U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce Funding for Revitalizing Olson Memorial Highway

[Washington, DC] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced federal funding to restore and revitalize the 6thAvenue North corridor, an area in North Minneapolis that was devastated by the construction of Olson Memorial Highway in the 1940s. The project will include converting the roadway to reconnect the area’s residents and promote new housing and commercial development and modeling the project’s impacts on environmental justice and racial equity. The funding was awarded to Open Streets Minneapolis thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, which both Senators supported.  

“The 6th Avenue North corridor in Minneapolis is in need of upgrades to better protect drivers and pedestrians and reconnect residents,” said Klobuchar. “With this funding, Our Streets Minneapolis can begin the revitalization project and lay the groundwork needed to advance these improvements.”

“North 6th Avenue was once home to one of Minneapolis’ most diverse immigrant communities,” said Smith. “When Olson Memorial Highway was built, the neighborhood’s deep cultural connections were torn apart in the process. This project is the first step to restoring what redlining and systemic racism stole from the community.” 

North 6th Avenue was home to a bustling working-class neighborhood and was one of Minneapolis’ most diverse and welcoming areas for immigrants known for its affordable housing. The community began to suffer following federal redlining, which labeled Near North as a poor investment and led to segregation. The construction of Olson Memorial Highway accelerated the neighborhood’s decline.

The $1.6 million in funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot program, the first-ever federal program dedicated to reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure.