The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association, or LHENA (pronounced ‘Lee-Nah’), is one of the 70 neighborhood organizations recognized in the City of Minneapolis. Its history can be traced back to the 1970s, prior to its official recognition by the City. At that time, neighbors came together to form an organization to build community, host recycling events, and host ice cream socials. As LHENA was the hub of neighborhood activity, it even started one of the city’s first neighborhood newspapers. The Wedge was a multi-page newspaper fielding advertisements from local businesses and stories from volunteer writers. The success of this paper and the founding of a neighborhood association inspired the creation of many others in the city. Though the last paper was published in 2012, LHENA continues to evolve in the age of social media and is still the center of neighborhood news and activities.
Today, all residents, property owners, and business owners in Lowry Hill East are considered LHENA members and can take part in official association acts such as board member elections and committee votes. Lead by a volunteer board of 11 members, the association helps communicate goings-on around the neighborhood and city, provides resources to members, facilitates civic forums, and assists members in championing projects. A majority of the work occurs in dedicated committees where members brainstorm, design, and execute initiatives.
As funding and requests of LHENA have changed, so too have the foci of the organization. In the 1990s and early 2000s, LHENA developed Neighborhood Revitalization Program priorities, and throughout the 2010s, it created Community Participation Program priority plans, which were approved by the members and the City. Through both of these programs, LHENA has received City funding to carry out these plans. As LHENA professionalizes and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of these previous plans and processes, the 2018-2019 LHENA board decided to undergo a strategic planning process that will allow the board and staff to carry on neighborhood activities through the end of 2020.