Mayoral Op-Ed Touts New Equitable Development Model in Minneapolis

A plan for 48 acres of riverfront land could make Minneapolis a leader in doing redevelopment right, argue city leaders.

2 minute read

March 6, 2019, 6:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Minneapolis Minnesota

Tony Webster / Flickr

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday approved a plan for the Upper Harbor Terminal, an industrial riverfront area north of downtown. Ahead of an earlier city council committee vote on the plan, Mayor Jacob Frey and Phillipe Cunningham, a member of the city council, made the case for the redevelopment project:

The sustained exclusion from opportunities afforded by the riverfront is a sad legacy that we simply must change. Done right, redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal holds the opportunity to ensure that current residents benefit, that the area’s economy thrives and that the north Minneapolis riverfront is highlighted in deserving fashion. 

The concept plan includes a performing arts center, green space, housing, a business center, and a utility hub. The plan, argue Frey and Cunningham, reflects an approach that ensures equity is part of the redevelopment process and demonstrates how other cities can maximize public investment while also addressing longstanding economic inequality.

"With 41 percent of the land designated for park use, plans for new employment opportunities, more affordable housing and a signature concert venue, Minneapolis has a chance to create a national model for equitable economic development that stabilizes community while expanding riverfront access," say Frey and Cunningham.

The plan has been controversial, with community and environmental advocates outlining a series of concerns about privatization of land, restricted public access to green space, and gentrification effects on surrounding neighborhoods.

Frey and Cunningham say they are committed to a collaborative planning process that will directly involve the community. "This is an undertaking of historic proportions, and part of changing history means we put north Minneapolis first and make sure North Side residents are involved in the planning process."

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