St. Paul business and building owners want a security plan for all of downtown St. Paul — from streets to skyways to parks.
The Greater St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) announced Monday that it had requested proposals from consultants to conduct a risk assessment of downtown and come up with a plan to improve security. The consultant would be tasked with planning for everything from low-level quality-of-life issues to terrorism.
"Very few cities have done something like this," BOMA President Joe Spartz said. He anticipates the security plan will be completed by late September.
He isn't sure what recommendations will be included in the plan, but based on what other cities have done, he said the implementation of an interconnected security camera system is a possibility. Some downtown buildings currently have cameras, but they are sporadically positioned and not connected through one software application.
The security effort is led and funded by the private sector. It comes as St. Paul is attempting to improve skyway safety and is looking into reducing the hours skyways are open, after numerous complaints from residents and businesses.
City leaders recently announced plans to strengthen St. Paul's rules regarding building owners' skyway security responsibilities and what behavior is appropriate in skyways.
The city's work complements the security plan, Spartz said, which will focus on all of downtown, from Interstate 35E to the Mississippi River, and from CHS Field to the Xcel Energy Center a few blocks down West 7th Street.
The plan will be one piece of a broad effort to drive long-term growth downtown — whether it's making 4th Street more pedestrian-friendly or supporting plans for a potential hotel by the RiverCentre Convention Center, Spartz said.
"The downtown business community is pulling together to make sure we're doing what's right for downtown St. Paul, and this is just one piece of that," he said.