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 Our 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. We ask that the Mayor’s 2023 budget include $100,000 of ongoing funding to support Our Streets Minneapolis in hosting these important community events. We are launching a public organizing campaign to support this goal, which we will continue until our needs are met. Read our letter to the City here.
11 Organizations Sign-on to Support Open Streets Minneapolis Funding
11 past participants, nearby neighborhood organizations, and other partners have signed on in support of City funding for Open Streets Minneapolis. Public support from organizations goes a long way in showing the City that the community wants to see these events thrive. Have you attended an Open Streets Minneapolis event, or maybe wanted to and couldn't due to financial barriers? Please consider adding your organization to this sign on letter.
Past participants support funding
Our Streets Minneapolis sent out a survey to participants asking about our funding request. 95% of participants support a city funded Open Streets Minneapolis that reduces the cost burden of participation for vendors. Responses also showed interest in more support for vendors (such as providing tents and materials) and more frequent events throughout the year. City funding would significantly reduce barriers to entry and improve the experience for all partners. We encourage you to take our survey if you have participated in an Open Streets Minneapolis event.