A Brighter Future in Fridley: Park Plaza Cooperative Completes $1 million in Infrastructure Improvements

For Immediate Release

Natividad Seefeld Warren Kramer
President Executive Director
Park Plaza Cooperative Northcountry Cooperative Foundation

A Brighter Future in Fridley: 
Park Plaza Cooperative Completes $1 million in Infrastructure Improvements

Fridley, MN (November 13, 2015) – Members of Park Plaza Cooperative in Fridley, Minnesota had something extra to smile about at this year’s Annual Meeting held in the Fridley branch of the Anoka County Library on Saturday, November 14.  After close to five years of resident ownership, Park Plaza Cooperative, an 88-unit manufactured housing community in the heart of Fridley, Minnesota, celebrated the completion of a major infrastructure project reflecting nearly $1 million in capital improvements to its community. 

After facing a few years with expensive periodic repairs to their water mains and internal sewer system, Park Plaza Cooperative worked with Northcountry Cooperative Foundation (NCF) and its lead first mortgage lender, ROC USA Capital®, to assemble financing for water main improvements, installation of new water submeters, re-lining of the community’s sewer mains, installation of nine new fire hydrants, thirteen new manholes, and repaving of the community’s streets. 

The projects were funded with a ROC USA Capital construction loan and about $86,000 in a Metropolitan Council pass-through grant sponsored by the City of Fridley and provided to the project.  “We can now breathe a collective sigh of relief,” exclaimed Natividad Seefeld, President of the Park Plaza Cooperative.  “Everyone worked hard and together to help deliver this outcome, from our technical assistance provider, NCF, to our engineers and contractors.  We were blessed to have a terrific team put this complex project together.” 

The project faced a number of technical challenges, including the density of the homes on the site and significant amounts of impervious surface, triggering important local storm water requirements.  Indeed, to meet unique site requirements of the project, the Cooperative negotiated a long-term shared maintenance arrangement and easement access with Friendly Chevrolet, a local property owner that owns a storm water infiltration pond between the west and east sides of the Cooperative’s property. 

To Kevin Walker, NCF’s director of business development, the project illustrates what infrastructure investments can deliver to communities who too often suffer from neglect.  “With an investment of less than $10,000 per unit in this fifty-year-old community, about 75% of the project will sustain and support low- and moderate-income residents’ investments in their homes for the next half century or more.  The balance will give the Cooperative’s community nice streets and modern water meters for the next decade or two.”  In a time of scarce public resources, notes Walker, this type and level of investment offers to preserve housing and support the residents’ initiative in organizing a cooperative association for a fraction of the costs routinely accompanying most public investments in affordable housing projects.

To mark this event in the life of the Cooperative, Park Plaza had invited local City staff, its local Metropolitan Council member, its state senator, Senator Barb Goodwin, and Congressman Keith Ellison.  Mr. Ellison toured the community earlier this year and has said he’s honored and happy to help the community celebrate its important success.  “This summer, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Park Plaza. I toured the community with residents and learned firsthand how much they value their stake as co-op owners and the collective community the cooperative model creates.  I will continue to support the residents of manufactured home communities who work hard to improve their community.  Completion of these infrastructure improvements, I know, is only the latest chapter for the Cooperative’s unfolding story.”

About NCF

NCF, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit organization with a mission of transforming lives and communities through cooperative enterprise.  NCF’s primary focus is on supporting cooperative development and resident ownership in manufactured housing communities in the Upper Midwest. 

For additional information, contact NCF at 612-767-2116, or visit www.northcountryfoundation.org.