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Lawmakers seek community input for ‘The Renaissance Of Lake Street’ after George Floyd unrest

Wednesday July 1, 2020
By Erin Hassanzadeh

On Lake Street, barricades in the street are made of construction material and shopping carts, Thursday. Smoke is pouring off the buildings. Violent protests over the death of George Floyd broke out in Minneapolis for a second straight night, with protesters in a standoff with officers outside the 3rd Precinct and looting of nearby stores.Jon Collins | MPR News

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the days following George Floyd’s death, riots and looters damaged historic parts of Minneapolis.

Lake Street, Midtown and West Broadway are all corridors that will need to at least be partially rebuilt — and the state wants to help with the community’s input.

Mercado Central on Lake Street is home to 40 micro businesses that are slowly coming back online after months of little to no business. First COVID-19, then riots, looting and damage triggering further closures. And they’re hardly alone. Eduardo Barrera is Mercado Central’s general manager.

“We are just trying to catch up and try to bring people back to the community, to the building,” Barrera said. “How will we be able to keep people who suffered damage, whose buildings were burned, to be able to come back?”

That question is something Tortilleria La Perla owner Jose Payan is also asking himself.

“On Lake Street itself, I have a tortilla bakery and I distribute to a lot of these mom-and-pop stores,” Payan said. “I have about 50 on Lake Street, and I’m going to say 20% of them are no longer open.”

The Minnesota House has a plan called the Promise Act, which passed during the special session. There will be grants, loans and direct funds given to people impacted along Lake Street and other hard-hit areas. Still, they’re looking for community input, according to House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler.

“One way or the other, it’s the state’s job to provide for public safety, and whether that’s at the city level or the state level, something fundamentally broke down,” Winkler said.

Some fear too much change, including gentrification.

“We really need to make sure that the communities of color, the entrepreneurs who’ve been investing and putting their whole heart and soul into these neighborhoods are able to return, grow and thrive and be better than before,” Winkler said.

Some hope for better than before. Others say they liked it just the way it was and they want it back.

“We did it 20 years ago, we can do it again,” Barrera said. “We can achieve that. We can make this the renaissance of Lake Street.”


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