Future of Minneapolis 3rd Precinct: Business owners sound off during first 'community conversation'

It took more than two years for Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Book store to reopen in a new home after its previous building was burned down during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

Now owner Don Blyly believes it's time for the Minneapolis Police Department's third precinct to do the same.

"I think we would have better coverage if they were located here in the third precinct. It would be easier for people to contact them if there was a visible presence here in the 3rd precinct," said Blyly. 

The 3rd precinct building at Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue in South Minneapolis was abandoned and set on fire in May 2020.

Since then, officers patrolling the precinct have been operating out of a facility downtown.

Now city leaders are considering two sites for a future third precinct building, either at the old location or a vacant lot owned by the city at 26th and Minnehaha four blocks away.

It was standing room only at a meeting city leaders held for business owners next door to the vacant 3rd precinct building, to get feedback on the two possible options.

"Personally, I think it's kind of a slap in the face to have the third precinct return to this location. There's a lot of trauma that's been inflicted by the police," said Juno Choi of Arbeiter Brewing Company a few doors down. 

"I think the option of the Minnehaha and 26th would be easily accepted or easier to accept," said Frederick Brathwaithe, co-owner of Wendy's House of Soul.

But Blyly says he'd feel safer if the third precinct was rebuilt on its old location about a block away from his store.

"I'd rather see an improved police force at a location where they can do the most good for the community and I think that would be at the old location," said Blyly.