Village on Rivoli development will continue to grow


Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, which has been leading development at the Village on Rivoli site, plans to construct nine new homes this summer. They will be the seven labeled “A” at the end of Rivoli Street and the two marked “C” on the western side of Otsego Street. (courtesy of Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services)

Those behind the Village on Rivoli housing development in Railroad Island shared plans during the May 28 Payne-Phalen Community Council meeting for building nine more houses at the site this summer. 

The development, led by Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, is made up of 12 homes so far, all of which were sold soon after completion. By the time the whole development is completed, some 70 homes could line the hill just north of Phalen Boulevard. 

 

From dump to homes

Jim Erchul, executive director of the housing services organization, gave an overview of the project at the meeting, describing the site’s history and recent construction.

The area that is now the Village on Rivoli, the hillside at the western end of Minnehaha Avenue in Railroad Island, had been where the city’s street sweepers dumped garbage. 

For some 40 years, Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services and the Railroad Island community worked on plans to develop the site and have it benefit the neighborhood. 

Years before any homes could be built, significant soil clean up had to take place because of the dumping and because of railroad pollution, as part of the land had been owned by railroad companies. In 2017, the first seven single-family homes were built and sold. In 2018, five more single-family homes were built and sold soon after. 

That same year, the local youth agriculture nonprofit Urban Roots constructed a high tunnel for growing produce, adding to the organization’s urban agriculture farm already at the site. The farm also includes a fruit tree orchard, honeybees, a garden, a sapling starter garden and a variety of native plants. 

Xcel Energy is also working to construct a community solar garden at the site, which will directly serve the residents of Railroad Island. 

Another feature of the development is a future bike path to be built between the homes and the community agriculture space. While Erchul said the goal has always been to have the trail be publicly accessible, city zoning will require it to be privately owned by Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services and Urban Roots. 

“I was kind of mad about it at first, but now I think it might not be so bad,” Erchul said, pointing out private ownership gives the organization the opportunity to incorporate public art alongside it. 

 

More homes

Erchul said the new single-famly homes, planned to be built in August, are set to be about 1,500 square feet, smaller than others already constructed at the site. The majority will be built at the end of Rivoli Street, with the remaining two going up on the western side of Otsego Street. 

They will be modular homes, meaning they will be factory-built and then delivered and put together on site, which Erchul said makes them less expensive to build. While an exact selling price won’t be known until the homes go on the market, Erchul said the goal is to keep them under $200,000. 

The new homes will have three bedrooms, a one-stall garage but no basement, Erchul said, making them the only homes at Village on Rivoli without the lower levels.

 

–Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com.

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