Mayor R.T. Rybak’s 2013 State of the City address today focused on what Minneapolis could look like in 2025, a city with a downtown park, a developed Vikings stadium district and streetcars.
It was Rybak’s 12th and last State of the City address, and he stepped into a time machine and gave the speech from the future. In that future, he won three more terms as mayor.
In Rybak’s 2025 Minneapolis, North Minneapolis is booming, so much so that the community is debating where to build a third high school. North side economic growth is brought on by better public safety, more green space and improved academic achievement.
Streetcars run along Nicollet and Central in 2025. Nicollet Mall in now Nicollet Green, a downtown park. The Armory Yard is developed around the Vikings stadium with a Viking boat-shaped skate park, athletic fields, a dog park and thousands of housing units. Space is set aside for concerts and movies.
The population of Minneapolis is 450,000 in Rybak’s 2025 vision, and growing to a half million. The population has become even more diverse with waves of immigrants from Africa, Southwest Asia and Latin America.
“We did all this in order to make Minneapolis more livable, prosperous and sustainable,” the 2025 Rybak says.
Rybak did not lay out any significant new initiatives for his last nine months in office, but he focused on some of the things he’s been working on for much of his last term: Opening Nicollet at Lake Street, adding a Greenway to the north side and developing the land around the new Vikings stadium.
With more people and more housing, Rybak says property taxes would be lower for residents.
The men and women hoping to replace Rybak as mayor gave the speech good reviews.
“I hope we get there,” candidate Gary Schiff said of Rybak’s goals. “I think it will be remembered as one of the most creative state of the city addresses, that’s for sure.”
Mark Andrews said he shares the same goals for Minneapolis.
“He’s singing off my sheet of music,” Andrew said. “It’s a beautiful thing to have a mayor and me being the only candidate in the mayor’s race, articulating a nearly identical vision that he is laying out: A dramatically enhanced green space and sustainable strategies for economic growth.”
Betsy Hodges also praised Rybak.
“People really do have confidence in Minneapolis and he did a great job pointing out how we can make progress and that we still have more to make,” Hodges said.
Don Samuels said he believes Rybak’s ambitious goals for North Minneapolis are attainable.
“I think R.T. is a great mayor,” Samuels said. “I think after this contemporary cynicism blows over, history is going to say that this guy is one of the great mayors of the city of Minneapolis, and I think he has a great vision.”