Minneapolis Pays $772K For Sculpture Despite City's Severe Police Shortage

The Minneapolis City Council voted to spend $722,00 on a ceiling sculpture but claimed they cannot afford more police.

Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis city leaders have unanimously voted to dump over $772,000 into a moving sculpture for the new Public Service Building even though the city’s police force doesn’t have enough officers to respond to 911 calls.

The Minneapolis City Council adopted the plan without any discussion on Oct. 25, KMSP reported.

The sculpture itself came with a $394,517 price tag, plus another $377,590 for electrical, ceiling and programmable lighting components associated with the artwork.

The completed project will change shape in accordance with outside weather conditions, and is planned to be the centerpiece of the building’s two-story atrium, KMSP reported.

“We wanted a piece that would capture people’s attention when they came into the building," City Arts Administrator Mary Altman told the news outlet. "We wanted a piece that would be interesting and exciting. We also wanted a piece that would be interesting to people who come to the building over and over again."

The motorized sculpture, which will be suspended from the ceiling, is intended to mimic “a rippling lake or a flock of birds,” city staff members told KMSP.

But many downtown business owners, professional sports teams, and residents said they would rather those funds be spent on increasing the presence of law enforcement officers in the area.

Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association Chairman Joe Tamburino said he was stunned to learn that the sculpture, which he described as a “big fish net,” was going to come with such a hefty price tag, KMSP reported.

Tamburino argued that funneling funds into such a project is evidence that the city’s priorities are out of alignment.

"I’m sure you could find an enterprising young person who will give you a beautiful painting or sculpture or statue," he told KMSP. "To give this to an operation out of Atlanta that’s going to cost over $700,000 and be moving all the time so we can see the [weather] changes in the city? Unnecessary!”

“You want to see the changes in the city? Look outside,” he suggested.

Under city ordinance, 1.5 percent of capital projects must be spent on public art, KMSP reported.

The art budget for the Public Service Building, which is slated to open in the fall of 2020, has been set at $2 million, according to the city’s website.

The city has also dumped another $85,000 into an initial prototype of the moving sculpture, KMSP reported.

Over the past year, there weren’t enough police officers on duty for police to immediately send officers to respond to 6,776 “priority one” emergencies, FOX News reported in September.

A priority one call is assigned for “an imminent threat to personal safety, or the loss or damage to property exists," including shots fired, stabbings, and sexual assaults, FOX News reported.

Minneapolis police were also unable to respond to seven “priority zero” calls, including one for a baby that had stopped breathing and another for an officer in trouble.

FOX News reported that the Minneapolis Police Department’s website said priority zero calls were for “those situations where a known crisis exists that threatens the life of an individual. This is the highest possible priority and the fastest possible response is desired. The MECC objective is to have squads en route to the call within 30 seconds of receipt by the dispatcher.”

“To have to look someone in the eye and tell them that we were unable to get there because we do not have enough resources – it’s unacceptable,” Minnesota Police Chiefs Association President Andy Skoogman told FOX News.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has asked the city to put 400 more officers on the street over the next few years to make up for the shortage, but Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that the city’s budget wouldn’t allow for such an increase, CNN reported.

Frey has instead proposed adding only 14 police officers to the force, FOX News reports.

But the city council has committed to even fewer than that.

Minneapolis City Councilmember Alondra Cano told FOX News in an earlier interview that the council acknowledged the crime crisis but felt investing in the department’s resources and diversifying the personnel was more important.

“I do appreciate that the mayor has put forward an investment strategy in our department because we can’t walk around with the same broken department since the 1950s,” Cano said. “We’re thankful that the information is out in the open. We would rather have a truthful conversation than pretend like this isn’t happening.”

Comments (41)
No. 1-17
tfort
tfort

They are following city policy. The ordinance calls for the money to spent on art projects.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

The 2018 crime rate in Minneapolis, MN was 458 (City-Data.com crime index), which was 1.7 times greater than the U.S. average. It was higher than in 93.9% of U.S. cities. The 2018 Minneapolis crime rate fell by 29% compared to 2017. The number of homicides stood at 31 - a decrease of 11 compared to 2017. In the last 5 years Minneapolis has seen a decrease in violent crime and in property crime.

Estimated median household income in 2016: $56,255

Estimated median household income in 2016 for MN: $65,599

JBo
JBo

Looks like a fishing net off a trawler.

Budman
Budman

We see where the priorities are?🤔

LEO0301
LEO0301

The mayor and city council haven't been personally affected by the police shortage, so they don't care. That would all change if they needed a priority one response but had to wait in line until a police officer was available. In the mean time let's hang some more fishing nets around the city.

javaguy746
javaguy746

Sorry we didn't get here faster. You see we are 500 officers short because there is not enough money in the budget to hire any more. BUT there is enough to spend on a moving fish sculpture that the city can spend $850,000. And yes you voted for them.

asillyrabbit551
asillyrabbit551

why not ask the BLM movement to patrol their own neighborhood?

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

Liberal city, liberal thinking, liberal spending. What did you expect?

Wolfman2253
Wolfman2253

Well then it time for the Mayor, City council, City Department heads, City artsy fartsy Director to armor up and start handling calls for service...🤗

CinGuz
CinGuz

I wouldn't pay $7.72 for that thing at Walmart.

fuzz2239
fuzz2239

The city will have to add more money to the fish net when someone comits an act of

NomonK
NomonK

Maybe they shouldn't have built the building in the first place sense the city is so financially strapped. Then they cold have added quite a few officers. This city has all their priorities screwed up.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

I feel good about this, you get what you vote for. If the city doesn’t want to pay for cops, then you get what you get. These are the people you voted into office and they are doing your bidding. You don’t want cops, you don’t get cops. It’s that simple.

OldVet
OldVet

Liberals running a city and a state, then they add the likes of their Islamic Representative in congress.

Just-My-Thoughts.
Just-My-Thoughts.

They already do, with headlights out, shooting whatever moves.

Just-My-Thoughts.
Just-My-Thoughts.

If this "whatever thingamagig" will hang outside, I can envision snow and ice gathering in the netting, swinging to and fro, ice and snow snapping it off when it hits windchills of -60 below. I see people with ice lodged in their faces looking up to see it.. I see Hennepin County Medical Center doing constant EMS runs now only a few blocks from the building...They can always throw some carts like they used for coal mining on the tracks and just whip them up and down the street. What a great idea and at a cost that will keep adding up. Yet the citizens of Minneapolis will keep dialing 911 for help but the PD is overwhelmed with calls and no one to answer them. Great job Frey and City Council. Your amazing.

Tex-Mex gal
Tex-Mex gal

Citizens need to vote these idiots out!! Remember the elections, get new people in! The situation sucks but go ahead and spend money on crap that you don't even need!