Sunday, July 22, 2018
Public comments are due tonight on the Minneapolis 2040 Plan, so by the time most of you will read this, I'm hoping that enough input has already made it clear that the plan in its current form is unworkable and needs a new draft. I have serious concerns over the 2040 proposal, but first want to articulate what this is and what it is not, for the sake of readers who may not be familiar with how these long-range plans work.
The best comparison in north Minneapolis would be the West Broadway Alive! plan. And I remember my first reaction to the vision of what to do with the north Minneapolis segment of West Broadway was that this plan was full of political pablum and had no concrete ideas whatsoever. A fair criticism, to be sure, but West Broadway Alive! was not meant to put forth specific development ideas. Rather, it was meant to express the community's long-term values and goals for West Broadway. Then, when various proposals came forward, we could point back to the document and say one of a few things. "Yes, this follows the WBA; yes, it could follow those values with some tweaks; no it does not follow the plan and deserves to be summarily rejected; or no, it does not follow the plan, but presents some previously unthought of ideas that we should now incorporate into Broadway's development."
In the years since, north Minneapolis residents, business owners, investors, and advocates have used the WBA plan to push back against the location of a Hennepin County Services Center, to keep the MPS from creating more surface parking, to preserve historic storefronts before and after a fire, and to guide multi-family housing along the Broadway curve from James Ave to Penn Ave. That's how I see the 2040 plan's future use, which is why even after the initial draft phase is closed, we need to keep giving our input to city council members and other officials. Because once 2040 is adopted - and eventually it WILL BE - then for the next decade or more, people will come forward with their detailed proposals for specific developments in specific areas. And they absolutely will point to the 2040 plan in its final form as a document that was passed with enough community input that its gravitas and credibility should continue to guide city and community decisions for years to come.
So since this document will be used to justify or oppose how our city develops and grows for decades, the time to make our voices heard is now. Which leads me to my concerns over the Minneapolis 2040 Plan...