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Central Neighborhood Improvement Association Records

Identifier: M/A 0288

Description of Contents

This collection documents the activities of the Central Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA) from 1979-2004. Box 1 contains general information about the neighborhood organization, meeting minutes, annual reports, committee information, and miscellaneous documents. Boxes 2 and 3 contain board meeting minutes and documents. Box 4 includes grievance letters and other correspondence as well as financial and legal records. Boxes 5 and 6 contain information on the partnership between CNIA and the Minneapolis Community Development Association (MCDA), as well as files on individual projects, programs, and studies conducted by CNIA. Box 7 houses photographs from 1991-2003 showing a range of CNIA activities.


  • 1981 - 2004


Access Restrictions

The collection is available for use in Special Collections during the department's open hours.


The Central Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA) was established in 1980 by residents who had a desire to work together to reduce crime in the area. They organized to become the non-profit 501(c)3 that represented the neighborhood. Initially, the organization raised funds and received grant money to support any work they wanted to do, but when the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) began providing funding to neighborhood organizations, CNIA took on a dramatically different role.

The CNIA Mission: “To serve the residents of the Central neighborhood by providing a forum for the expression of their ideas and needs, serving as the collective voice for Central residents to impact the neighborhood, and helping to develop priorities and projects which effectively utilize the resources that are available to address the needs of the community.”

Membership was open to all members of the community and the Board included the following categories: homeowners, renters, business owners, the poor, youth, ethnic groups, agency directors, neighborhood workers, and senior citizens. There were no membership dues or extraneous requirements. CNIA held regular monthly board meetings that were published and distributed widely by email and mail.

While CNIA had many successes, it was particularly skillful in drawing in funding and establishing working partnerships with foundations, government agencies, and other non-profits. The organization had an excellent working relationship with the two major funders for neighborhood development in Minneapolis: the McKnight Foundation and the James Ford Bell Foundation.

In 2000, the CNIA was taken over in a well-organized effort by the self-titled “Blue Crew” at CNIA’s Annual Meeting in May 2000. A new slate of board members said to be more representative of the racially diverse neighborhood was elected. Jana Metge, CNIA Executive Director, was fired by the new board on May 18, 2000. Metge sued the organization claiming her firing by a new board majority was discriminatory and breached her employment contract.

A special meeting and recall election was held on September 20, 2000, but the newly elected board survived in a 120-104 vote against ousting the CNIA board. Grievances were filed with the city alleging that improper notice was given for the recall election, that voters were not asked to prove they live or work in the neighborhood as requested in a recall petition, and that the vote was improperly counted.

The new organization’s failure to repay a James Ford Bell grant, and its inability to secure new NRP funds led to its eventual demise. The Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO) rose out of the Weed and Seed program to take its place. CANDO is recognized by the city as the official registered 501(c)3 non-profit representing the Central neighborhood.

The Central Community represents a geographically defined neighborhood which includes Lake Street to the North, 38th Street to the South, Chicago Avenue to the East and Second Avenue to the West. These boundaries fit those approved by the City Council.


6.58 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

CNIA newsletter: The Community Word (1979-2003, incomplete)

Neighborhood Revitalization Project Collection: M/A 0268

Processing Information

Most of the collection was not received in its original order, with the exception of folders from the 1980s and early 1990s in box one (annual meeting, executive committee minutes, annual reports, board orientation, long range plan, CNIA priorities, Clean Sweep, forms, and fliers). The remaining collection was delivered in random order and was sorted into 15 series. Materials in binders were removed and placed in folders, except for two photo albums, which remain as they arrived. Duplicate materials were discarded.

Central Neighborhood Improvement Association Records
Bailey Diers
August 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.