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Mayor Frey Delivers 2024 State of the City Address

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May 7, 2024


**_Minneapolis is brimming with possibility and leaning into change

Speech highlighted transformational work being done through the arts and vibrant storefronts, investment in City workforce and cross-departmental collaborations, upcoming community safety center, commitment to police reform, and a 2025 budget forecast


Today, Mayor Jacob Frey delivered his 2024 State of the City Address at the NorthStar Center in downtown Minneapolis – the site of the first, recent commercial-to-residential housing conversion project. The mayor gave his remarks in person to state and local elected officials, Minneapolis City Council members, City of Minneapolis leadership and staff, community partners, and members of the press.

The address focused on Minneapolis brimming with possibility and leaning into change during this transformational time. The mayor highlighted the city’s record-setting affordable housing production over the past six years, current arts and vibrant storefronts work to revitalize downtown, the Southside Community Safety Center, police reform, the importance of our City workforce, and a high-level forecast of the budgeting process for 2025.

“By the numbers, the acceleration of our recovery and the pace of change continues. We are leading the nation in the rate of visitor return to downtown with activity up by 45% in the past year,” said Frey.

“Meet Minneapolis announced that 2023 was the strongest year for hotel room demand since 2019. Zillow recently ranked Minneapolis as a top city for first-time homebuyers. That’s right. Anyone looking for a great new home, in a great new city… they should look no further than right here.” 

Frey continued, “Achieving that possibility and realizing potential during a time of great transition is hard. And realizing potential is not always a comfortable process, but we must lean into that discomfort all the same. So, the state of our city is brimming with possibility and leaning in to change.”

Takeaways from Mayor Frey’s State of the City Address 

Affordable Housing:

Since Mayor Frey took office in 2018, affordable housing has remained a top priority, and our housing team in CPED has been leading the charge. The mayor and City have invested a total of $363 million into affordable rental housing and homeownership programs in the past six years.

Between 2018 and 2024, the City has produced 4,679 total units of affordable housing – an average of 780 total units each year. That’s more than double the average between 2011 and 2017. The City has also been prioritizing deeply affordable rental housing at 30% AMI or lower, producing deeply affordable units at nearly 8.5 times the previous rate on average over the past six years. Recently, the mayor and the City have also:

  • Invested $5 million in ongoing funds to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority
  • Served 1,728 families and 4,881 children through the Stable Homes Stable Schools program 

Community Safety:

Commissioner Barnette is leading a team to bring the Southside Community Safety Center to fruition by next year, and our communities are shaping this vision alongside our city team. To date, the Office of Community Safety (OCS) has met with community members during more than 15 engagement sessions – and is collecting feedback directly from those who will be most impacted, our Third Precinct residents.

OCS is also acting on the recommendations coming out of the Minneapolis Safe and Thriving Communities Report. This report serves to launch our community safety design and implementation work – helping OCS coordinate our safety departments to address prevention, response, and restoration.

And finally, the City is carrying out the necessary work of police reform. Both through a settlement agreement with the state and an eventual federal consent decree. We are changing the way policing is done in the United States. Chief O’Hara and his leadership team are committed to these reforms and strengthening community-police relations – and City Attorney Kristyn Anderson and the entire 34-person implementation unit is committed to upholding compliance and seeing this thing through to the end.

Arts & Vibrant Storefronts:

Recognizing that art is a lynchpin for so much in Minneapolis, Mayor Frey created the Department of Arts & Cultural Affairs last year, and now they are embarking on a beautiful plan for transition across the city.

Got a bland, vanilla, underutilized storefront? Give it to an artist. Let them shape an outcome that is dynamic and transformative. That’s exactly what Director Ben Johnson and his team are doing. Changing vacant storefronts to must-see destinations. 

City Workforce:

Through deliberate recruitment efforts by staff across our enterprise, great leadership from City Operations Officer Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Department Directors, and a brilliant HR strategy execution from our HR Director Nikki Odom, the City is getting new hires in the door quicker, increasing employee diversity, and welcoming and retaining some serious talent as well.

Compared to last year, applications to the City of Minneapolis have gone up 101%, time to fill jobs has decreased 26%, and the diverse team we are forming is serving our city with passion and skill. In the first quarter of 2024, we are up 56% in our Hispanic/Latino hires, up 55% in our Native American hires, up 15% in our Asian hires, and up 8% in our Black/African American hires.

And, this past year, the City has also been recognized as an “Age Friendly Employer” by the Age Friendly Institute and as a “Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Employer” by Diversity for Social Impact.

These aren’t just awards. These recognitions coupled with the new hiring data show the deep investment we have made – and continue to make – in our City workforce.

Budget Forecast:

Coming into this year’s budgeting process, the City is starting at a projected levy increase of 6.1%. Anything we add to the budget will only increase the levy. And at the very least, the City has 12 union contracts up for renewal next year where we expect to see significant wage increases for over 1,000 City employees.

“The reality of everything I have said so far in this speech, every statistic I provided and number one ranking I bragged about is true. It’s also true that our world has changed. And changing with it will, at times, be uncertain. Even uncomfortable,” said Frey.

Frey continued, “Here’s the reality: budgeting will look different this year. This is not the year to add new, shiny programs. It’s the year to effectively carry out the ones we have.”

The big factor – downtown valuation. With fewer taxes collected from downtown buildings, the money has to come from somewhere. So, that burden of a regressive tax shifts to residents – both homeowners and renters, disproportionately impacting our low-income residents and seniors.

Mayor Frey’s Closing Remarks:

“Reality doesn’t wait for theory to catch up. Minneapolis residents expect much of their local government – most importantly, results. And in Minneapolis, we achieve our possibility by saying “we do” and “we can.”

Changes city leaders and advocates have sought for generations are arriving today.

We CAN knock down the K-Mart, breathing new life into a corridor. We CAN put up eight and a half times the amount of deeply affordable housing. We CAN convert buildings from commercial to residential... make Nicollet Mall a pedestrian space ... and achieve permanent implementation of the 2040 plan… We CAN.

Our city is brimming with possibility... and we all make up that team to ensure it’s realized.” –Mayor Frey, State of the City 2024

The mayor’s full State of the City remarks as prepared may be found here.

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