City Briefs - October 2023


New Director of Regulatory Services
Mayor Jacob Frey has nominated the City of Minneapolis’ director of inspection services, Enrique Velázquez, to be the next director of regulatory services. If approved by the city council, he would replace Saray Garnett-Hochuli, who left the position in June to become the city’s deputy city operations officer, and lead more than 190 department staff members in divisions that include traffic control, housing inspections and animal care and control.

New Community Safety Commissioner
On Sept. 11, Mayor Jacob Frey nominated Hennepin County Chief Judge Todd Barnette to serve as the city’s next Community Safety Commissioner. If his nomination is approved by a City Council majority, he will be replacing Cedric Alexander, who resigned after serving only one year of a 4-year term. The safety commissioner is likely the highest paid city employee, making over $300,000 annually. In 2020, Barnette was the first person of color to be elected chief judge of Hennepin County District Court. As Chief Judge he is paid $171,000 and oversees the state’s largest county court operations, managing 63 judges and supporting over 550 employees. “I am grateful for this opportunity and eager to work collaboratively with local, county, and state leaders to develop innovative solutions that promote safety and foster positive relationships between law enforcement, the city, and the community,” said Barnette when his nomination was announced.

Emergency housing meeting
On Tuesday, Council Member Chavez held an emergency housing meeting about the state of homelessness in the area and the government’s response. There, elected officials were asked to advance solutions including a multi-jurisdictional coordinated encampment response policy, safe outdoor spaces, overdose prevention sites, direct housing, treatment and recovery investments for encampment residents, homelessness navigation hubs, and pathways to economic mobility.

First METRO B Line shelters
Installation of shelters and other station amenities along Line B began in late September starting in St. Paul. Resurfacing of Lake Street between Minnehaha Ave and West River Parkway could begin as early as Sept. 25. Metro Transit Outreach staff will be available weekly on Thursdays from 2:15-3:45 p.m. at Dogwood Coffee (4021 E. Lake St.) for walk-in conversations and to answer questions about construction.  Or call the construction hotline at 651-356-6995 or email at

Community opioid response
The Minneapolis Health Department is requesting proposals from organizations that focus on treatment and long-term recovery for traditionally underserved communities. This request uses $150,000 of the city’s Opioid Settlement Funds, and is part of a larger strategy. They are seeking qualified organizations to support community driven projects to prevent, treat, and maintain long-term recovery of opioid use and addiction in underserved and underrepresented communities, including Native and East African populations.

City building at 3000 Minnehaha Ave.
The site of the former 3rd precinct police station, now called "Minnehaha 3000," is no longer being considered as an option for a future police station. The city has announced that in the weeks ahead it will be securing funding for the site clean-up, which will include securing the building, replacing windows, and removing the barricades. That work is expected to be completed next spring. The city is establishing a work group to explore future uses of the property that could include both city and noncity functions. It has contracted with DeYoung Consulting to help determine possibilities for what other uses could be there.


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