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MINNEAPOLIS - A landmark bridge in Minneapolis will soon carry the name of a former mayor who broke down barriers and helped build the cityinto what it is today.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced Thursday that the city will renovate the landmark, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired bridge on Third Avenue South over Interstate 94 and rededicate it as the "Sharon Sayles Belton Bridge."

The plaza at the foot of the north side of the bridge will also receive a facelift, which will feature new public artwork that will honor Mayor Sayles Belton's historic accomplishments.

"I proposed this project not only because this beautiful bridge was first built under her leadership, but because the Sharon Sayles Belton Bridge connects sites of great importance both to her and our city," Rybak said in a written statement. "On one side of the bridge is the Minneapolis Convention Center, which was also build under her leadership and which is one of Minneapolis' most important assets, and on the other side is the Minnesota African American Museum."

A formal rededication of the bridge, along with the unveiling of the public artwork in Mayor Sayles Belton's honor, will take place in the fall.

"Public art is a wonderful way to tell a story about the values and aspirations of a community," said former mayor Sayles Belton. "Connecting people and the diversity of our neighborhoods, and leveraging our common bond, hopes and aspirations, is the power of the arts. I am delighted that the City is committed to the power of public art to connect us."

Sharon Sayles Belton served as Mayor of Minneapolis from 1994-2001, and was the first woman and first African American to hold the post. Before serving as mayor, she represented the residents of Ward 8 on the City Council for 10 years, the last three as City Council President.

Here is the project broken down,

Bridge renovation

The Third Avenue South bridge over Interstate 94 is scheduled for renovation in 2013. This scheduled renovation will include rehabilitation of the unique pedestrian-style lighting, repainting of the railing and restoration of the colored sidewalk.
The City of Minneapolis first built the now-iconic bridge in 2000, under Mayor Sayles Belton's leadership. It is designed to reflect the prairie-inspired design principles of Frank Lloyd Wright.

New public artwork

Mayor Rybak personally proposed to the Minneapolis Public Art Advisory Panel that the City dedicate a new public artwork to Mayor Sayles Belton. In November 2012, the panel selected Mayor Rybak's proposal to be part of the City's regular 2013 public-art program.

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