Minneapolis considers new option for future of 3rd Precinct

A new report shows most citizens support rebuilding the Minneapolis police's 3rd Precinct at its original location, which was burned down during the 2020 riots, while the city is also now considering a new option.

The report, which gauged community feedback from listening sessions and surveys weighing the future of the 3rd Precinct, showed a "significant" number of people oppose any new precinct building whatsoever.

The precinct building was burned down in the midst of rioting that followed the death of George Floyd.

The process to replace the Precinct has taken years and recently included community listening sessions for the city to gauge what citizens wanted to be done with the Precinct. Along with the sessions, residents were asked to fill out a survey looking at two potential locations for the new precinct building: the current location at Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street and a new location down the block at East 26th Street and Minnehaha Avenue.

The report found that, between the two locations, most people (66 percent) supported rebuilding at the burned-down site at Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street.

However, the survey also found that a significant group of people opposed any new 3rd Precinct building. Despite the fact that the survey didn't purpose a "no building option" authors said that 377 people wrote it in as an option in the notes.

"We need a decision here. We need to move forward," said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey during a press conference with other city leaders.

A new report on the city's community engagement efforts surrounding the 3rd Precinct shows that 2/3rds of south Minneapolis residents who were surveyed want to rebuild on the existing site, while the other third prefers building the precinct headquarters at another location four blocks away. 

But city leaders say during a series of community listening sessions, many residents voiced their opposition to the department returning to the original site at Minnehaha and Lake Street.

A third option?

City Council president Andrea Jenkins came up with a third plan: temporarily moving the 3rd Precinct into Century Plaza on the edge of downtown, where the 1st Precinct will be relocated next year.

"It gives us time to really think about where, in fact, that precinct should be or even if we should have precincts," said Jenkins.

"By adding on a few floors above, we can also co-locate our 3rd Precinct services," explained Mayor Frey. "It provides people from the 3rd Precinct with the service they need and deserve. Second, it provides officers with the right infrastructure and the right resources that they need to do their job and to do it well."

Mayor Frey says putting the 3rd Precinct at Century Plaza will give them more time to make a permanent decision for the 3rd Precinct. It would also give officers easy access to their patrol areas via 35W, Frey argued. The Century Plaza building sits on the border of the 3rd Precinct zone.

"It has been a very challenging conversation to have," Jenkins added. "That site has created a lot of trauma, a lot of consternation for a lot of people. And yet, we still have a deep concern about the public safety in the area, in the community, and how do we address those concerns?"

Jenkins says, despite the surveys that showed most people supported rebuilding at the same site, the report shows there is still "a strong disdain for that site."