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Minneapolis City Council approves $395,000 for winter marketplace

$300,000 will also come from the Convention Center and $95,000 from the office of the City Coordinator for the Peavey Plaza attraction.

A promotional video for Vancouver’s Christmas Market.

It took just 14 minutes Friday morning for the Minneapolis City Council to vote on the 72 items on its agenda so members could be out the door and off to Lake Harriet to listen to President Obama’s speech.

All but one item had been discussed in committees and at the Wednesday meeting of the entire council, assembled as the Committee of the Whole.

The item was approval of $395,000 for a winter marketplace at Peavey Plaza to replace the Holidazzle Parade, currently being planned by the Minneapolis Downtown Council. The funds are already in the budget, with $300,000 coming from the Convention Center and $95,000 from the office of the City Coordinator.

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“The timing of this action requires us to do it quickly so the Downtown Council can enter into their agreements to secure the additional two-thirds of the project from downtown businesses,” said Councilmember John Quincy, prior to the meeting. (Quincy chairs the Ways and Means Committee.) Downtown businesses are expected to contribute $1.3 million to the project.

The only discussion of the matter came during a roll call vote when Councilmember Blong Yang voted “aye for everyone except for number three, no.” Number three was the marketplace funding.

“These European style marketplaces are in other American cities,” said Steve Cramer who is president and CEO of the Downtown Council. Chicago, for example, has a marketplace downtown in Millennium Park.  Minneapolis is working with the officials in Vancouver, which runs an annual Christmas Market, to create a plan for the downtown attraction.

The marketplace, which could include a carousel, will probably by styled like an old European village, and sell art and craft items and food. The idea is to keep people downtown longer than the one hour it took to watch the Holidazzle Parade.

“The parade was certainly fun,” said Cramer, but he explained the marketplace would be open seven days a week from late morning until early evening. Final plans for the holiday attraction will be announced by late summer or early fall.