Minneapolis mayor discusses downtown business workgroup recommendations

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A workgroup that spent the past several months evaluating downtown Minneapolis storefronts and creating a vision for the future discussed its recommendations Tuesday afternoon.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey talked about the suggestions from the Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup during an afternoon press conference.

RELATED: New workgroup aims to bring additional businesses to downtown Minneapolis

The mayor created the group — which is co-chaired by mpls downtown council CEO Steve Cramer and African-American Leadership Forum CIO Gabrielle Grier, and also includes city council members, business leaders and other city residents — back in December to help reinvent downtown.

Frey was joined by members of the workgroup as well as city staff and leaders from local businesses and the community.

Frey said he and the workgroup members “don’t want to take anything off the table” and will be looking for different solutions to help downtown flourish. He added that closing Nicollet Mall to vehicle traffic is one of those ideas that city leaders have to take a serious look at.

“This is not just tomorrow shutting down the entire street of Nicollet. This is starting to walk down a path of change where we can have a world-class pedestrian mall in our city,” the mayor said, noting that there are still several parts of that idea that need to be evaluated, such as how much of the road would be closed to vehicles and how it would affect traffic.

Other takeaways from the workgroup include easing regulations for zoning, licensing and fees, incentivizing active uses of commercial retail space, and focusing more energy and resources toward interventions.

Read the workgroup’s full report here and its executive summary here.