MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A survey of businesses and homeowners in the area of East 38th and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis shows strong support for reopening the intersection and creating a permanent memorial for George Floyd.
The city sent out more than 4,000 surveys, and close to 700 were returned.READ MORE: MPD, FBI, ATF Joining Forces To Crack Down On ‘George Floyd Square’ Crime
Business owners, including Just Turkey owner Sam Willis Jr., say the barricades and lawlessness in the area of the Powderhorn neighborhood has had a negative impact on their bottom line.
“It’s been an economic strain on our businesses,” Willis, Jr said.
He and other business owners in the area have formed a coalition, working with the city to find solutions to their economic downfall. Mayor Jacob Frey has pledged some financial assistance.
“Right now the city is set to move forward with a series of $50,000, no-interest, forgivable loans to businesses that have been substantially impacted over these last seven, eight and nine months,” Frey said.
It’s a show of support from the city for 15 to 25 businesses near George Floyd Square.
“It’s a start,” Willis Jr. said.READ MORE: MPD Chief Arradondo, Mayor Frey Push To Reopen 38th And Chicago, But Will Not Reveal Timeline
For Willis Jr., who lost 75% of his business, the help from the city is a drop in the bucket. But he’s waiting to see what’s been promised.
“Our 38th Street Coalition hasn’t received anything,” Willis Jr. said. “And other areas, Lake Street and other parts of the city have received funds, and we are the most impacted.”
What Willis Jr. and the business coalition want is the re-opening of 38th and Chicago.
The results of a survey sent to people in the area show a strong support for reopening the intersection. People are split between relocating the fist sculpture north of the intersection and keeping it at the center, where it currently sits.
Willis Jr. is hoping for a compromise, maybe creating a walk of recognition, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but in this case a memorial for Floyd.
“Pedestrians will be able to walk up and down the sidewalks and the flow of traffic can still keep going, and no one can get injured,” Willis Jr. said.
City staff is working with the community to refine the design options before moving forward.MORE NEWS: Concerned About Safety At 38th And Chicago, Neighbor Wants Street Reopened
The Minneapolis Police Department and federal law enforcement partners have stepped up enforcement in the area to improve safety around George Floyd Square.