Minneapolis/ Community & Society
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Published on June 20, 2024
Minneapolis' Historic Coliseum Building Reopens on Juneteenth, Championing BIPOC Entrepreneurship and Community ResilienceSource: Facebook/Jason Chavez - Minneapolis Ward 9

Juneteenth brought more than a celebration of emancipation to Minneapolis this year; it ushered in new life for a historic community landmark. The Coliseum Building, once marred by the civil unrest of 2020, opened its doors again in a grand celebration that marks a significant achievement for local BIPOC entrepreneurship. According to a social media announcement by the Minneapolis Ward 9 office, the restoration was led by Seward Redesign, in partnership with three Black small business owners: Alicia Belton, Janice Downing, and Shanelle Montana, who have now turned the space into a haven for up to 30 BIPOC and local entrepreneurs.

The effort to not only resurrect but to also re-envision the Coliseum Building is a testament to the resilience of the community and the commitment to nurturing a space that includes long-term affordability. This initiative to painstakingly ensure a continuum of local ownership was bolstered by a $1.5 million investment from the city, a move that the Mayor and Minneapolis City Council are reportedly proud of. The rehabilitated structure stands not just as a building, but as a symbol of the community's ability to rise, rebuild, and more importantly to hold fast to the reins of their collective future.

Belton, Downing, and Montana, who are now both tenants and long-term owners, have been crucial in this redevelopment process. "I’m so proud Alicia Belton, Janice Downing, and Shanelle Montana – to be both tenants and long-term owners in the Coliseum Building," expressed their pride on Ward 9’s social media post regarding the involvement of these entrepreneurs. Their joint efforts with Seward Redesign encapsulate a forward-thinking model of collaborative urban restoration that aims to benefit the community at large.

The Grand Opening coinciding with Juneteenth is emblematic of the broader struggle for equity and recognition in the American patchwork. The rebuilding of the Coliseum Building stands not just as a physical renovation but as a reclamation and affirmation of space, presence, and economic empowerment within the community. A story of getting back up, intent to stronger build for the future, and a tale of unity within diversity that the City of Minneapolis can proudly share on this day of reflection and celebration.