MetLife Honors Hopkins for Blake Road Work
The $20,000 award specifically notes the work of the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative and the Hopkins Police Department.
The MetLife Foundation honored the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative and Hopkins police Friday with a prestigious award that recognized efforts that “reduced crime, eliminated blight and renewed economic vitality” around Blake Road, according to a Police Department news release.
The organization selected Hopkins from among 700 applicants for 10 national MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards. The $20,000 award specifically notes the work of the Blake Road Community Collaborative and the Hopkins Police Department.
Over the past few years, Hopkins police have invested enormous effort into improving the Blake Road neighborhood—long a troublesome crime spot. Officers stepped up patrols in the area and checked on those areas hidden from passers-by. The police, in partnership with ResourceWest and ICA Food Shelf, also met with residents and business owners and worked with housing inspectors to strengthen the property code for nuisance and disorderly behavior.
The area has since formed four neighborhood watch groups, and crime has dropped by a quarter.
Meanwhile, the city and the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative have shepherded along a variety of neighborhood improvements—everything from economic development to increased green space to a community garden sponsored by the collaborative.
“The Hopkins police department is very grateful for the collaboration and support of the community,” said Police Chief Michael J. Reynolds. “We look forward to continuing our proactive partnerships into the future. We are honored to receive this award from MetLife Foundation and LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and look forward to sharing our strategies with others across the nation.”
The award is funded by MetLife Foundation, an organization that has long supported neighborhood-based efforts to tackle crime and improve safety. It’s administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, whose national Community Safety Initiative promotes strategic community development and policing through creative partnerships.
"Community safety is a key component to strong healthy neighborhoods and a higher community quality of life,” said Andriana K. Abariotes, Executive Director, Twin Cities LISC. “We're thrilled that the Blake Road Collaborative and Hopkins Police Department are being recognized for their tremendous efforts to engage residents in improving their community."
Plans are already underway to continue Blake Road improvement. Minnehaha Creek Watershed District just agreed to purchase the aging Cold Storage site, clean up property along the creek and resell the remainder of the property for the type of mixed-use development that Hopkins planners want.
Hopkins is also working to demolish the final two buildings surrounding Cottageville Park, completing the transition to an open, family friendly park.