Telling it like it is on the City's Upper Harbor Project

Bravo to Friends of the Mississippi River for publicly sharing their concerns about the City's plan to develop 48 acres of city-owned land primarily to benefit developers and investors at the expense of residents. Several parallels with the City's Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan are disturbing but not surprising. More of the Mayor's rah-rah vision for our City that pushes aside the visions and needs of many residents.

"FMR has several concerns about the concept plan.

"As we’ve outlined before, the plan prioritizes private development along the river at the cost of community access and parkland.

"The design does not welcome all comers to the river; the centerpiece is the massive concert venue which is situated within the current boundary of the regional park, adjacent public parkland may feel privatized or exclusive to visitors and the structure is very close to the river's edge. The plan calls for the parkway to be to the west of or behind the concert venue and hotel, placing private uses between the river and parkway users. And in places, the public right-of-way between the river and private development might be as narrow as 50 feet. 

"Most everywhere else in the Minneapolis park system, the parkway runs right along the river, ensuring access for everyone. At the terminal site, the lawn of the performing arts center will be publicly-owned but designed to be closed off for large private ticketed events. This is a departure from Minneapolis’ typical world-class waterfront park design.

"And the concept plan seeks public funding to construct a concert venue that will yield private wealth for a select few owners, not the larger community. North Minneapolis residents are worried about gentrification and involuntary displacement, a lack of affordable housing on the site, and service-sector jobs that don’t offer reliable hours or high wages.

"FMR also has concerns about how the planning process has happened to date.

While community engagement was conducted, what we’ve consistently heard from Northside residents is that community engagement was “too little, too late.” Most community engagement took place after a development team had been selected and a single concept plan created, at which point the community was invited to give feedback only on that one plan. Some residents and business owners immediately adjacent to the site have told us that they were not contacted at all during the engagement process."

In 2017, FMR hosted a series of walks to the Upper Harbor Terminal site to listen to community members' feedback about their visions for the site and the bike/pedestrian connections to it.

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