Departing Brooklyn Center Mayor Reflects on Accomplishments
Tim Willson has been Brooklyn Center Mayor for 12 years. He presided over his last city council meeting a week ago.
Served through Great Recession
The year was 2007 and Mayor Tim Willson and could not wait to tackle a host of hardships.
“Crime is an issue, housing maintaining of the housing stock, neighborhoods, sense of communities,” Willson said, when he was interviewed in the early years. Redeveloping the area was also a top priority.
“When I first came in office, I couldn’t get a developer to come into the city to even talk to us,” Willson explained.
But, before the Mayor and other city leaders could start their redevelopment efforts–the recession hit.
“It was more toward a depression for us,” Willson recalled.
In 2008, one in every ten houses in Brooklyn Center was in foreclosure.
Redevelopment and Revitalization
“We worked with the county and the city and the state in providing funding for people to come in and do buy foreclosed homes,” says Willson.
Things eventually improved and city leaders got back to focusing on bringing in new businesses.
“Walmart came in and said they wanted to build there. They worked with the developer. The city provided nothing for them,” Willson said.
The FBI built right off Freeway Boulevard. Others came too, Like Topgolf and Luther Auto.
Brooklyn Center started a beautification project at Shingle Creek Crossing, the former Brookdale Mall area, to attract more developers.
“We had interest from investment groups out of Chicago and the first thing they said was, “that’s a nice looking area,” Willson explained.
Tackling Highway 252 and busy, dangerous intersections was also on the fix-it list. The city conducted its own study of the area. It paid off. The city received federal funding. The city is teaming up with Brooklyn Park, The state and Hennepin County to cover the $10 million gap.
Mayor Willson is proud of his accomplishments. He doesn’t know what he’ll do in the future, but for now, he’ll keep doing what he calls one of the best jobs in the world—being a granddad.