You’re entering this new role following your
position as president at Project for Pride
in Living. Can you tell us more about your
background and how it relates to what you’ll
be doing with the Minneapolis Downtown
I started my work career in downtown Minneapolis
at an organization called the Minneapolis Urban
Coalition about a block from this current office.
Over the intervening years I was a member of the
Minneapolis City Council, the executive director
of the city’s community development agency, ran
a similar department of government for Hennepin
County… and then, as you said, for 16 of the last
20 years since I left city hall as an elected official
What do you hope to bring to the position?
I was at Project for Pride in Living. I also chair
the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, so I was quite
involved in the construction of Target Field. I feel
that I’ve had a pretty good grounding in community
development, local politics at the city and county
level, and always had some connection to the busi-
ness community. All that together hopefully puts
me at a position to do this job well.
That kind of experience… and a really strong commitment to the success of downtown. I started my
work career here and throughout my different
roles have always seen the importance of downtown Minneapolis as a generator of tax base, as
a generator of employment opportunities, and a
generator of vitality that kind of makes everything
in the community seem a little better and a little
stronger. Downtown is really an important part of
our overall city, overall region and overall state. I
feel really fortunate to have a chance to be one of
the people trying to move it forward in a positive
way from what is already a really great downtown.
You spend time volunteering for the
Metropolitan Airports Commission. How does
your work there feed into or influence your
work with the downtown council?
The airport is one of the economic institutions
or entities of the region that really supports the
economy and the economy is really centered in
downtown Minneapolis. So I think those two things
go hand in glove. Having a vital, full capacity, really
first-rate airport, which we do, is important to the
business community. Fundamentally the airport is a
hugely important asset for the vitality of the region
and that’s something I care a great deal about.
The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement
District (DID) was recently renewed for
another five years. Can you speak to its
I think the DID has added a quality of life factor
to downtown that really was missing before. The
watch words for DID are safe, clean and green.
Those are the three areas we really focus on.
Sometimes it’s very visible, as in the case of the
ambassadors… in terms of the outgoing approach
that they take to engaging people downtown and
lending a helping hand. And then some is more
behind the scenes—really strong partnerships with
the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin
County chair’s office, the first precinct downtown,
the SafeZone Collaborative, the Fusion Center—
which really helps to make downtown as safe as
it can be.
Can you tell us about the 2025 plan?
I think that’s another hallmark of the downtown
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