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Despite opposition, Minneapolis approves Upper Harbor Terminal amphitheater concept

Residents of North Minneapolis say their views have been ignored during the process.

A concept plan for a major development in North Minneapolis, which includes the construction of a large music venue, was passed unanimously by Minneapolis City Council members on Friday.

The Upper Harbor Terminal project would see the creation of a 7,000-10,000 seat amphitheater run by First Avenue on a large tranche of city-owned land on the Mississippi River, between the Lowry Avenue and Camden Bridges.

The project would also see the redevelopment of the industrial land to create parks, trails, and space for retail businesses and offices, and between 300-500 housing units – half of them affordable.

But the project has faced opposition from members of the North Minneapolis community who have concerns about the lack of good-paying jobs it would provide the neighborhood, the impact of having a large music venue near an otherwise residential area of the city, and the potential it leads to wider gentrification.

As MPR reported, another major concern from the locals is that their views are being ignored, with some saying the plans haven't been altered much despite large turnouts at public feedback sessions.

Several amendments proposed by Ward 4 council member Phillipe Cunningham were made to the concept plan last month, which seek to address some of the concerns about racial equity, gentrification, environmental and displacement concerns expressed by local residents and organizations.

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It also includes discussions of possible community ownership models for the Upper Harbor Terminal, amid concerns that the publicly-funded project would mainly benefit developers, rather than those living in the area.

Backers of the project have pointed out that the vote on Friday was purely on the concept and changing the land use, and the plan itself is still subject to much change before the final plans for the project are confirmed.

As MinnPost reports, a 15-member community group is being created to discuss the pros and cons of the project, members for which will be selected this spring.

Nonetheless, there was a cry of "no" at Friday's meeting when the council asked for the people's approval after unanimously voting in favor of the concept.

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