MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Plans for a new 3rd Police Precinct in Minneapolis are moving full speed ahead. But, at the same time, there is concern that the community safety portion of the building is being neglected.
That community safety center will be housed in the same building as the new 3rd Precinct. The development of the project comes nearly four years after the original precinct was destroyed during riots following George Floyd's murder.
Minneapolis Office of Community Safety Commissioner Toddrick Barnette outlined the challenge in redeveloping the building on Minnehaha Avenue, emphasizing that the main difficulty isn't with the half that will become the new 3rd Police Precinct.
"I don’t think that’s going to be a heavy design lift there," Barnette said at Wednesday's press conference.
The focus now is on determining the purpose of the other half of the building, envisioned as a community safety center. This component was crucial in the city council's approval of the site last November.
The purchase agreement was signed last week. Now comes the next steps, including due diligence, inspections, and environmental testing. The goal is to close the transaction by June 1, start renovations, and open the new precinct at the beginning of 2025.
While that is being done, community engagement is underway to determine what services the new community safety center should offer. To do this, they are going to do a full review of existing community feedback.
The Office of Community Safety’s Department of Implementation and Design Director Amanda Harrington explained the approach: "Rather than starting from scratch, we're going to look at what we've already asked folks. Then we are going to go back and ask, ‘Did we hear you correctly?’"
During a presentation to the city council, Council Member Robin Wonsley expressed concerns about the timeline of the project, especially regarding the plan for the community portion. "Can you confirm if the timeline that we’re on, essentially we’re not going to have a full plan in place for all these components by June?" Wonsley questioned.
Wonsley is concerned that plans are already moving ahead for the building before any plans are fleshed out for the community safety center.
Despite these concerns, officials assured that they can simultaneously progress with the building plans and the development of the community portion.
"I know there’s a need to move fast, but we want to get it right… and we want to get it right for you and the citizens," Barnette concluded.