Mayors Betsy Hodges and Chris Coleman outlined their priorities for Minneapolis and St. Paul on Tuesday, from improving public safety to adding more jobs.
The mayors focused on development projects, business regulations and job creation at the annual breakfast put on by the local chambers of commerce. Both city leaders are in campaign mode, with Coleman running for governor and Hodges making another mayoral bid this year.
“We still have a lot of work to do on jobs,” Coleman said of St. Paul, and he is talking with workers in the creative economies about how to attract employers to locations in St. Paul, particularly along transit corridors.
Hodges said she has been working on the intersection of public safety and economic growth. She noted an effort involving police, the business community and Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce to address problem behavior, like daytime drunkenness and catcalls, in downtown.
“These behaviors, while often not illegal, have been undermining our shared goal of keeping downtown a neighborhood where everyone feels safe, everyone feels welcome,” Hodges said. She said the city will have a plan in place by April 1 to improve the situation.
Other downtown Minneapolis projects, like the purchase and transformation of the Macy’s building, are moving forward, she said. The buyer of the Macy’s building was attracted, in part, by the Nicollet Mall reconstruction — which is on schedule and on budget, Hodges said.
Both mayors stressed that regionalism is key, and said they should work together to promote the Twin Cities instead of operating separately.
City Council members in both cities have questioned whether they are seeing enough payoff from participating in the regional economic development partnership Greater MSP. The Minneapolis City Council dropped most of its funding for the organization this year.
Hodges said she “objected strenuously” to the council’s decision. Coleman said while it is important to look at the value of such partnerships, he believes the regional perspective is critical and that St. Paul should support Greater MSP.