Grassroots effort to bring about change to 3rd Police Precinct building begins

Community members push for cultural center at 3rd precinct

Community members push for cultural center at 3rd precinct

Community leaders planned Monday afternoon to meet with the Minneapolis City Council president to share their hopes for a possible cultural center at the burned-out 3rd Police Precinct building.

The 3rd Precinct in south Minneapolis was a focal point of the civil unrest three years ago after George Floyd’s murder.

“Our young people, they know not enough history of the Black culture,” said Minneapolis restaurant co-owner Fred Brathwaite.

Inside Mama Sheila’s House of Soul restaurant in south Minneapolis, the walls tell the stories of key figures in Black history through stories, photographs and art.

Braithwaite is part of a group of business leaders who want to create a possible cultural center that could share some of that history and include a gathering space in the building at 3000 Minnehaha Avenue.

“Right now, an emblem of shame and disgrace, and make it a place of fame, from shame to fame, just turn it around,” Braithwaite said.

The Minneapolis City Council voted last month to not move police officers back into the building and look for a new location for the police station.

“It’s been in question, what’s going to happen,” Irene Kelly said of the building, which remains boarded up.

Kelly is part of a Metro Rotary group that has been working with Lake Street businesses over the last three years.

“What’s driven me is the richness of the cultural possibilities, there’s so much cultural diversity on Lake Street,” Kelly said. “Rotary is really about promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Kelly and other Rotary members are beginning the grassroots push to try and bring a cultural center of some sort to the corner, although no plans are on paper just yet.

“Oh my gosh, what a wonderful opportunity,” Kelly said of the possibilities at the old 3rd Precinct building.

It’s an opportunity that one business owner feels could write a new chapter for the community while still remembering the past.

“It’s extremely important,” Braithwaite said. “Why? Because I think it’s an opportunity that has been afforded to us that won’t come again.”

City officials are working on a timeline to engage the community for suggestions on what will become of the building, a spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, and more details will be shared in the fall.