Midtown Safety Center Planned at Chicago-Lake

Hopeful for Fall '05 Opening 

Midtown Safety Center Planned at Chi-Lake

Concept for the Safety Center's facade by Midtown Community Works

Concept for the Safety Center's facade by Midtown Community Works

June 2005—The Phillips Partnership is working with Minneapolis’ planning and police departments, neighborhood leaders, and Chi- Lake landlord Peter Boosalis to locate a new safety center in Boosalis’ renovated building on the northeast corner of Chicago Avenue and Lake Street.

“This safety center is a very important part of the overall safety plan for the Chicago-Lake area, as it will provide an active law enforcement presence in the area, with strong ties to businesses and community residents,” said Eric Eoloff, public affairs director at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

This would be the second time a safety center occupied a storefront in the Chicago-Lake building. In the mid-1990s, MPD located a safety center there for two or three years, said Boosalis. 

He and Minneapolis are working out an agreement that would place the new Midtown Safety Center in the storefront at 2949 Chicago Ave. South for at least three years.

“This is a deal I’m happy to make because it will be good for business in the long term, and I am in this community for the long term,” said Boosalis, whose family has owned the building since 1909.

On the north side of Phillips, the Franklin Avenue Community Safety Center in the Ancient Traders Plaza has proved a highly successful venture for law enforcement and citizen advocates. It will serve as a model for the Midtown location, said Inspector Scott Gerlicher of the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct.

Gerlicher has championed the creation of a Chicago-Lake safety center since hearing concerns about rising crime at such community venues as the Community Crime Prevention Initiative sponsored by the Phillips Partnership. The Phillips West Neighborhood Association has also pressed for the safety center, said board chair Muriel Simmons.

“A safety center gives police a regular presence in the neighborhood and a welcoming place off the street for citizens and police to interact,” said Gerlicher. “Being closer to Lake Street businesses builds the kind of relationships and trust that make the difference in community policing.”

Gerlicher said the safety center could be in operation as early as this fall.

The center will facilitate coordination between police and other law enforcement personnel, including transit police and county probation officers. This interagency coordination, said Gerlicher, has been indispensable to the success of anti-crime initiatives in the area.

The Midtown Safety Center will also serve as a hub from which security for the Midtown Exchange and neighborhood policing can be coordinated, speeding response time to safety incidents. Further, it will provide community meeting space.

The center will be staffed by a civilian crime prevention specialist, a police employee who will manage law-enforcement programming and serve as the pointof- contact for community concerns.

The Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association will act as the safety center’s fiscal agent. Elena Gaarder, PPNA’s director, says funding would come from the business community, the public sector and foundations. While most financial arrangements are still to be finalized, Gaarder says she is optimistic about raising enough funds to have the center open this fall. The annual budget for staffing and rent is estimated at $135,000, said Gaarder.

Eoloff said that the Phillips Partnership will play an ongoing advisory role that includes fundraising.