Mpls. Mayor Gives Final State of the City Address
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak delivered his 12th - and final - State of the City address Wednesday.
Mayor Rybak looked ahead 12 years in Minneapolis. By 2025, he said Minneapolis will be a growing, vibrant and a connected city with more people and jobs.
"I thought it would be more interesting to talk about the next 12 years than to get nostalgic about the last 12," Rybak said, according to release.
Rybak gave his final address at the Walker Art Center.
The city could grow to 450,000 residents and eliminate economic and academic disparities by focusing on four areas, Rybak said. They included:
- Managing the public's money well and making the city a safer place to live.
- Growing the city's jobs and increasing the number of residents.
- Building transit and adding alternatives to cars in the city.
- Addressing the achievement gap in the city for all races of children.
Rybak also talked about controversial issues, such as building a third high school for North Minneapolis to serve the area's exploding student population.
During 2013, Rybak said the city should continue to fund employment and training efforts, as well as support small-business development. Residental growth should be encouraged along transit corridors. A streetcar system should be funded.
A bus-rapid transit system should be completed along Interstate 35W, with access to Lake Street. Also, additional bicycle route connections should be made across the river and north of Broadway Street.
Rybak also discussed efforts to close racial disparities in the city's workplaces, among business ownership and in Minneapolis housing.
He also introduced two new initiatives. The first, "Grow North" aims to attract new anchor employers to North Minneapolis to add 75 new jobs.
The second is a senior housing project for the city's elderly population, which is expected to double in the next 20 years. During the next 15 years, Rybak said he supports building a new senior housing for each city ward.
He also discussed possible future projects, including:
- A streetcar along the Nicollet Green and down Eat Street, crossing Lake Street.
- A Northern Greenway bicycle connection to reshape North Minneapolis.
- An Armory Yard that includes a skate park, rope courses and sports fields.
- A stable budget, made possible by a building boom and rising property values.
- Youth from the city's STEP-UP Generation program joining the workforce.
Since 2002, Rybak said that the city has paid down $241 million in debit, cut spending by 16 percent after inflation, avoided a $20 million property tax hit by reforming the pension system and reduced taxes by $5 million annually by passing the new stadium and Target Center.
Now, property taxes are 35 percent lower that they would have been, Rybak said.
Rybak called for the Minnesota Legislature to reform and stabilize Local Government Aid, and build a metro-wide transit system through sales tax. Rybak also said he supports Congress and the Legislature passing universal background checks for gun purchases.
Lastly, Rybak asked for high-quality teachers and principals to improve the academic achievement gap in Minneapolis Public Schools.
Rybak's complete speech can be found here.