Minneapolis officials plot road map to revitalize West Broadway


City Hall has big plans for North Minneapolis’ West Broadway. They’ve dubbed these big plans “West Broadway Alive.” While West Broadway is still the main street in North Minneapolis, it has lost its allure over the years, which the city hopes to regain with this project.

Project Manager Tom Leighton says city officials envision West Broadway to be a destination place — a place where local people can go for their shopping and entertainment, rather than funding economic business in surrounding neighborhoods, which currently is the case.

“In order for this plan to be successful, we have to have three things,” said Leighton. “This includes community support, a plan that is compatible with city policy, and a plan that is reality based.”

During the next year, the city will host town hall meetings to seek input from the Northside community about what they would like to see on the West Broadway corridor. The meetings are interactive and allow people to illustrate their opinions, as was the case during a revitalization kick-off meeting held August 24 at the Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis.

For example, attendees were able to offer their opinions on graphic poster boards that were prominently displayed for the public to view. Questions included “What kind of housing does West Broadway need?” At a glance, the most popular answer was single-family homeownership. Another question: “What do you want on West Broadway?” The top answer was a place to go to for dinner.

The city has hired a consulting team to help make the dream come to life. But now it’s up to the neighborhood to let the City know what they want.

“I think this is great,” exclaimed Claudia Perez De Heintz, a North Minneapolis resident and attendee at the August 24 meeting. “We’re going to have the opportunity for big changes in the neighborhood — changes that will bring about diversity in culture and changes that will garner income.”

While Claudia would like to see a mix of local businesses that reflect the ethnic background of people who live there, she said she’d also like to see a mix of big names, including possibly a Best Buy or Borders bookstore. “I would really like to see a nice mix of big business and small business. We could really use some friendly coffee shops, banks, along with authentic food restaurants and big-chain grocery stores.”

The West Broadway Alive project encompasses the area within a block of West Broadway from the Mississippi River to the western city limits. According to the City, it also includes property within a quarter-mile radius from the major transit nodes at Penn Avenue, Emerson/Fremont Avenues, and Lyndale Avenue. City Hall reports that it will take a year to develop a plan for the area, based on input from the community, and subsequently about five years for the plan to be fully implemented.

For more information about West Broadway Alive, or for information about upcoming hearings, visit the West Broadway Alive link on the City of Minneapolis website: www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/planning/west-broadway.asp.