MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – What was meant to be a protest turned into a party after a plan fell through to rebuild the Minneapolis Police 3rd precinct. The city reached an impasse on a new $1.2 million temporary headquarters along Minnehaha Avenue.

A block party was held in the parking lot next to the proposed site of the new 3rd Police Precinct Wednesday night. It was organized by a newly formed group called Seward Police Abolition, which is made up of community members from the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods in the 3rd precinct.

Local vendors sold products and there were several speakers.

It was a time of celebration because this group believes they put enough pressure on the landlord of the proposed site to bow out.

“We have something hopeful that has just happened,” said Teygaen Hartman, one of the block party attendees, “We know the works not done, we still have so much to do, but we got to celebrate the small victories.”

“It’s a wonderful sight to see of our community celebrating because we made this happen,” said Robin Wonsley, one of the block party organizers.

Wonsley says they do not want to see another police precinct return to this area, and pushed a new concept instead.

“We would love to see the proposal for this facility to have organizations and social services that deals with mental health, that deals with gender violence and domestic disputes,” said Wonsley.

On Monday – Minneapolis police say the proposed space was vandalized, then Wednesday, the land lord pulled out of his lease.

While some may be celebrating, there are several businesses within the 3rd precinct that are concerned about the lack of police presence.

“Me, as a business owner, it’s disheartening, it’s concerning,” said Barb Zapzalka, the owner of Pumphouse Creamery on 48th and Chicago, who describes a shift in police presence and safety since May, when the 3rd precinct burned down.

“I used to look out the window and see police cars go by, it was very common,” said Zapzalka, “I hardly ever see a police car go by, hardly ever.”

In the last week, there’s been an armed robbery, cars smashing into store fronts and other vandalism in that area.

“This stuff happening during the day, I’ve never seen it here and it’s happening now,” said Zapzalka.

At this time, no other properties have been identified for a new precinct, although there is a list of possible options. The city could also explore locations outside of the 3rd precinct.

Marielle Mohs

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