Infrastructure improvement plans for George Floyd Square delayed

Infrastructure improvement plans for George Floyd Square delayed

Infrastructure improvement plans for George Floyd Square delayed

The future of George Floyd Square in South Minneapolis will be in limbo for several more years. The city has been getting community feedback since early 2022 but will now be asking for additional input.

“This community needs a major focus on healing from the tremendous pain and trauma it has been through,” said Jeni Hager, the director of transportation, planning and programming for the Department of Public Works.

She gave a progress update to the City Council Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, along with Alexander Cado with the Office of Public Service.

Hager explained 38th Street and Chicago Avenue were identified for infrastructure improvements before George Floyd’s murder, which then caused the city to re-evaluate its approach to the project. The city has held multiple community engagement sessions over roughly the last year and a half.

“We are not yet able to recommend a concept layout for the infrastructure project because the community has pushed back on the idea of deciding where curb lines should be when there isn’t yet an established vision for George Floyd Square as a whole,” said Hager.

Cado added, “We started out with an infrastructure project and it’s very obvious from what we learned from that engagement that the broader vision for George Floyd Square is very essential.”

The city plans to move forward with a four-phase process. According to Cado, it will be putting out a request for proposals in November for a consultant to conduct additional community engagement. The contract is expected to be finalized in January, with engagement starting in April 2024.

In subsequent phases, he said the city will identify memorial locations, clarify its role in the memorials, design the right-of-way infrastructure, and meet with neighbors. The city also plans to put out a request for qualifications from community members and groups that want to partner with the city and own the former Speedway gas station, now known as Peoples Way, which the city bought in June.

Cado presented a $718,450 2024 budget recommendation for George Floyd Square.

Development at the intersection isn’t expected until at least 2026. “I am sitting here and I’m heartbroken,” said Council President Andrea Jenkins, who shared frustration the process isn’t further along three and a half years after Floyd’s murder. “It feels like we’re starting from the beginning.”