Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Block E patrons - Can we bring Moby Dick's back?

Back in the day block E was all about criminals, pimps and ho's, drug dealers, bums, and the underclass of Minneapolis in general.

For a decade, the Minneapolis City Council, led by Jackie Cherryhomes and the gang, and mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, thought and thought and thought and tried to figure out a way to scrape down the blighted Block E and "revitalize" the area and downtown Minneapolis, and thus preserve their legacy as visionaries.

After years of haggling, planning, throwing money around, and a lot of wheel spinning, they settled on a hodgepodge design in which preformed panels of bricks were slapped up to look like the old buildings they replaced. While there wasn't a rush to fill the place, the developer managed to find some retailers to move in. There was some immediate noise about street level access, and pass-throughs and foot-traffic flow. Some changes were made, and we have what we have today.

The result of 10 years work? Today, Block E is all about criminals, pimps and ho's, drug dealers, bums, and the underclass of Minneapolis in general.

Today, Darcy Pohland of WCCO reports with an understated headline: "Some Patrons Concerned About Safety At Block E".

(WCCO) Minneapolis Block E was built to rid Minneapolis of a seedy, crime-ridden area, but some visitors don't think it worked all that well.

"When I'm around here during the daytime I don't have any fear of any kind, but at night it's a completely different situation," said Phillip Pottratz of St. Louis Park. "I have to be a lot more careful."
You won't see any of this in the Red Star.

It was 5 p.m. last Wednesday when police followed a man they suspect of having a gun into the Block E Borders bookstore.

Police frisked the man, who was a convicted felon, and took the weapon away.

Early the next morning, in the Block E parking ramp, shots rang out.

Police said a fist fight between two men over another man's wife led both sides to draw their guns.
And these are just a sample of reported incidents. This gives you an idea of the kind of people that hang out at Block E. Do you want to take your family there?

Maybe they ought to turn Block E into a jail facility. That way we won't have to transport criminals across town.