Minneapolis sets 4 community conversations on future of 3rd Precinct

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As the city of Minneapolis considers its options for the future of the police department’s 3rd Precinct building, dates for a series of community discussions on the topic have been set.

As 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported last week, the city is weighing a complete remodel of the current precinct building — which has been vacant since it was burned and looted during the rioting that followed George Floyd’s murder in 2020 — or building a completely new facility in a different location.

On Wednesday, the city revealed the site that would be used for the completely new facility: the city-owned lot at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue, right next to Aurora Middle School. The vacant precinct building currently sits at 3000 Minnehaha Ave.

While the vacant 3rd Precinct building took damage in summer 2020, “the bones of the building are solid,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Wednesday.

Currently, the 75 officers assigned to the 3rd Precinct are working out of temporary office space downtown along Third Street, which leaves residents of the 3rd Precinct area without the same access to public safety services as those in other areas.

“I think there is one conclusion that we should all rally around, which is we should have a 3rd Precinct in the 3rd Precinct,” Frey said.

However, some in the neighborhood aren’t so eager to see police return to the block.

Angela Schwesnedl, owner of Moon Palace Books just down the street from the old precinct building, said Minneapolis police “weren’t always great neighbors,” adding that “the 3rd Precinct was pretty notorious.”

City Council Vice President Linea Palmisano, the longest-serving member of the council’s Public Safety Committee, acknowledged that the old precinct building brings up painful memories for much of the city.

“It was a hard time of our past, and that needs to be incorporated in this decision,” she said.

Palmisano said if the precinct is rebuilt in the same location, it will be rebranded, with space for behavioral crisis teams and other community uses. The front entrance would even move around the corner from Minnehaha Avenue to Lake Street.

If the plot up Minnehaha is chosen instead, it will only house law enforcement, Palmisano said. That site would also be smaller, take more time to build and would cost “about three times as much,” she added.

Community input

As officials continue to weigh the decision to rebuild or construct a new precinct building, the following community conversations have been scheduled to get input from community members with the first one specifically for business owners and the rest for anyone in the community:

  • For business owners: April 11 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge (3010 Minnehaha Ave.)
  • For the general public: April 13 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Midtown Global Market (920 E. Lake St.)
  • April 15 from 10 a.m.-noon at Roosevelt High School (4029 S. 28th Ave.)
  • April 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at a still-to-be-determined location.

The city says snacks and beverages will be offered at each meeting, with meal vouchers also available for the first 100 attendees at the April 13 session.

Minneapolis is working with DeYoung Consulting and Longfellow Community Council on a community engagement plan for the facility at Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue.

More information is available online.