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Survey says plurality want Ward 3 Precinct at same site

An aerial shot showing the burned, abandoned old Third Precinct building. (Provided by Georgia Fort)

After years of controversy, the City of Minneapolis released a long-awaited report that finds a plurality of those surveyed want the burned-down precinct rebuilt.

Out of the 3,620 people surveyed, which included people that live near, work at, or visit the precinct, 44% – or 1,591 people – said the city should rebuild the precinct at 3000 Minnehaha Ave. Most of those respondents cited getting police back into the neighborhood quickly and cutting costs as the reason for their choice. Approximately 4% of Ward 3 residents were surveyed.

(Courtesy of DeYoung Consulting)

The city’s proposed plan to move the precinct was met with plenty of vocal opposition from local community organizations, neighborhood associations, businesses, and even multiple councilmembers. The opposition came to a head on May 16, when 19 different community partners came together to speak against the city’s proposal. Another vocal faction is opposed to having a precinct in the ward at all. Minneapolis City Council Member Robin Wonlsey said that the two options presented by the city amounted to asking “whether you want to be punched in your face or in your stomach.”

Jamie Schwesnedl, co-owner of Moon Palace Books, said in an interview in April that police based out of the third precinct were “really bad neighbors,” assaulting local employees and disrespecting property.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that the ward still needs a precinct, and he supports a proposal by Councilmember Jenkins that would put a Community Safety hub in Century Plaza, alongside the Ward 1 police precinct.

“We talk about these community safety centers, and this could be a model for how we begin to approach that,” City Council President Andrea Jenkins said. “I see this as a positive alternative to the third precinct, it gives us time to think of where that precinct should be, or even if we should have precincts. We’ve been hearing conversations about ‘is this model that is probably from the early 1900s, is this the model we want to continue with?’”

Residents have voiced disappointment and anger at the city’s lack of communication throughout the process, which prompted an apology from interim COO Heather Johnston.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that a majority of respondents supported rebuilding the precinct on the same site. In fact it was a plurality, not a majority. We regret the error.

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