Rybak gives State of the City address

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak delivered his annual State of the City Address on Wednesday at the MacPhail Center for Music downtown.

Rybak presented a plan to help the city's struggling economy, saying the city needs to make long-term investments and avoid quick fixes.

"You don't build a recession-resistant economy that creates lasting prosperity with a one-time rebate check or a single tax cut for only the very wealthy," he said.

Rybak focused his address on job growth and education - the city needs to improve both to prosper, he said.

The State of the City Address is officially part of a City Council meeting.

Ward 2 Councilman Cam Gordon, whose ward includes the University area, said he was surprised the mayor didn't talk more about people affected by foreclosures, but added that the focus on jobs and education was appropriate.

"Trying to build a better partnership within the schools and the city is really important," Gordon said.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak delivers his annual State of the City Address on Wednesday at the MacPhail Center for Music.

Rybak said the city should focus on initiatives that promote college planning, summer employment for high school students and free college tuition. He said Minneapolis high schools had a 67 percent graduation rate last year, but that rate was even lower among people of color.

"We are not producing enough graduates to replace employees as they retire," he said. "There are too many young people who are unsupported as they move into the future."

As a result of scholarship programs through the University and Minneapolis Community and Technical College, more than 700 Minneapolis students have been able to attend college, he said.

Rybak also cited research and health care as important for job growth and education, saying he hopes the University will be able to add buildings and create a research park near the TCF Bank Stadium site.

"Our next step on this is to make sure the state Legislature and the governor move forward on funding the University's request for University Research Park," he said.

Ward 3 City Councilwoman Dianne Hofstede said she thought the mayor gave a positive yet realistic speech.

"We can't separate ourselves from what's happening in the entire world," she said.

Rybak said education is critical to keeping Minneapolis competitive with the rest of the world. He said there are more people age 24 to 34 in Minneapolis than in any other city in the nation, which puts the city's economy in the perfect position to expand.

The mayor acknowledged that the city is facing some economic hardships, but said things have been worse.

"Minneapolis is going to weather this period of uncertainty," he said. "Our economy has a sound foundation and our city government has a strong economic strategy."

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