Minneapolis mayor urges council to move forward with 3rd Precinct site

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is urging the city council to move forward with plans to build a new Third Police Precinct building at the city's 2600 Minnehaha site.

In a message to council members on Wednesday, Frey is asking council members to approve funding to build the new police precinct on the plot of land owned by the city at the corner of Minnehaha and East 26th Street, next to Aurora Charter School. The new site would be less than a mile away from the original Third Precinct building at Minnehaha and East Lake Street.

The urging comes as the council has failed to come to a final decision on what to do with the precinct. The original Third Precinct building was damaged by fire during the 2020 riots.

Over the last year-plus, the city has taken input from citizens on what to do with the Third Precinct. Rebuilding at the original site has been deemed too painful -- despite a survey conducted by the city that showed most people would support using the original location over the 2600 Minnehaha spot. However, another significant chunk of respondents said they preferred no new precinct building.

After all the input, the council began reviewing a third option proposed by council president Andrea Jenkins to add extra floors onto the Century Plaza, which houses the First Precinct. That plan would only be a temporary site for the Third Precinct, to give the city more time to determine a permanent home.

But just last month, a council committee rejected that option raising concerns about the costs for what would amount to a temporary solution. At that time, the mayor also sent a letter to the council, asking them either to make a decision – or give him the power to do so.

In the latest communication from the mayor, he laid out his preference to build at the 2600 Minnehaha location.

"Here’s why 2600 Minnehaha makes sense," the mayor explains. "First, it’s located within the Third Precinct and along a major commercial corridor, so officers and community members will have easy access to the building. Second, the Council has removed the other two options provided by staff from consideration – both of which I would also support. Third, any potential site brought to the table now would cost significantly more money and time, neither of which we have."

"Council Members have recently suggested sites beyond those identified and vetted by City staff," the mayor added. "These sites would be considerably more expensive than the three proposed options, requiring millions of dollars for site acquisition, demolition, and remediation – all before a single brick is laid. Not to mention, any suggested sites would also add significantly to the project timeline. Conversely, 2600 Minnehaha requires no site acquisition or building demolition, so we could get to work right away."

The mayor is urging the council's Committee of the Whole to make a decision at their Oct. 17 meeting.

Ever since the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct was destroyed during unrest following the murder of George Floyd, city leaders have been trying to decide how, where or if to rebuild it. But after evaluating more than 25 sites, the city has yet to select one, and now the mayor is saying enough time has passed.

"We’ve been taking time, I think it’s fair to engage community," Frey said. "We’ve engaged people… at some point you need to make a decision… we need to get something through the council."

Frey says he would sign off on any of the three final site contenders. However, on Wednesday, Frey asked the council to allocate funding to build a new Third Precinct at a vacant lot a few blocks north of the original location. The land at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue is already owned by the city.

"I don’t want to spend millions of dollars that we don’t need to spend… to acquire the site… to demolish the building… to remediate the ground," Frey said.

City council president Andrea Jenkins did not respond to FOX 9’s request for an interview on Wednesday. Member Robin Wonsley declined an interview, but sent this message: