Hodges praises growth

In her first State of the City address, Hodges also reached out to American Indians.

Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges gives her first state of the city address at the Minneapolis American Indian Center on Thursday.

Lisa Persson

Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges gives her first state of the city address at the Minneapolis American Indian Center on Thursday.

Tyler Gieseke

In her first State of the City address, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges applauded new city construction projects, specifically ones around the University, saying development won’t slow down anytime soon.

Recent growth around the University is boosting revenue and spurring economic growth, particularly along the light rail Green Line, she told an audience of about 200 residents who packed into the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s gymnasium Thursday.

“We are growing, Minneapolis,” Hodges said. “We are thriving.”

Hodges said the city is on track to approve a record value of building permits this year. The city approved $1.2 billion worth of permits last year, with nearly half from projects in the University area.

Hodges said future development around the light-rail project, specifically in the Prospect Park neighborhood, will add valuable green space and new amenities.

Construction projects near University Avenue Southeast and Washington Avenue Southeast, like the WaHu apartment building, arose partly because of the new light-rail line, said Ward 2 Councilman Cam Gordon, who represents the University’s area and surrounding
neighborhoods.

“There was a lot of interest in building at campus, but I think there was more interest because of the [Stadium Village light rail] station,” Gordon said.

Ward 3 City Councilman Jacob Frey, who represents the University area and surrounding neighborhoods, said city leaders need to focus on guiding new development rather than attempting to stop it.

“Whether you like it or not, it’s coming,” he said.

Hodges emphasized in her speech that equitable growth would benefit the city’s economy.

“When we eliminate our disparities, we will both ignite and propel our prosperity,” she said. “This is the key that will unlock our growth as a city.”

Recognizing American Indians

The city is pushing to improve its national standing, and the mayor stressed in her speech that promoting equity is part of that effort.

An American Indian drum circle performance preceded Hodges’ address, which came a day before the City Council unanimously approved a resolution recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day on the same day as Columbus Day.

Minneapolis is the first Minnesota city to pursue the change, Hodges said, adding that it provides proper recognition for groups that are sometimes underrepresented.

Hodges said Minneapolis is pushing many other laudable ideas besides creating more acceptance.

But outside communities aren’t always aware of these great things, she said, because Minneapolis residents aren’t prone to showing off. Hodges said she is planning a week in July to promote bragging about the city through outlets like social media.

Binesikwe Means, a Powderhorn Park resident and member of the Native American community who attended the address, said she’s always been taught to be humble. Still, she said she’s intrigued by Hodges’ idea.

“It’s funny,” Means said. “We’ll have to see how it goes in the Native community.”

Means said she liked the location for Hodges’ speech.

“I like the idea of her stepping outside of such a formal setting and kind of coming into the community,” Means said.