Frey asks council to approve 3rd Precinct close to abandoned precinct

The third precinct
Funding would be directed a few blocks from the old precinct headquarters, which was damaged during unrest in 2020 following George Floyd’s killing by a 3rd Precinct officer.
Tim Evans for MPR News 2022

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is asking the city council to allocate funding for a new 3rd Precinct police building in south Minneapolis a few blocks from the old precinct headquarters, which was damaged during unrest in 2020 following George Floyd’s killing by a 3rd Precinct officer.

In a letter sent on Wednesday, Frey urged council members to fund construction of a new precinct building at 2600 Minnehaha Avenue South, which city staff previously estimated would cost up to $26 million. 

Frey said city staff had already vetted more than 25 sites and the 2600 Minnehaha site makes the most sense. 

“It’s located within the 3rd Precinct and along a major commercial corridor, so officers and community members will have easy access to the building,” Frey said in the letter. “Any potential site brought to the table now would cost significantly more money and time, neither of which we have.”

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The mayor asked council members to “either allocate funding to begin work on a precinct at 2600 Minnehaha with the ultimate goal of creating the City’s first safety center or allocate the necessary funding for me to make the decision myself.” 

Since May 2020, 3rd Precinct officers have been working out of a variety of temporary spaces downtown. City leaders have said it’s clear the neighborhood needs a precinct, but there’s been little agreement on where it should be located.  

The 2600 Minnehaha Avenue site and a reconstruction of the precinct’s former headquarters were the two options proposed by city staff in March. Many residents surveyed by Minneapolis earlier this year said they were dissatisfied with the options presented by the city. 

The council passed a resolution this summer that banned any police facilities at the former precinct’s location on Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue. 

The council voted also last month to reject a costly plan supported by Frey and Council President Andrea Jenkins to temporarily house the precinct with 1st Precinct officers at Century Plaza downtown. Council members argued that they could come up with a better site for the precinct by engaging with residents through their normal legislative processes.