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'I Want To Be Here For A Renaissance Of Uptown': Business Owners, Residents Not Letting Violent Crime Scare Them Away

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Business owners and neighbors who live in one of the busiest nightlife neighborhoods in Minneapolis say changes are needed after a man was shot Saturday night.

It happened outside the bars and businesses at Hennepin and Lagoon avenues just before 11 p.m. Police say the victim is expected to survive.

However, the situation was still traumatizing for people who are seeing shootings become far too common in Uptown. Vivian Robbins lives in the area, and was at a nearby bar at the time of the shooting.

"I moved to Uptown because of all the nightlife and the fun and all of that stuff, so all of the violence around, it's scary, it's discouraging," said. "They kept us inside the bar and then let everybody know what was going on."

The Hennepin and Lagoon intersection has been hit hard with crime in the past year. Last June, 11 people were shot in one night at the intersection. Bullets hit several nearby businesses, including John Fluevog shoe store, where Jamie Liestman is manager.

"It doesn't feel good to learn that there's violence happening in Uptown," Liestman said.

Uptown Minneapolis Uptown Theater
(credit: CBS)

She showed WCCO a bullet hole from last summer's shooting, still in the wall of the store. She says it's a traumatizing reminder of the violent crime in the area, but she still feels hopeful and plans to continue to invest in this neighborhood.

"It is not going to be an easy journey back. I always hope that I want to be here for a renaissance of Uptown," Liestman said.

Encouragement comes from the pleasant weekend days when the Uptown sidewalks are still filled with visitors. Resident Ava Melton-Meaux says the community is staying strong.

"Even though there's a lot of stuff that happened, people still come back," Melton-Meaux said.

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, who represents Uptown, released this statement in response to Saturday's shooting:

My office is in contact with the 5th precinct every time there is a violent crime in Ward 10. I was very sorry to hear about last night's shooting and relieved to hear that the victim's injuries were not life threatening. The City has invested in multiple strategies to interrupt the cycles of violence that mostly affect young people in Minneapolis, including hospital-based support for victims of violence. The annual police budget is $30 million higher now than when I took office in 2014. We must continue to invest in multiple strategies to keep every member of our community safe, including preventing violence, especially during the unusual circumstances created by the pandemic.

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