Frey requests $750,000 to revitalize downtown storefronts

Frey requests $750,000 to revitalize downtown storefronts

Frey requests $750,000 to revitalize downtown storefronts

Minneapolis leaders announced a proposal on Friday afternoon that would improve the city’s downtown area.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is requesting that $750,000 be put into the city’s budget to revitalize storefronts in the downtown area, specifically on the street level and in the skyway. The money would have to be approved by the city council.

Frey’s office says the recommendations came from a workgroup done in June. Read the workgroup’s full report here and its executive summary here.

“We’re going to get these places activated and we’re going to make sure that these wonderful thoroughfares of the city have life on them,” Frey said about the revitalization plan.

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The downtown area has seen a number of restaurants and retail stores close, such as Caribou Coffee and Hubert White, as well as the closure of the YWCA site.

In addition, some companies have moved out of space in many of the area’s buildings.

However, some companies have decided to stay in the area, such as Northwestern Mutual in Capella Tower and US Bank on Nicollet Mall.

A big focus of the plan will be on filling empty storefronts. The mayor says the money will help city leaders connect businesses with building owners to find the right fit.

“We’ve got a whole lot of really talented entrepreneurs that want to be able to sell their crafts and their goods,” Frey said, adding: “We’re making the connection, and we’re gonna fill these spaces with activity to make sure these entrepreneurs can get the word out and they can do business.”

Back in May, city officials announced 1,800 events would be held in downtown Minneapolis throughout the summer and into September as part of an effort to bring people back to the area, however, some are still being deterred due to crime.

The revitalization plan is not the first effort from the city to try and get more people and businesses downtown, including the Minneapolis Police Department stepping up their efforts.

“We’ve made tremendous progress through a safety plan downtown, additional officers staffing, utilizing cameras and resources, and the results are there,” Chief Brian O’Hara said.

Data from the police department’s crime dashboard back up O’Hara. Most major crime in the downtown area, near Nicollet Mall, is down from a year ago — including a significant drop in gunshots fired and the number of people shot.

“I think the biggest challenge that we have as a city moving forward, is to just to try and change some of the negative perceptions that remain,” O’Hara said.

Frey said some of the proposed money would also go towards adding art to the areas that need some life.

Some of that life already has plans to return — the Dayton’s Project announced its Winter Maker’s Market will be returning this holiday season. It brings dozens of companies, many local, together for shopping. And yes, there will be a Santa Bear this year.