Have you been to downtown Minneapolis lately? These days some don’t feel safe there. In Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648 we run the gauntlet on Hennepin Avenue.
After Billions Spent, New Questions About Safety Downtown
The media is starting to ask questions about crime in downtown. Opinion makers and the city’s leaders are apparently concerned. The questions they don’t ask are revealing.
Another New Crisis
The Crisis in American Cities has been grabbing headlines for a hundred years. From The Gateway District to Mayo Square it’s the same formula. Use taxpayer dollars to Demolish. Rebuild. Repeat. Has it been worth it?
Robert Moses and Richard Daley Would Be Proud
Light rail and mixed use condos. Expensive restaurants and Hipster art districts. Bike paths. Safe spaces. Higher Minimum Wages. Political fights about redevelopment and economic inequality. Tax Increment Financing to bring in big retail and big companies.
When these efforts produce mixed results, the process starts all over again. More money. Newer stadiums. More buildings. More condos that are sold as ‘affordable’ but cost at least two hundred thousand dollars. Higher rents. Traffic Jams. Crime.
Downtown Minneapolis was never a ‘thing’
The neighborhoods and retail business were located in North Minneapolis and North East, Uptown, Lake Street in South Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s ‘Midway’. Sure, Hennepin Avenue always featured bars and hotels, places to eat and entertainment. But downtown was for warehouses, light industry, office buildings, city and county government. And drunks.
Let’s just say it. Downtown Minneapolis isn’t Disneyland. It never was. That’s the reason punks loved in in the early 80’s. The gritty nature of Moby’s and other Block E attractions made it ‘charming’. It’s one of the reasons First Avenue was able to gain a foothold as a seminal and nationally famous music and punk culture venue.
These days, the well connected, with impeccable credentials in the Twin Cities’ public-private partnership world, continue to sell ‘more of the same’; Taxes, regulation, and fees that make seeing a show or going to a baseball, football, or basketball game and having dinner after, impossibly expensive for most of the disappearing middle class.
Investment For What?
Want to start a business downtown? Want to buy a condo downtown? Better be juiced into the money or have a lot of money. No wonder people are concerned about the nitty gritty nature of Hennepin Avenue. Walking down this street you’re mixing with the great unwashed. Unruly, scantily clad, vulgar, of different races and often from the poor side of the cities. And it’s really, really fun.
What Does The 21st Century Look Like?
We need to start asking questions about the nature of the city in the mid twenty first century. Retail is dying. Corporations don’t need tons of office space anymore. No one wants to pay more and more tax. No one wants to have to pay 22 dollars for a hamburger to fund the sports cathedrals for billionaire team owners that live around Lake of Isles or out in Minnetonka.
Is the solution really more cops downtown. Another Light Rail line? Subsidized office space? Another redevelopment of Nicollet Mall? More incremental taxes added to the bills at the Smack Shack? Who lives down here? Not the servers. Nor the kids hanging out at the LRT station.
Spend Daddy’s Money Downtown
Downtown Minneapolis is a place for trust fund babies, lawyers and corporates relocating. People who are used to having things their way. No wonder they think it’s unsafe. Sadly, they’re making everyone else pay for their own personal Epcot Center. It’s a con.
Present Becomes Past?
No matter how much they spend when you walk this street, you’re walking where the bums in the Gateway used to spend the winter drinking. The past echoes up and down Hennepin, even if the buildings are long torn down. That’s never going to change.
We Pay For Power In The Shadows
When you think about how much of the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars they’ve spent, one wonders when the Downtown Council and the real shadow power in Minneapolis will be held accountable.
Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul