The city of Minneapolis is contemplating converting most of the burned-out Third Precinct police station into a city elections office.
Nothing is definite, and City Council members on Tuesday emphasized that they and their constituents have their own ideas about the future of the building that was overrun by a crowd of demonstrators and set ablaze days after George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer.
According to a presentation to council members Tuesday from the city's property services division, about three-fourths of the building could be used for the city's office of Election and Voter Services, while the remaining portion could be used for some type of community space.
Council members, meeting as a committee Tuesday, took no action on the idea. Several said they were skeptical and would need the endorsement of the community to get behind the idea. But it remains unclear if that matters; the council may have limited power over what could be considered an administrative decision on how to use existing city property.
But this isn't just any existing property, several council members said, recalling the traumatic events of 2020, from Floyd's murder to the uprising and violence that followed.
Public ideas for the former station at 3000 Minnehaha Av., which remains cordoned off by razor wire, have ranged from a center for democracy to a re-opened police station — an idea rejected by the council earlier this year in favor of buying a nearby building and renovating a portion of it for a police station.
City staff considered several possibilities for the site: a farmers market, a new animal control and adoption facility, and several public works-related facilities. However, city zoning regulations prohibit most of those uses, and opening an elections office there would save money by allowing those operations to move out of a space that is currently leased, officials said.