As I write this month’s update the Twins have won the American League Central Division title and the Minnesota United FC secured its first playoff berth! Congratulations to both teams on great seasons, and neither is done yet. Congrats also to the Lynx for another year in the WNBA playoffs, and we are looking forward to another successful Vikings season. Just like our sports teams, downtown continues to be busy and active. Here are a few highlights.

mdc gala featuring 2025 plan leadership awards presented by YA

Congratulations to this year’s mdc 2025 plan leadership award winners, whom we will honor tomorrow night (Oct. 1) at the mpls downtown council gala presented by YA at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot. We have eight winners this year: Doors Open Minneapolis, Downtown View Apartments, Mark Huting, Metro Transit C Line, Mpls City Council Member Lisa Goodman for her steadfast leadership of Peavey Plaza, Mpls Final Four Local Organizing Committee, Neka Creative and The Armory. Learn more about these winners at our 2025 plan leadership award page.

2019 greening award winners

The Mpls Downtown Improvement District presented the 10th annual “Greening Awards” in twelve categories to a wide variety of public and private projects across downtown. It’s important to us to hold up these examples of investments to improve the collective public realm downtown and make our streets more walkable and inviting. Congratulations to the winners and all nominees, and thanks for everyone who took time to vote!

2020 budget ratification 

Speaking of DID, the proposed 2020 budget developed by the Budget and Operations Committee and ratified by our board’s Executive Committee was the subject of a very positive public hearing at City Hall. In this 10th anniversary year of DID, a common comment heard at the hearing was: It’s hard to imagine downtown without DID’s services. That’s an encouraging and positive sentiment, and one all involved will strive to live up to on behalf of our ratepayers in the years ahead!

downtown public safety

Public safety concerns remain top of mind. Our organization supports and invests in a wide range of programs designed to enhance safety including outreach, prevention, and programming (since an active street is a safer street). Law enforcement is a linchpin for safety, however, and right now MPD resources are simply stretch too thin. For that reason we are in support of the Mayor Frey’s proposed 2020 budget which adds 14 sworn officer positions to the department. So are the citizens of the City it turns out, based on a high-quality survey reported on here in the Stat Tribune.

helping those experiencing unsheltered homelessness

An additional challenge facing downtowns across the nation is the growing number of unsheltered homelessness individuals. There is no easy answer. The organization we work with to provide the DID Ambassador Program, Block by Block, convened a national conference on this topic so that groups wrestling with this challenge could compare notes and identify possible constructive approaches. Again, no easy answers but much dedicated, good faith work to do the best for all involved.

Nimbus and theater in the round update

An example of this challenge in our downtown has been at the Theater in the Round and Nimbus sculpture on Nicollet outside the Mpls Central Library. It was barricaded twice this summer to allow needed repair and maintenance work to occur. These features are open once more as of the end of September, with some simple design alterations intended to facilitate enjoyable use by anyone, but not long-term or overnight occupancy which raises health and safety concerns.

philanthropic conversations

On the governance front, our board meeting this month featured a panel of philanthropists – Andrew Dayton from the Constellation Fund, Lee Sheehy from the McKnight Foundation, and Brian Pietsch from Ameriprise – reflecting on the role and importance of philanthropy in our community and the intersection with downtown concerns. We are known nationally for the spirit and practice of multi-sector collaboration, with philanthropic giving as a central part of that mix. You don’t have to look far to see how this approach has and continues to shape downtown Minneapolis in a positive way.

transit work continues

The Transportation Committee heard from Metro Transit Administrator Wes Kooistra about their current opportunities and challenges. It’s important to note that four upcoming Metro Transit projects adding or enhancing service will also add to options for people to get to and around downtown (Southwest LRT, Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] in the I-35W South right of way, and the next two arterial BRT lines). Funding for some but not all of these projects is secured, and on-going support for the regular route bus system is always a concern. So adequate transit funding will remain an organizational advocacy priority, consistent with our 2025 Plan goal to “lead the nation in transportation options”.

our dynamic downtown

I had the pleasure of helping our Executive Committee member Anna Coskran from NTH revive the tradition of the “Dynamic Downtown” presentation at the Minneapolis Club. Fortunately for those in attendance Anna did the heavy lifting! But as is always the case, when one steps back and catalogues all that is going well downtown (as we also do at our Annual Meeting coming up in February 2020), it both puts our undeniable challenges in proper perspective an gives us reason to be proud.

Finally, remember we have two big events coming up this month for which mdc is proud to be a promotional partner. As mdc members, you can enjoy special discount offers—email Marybeth Weisberg at to receive the promotional code.

  • Ignite 2019: Marketing to the Generations |  thursday, oct 3, 7:15 am-4 pm at the U of M’s Carlson School of Management
  • Manova Summit |  oct 14-16 at Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot

That’s probably a good place to end for this month. Enjoy the nice fall weather, and thanks for all you do to make downtown extraordinary!

steve cramer

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

  • oct 1: mdc gala presented by YA | more info
  • oct 22: business day at City Hall | register
  • oct 24: member forum: innovative approaches to education and workforce development | register
  • oct 30: happy hour presentation: inside Jack Link’s test kitchen | register
  • nov 6: 2025 plan quarterly forum (11:30 am-1:30 pm) | save the date
  • nov 20: cocktails and conversations: building smart and connected workplaces | register
  • CLICK HERE for a full member event list PDF for 2019