A decision on what to do with the third precinct was again delayed until the next Committee of the Whole on Oct. 31.
In recent months, council members have been unable to decide between two sites: 1.) Keeping the precinct at its former location at Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street that was damaged during the 2020 riots or 2.) Moving the precinct to a city-owned property at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue. Over the summer, the council also considered a third option: adding floors onto the First Precinct at Century Plaza to temporarily house the Third Precinct – giving the council time to make a final decision. The Century Plaza idea seemed to have some support in the council until council members rejected it during a meeting last month.
As for the other two options, neither seems all that popular among the council. Returning the precinct to its former location is considered insensitive. While the 2600 Minnehaha location scored poorly in a survey earlier this year. It should be noted, that most people who chose a location in that survey preferred building at the original site at Minnehaha and Lake. That said, a significant chunk of respondents also wrote-in they preferred no new police precinct building.
Tuesday's meeting included a discussion on two other locations, 3716 Cheatham Avenue and 2520 26th Avenue South, next to Memory Lanes. Both proprieties would need to be purchased by the city and would require at least some demolition work. City officials estimate, that for the Cheatham location, the estimated costs of the project would be between $36.5 million and $41.5 million. While the 26th Avenue location would cost between $33.5 million and 37.5 million. The 2600 Minnehaha solution would cost between $28 million and $32 million.
The cheapest option, by far, would be rehabbing the original 3rd precinct building, estimated to cost between $15 million and $18 million. It would also be the quickest option to get up and running.
At Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Jacob Frey, who is also growing frustrated with the council's indecision, pleaded with members to reach a decision by Oct. 31. Previously, the mayor has asked the council to move forward with a decision or give him the power to do so. Tuesday, the mayor said he would support any of the three initial options.
The third precinct covers areas south of I-94 and east of I-35W to the river in Minneapolis.