Minutes for March 25, 2014

2020 Partners Membership Meeting
HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners  on May 27, 2014

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Dale Anderson, Joan Campbell, Jackie Cherryhomes-Tyler, Matt Clark, Alice Eichholz, Brent Erickson, Sandy Forberg, Jacob Frey, David Galey, Brad Henry, Linda Higgins, George Holden, Bob Iwaskeaycz, Mark Iwaskewycz, Ben Johnson, Dan Kenney, John Kostouros, Chuck Leer, Tony Litton, David Loehr, Bill Madden, Sherman Malkerson, Jane Mauer, Peter McLaughlin, Carl Michaud, Kelly Nelson, Mark Oyaas, Duane Petersen, Neil Reardon, Kit Richardson, Duke Rodda, Peter Roos, Karen Rosar, LJ Rotman, Marcy Schulte, Mark Stenglein, Carletta Sweet, Albert Swintek, Gene Tierney, Joe Tierney, Marsha Wagner, Katie Walker, Dale White

1. Welcome and Introductions – David Loehr, Host, and Chuck Leer, Chair

2. Approval of Minutes from 2020 Partners Meeting on January 28, 2014
Minutes were approved and have been posted on The 2020 Partners website.

3. Transit Development Updates – Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner
Target Field Station: Opening day is May 17; festivities start in the early afternoon with 3-4 speeches, followed by a Twins game in the evening. The video board paid for by Target is up, and they will start using tail tracks for storing rail cars for opening day.

Central Corridor: The Grand Opening is June 14, with free rides throughout the entire Metro Transit system on Saturday and Sunday. The main ceremony will be held at the Depot in downtown St. Paul, with neighborhood celebrations all along the corridor.

Rail-Volution: National conference being held in Minneapolis September 21-24. United States Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Portland, OR) is the featured speaker.

Southwest Corridor: Now is the time to step in and advocate for this project to move forward. On April 2 the advisory group will make its recommendation to the Met Council on the route, form, and relocation of freight. The Met Council is scheduled to give its approval on April 9, and along with Hennepin County Regional Rail authority will hold formal hearings in early May. After a 45 day period all five cities and Hennepin County must provide consent for the preferred alternative: hide the light rail in tunnels alongside freight trains in the Kenilworth corridor of Minneapolis, or reroute the freight in St. Louis Park, which was the original plan. The latter plan would involve overcoming objection by the railroads, which would be daunting and would cause significant delay.

Commissioner McLaughlin distributed a handout showing a number of projects competing for funding in the FTA pipeline; of the 11 projects initially introduced in 2013, only two have not progressed, one of them being Southwest LRT. FTA funding for new starts has been flat since 2009, and gas tax revenues are going down as people switch to more fuel-efficient cars and change their driving habits. He urged members of The 2020 Partners to contact City Hall and other decision makers to advance this project now.

4. Southwest Corridor/Royalston Station – Katie Walker, Senior Administrative Manager, Southwest LRT Community Works [PPT Presentation]
SWLRT Community Works has been working with others to create a framework to spur economic development at LRT stations. They have created a new website that is user-friendly, station-based, and provides an online tool for soliciting feedback. They have also developed a process to promote opening day readiness in 2018 by bridging the gap between current conditions and future needs through identifying and prioritizing infrastructure improvements that enhance existing business, support mixed-income housing opportunities, and encourage new development.

In her presentation, Ms. Walker included a slide that showed existing land uses, including industrial/commercial, low-rise buildings (1-2 stories), large block sizes, limited access to North Loop and Loring Park, roadway network, transit facilities/service, and limited bike/pedestrian facilities. The Royalston station will transition from primarily industrial uses to a major urban center with a transit-oriented mix of commercial, residential and industrial uses by using these strategies to build on assets and overcome challenges:

