Support City funding for Open Streets Minneapolis events

Help make Open Streets Minneapolis events more accessible.

We have collaborated with the City of Minneapolis for over a decade to host Open Streets Minneapolis events. Open Streets Minneapolis events are some of the city’s largest and most beloved events. These events are a canvas on which residents creatively showcase our city’s incredible cultural diversity. Each route has local vendors, organizations, artists, and more. Beyond the fun, Open Streets Minneapolis is part of a global movement to make streets places that put people first.

Since the first Open Streets Minneapolis event in 2011 that was attended by an estimated 5,000 people, the program has grown to a peak attendance of 103,500 in 2019.

As Open Streets Minneapolis, these events have continued to require more resources from our organization. As a small non-profit with a team of six, and just one person managing a majority of event planning & logistics, this is a growing concern for the future of Open Streets Minneapolis events. We historically have not received any compensation from the City of Minneapolis to cover the costs of organizing Open Streets Minneapolis. In 2022, the City of Minneapolis is proposing the creation of a new contract that seeks a contractor to organize future Open Streets Minneapolis events. The compensation provided through this contract is $0 (City of Minneapolis Agreement).

The City’s lack of monetary support is having a serious and continued impact on Our Streets Minneapolis’s ability to organize Open Streets Minneapolis events sustainably and equitably.

Looming participation costs: To cover the cost of hosting the event, event participants pay a minimal fee for a spot at Open Streets Minneapolis events. While this fee is manageable for some, small businesses, nonprofits, and other event partners face significant barriers to entry. Receiving funding from the City would reduce the cost burden on participants.

Limited route selection: Due to capacity and funding constraints, Open Streets Minneapolis events are hosted on corridors that have the resources to support an event. This means that streets with lower incomes and areas along Minneapolis cultural corridors are left out of Open Streets Minneapolis activities. The business and communities in these areas deserve celebration. Funding from the City would allow us to increase the number of events we can host, specifically in lower income areas.

Open Streets Minneapolis is named as a priority in the recently adopted City of Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan. To ensure the current and future sustainability of the Open Streets Minneapolis initiative and to truly make it accessible and equitable for all city residents to enjoy, we are asking the City of Minneapolis to monetarily invest in this program.

UPDATE, 4/20/2022:

In response to public pressure, City of Minneapolis Public Works have worked internally to find ways to fund the program. In April, Our Streets Minneapolis staff and board members met with Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher and other Public Works staff. At the meeting, we were told that due to procurement constraints, no direct funding would be made available to Our Streets Minneapolis in 2022. However, Public Works committed to working with our staff to support the program in kind–to the tune of approximately $20,000.

We thank Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher and her staff for their work to investigate and present us with these options. While these are a positive first step, the fact remains that the program still remains unfunded.

We will continue to organize for public funding to ensure the sustainability of the Open Streets program in perpetuity.

Send an email to ask City decision makers to make a public commitment to the following outcomes:

-The inclusion of $400,000 of ongoing City funding in the Mayor's 2023 budget to support Our Streets Minneapolis in hosting these important events in our communities

-A city-led racial equity analysis of the open streets program

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