A sweeping plan to turn a devastated industrial swath of the Mississippi River waterfront north of downtown Minneapolis into a 20-acre park surrounded by affordable housing, a health center, an outdoor amphitheater, and more, was passed by a nearly unanimous vote by the city council on Friday morning.
The vote marks a major pivot for the city’s waterfront and for the 48-acre Upper Harbor Terminal project, which after four years of planning and community discussions is now moving into a construction and development phase that will see the McKinley and Webber-Camden neighborhoods eastwards. will grow towards the river.
“Now we are moving from planning to action,” said Phillippe Cunningham, councilor for the fourth ward, who represents residents living near the project area.
Early discussions of the project were hampered by a feeling that people living nearby in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in northern Minneapolis were not being heard, and that the redevelopment would be little more than government-funded gentrification of prime property. at the river. Efforts to create a new type of community-based redevelopment process led to the decision to keep the land owned by the city rather than sell some of it to private developers.
Developers will pay leasing fees to construct the intended buildings for the site. A portion of the ticket sales for the 10,000-seat amphitheater to be run by First Avenue will go to an anti-displacement effort fund.
“We’re setting a standard for the rest of the country on how we can actually do meaningful development in marginalized communities in ways that don’t negatively disrupt those communities,” Cunningham said before the council vote.
Councilman Jeremiah Ellison was the only vote against. He said beforehand that he thought the project was a good project “in general”, but asked for the vote to be postponed to allow time to address some of its problematic aspects. He was not specific, and no other councilor supported his resolution to postpone the vote.
Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329