MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced a plan to rename the Third Avenue Bridge over Interstate 94 after former city mayor Sharon Sayles Belton.
The plan also calls for a renovation of the bridge to install a new piece of public artwork at the plaza on the north side of the bridge. Crews are also set to rehabilitate the pedestrian-style lighting and to repaint the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired structure.
“Rededicating this iconic Minneapolis landmark the Sharon Sayles Belton Bridge is a fitting tribute to our former mayor, who was, and continues to be, a bridge builder on so many levels,” Mayor Rybak said. “As Mayor, Sharon Sayles Belton believed deeply in the power of art, especially public art, to transform Minneapolis. This project will stand as a tribute both to her many historic accomplishments and to that conviction.”
Rybak said that he hopes to see the public more engaged with the Minnesota African-American Museum, which is adjacent to the bridge.
Sayles Belton, who served as mayor for the city from 1994 until 2001, said that she is “delighted” that Minneapolis would make a gesture on behalf of public art.
“The goal of the vision behind Avenue of the Arts was to share the culture and heritage of the people of Minneapolis through public art, beginning at the Mississippi River and stretching north along Central Avenue and south on Third Avenue,” she said. “Connecting people and the diversity of our neighborhoods, and leveraging our common bond, hopes and aspirations, is the power of the arts. I am delighted that the City is committed to the power of public art to connect us.”
Sayles Belton was the city’s first female mayor, as well as the first African-American person to hold the position.