Last week, about 130 leaders from Charlotte’s business, government, arts and philanthropic sectors traveled to Minneapolis for the Charlotte Chamber’s annual intercity visit.
The goal was to find new solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our region.
It was a busy trip, packed with panel discussions and speeches on major civic questions including educational equity, paying for transit and encouraging entrepreneurship.
Here are some of my takeaways:
All of that comes with high taxes and a higher cost of living than Charlotte. Still, Minneapolis’ unemployment sits at about 4 percent, far lower than Charlotte’s, thanks to Fortune 500 firms drawn by the highly educated workforce and strong quality of life.
That’s the “high-cost, high-quality approach,” said Michael Langley, head of the Minneapolis-St. Paul regional economic development partnership.
It seems to work for the Twin Cities. But with the latest tax hike rolling in on high earners, even Langley sounded as if he’d be happy if taxes don’t go up any more.
At a time when the younger generation is longing for walkable streets filled with shops and restaurants, uptown Charlotte is hamstrung by the fact that the bank towers that dominate its streetscape weren’t built to include street-level retail space. Uptown leaders are working to change that, but the eclectic vibe you find along some of downtown Minneapolis’ streets suggests much remains to be done.
“Read the ricochet,” he said.