This week I want to update you all on the future of downtown and what the City is doing at the State Capitol.
The Mayor’s Downtown Vibrancy Work Group held its first meeting yesterday. The group focused on the experience and meaning of downtown with the goal of gathering new ideas for how we use vacant space and invigorate the downtown atmosphere. We know that things will not return to the same pre-pandemic uses and believe we can create a better downtown that is a vibrant, 24/7 mixed-use destination for everyone to enjoy.
My office and the Mayor’s office are moving forward on establishing a pedestrian entertainment district in Downtown that will be open May 5th through October 31st. The entire City Enterprise is behind this effort with significant buy-in from the private sector.
Today I received an update from the City’s Intergovernmental Relations team on the State Legislative session. Things the City has been advocating for and working on in the first weeks of the session include:
Funds for lead pipe removal from houses.
Increased BCA coordination with local law enforcement and non-police public safety entities.
Increased penalties for stolen catalytic converter possession and sales.
Help for first-time homebuyers.
Increased financial support for shelters.
Continued economic recovery dollars.
Local government aid.
Chief Brian O’Hara has been meeting with State legislators to advocate for necessary changes to State law that will help MPD with recruitment efforts and allow for Chief O’Hara to make needed policy changes within MPD.
As always, Henry, Ryan, and I are here to serve you.
City of Minneapolis collects more than $1 million for workers in settlement agreements
The City of Minneapolis has reached more than $1 million in settlement agreements for workers, resolving City investigations and enforcing the City’s workplace regulations. The regulations address paid sick leave, minimum wage and wage theft prevention. These previously unpaid wages and damages collected represent the efforts of countless community members to protect the most vulnerable people in our economy, especially during a pandemic.
The City’s Civil Rights Department has also provided over 4,000 free consultations to businesses to educate them on the City’s labor standards and help improve the quality of jobs across the city. The City is currently sponsoring a program to subsidize payroll processing and bookkeeping services for small businesses, building better jobs, employee supports and business success.
A recent settlement between the Civil Rights Department and a staffing agency delivered over $60,000 in back wages and damages to 23 workers and ensured that they will receive access to paid sick leave moving forward. Workers also received notification of their rights and will find sick leave accrual noted on all pay stubs.
City of Minneapolis crews continue targeting snow removal in challenging areas to ensure access for emergency vehicles
City of Minneapolis crews continue to plow and target snow removal on narrow streets in the city’s most dense residential neighborhoods that are challenging for emergency vehicles to navigate.
Following the historic snowfall earlier this month, Public Works crews have plowed all of the residential streets in Minneapolis at least three times working to push back snowbanks, address bumpy conditions and plow snow that loosened up in warmer temperatures.
The City has also posted one-sided parking on some of the streets in challenging areas in terms of snow storage to ensure the streets are passable for first responders. Public Works is working with the Minneapolis Fire Department to prioritize key areas that are challenging for emergency vehicles to access and will continue to post one-side parking in those areas.
The City urges people to work with neighbors to move vehicles that have been parked in the same location since the last snow event. The City also recommends contacting 311 to report concerns about conditions on streets and sidewalks.
Watch news conference about Next Step program supporting victims of violent injuries
A news conference Jan. 17 highlighted the Next Step program, a behind-the-scenes, voluntary assistance program offered to those who found themselves in the emergency room or admitted to the hospital as the result of a crime.
Mayor Jacob Frey joined U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Hennepin County Board Chair Irene Fernando, Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander, Minneapolis Interim Director of Neighborhood Safety Josh Peterson, Next Step staff and a violence survivor in the news conference about the program.
While program participants are in the hospital, Next Step violence intervention specialists are intentional and empathetic in interacting with them. This commitment has led to about 70% of participants agreeing to receive community-based services from Next Step following their hospitalization.
After they leave the hospital, program participants continue to get support for needs including education and employment, housing, finding safety, mental health services and other basic needs. The program is a partnership among the City of Minneapolis and local hospitals Hennepin Healthcare (HCMC), North Memorial and Abbott Northwestern.
New land use regulation drafts now open for public review
The public can now comment on draft land regulations through Feb. 26. The regulations will focus on allowed uses and related development standards for primary zoning districts and some overlay districts throughout Minneapolis. The regulations are critical to achieving the goals of Minneapolis 2040, the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The plan will shape how the city will grow and change over the next two decades so all residents can benefit.
Minneapolis 2040 includes 11 Future Land Use Districts and direction from a variety of policies that guide the creation of zoning regulations. These new and amended regulations are intended to allow a range of uses appropriate for each zoning district and provide a greater degree of predictability for residents, businesses and the development community.
Minneapolis 2040 went into effect Jan. 1, 2020, following more than two years of community engagement. The plan guides growth and change with 14 key goals, including:
Eliminating racial disparities.
Allowing complete neighborhoods.
Enabling a healthy, sustainable and diverse economy.
Promoting environmental sustainability and climate change resiliency.
The City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing, accept testimony and make a recommendation to the City Council. The tentative date for this public hearing is March 20. The City Council is expected to vote on the land use regulations in April.