City and downtown leaders release new plan for creating a safe and inviting Hennepin Avenue

The City of Minneapolis and key downtown stakeholders unveiled the Minneapolis Partnership to Create a Safe and Inviting Hennepin Avenue Spring/Summer 2017 Plan — a blueprint for ensuring that Hennepin Avenue is safe, inviting and welcoming to everyone.

Over the course of the past several months, a workgroup, convened by Mayor Hodges, co-chaired by Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jonathan Weinhagen, and made up of local government and business community leaders, focused on designing a plan that creates a safe and inviting Hennepin Avenue where everyone is welcome.

Key downtown stakeholders who have joined the mayor, City department heads and representatives from Hennepin County in crafting this plan include: the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis Downtown Council/Downtown Improvement District, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and Meet Minneapolis. Other partners who completed the team include: the Hennepin County Administrator’s Office, Hennepin County Probation, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office and the Minneapolis City Coordinator’s Office.

While many strategies are underway to address nighttime violence and issues at bar close, this plan focuses on addressing concerns on Hennepin Avenue during daytime hours. It encompasses four key categories: outreach, activation, legislative solutions and law enforcement.

The plan comes as the crime rate downtown is down, including violent crime. However, concerns about livability issues, such as public intoxication, catcalling and others have increased along Hennepin Avenue.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Outreach: Additional outreach workers from several organizations will be out on Hennepin Avenue, reaching out to people experiencing homelessness, young people, and individuals engaging in problematic behaviors.
  • Activation: An activation plan for Hennepin Avenue from Third to 10th Streets will include creative engagement at bus stops, bringing back the popular “Pianos on Parade” program, environmental design projects and other innovative programming.
  • Legislative solutions: We are also looking to our legislative leaders for their help in making sure the heart of Minneapolis along Hennepin Avenue is inviting, welcoming and safe. We support a bill at the State Capitol, authored by Minneapolis legislators, that would allow officers to enforce court orders to restrict some criminal defendants from being in areas where they have repeatedly offended, including downtown.
  • Law enforcement: The Minneapolis Police Department has added more beat officers along Hennepin Avenue to encourage positive interactions with residents, commuters and visitors. To complement the deployment of additional beat officers, the First Precinct will initiate a new “Commuter Block Post” program consisting of Minneapolis Police Department personnel and DID Ambassadors during the morning and afternoon commute hours. Additional patrols will also be assigned during evening post-rush hour/theater prime time.  These joint beats will offer an increased and visible presence on Hennepin during the busiest periods of the day.

There’s a role for everyone in making this plan a success and ensuring that Hennepin Avenue lives up to its potential as a key element of a thriving, vibrant and safe downtown.

A PDF of the plan is available here: https://www.scribd.com/document/343547806/Downtown-Spring-Summer-2017-Plan