Mayor R.T. Rybak took a trip to the future Wednesday morning during the final State of the City speech of his tenure, envisioning Minneapolis in 2025 as a larger, more diverse city packed with transit and green space.
In prepared remarks, Rybak paints a portrait of Minneapolis highlighted by a "Nicollet Green" replacing Nicollet Mall, families moving en masse to North Minneapolis, streetcars criss-crossing neighborhoods, and a population that has hit 450,000.
The 2025 city also gets an added boost from climate change, Rybak said, which has "set off a mass movement from the coasts."
In downtown, Rybak outlined his goals for the area surrounding the new stadium, which he said would be dubbed "Armory Yard." It included a skate park with a Viking ship half-pipe, ropes courses for scout troops, sports fields, a croquet pitch, concerts areas, ice skating and "snowboarding on mounds that grow each time we plow the streets."
The city's request for state bonding dollars to redo Nicollet Mall would help create the new Nicollet Green, an "urban park" peppered with sidewalk cafes, boutique retail and heated by steam from the county garbage incinerator.
"As we said when we started this effort back in 2013, Minneapolis, a city in the center of a park, now has a park in the center of the city," Rybak said in his prepared remarks.
Returning to present day, Rybak announced a series of initiatives to help achieve some of his goals. "Grow North" would use "recruitment tools" to lure employers to north Minneapolis. Another would aim to build a senior housing project in each city ward between now and 2028.
As for streetcars, Rybak said, "I will do everything possible to deliver a financing plan for [a] Nicollet–Central [streetcar line] that this council can pass before the end of the year."
He added that Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed transit sales tax is a "bold plan" that is as "essential to Minneapolis future" as reforms to local government aid moving through the Legislature.