Minneapolis leaders reach out to activists for winter reopening of 38th and Chicago

An aerial view of the memorial to George Floyd at 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis. (FOX 9)

Minneapolis city officials are reaching out to community activists about coming to an agreement regarding the reopening of 38th and Chicago this winter. The intersection, known as George Floyd Square, has been blocked off to traffic since the death of George Floyd.

On Nov. 9, Mayor Jacob Frey, Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Council Member Alondra Cano sent a joint letter to the leaders of Meet on the Street.

"The continued full closure of the street is harming local business, and some may not be able to survive much longer under the current conditions," read the letter. "Many residents, while supportive of creating space for the memorial, would also like to see the neighborhoods reconnected."

After Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day, the community turned the intersection into a makeshift memorial to honor Floyd and others who have died from police violence. Among the art pieces includes a sculpture of a fist that sits in the middle of the intersection and a mural outside Cup Foods. 

In August, city officials had plans to remove the barricades in the surrounding streets as part of a phased reopening, but ultimately delayed the plans after receiving pushback. Community activists shared their "Justice Resolution" outlining demands that included creating a permanent memorial and a racial justice healing center as well as establishing entrepreneurship development and youth partnerships in the area.

In the recent letter, the leaders listed ways the city is taking steps toward healing. Among the items included adopting a "Truth and Reconciliation Process" to allow for conversations on structural racism due to city policy, setting aside $100,000 in the budget to develop a vision for a permanent memorial, planning to adopt the 38th Street Thrive Plan and adding the commemorative street name of George Perry Floyd Jr. Place.

However with the immediate concerns of snowplowing and emergency vehicle access, the city is looking to implement an interim winter plan for 38th and Chicago. City leaders have discussed two options. The first would keep the fist sculpture in the center of the intersection and would shift Chicago Avenue to a converging one-way street while opening 38th Street up to two-way traffic again. In the second plan, the sculpture would be moved to the northeast corner of the intersection and there would be two-way traffic on both streets.

"We remain hopeful the commitment to racial justice as expressed in this letter, and in the previous and separate communications, will encourage us to work together towards an interim winter design," read the letter.

According to the letter, city leaders are asking for the activists' input by Nov. 13 on their "thoughts and commitment to a mutually agreeable partnership moving forward."

FOX 9 reached out to the activists who received the letter for comment. They said they are discussing a response to the letter.