Minneapolis committee discusses plans for former Roof Depot site

The expansion of the Minneapolis public works facility took center stage at a City Council committee meeting Tuesday.

The Ways and Means Committee meeting was packed with concerned residents. At issue was a proposal that calls for building a new public works facility on the former Roof Depot site in south Minneapolis' Phillips neighborhood. The city purchased the land back in 2016.

The plan calls for demolishing this building and building a new facility that would consolidate the city’s water distribution operation. The site, which is not far from the Little Earth Community, where a homeless encampment has taken shape.

Some residents say that they want to see affordable housing and job training incorporated into the deal. One proposal calls for 28 affordable housing units and a job recruitment and training center.

The committee voted in favor of bringing the proposal before all council members, however, everything is in a preliminary stage.

One community leader feels optimistic about the outcome.

“I’m hopeful and scared,” said Cassandra Holmes of the Little Earth Association. “It can go any way and I’m hopeful that they really did this to take the time to strategize that we can work with each other’s needs and not compromise because the community has been on the compromising side the most. So this, I hope is a step forward in them recognizing that we’re not backing down.”

Several council members spoke out in support of a plan where the community stands to benefit.