me too much. I like reading The Alley myself, even though I don’t live here. I don’t read every article, but I love hearing about the incredible diversity of the neighborhood. It would be easy to drive through Ventura Village and not notice the Minneapolis American Indian Center, Norway House, Somali Mall, the churches, or the activities in the parks… the list goes on. For such a small part of the city, Ventura Village has a lot going on, and The Alley keeps track of things.

Of course, this list only covers everyday activities. This neighborhood is the scene of much news, from violence to encampments to facilities that burden residents with pollution. I know this is a negative list, but Ventura Village doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves from the city or others who see it as a convenient place to settle inconvenient problems. The Alley helps us stay up to date with every challenge that arises.

From what I’ve seen over the last six years, Ventura Village is very good at meeting these challenges. It doesn’t always win, but it always puts up a great fight. The neighborhood association is incredibly knowledgeable about city funding and who to talk to at City Hall. As chair, I hear so much from the other board members and residents in general. I would never have agreed to serve as chair if these great people weren’t already doing what they’re doing, because they have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and what they want the neighborhood to look like. I also hear about the youth sports programs, the street beautification projects, and so much more that residents take on because they want to live in a great place.

We all recognize the challenges Ventura Village faces, from the violence in Chicago and Franklin, to the drug and sex trafficking that pervades the neighborhood, to the respect and cooperation of city departments. Ventura Village is by no means perfect, but a lot of work is being done to make the neighborhood a safer and more pleasant place to live.

Marti Maltby is an avid cyclist, director of the Peace House Community, and an exceptionally proud Canadian.

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