A new vision for downtown

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December 5, 2011 // UPDATED 3:29 pm - December 14, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss

A new plan for downtown Minneapolis revealed today by the Downtown Council envisions a future that includes doubling the downtown population to 70,000, a revitalized Nicollet Mall, a sports district, improved transit and a greener, safer city. The largest plan for downtown in 15 years, the Intersections 2025 plan was crafted by a group of business leaders as an effort to define Minneapolis as a “flourishing 21st-century city.”

The plan relies heavily on improving downtown’s existing amenities. It calls for Nicollet Mall to be transformed into a pedestrian corridor that stretches from the Walker Art Center to the riverfront, with a new “Gateway Park” next to the Central Library at the north end. It also calls for the renovation of Target Center and a new Vikings stadium at either the Farmers Market or Linden Avenue sites to establish a downtown sports district. 

Mayor Rybak is pushing for a stadium on the Metrodome site. While the goals of the Downtown Council and the City of Minneapolis are aligned on many issues, the Intersections 2025 plan has not been formally endorsed by the city.

The Intersections 2025 plan also notes many issues that are currently a problem downtown. It calls for extending housing and outreach to end street homelessness and a 20 percent increase in daily mass transit use. It also recognizes the need for downtown to forge greater connections with the University of Minnesota through green corridors that extend over the freeway that separates downtown from the West Bank campus. The plan would establish a new residential district with a small lake on the site of the Metrodome.

The plan also calls for a new ideas festival in Minneapolis based on successful ones in other cities around the country. 

The Downtown Council has created five comprehensive plans since 1959. The previous plan, released in 1996, has been widely adopted. It called for a street cleanup team, an improved skyway system, a downtown library, a Twins stadium, Block E, and higher population density.