New alliance advocates for Prospect Park businesses

Towerside Business Alliances plans to publicly launch Monday.

Kelly Busche

New developments in Prospect Park have sparked the creation of a business alliance.

The Towerside Business Alliance, set to publicly launch Monday, will promote and advocate for businesses in the University of Minnesota neighborhood. Members include Surly Brewing and T-Rex Cookies.

Vince Netz, TBA secretary and Prospect Park Association president, said residents felt the neighborhood and its businesses were neglected by the city.

“I think many people in Prospect Park have felt for many years that the city sort of ignores this part of town,” Netz said.

One of TBA’s goals is to increase business presence at the city and state levels through lobbying, he said.

“Raising the profile of businesses and getting their voice at the halls of government is one of our key goals,” Netz said.

The implementation of the Towerside Innovation District  — a plan to build on and create new urban spaces in Prospect Park — was a main influence in the decision to create the alliance, he said.

The Monday launch comes at a time of commercial growth for the neighborhood, Netz said. 

“This is a unique area and it’s about to become much more unique as we go forward. It was the right time to finally do it,” he said.

Other businesses had their own reasons for joining.

Smaller businesses may need help improving sidewalk aesthetics or adding street parking, Netz said, while larger businesses hope to increase investment opportunities. 

Tom Tierney, TBA board member and owner of Tierney Brothers, said the alliance will improve the Prospect Park community.

TBA will help “expand the businesses in the area,” Tierney said, by making the neighborhood more attractive for incoming businesses.

Any city business can join TBA, regardless of location, Netz said. 

TBA also hopes to attract home-based businesses and student-run startups that need publicity, he said.

The relaxed boundaries influenced TBA’s tagline: ‘Raymond to the River.’ The alliance has the potential to span from Raymond Avenue to the Mississippi River on each side of Prospect Park, he said.

Jeff Barnhart, Towerside Business Alliance president and owner of Prospect Park Properties, said TBA’s formation is timely.

Minneapolis will likely change after the upcoming mayoral election, he said, and TBA wants businesses in the neighborhood to be prepared.

Netz said TBA businesses and Prospect Park residents have the same goals.

Both want to “make this a positive, attractive place for people to live, work and play,” he said.

TBA will also host events in Prospect Park as an “opportunity to use our public spaces for events that promote businesses … to a broader audience,” Netz said.