With warmer weather upon us and the Twins in first place, looks like it’s shaping up to be an active summer in downtown. Here are a few highlights from this past month.

It was a very busy May for events in downtown:

  • Explore Downtown Living attracted hundreds of people to see approximately 20 of the great residential buildings located throughout downtown. Our population figure continues to rise, now at 49,781 (as reported at this year’s mdc annual meeting), in part because of the many great options for downtown living.
  • The inaugural Doors Open Minneapolis was a huge success, drawing thousands to locations throughout the city, many of which were downtown (including our office!). mdc was a sponsor of the event, and our staff led the social media efforts.
  • The annual Twin Cities Heart Walk saw the many participants traversing through mpls downtown to raise money for the American Heart Association. Our staff was instrumental in helping to plan and execute the event.
  • The second annual Springtacular kicked off programming #OnNicollet. It will be a busy summer of street performances, farmers and makers markets, a new partnership with MN Fringe at the Theater in the Round in front of the Mpls Central Library, and many more activities throughout the summer. Schedule details can be found at onnicollet.com/events.

Looking ahead to the summer:

  • Our programming partnership, Go Outside with Hennepin County, features outdoor trivia and movie nights at Target Field Station and outdoor games, music, and a farmers market at the Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza. Details can be found at mplsdowntown.com/gooutside.
  • Pianos on Parade is launching June 1, placing 25 pianos painted by local artists to reflect “The Spirit of Minneapolis” throughout downtown. We’ll celebrate the start of this initiative with a free performance from local musician Keri Noble on Thursday, June 6 from 12-1 pm outside IDS Center on Nicollet.
  • We’ve announced that Aquatennial’s CenterPoint Energy Torchlight Parade and Life Time Torchlight 5K will have a new route down 2nd Avenue this year. We’ll announce the full Aquatennial schedule and our new events at the beginning of June, but Aquatennial volunteer slots are now open—sign up at aquatennial.com/volunteer.

We had a very interesting set of member events in May, with diverse content:

  • At the 2025 Plan Quarterly forum, we assessed how we are progressing with the 10 goals of Intersections: The Downtown 2025 Plan and discussed the future of implementation efforts – you can see the results of that work here.
  • New DEED Commissioner Steve Grove and his colleague, Deputy Commissioner Hamse Warfa, described their priorities for business and workforce development at a Public Policy Forum co-hosted with the Mpls Regional Chamber and the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce.
  • Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson joined a coffee & conversation session to meet and hear from downtown business leaders and discuss his approach to the critical work of the office.
  • Metropolitan Airport Commission CEO Brian Ryks kicked off a great lunch panel discussion about delivering an exceptional customer experience at MSP International Airport, that also included perspectives from Delta Airlines, Airport Retail Group (a leading airport concessionaire), and ICF’s Americas Airports Sector Lead.
  • At another coffee & conversation moderated by Tunheim’s Chief Creative Officer Patrick Milan, attendees were taken “behind the scenes” of the KPMG Womens PGA Championship with the tournament director, Hazeltine’s Head Golf Pro, and the CEO of the MN section of the PGA.

Many thanks to all our May member event sponsors and hosts for making this programming possible, including Hewing Hotel, Ryan Companies, DLR Group, CenterPoint Energy, Wells Fargo, Tunheim, Radisson Blu, ICF Next & CRAVE.

No news to those who frequent downtown – there is significant street work going on! Of particular note are the Hennepin Avenue and 8th Street projects. Our Transportation Committee recently received an update on both — if you are interested in regular updates please sign up at www.hennepindowntown.com and www.8thstreetproject.com.

Also at that Transportation Committee meeting, members heard about and provided feedback on the City’s Transportation Action Plan. You can as well by visiting the City’s Transportation Action Plan website.

Construction of the Dayton’s Project continues to make good progress. One visible sign of that fact will be a series of temporary skyway entrance closures to permit work to stay on track. As plans stand today, here is the schedule:

  • May 21 – Sept 1: City Center and PwC Plaza entries will be detoured through Radisson Blu skyway corridor.
  • Sept 1 – Oct 15: Radisson Blu and 811 LaSalle will be detoured through street level at 811 LaSalle
  • Oct 15 – Nov 30: U.S. Bancorp Center and IDS Crystal Court will be detoured through street level at 811 LaSalle and Gaviidae Common

The Dayton’s Project is on schedule for a spring 2020 grand opening. For more information, visit thedaytonsproject.com.

Another priority issue for downtown is public safety. I wrote this op-ed on the importance of the role of an adequately-staffed Minneapolis Police Department. In addition, the 13th year of the “Joint Beats” partnership between the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and Metro Transit PD started after Memorial Day as described in this press release.

Finally, at our Board of Directors meeting we had a recap of the just-completed legislative session by our representatives from Faegre Baker Daniels. One of the priorities we watch carefully and weigh in on is transit funding. Progress was made by providing dedicated funding for Metro Mobility which in turn will relieve pressure on the regular operating budget at Metro Transit. And for the first session in a couple, it didn’t feel as though transit advocates were on constant defense, especially related to completion of the next two LRT lines. But the big step forward toward a region-wide, multi-modal system is still to be taken – maybe next session as hope springs eternal on this issue!

Looking forward to a fun summer, and thanks for all you do to make downtown extraordinary.

steve cramer

president & ceo, mpls downtown council and Mpls Downtown Improvement District

Upcoming membership events

  • june 12: coffee & conversation: leading through disruptive change | more info
  • june 13:development design workshop & tour: re-imagining the farmers market district | more info
  • june 20: member forum with ETBP: toward an inclusive downtown | more info
  • july 11: coffee & conversation: value of downtowns and city centers | more info
  • july 31: summer social & conversation: how AdFed impacts our community | more info
  • CLICK HERE for a full member event list PDF for 2019