Progressive vision for Minneapolis

Rybak’s speech outlined a vision that will be carried on by the next generation of leaders.

Editorial board


In his final State of the City address, Mayor R.T. Rybak outlined a vision for the future of Minneapolis, focused on rectifying the economic and education gaps in north Minneapolis and across the city, increasing population density and supporting economic development throughout the city via transportation and green initiatives. However, much of the effort will fall upon the next generation of city government leaders to implement the necessary steps to achieve this vision, dependent upon popular support from the city residents.

First, despite the progress made across much of the city, neighborhoods in north Minneapolis — beset with the worst impacts of the housing crisis and the effects of the tornado — have not seen commensurate success. For example, the achievement gap, as reported in the Star Tribune a year ago, ranked the eighth-grade math scores of disadvantaged students in Minnesota 49th out of the 50 states.  For as many things as Minneapolis does well — bike trails, the overall weathering of the recession and population growth — such a result is simply unacceptable. In order to secure a prosperous future for the city, closing the economic gap, a major factor in the achievement gap in north Minneapolis and the city at large,  must be a priority.

In doing so, many different solutions have been proposed, including working with businesses to provide tax incentives, green spaces and amenities as well as improved transit. As it stands, despite the wealth of public transportation, including the light rail that connects more affluent areas of the Twin Cities, north Minneapolis is relatively isolated in forms of public transportation from downtown, connected only via various bus routes. While other proposals may have a small impact, improved transit — especially options without the traditional stigma of the bus — that serves to integrate neighborhoods in north Minneapolis with amenities downtown, near the lakes and with everything else the city has to offer will be a driving force in economic development.