Minneapolis in 2025: More people, more jobs — every person, every place

Minneapolis in 2025 will be a growing, vibrant and connected city with more people and more jobs, for every person in every place — if in 2013, we continue run the city well, grow the city, strengthen the common ground and build a path for the next generation. That’s what I said in my 12th and final State of the City address yesterday.

Now, I’ll admit I had some fun with the speech: I delivered about half of it “in character” — in the role of mayor of Minneapolis in 2025, delivering my 2025 State of the City address. I did that way because I thought it would be more interesting to talk about Minneapolis’ next 12 years than to get all nostalgic about the last 12. (You can read the speech here.)

Here are some of the scenes I sketched of what Minneapolis will look like in 2025, if we do things right today. So join me in 2025, when:

  • We are in the throes of deciding when, and how quickly, to build a third high school on the Northside, for two reasons: 1) Patrick Henry and North are bursting at the seams because their academic achievement is at the top of all national rankings, and 2) there has been a population explosion on the Northside as people have realized it’s the most affordable and desirable neighborhood in the whole metro area.
  • The Northern Greenway, a bike connection across the river between what we used to call 26th Avenue North and 18th Avenue Northeast, has led to a real-estate boom that has dramatically reshaped the northern half of Minneapolis, just as the Midtown Greenway reshaped South Minneapolis.
  • The Nicollet–Central streetcar line connects the Shoreham Yards Brewery District in Northeast Minneapolis through Nicollet Green (once known as Nicollet Mall), down Eat Street and across Lake Street, through the back of what used to be K-Mart.
  • Nicollet Green, which connects the Chain of Lakes to the Mississippi River, is now widely admired as one of the world’s great urban boulevards and is the centerpiece of a green downtown of pocket parks, trees and mobile pop-up green zones.
  • Armory Yard, which along with thousands of housing units replaced the former sea of surface parking lots between the stadium and City Hall, includes a skate park, rope courses, a soccer and lacrosse field, a croquet pitch, a dog park and other four-season features.
  • Minneapolis’ vibrant economy dominates the sectors of high tech, green chemistry and green building materials sectors.
  • Minneapolis’ population has grown to 450,000 without putting a single additional car on the street, because of the explosion of transit options and intentional growth along transit corridors.
  • We are more than a decade into the “Era of Stable Budgets” that began in 2013 when the Legislature finally made Local Government Aid sustainable, and which is supported in 2025 by population growth, a building boom and rising property values.
  • The STEP-UP Generation — the first wave of youth of color that we brought into the workforce through America’s most successful and longest-running summer-jobs program — has stepped up into leadership of every company, nonprofit and government office in our city.

Read more detail here about what Minneapolis can — and I believe will — look like in 2025. (I, for one, can’t wait to get there.)

Now let’s come back to 2013. This vision of Minneapolis of 2025 — a growing city of 450,000 of more people and more jobs, for every person and every place, a city where disparities in economic and academic achievement have been eliminated — can become our reality if in 2013, we focus our work in four areas:

  • Running the City Well: The two pillars of managing the public’s money well and keeping property taxes down, and making Minneapolis a safe place to call home. We’ve made great progress on both fronts and will keep it up.
  • Growing the City: More people and more jobs — for every person and every place. This means eliminating the economic disparities that divide our city by race and neighborhood — which is all the more important because our future population growth will come almost entirely among people of color. Minneapolis is #1 on a lot of lists, but we must stop being #1 in the disparity between African American and white employment.
  • Strengthening the Common Ground: Minneapolis will add 65,000 more people by 2025 without adding a single more car to our streets — because a city on the move can’t be stuck in traffic. So we must grow intentionally along transit corridors, aggressively build out a complete transit system — especially including modern streetcars and bus rapid transit — improve our bike infrastructure, and make it easier than ever for people to live in our city without owning a car.
  • Building a Path for the Next Generation: We are dead last in America when it comes to achievement gaps between white students and students of color. It is a crisis that right now, children of different races in our city have different futures, and everyone needs to act like it. I support Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s efforts to get high-quality teachers and principals in every building, and to increase high-quality in-school and out-of-school time for our kids.

Although it’s more fun to look forward than to look back, we’ve accomplished a lot in the past 12 years:

  • We’ve solved our most intractable financial problems and put the city on a firm financial footing.
  • We’ve brought down violent crime to levels not seen in three decades.
  • We’ve strengthened our economy and weathered the Great Recession better than almost any other city.
  • We’ve dramatically improved the ways we get around our city.

Of course, there’s much more to do and we’re not done by a long shot.

But the accomplishment that I’m most proud of is STEP-UP, our summer-jobs program that has placed 16,000 youth in high-quality jobs and helped set them on the path to success. And talk about closing gaps: they are 86 percent youth of color, 93 percent from families living in poverty and 50 percent from immigrant families.

Now join me one last time in looking forward 12 years, to 2025. In that year, STEP-UP alumni are the CEO of General Mills, a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and the president of a peaceful and democratic Somalia, among other things. And all the candidates in the 2025 mayoral election are STEP-UP alumni.

If we do the right work today, this will be Minneapolis’ future. And we will all be in very good hands.