Frey asks council to move forward with new 3rd Precinct at Minnehaha lot
After months of discussion over the future of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct, the city’s mayor is ready to move forward with a new safety center down the street from the precinct’s former home.
Wednesday morning, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey sent a letter to members of the Minneapolis City Council, asking them to allocate funding for a new police precinct building on the city-owned lot at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue.
That spot is less than a mile away from the precinct’s former building, which was damaged during the rioting that followed George Floyd’s murder in 2020.
The city held community meetings and created a survey early this year to see if residents preferred the 2600 Minnehaha Avenue location or rebuilding the old building. Then, in July, Frey and city leaders announced a third option: co-locating the city’s 3rd Precinct with the 1st Precinct at the Century Plaza building downtown, which is just outside the Third Precinct boundaries.
According to Frey, the cost to rebuild the old precinct building would be between $15 million and $18 million, around $13 million less than a brand new building at the 2600 Minnehaha Avenue site. The Century Plaza option would’ve cost at least $30 million, the mayor estimates.
A few days after the third option was brought forward, the council voted to not rebuild the 3rd Precinct’s former building, and last month, the council scrapped the Century Plaza plan.
Frey acknowledged in his letter that the 2600 Minnehaha Avenue location was the only one not yet ruled out by the council, although it still wasn’t a popular choice among residents who responded to the city’s survey — 33% of the roughly 3,600 respondents commented “neither” or “no precinct” — 44% picked the old location due to costs and timeliness and 23% opted for the new Minnehaha Avenue site. However, Frey is now urging the council to move the process forward.
“To simplify the process, I am requesting the Council allocate funding for a Third Precinct at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue. My administration is working on a Request for Council Action to advance the measure,” the mayor’s letter to council members says in part.
Rachel Boeke is the executive director of the Longfellow Community Council, which is one of the neighborhood groups that has been critical of the city’s spring community engagement.
“Century Plaza was not within that boundary, 2600 Minnehaha is on the very end corner of this precinct,” Boeke said. “So we’re talking about central locations and we’re talking about response time. That’s not going to get to it.”
Frey says the site makes sense for a new precinct because it’s in the 3rd Precinct boundaries, along a major corridor and is the best remaining option, adding that “any potential site brought to the table now would cost significantly more money and time, neither of which we have.”
“Here’s the main point,” Frey told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Wednesday. “A new potential site would be millions of dollars more expensive on top of that because you got to acquire the site, you got to demolish a building, you got to remediate the ground and you haven’t even laid a single brick.”
Frey says he wants to create a “comprehensive safety center” at the new site but noted that will also take additional future funding “to establish a well thought out plan for bringing our multi-layered safety services under one roof.”
For now, the mayor wants the council to approve funding at its next Committee of the Whole meeting on Oct. 17 so that work on the new precinct building can begin.