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'This Has To Be Preserved': City Of Minneapolis Seeks Input For Future Of George Floyd Square

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis is looking to make changes to the place where George Floyd was murdered by former MPD officer Derek Chauvin in 2020, and they're seeking your ideas in doing so.

In a release, the city says public infrastructure improvements to things like sidewalks, pavement, lighting and other utilities at 38th and Chicago are necessary and have been for years. In making the changes, the city says it wants to create a space that supports racial healing and honors Floyd's memory.

"(This intersection) has international significance," said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Saturday. "This needs to be a place of racial justice and healing. This needs to be a place that honors the legacy of George Floyd and the surrounding community here, and we want to get the best possible ideas."

Frey and a number of city staff say a key part of the project centers around community input. On Saturday, they opened the Phelps Community Center to the public, who were asked to share ideas for a reimagined space.

"When you have a location that is of the significance of George Floyd Square and you have really passionate opinions across the board," Frey said. "No, not everyone is going to get exactly what they want, that's the truth. But by having these kind of engagement sessions, we can generate the best kind of ideas, and incorporate them into a plan that builds consensus around the future of what this space can be."

According to a brochure created by the city, key goals for the redesign include identifying space for community use while maintaining access for residents and businesses. In doing so, the city says it wants to conduct a process that promotes learning, while honoring Black and Indigenous voices.

"I think the community should be the decision maker," said James Trice, whose "Public Policy Project" group was asked to be involved in the redesign process. "All my role is here is to set the table for the community to hear what the plans are, to give their input, to make their voice heard."

Trice says he and his team have been listening to feedback for months, which has varied from people who think the area should be closed to traffic permanently, to others who think it should be reopened entirely. One thing, he says, is consistent -- a dedication to George Floyd.

"This is not a usual roadway project," he said. "Whatever we're doing here, the world is watching."

Trice and a team of city staff will continue to seek community input – with a virtual open house scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The team plans to have preliminary concepts prepared by the fall.

"I want to make sure we get it right," Trice said.

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