Mychael Wright 2: Transitions: University Ave

Josh Sanchez conducted the 2nd interview of Golden Thymes owner Mychael Wright. Mychael Wright was one of our first interviewees before CCLRT construction began back in 2009. Now, since the CCLRT construction is done, we return to some of our first interviewees to hear their perspective post-construction

Photos by: Ahmed Muse and Tanisha Brandt
Editing by: Yeng Thao
Transcription by: Nue Kenny Lee


Would you mind telling us your name?

Mychael Wright, owner of Golden Thyme Coffee.

Since we last interviewed you about the light rail, a lot has happened. Can you describe any changes you've seen on University Avenue?

Well, aside from a lot of concrete coming down the middle of University Avenue — less traffic as far as vehicles are concerned; vacant buildings, still. There [is] some remodeling going on and revitalization of old buildings. It's gonna take some time, but right now the court’s still out. I’m gonna see and keep my eye on it since I'm a block off University Avenue. So right now the way it has impacted me specifically is my taxes have gotten higher.

How did the city's loan policy affect businesses affected by the light rail's construction?

Well, business owners should've been mitigated totally on the front end, as our state representative — area representative — at that time, Cy Thao, had brought to them. And evidently what he was asking or looking for was too much and would throw the project out of balance. But, at the tenth or eleventh hour they did allow some moderate loans to mitigate some of the businesses that were on — and still are on — University Avenue.

How do you think the businesses are doing now since the light rail construction is done?

Well, it’s gonna take time. You know, one of the things that I want to say is that there was significant negative impact, and I am a futurist. I like the mode of transportation. I just don't think where it's at right now quite fits the way, in my mind’s eye, it should've been looked at.

How do you feel the construction has affected the people who have lived in the old Rondo neighborhood for years?

There's a mixed feeling, and I understand what the city's trying to do — they want density. And University needed revitalization. I understand that part of it, but I just think there was a different way that the city, or the officials — the powers that be — could have went about it.

Made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.