The evolution of the industrial Mississippi riverfront to residential and recreational is a benefit to Minneapolis. The Upper Harbor Terminal redevelopment in North Minneapolis will be especially welcomed as we say goodbye to environmentally harmful industry and welcome citizens back to the riverfront.
Unfortunately, the City has awarded this development to United Properties
(owned by the Pohlad family) and First Avenue. Northside residents, community activists, and environmental organizations do not support the project in its current form. The City’s approach perpetuates structural racism.
It’s important to acknowledge our racist history in the context of this project. Northside residents endure the legacy effects of “Jim Crow of the North” racist practices. Discriminatory housing policy, starting in the early 1900s via racial deed covenants, drained resources and denied opportunities for Black residents to build wealth through homeownership.
Moreover, highway construction projects and racist policies reinforced redlined segregation. Currently, Minnesota has the largest racial wealth gap in the nation.
The common thread of this history is that in all these policies enacted, the government was complicit in creating the racial wealth gap that persists to this day.
This project is a missed opportunity because the City will be forgoing the possibility of reparations, perpetuating systemic racism in North Minneapolis, and reinforcing white privilege and handing over more wealth to established elites.
Even though it’s now the eleventh hour, a change can still be made. The Upper Harbor development could be a transformational project in the city of Minneapolis. Land development does not have to continue to be an extractive wealth process.
We urge you, City of Minneapolis, to take your blinders off, absorb what concerned residents have communicated to you, and adjust your actions accordingly. We can fundamentally change the process and the resulting outcomes from inequitable to equitable. It’s not too late.