MINNEAPOLIS — Two blocks from Target Field, The Loon Cafe is hopeful the start of a new baseball season is a new beginning for them, too.
"It's been very trying the last two years, to say the least," said Tim Mahoney, owner of the Loon. "We have a long way to go, but the beginning, I do believe, is Home Opener."
Like restaurants and bars across the country, the Loon has faced tough times during the pandemic. Now they're facing the perception crime in Minneapolis has created for people who might otherwise visit. Mahoney thinks more people downtown will help bolster the sense of safety. He's hopeful the new Twins season will be a much-needed boost.
"Now all of a sudden, you've got more people on the streets, more people having fun. It generates this excitement, and it builds downtown hopefully [to] the way it once was," he said.
While sports fans are helpful, Mahoney says to get back to a pre-pandemic downtown, they need workers back in office buildings. In addition to workers coming in for lunch or happy hour, he notes all the money spent by people coming in from out of town for business.
The Minneapolis Downtown Council says this time last year about 16% of office workers were back downtown. They say that percentage is now around 45%. A spokesperson for the council notes most employees are returning three to five days per week, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday being the biggest return to office days.
"Have we seen increases? Absolutely. But they're not big increases," Mahoney said.
Which is why Mahoney is hopeful the new baseball season will provide a boost.
"The life that the Twins and Target Field bring to this community is immeasurable. It brings the city back to life," he said.
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