Hennepin Cty. Commissioner Stenglein to Head Downtown Council

The Minneapolis Downtown Council said that Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein will join the organization as its new president and CEO; Stenglein will succeed longtime leader Sam Grabarski, who is retiring.

The Minneapolis Downtown Council announced Friday that Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein will leave his current post to become the organization's new president and CEO.

Stenglein will succeed Sam Grabarski, who has headed the council since 1996 and is retiring. Stenglein will start his new job on June 1.

In his new role, one of Stenglein's focuses will be overseeing the implementation of the council's downtown Minneapolis revitalization plan-Intersections 2025-which it unveiled in December. Goals include advocating for a new Vikings stadium in the downtown area, doubling downtown's residential population, and building a linear park that will stretch from the light-rail station on Fifth Street to the Mississippi River.

“Downtown Minneapolis is a thriving urban destination, and I am anxious to contribute to the future growth of the city,” Stenglein said in a statement. “This is the perfect time for downtown businesses and elected leaders to bring their energy to the table to help preserve and grow what has been accomplished in Minneapolis.”

The council said that Grabarski will remain president emeritus of the Minneapolis Downtown Council for a transition period during which he will wrap up a few projects. Grabarski has been credited as one of the driving forces in the expansion of the Minneapolis Convention Center and in bringing the light rail, a new Twins ballpark, and a central library to downtown Minneapolis, among other efforts.

“I've greatly enjoyed my time at the Minneapolis Downtown Council and I'm committed to a seamless period of transition between Mark and myself,” Grabarski said in a statement. “He will make an excellent president and CEO during the exciting times ahead for downtown.”

Stenglein was elected Hennepin County Commissioner in 1996 and represents the 2nd District, which includes Plymouth, Medicine Lake, Crystal, Golden Valley, North Minneapolis, and Northeast Minneapolis.

According to a Star Tribune report, Stenglein's county board seat will be up for election in November. State Senator Linda Higgins from Minneapolis reportedly said Friday that she intends to run for the seat. She announced in November that she will not seek reelection to the Minnesota Legislature this fall.

The Minneapolis Downtown Council was founded in 1955 and works to promote the city's downtown area as an attractive business, shopping, and tourist destination.