38th Street & Chicago Avenue
A Focal Point for the Call for Racial Justice
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a Black man died in the custody of Minneapolis Police at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Since then the intersection has been a focal point for people mourning Floyd and calling for racial justice. Mr. Floyd’s death has sparked protests around the country calling for fundamental changes in policing and racist systems.
In order to provide safe access for visitors to the site, the City placed barricades to through traffic, while also ensuring ADA and emergency access. Since May, the barricades have remained in place. City elected officials and staff have been actively engaging with community members since May, attending daily meetings on the street, and holding several town halls. They have heard numerous perspectives about this intersection, both short- and long-term desires and needs.
City's Long-Term Commitments
The City is committed to taking action to support and invest in racial justice, healing and a long-term memorial in the area of 38th and Chicago. City leaders have met with community leaders who have authored a resolution outlining a series of demands to consider and begin achieving before barricades are removed. Read Mayor Jacob Frey, Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Council Member Alondra Cano's response to the resolution.
- The City Council recently passed a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency and has committed to a series of action steps to dedicate more resources to racial equity work.
- The revised 2020 City budget includes $100,000 to support initial community engagement in the co-creation of a vision for a permanent memorial for George Floyd and $150,000 for the Creative City Making program to hire a diverse team of artists and healers to create, implement, and lead community engagement processes to guide the City’s community healing and rebuild with racial equity efforts for areas most impacted by civil unrest. Read more about the grants awarded for creative community healing.
- The City Council adopted an ordinance establishing 38th Street as one of seven Cultural Districts. As outlined in Minneapolis 2040, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the goal of Cultural Districts is to advance racial equity, prevent displacement, preserve cultural identity and fuel economic growth in areas with a rich sense of cultural and/or linguistic identity rooted in communities significantly populated by people of color, indigenous people and/or immigrants (POCII). The ordinance allows the City to prioritize these areas in the establishment of tools and the deployment of resources.
- The City is preparing to adopt the 38th Street Thrive Plan, a plan prepared together with community that sets a vision for 38th Street.
- The City Council has approved adding the commemorative street name of George Perry Floyd Jr. Place to Chicago Avenue between 37th Street East and 39th Street East to honor Floyd.
- The City will accelerate funding to reconstruct the street and intersection to build the community vision and in conjunction with the Metro D-Line bus-rapid transit project.
Interim winter street design
Minneapolis Public Works is considering options for an interim winter street design for Chicago Avenue between 37th and 39th Street, and 38th Street between Elliot Avenue and Columbus Avenue. Public Works is working to ensure that essential access is retained through the winter. Ensuring essential winter access requires some adjustments in the area; no decision has been made on the final details of the winter design or timing of implementation.
Based on community feedback about the streets, Public Works has developed options for an interim winter design for streets in the area. These designs work to:
- Preserve space for mourning and reflection.
- Increase public visibility and safety.
- Preserve as much public art as possible.
- Ensure essential winter access is retained for emergency vehicles, utilities, local deliveries, and local residents.
- Improve business, resident, and transit access.
- Provide an interim design, not a return to normalcy.
Community Engagement To Date
The City and other key community organizations have been conducting engagement in the area and actively listening to the many perspectives around 38th and Chicago. The City has heard several important messages, particularly:
- Strong emphasis on seeing racial justice and equitable community development that serves historically marginalized BIPOC communities.
- Strong concerns about public safety.
- Preserving space for mourning and to preserve the living street memorial. The area of Chicago avenue from the roundabout fist sculpture north to 37th Street is especially important for community space.
- Connecting with many artists who have contributed art to the area, as well as the arts organizations nearby.
- Many divergent opinions on what changes in street access may mean for public safety.
- A range of ideas for reopening the street, from no changes to 38th and Chicago, to requests for the streets to be fully re-opened to traffic and requests for adjustments in between.
- A need for expanded access, including for the 5 and 23 bus, and less traffic on nearby streets.
- Questions about what winter means for the space, access, and the memorial.
- A desire for clarity on next steps in the short and longer term.
- Long-term visions for the area, including a memorial honoring George Floyd.
Preserving Community Art
An impressive community-led conservation effort is coordinating the care of the artworks, signs and plantings at the memorial site with guidance from the Midwest Arts Conservation Center. To date this group of over 20 volunteers has conserved hundreds of signs.
Artists from around the country have contributed major works of public art to the living memorial, including the "Say Their Names Cemetery" at the flood pond at 37th and Park, "Mourning Passage" by Mari Mansfield, a pavement mural along Chicago Avenue with the names of nearly 150 people of color killed by police, and a large-scale portrait of George Floyd by Peyton Scott Russell.
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We appreciate your feedback on the area of 38th & Chicago. City of Minneapolis staff will review each comment and share with the appropriate department to inform their work in the area. You can email comments to [email protected] or use the comment form below.
Last updated Oct 21, 2020