As with Uptown, the Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan process started with a series of community meetings. While the complete report has not yet been issued, initial meeting notes as well as additional materials can be found online. Some of the comments I found most interesting, as well as relevant to a larger Lyn-Lake/Uptown discussion include the following (not direct quotes):
- One participant lives between Uptown and the plan's Lyn-Lake cut-off boundary; this person stated that they do not consider themselves as living in Uptown, and believed that the two areas were distinct and unique.
I know that there are several ways of looking at this. One perspective is that Uptown is a vast, sprawling area encompassing multiple commercial districts. Lyn-Lake might be considered part of Uptown if you take that view. The other perspective is the one taken by this participant; Uptown and Lyn-Lake are different places. I happen to agree with this person - I feel that Lyn-Lake and Uptown are, and should be, seen as separate and unique. They are, on the other hand, very closely interconnected, and realistically it is impossible to totally separate the two. Perhaps the implementation of the Uptown Small Area Plan and the future completion and implementation of the Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan will help each area to better tackle these complex issues for the benefit of both Lyn-Lake and Uptown.
This participant's comments also highlight the personal subjective nature of identifying with neighborhoods; I'd guess that there are others living on the same block who feel a strong affiliation with Uptown. It also serves as a reminder that the official boundaries of formal neighborhoods, typically major commercial streets, do not always correlate with the more unofficial community boundaries of city neighborhoods.
- Several people thought that Lyn-Lake of today reminded them of Uptown of the 1960s and 1970s .
I agree with this. It's one of the strongest appeals of Lyn-Lake today. Lyn-Lake has a more old-school, eclectic, non-yuppified vibe going for it. The challenge will be to retain that feel as it continues to evolve.
- At least one person wanted Lyn-Lake to retain its own distinct identity, and not be seen as Uptown's "dowdy sister."
Amen to this! Lyn-Lake should be distinct, should be celebrated, and shouldn't be seen as "Uptown-lite."
Exciting vibrant and walkable cities such as New York, San Francisco, or Washington DC contain long strings of interesting neighborhoods. Take Washington DC, for example. Let's say you live in Dupont Circle. You can stay in the neighborhood, enjoying all it has to offer, but whenever you want a change of pace you can walk to nearby Adams Morgan, Georgetown, or Woodley Park for a completely different feel. I'd like to think that Uptown and Lyn-Lake can be sort of like Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan - different but equally nice neighborhoods in their own ways, with at-times blurred borders yet each with with a strong sense of personal identity.
Both Uptown and Lyn-Lake leaders, as well as the City of Minneapolis, not to mention the many residents of both neighborhoods (wherever you consider their boundaries to fall) recognize the importance of strong connections between Lyn-Lake and Uptown. These connections should continue to strengthen with the completion of both Small Area Plans, as well as with continued improvements and activity along the Midtown Greenway as well as along Lake Street. The future looks exciting, whether for Lyn-Lake, Uptown, or a broader "UPTOWN" encompassing it all.