MINNEAPOLIS - Thirty years ago the Guthrie theatre and its neighboring lofts and restaurants were just an idea.
"Back in the 80's when I was a private citizen I was one of the people doing some visioning for the central riverfront, and it seemed mind boggling then," Mayor R.T. Rybak said Friday of the development that has happened over the last few decades.
But obviously that development happened and now the visions are even more grand.
Anchoring downtown now is a new ballpark, Target Field and it is slated to hold the national stage for the 2014 Major League Baseball All Star Game.
Coming up as well, a 100 million dollar renovation to Target Center. This week NBC Commissioner David Stern was in town to talk about it.
In 2016 a new Vikings stadium will open and team officials are already pushing the NFL to hold the 2018 Super Bowl.
But what else?
RiverFirst is still a go. That is a plan to take the Mississippi river shorelines near downtown and turn them into destination beaches.
Also a much needed facelift for Nicollet Mall is in the works.
"Physically frankly it's falling apart but more important it's time for us to redefine our main street place," Mayor Rybak said.
Hennepin Avenue is also the canvas for big plans, the city council voted Friday morning to create a massive pedestrian friendly corridor there that would span all of downtown.
"Really what if you could imagine yourself walking out of the walker art center thru the sculpture garden and down Hennepin Avenue, 2 miles of seamless interesting activity," Hennepin Theatre Trust President Tom Hoch said of the project that just exited planning stages and will now go into execution phases.
The big idea there is for a massive outdoor park and event spaces co-mingling with the already vibrant theater district.
And then there is the getting there. The interchange is set to open in 2014. That is the rail hub that will connect north star with light rail right outside of target field and that will also exist at the time when the central corridor light rail opens up which will literally change how we travel in the heart of our cities.
All of this is lofty for a mayor on his way out.
"I've got a year left and we are going to take every ounce of energy I have got and every second I've got to make sure we make a ton of progress on this before the end of the year," Rybak said.
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