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Minneapolis pledges to create a permanent memorial as George Floyd Square begins reopening

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Minneapolis plans to create a lasting memorial at the intersection where George Floyd took his final breaths, city officials said in a statement Thursday.

“We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing,” the statement said.

Mayor Jacob Frey issued the joint statement with Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Council member Alondra Cano.

“Alongside City leadership, we have met on a regular basis with community members to discuss both the short-term path toward reconnecting this area and the long-term plan for the neighborhood with sustained investments to help restore and heal the community,” it said.

The statement was obtained by CNN affiliate WCCO.

The square, at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street, is where Floyd died in May 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. It has been closed off to traffic for over a year and has become a shrine and memorial to Floyd.

In September, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to approve changing the name of the intersection to George Floyd Square.

City workers began removing parts of the memorial Thursday morning, city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie said. “Barricades have been removed so that ultimately (the intersection) will be reconnected into the neighborhood and traffic will be able to resume,” McKenzie told CNN.

“This intersection will never go back to ‘normal.’ This city is really doing everything it can with the community to preserve as many art pieces as possible.”

McKenzie emphasized that this is a community led effort being carried out in coordination with members of the Agape Movement and some artifacts, like the iconic fist sculpture, will remain at the intersection.

Multiple workers could be seen Thursday morning moving cement barricades with tractors and trucks.

The intersection has been the site of recent violence after one person was shot dead there in March and another was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being shot a block away last week on the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death.

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