Minneapolis bids for 2012 DNC

The bid was submitted May 21 by Meet Minneapolis.

by Danielle Nordine

Despite a somewhat tumultuous experience helping to host the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minneapolis has submitted a bid to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The cityâÄôs marketing group, Meet Minneapolis, submitted the bid May 21, the last day cities could apply, Meet Minneapolis spokeswoman Kristen Montag said. There is no specific timeline for announcing finalists, but Montag said theyâÄôre expecting to hear a decision sometime this summer. Hosting the convention would be beneficial to Minneapolis both economically and in terms of national exposure, Ward 6 City Councilmember Robert Lilligren said. âÄúThere are real, measurable and tangible benefits to the local business community with hosting an event like this,âÄù he said. In 2008, the RNC generated more than $170 million for St. Paul, according to a study by Dave Brennan, co-director of the Institute for Retailing Excellence at the University of St. Thomas. The Minneapolis City Council voted May 14 to support the bid, a requirement for any city submitting an application. Ward 2 Councilmember Cam Gordon was the only council member to vote against hosting the convention. âÄúI have not seen any evidence that the positive impacts of hosting these conventions outweigh the negative impacts and stresses that accompany them,âÄù Gordon said in a statement. During the RNC in 2008, the city surrendered control of the police force to the conventionâÄôs organizers, which led to poorly-handled crackdowns on peaceful protests and âÄúother suspensions of civil liberties,âÄù Gordon said. The 2008 RNC has been marked by the protests and police action that surrounded the convention. An estimated 10,000 protesters descended on the city during the convention, leading to arrests and lawsuits, some of which remain ongoing. St. PaulâÄôs experience with the RNC will help Minneapolis if it is chosen to host the Democratic convention, Lilligren said âÄúThe equipment is already here and the training has already been covered for the RNC,âÄù he said. âÄúItâÄôs fairly new and fairly fresh, which is a benefit.âÄù The convention is planned to start Sept. 3, 2012, during Labor Day weekend, which is traditionally a slow weekend for business in Minneapolis, Lilligren said. The city is still reaping the benefits of the RNC, he added. âÄúThe convention center staff can point to a number of events that are booked now that are a direct result of hosting the RNC here,âÄù Lilligren said. The bid included roughly 30 documents, including approvals from the sheriff, city council, police department and other city stakeholders, he said. Minneapolis submitted a bid for the DNC in 2008, but when St. Paul was selected as the main site of the Republican convention, plans for Minneapolis to host the DNC faded. The bid for the Democratic Convention includes only Minneapolis, while the bid for the 2008 Republican convention combined Minneapolis and St. Paul. Other cities bidding for the event include Charlotte, N.C., St. Louis, Mo., Philadelphia, Pa., and Phoenix, Ariz. The Republican Party announced earlier this month that it had selected Tampa, Fla., for the site of the 2012 RNC, which will be held in August. If Minneapolis is chosen as a finalist, the city would develop more detailed plans for security and specific locations for convention events, Ward 8 Councilmember Elizabeth Glidden said. Right now, city officials are waiting to hear if it will be chosen, she said. âÄúI think that we are very good contender for the DNC,âÄù Glidden said. âÄúI think that we have all the pieces that would make a great convention, including the fact that we know how to handle very large crowds.âÄù