  • Introduce higher density commercial development on local streets
  • Orient new buildings to street with minimal setbacks
  • Higher density commercial/retail, office, residential, and light industrial
  • Active street level uses
  • Restrict outdoor storage
  • Implement streetscape and lighting
  • Explore “bended street” concept for 3rd & Cesar Chavez
  • Create smaller blocks and connected street pattern
  • Implement sidewalk and on-street bike facilities
  • Improve transit access and safety between station and bus stops

Station area improvements expected to be completed by the anticipated opening of the line in 2018 include improved pedestrian/bicycle crossings; traffic signals at key intersections; creating a Border “Loop,” converting it to two-way traffic, with an improved streetscape, on-street parking, lighting, and sidewalks on Border; and LRT station amenities like off-platform way finding, lighting, and public art. Improvements to be completed beyond 2018 include building new east/west roadways to create smaller blocks and a connected street network, making it more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, and exploring creation of a transit plaza between the LRT station and the Farmers Market by Cesar Chavez Avenue.

5. Hennepin Energy Recovery Center – Carl Michaud, Director, Hennepin County Environmental Services
Hennepin County has withdrawn its request for a permit modification from the City of Minneapolis and for approval from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) to increase the amount of waste processed at the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center. After requesting changes in its conditional use permit four years ago, the County has complied with numerous requests from the City and the PCA to provide information about emissions and environmental impact. Throughout this time there were also changes in regulations, so the goal posts kept moving. The Hennepin County Board eventually determined that the cost of proceeding outweighed the benefits. To minimize the landfilling of waste the Board decided to require the City to begin collecting organics and food waste by the end of 2014.

6. CenterPoint Energy Update – Al Swintek, Manager, Local Government Relations, CenterPoint Energy [PPT Presentation]
CenterPoint Energy has an extensive system (approximately 74 miles) of 20 and 24 inch diameter steel pipe. As soon as the weather warms they will begin a multi-year project to upgrade and rehabilitate approximately 61 miles of the system, starting in north Minneapolis. In June they will start work on Third and Fourth Streets North, taking a break in mid-July during the MLB All-Star Game activities. The project will enhance long-term safety, reliability, and better facilitate ongoing inspection of pipeline.

Areas disturbed by CenterPoint Energy’s construction—streets, sidewalks, boulevards and lawns—will be restored to original condition, typically within five to seven business days after construction is completed. The City of Minneapolis will perform the majority of the street paving and curb replacement.

To provide contact information and construction updates, CenterPoint has launched a new website: www.centerpointenergy.com/construction. Interested parties can also sign up for e-mail and text messages to receive project status updates.

7. Schafer Richardson North Loop Projects – Maureen Michalski, Senior Project Manager, Schafer Richardson [PPT Presentation]

  • Third North: 204 apartments; amenities include outdoor pool and hot tub, fire pit, fitness center, dog grooming facilities, guest suite, and club room. They expect to be completely leased by June.
  • Gurley Lofts: Historic renovation; 30 apartments (12 opened in December, 18 will open in May); 13,000 square feet of commercial space; 63% leased.
  • Cameron: After wrapping up public funding, construction will begin this summer on 44 units of affordable housing; this is the first affordable house project in the North Loop since 2001.
  • Bassett Creek parking lot: They are hoping to develop this surface parking lot in coming years.

8. Telling the Story: DAG 360 Then and Now – Chuck Leer, Chair, The 2020 Partners
The original DAG 360 report was funded by Target; Hennepin County took the lead, assisted by consultants Mary deLaittre and Mark Oyaas. Since 2006 great events have taken place, and it’s time to update the story. Several stakeholders—Target, Timberwolves | Lynx, Minnesota Twins, Covanta and Trammel Crow—have each agreed to donate $5,000 to fund the effort; others have been approached. Minnesota Ballpark Authority has offered the services of Tim Davis, its photographer/videographer. The Steering Committee passed the initiative with a nod, and Ms. deLaittre and Mr. Oyaas will again assist.

9. Promoting and Facilitating a Car-Free Life – Gene Tierney, Vice President, Northco [PPT Presentation]
Facing public policy issues including roadway congestion, infrastructure costs and greenhouse gas emissions, interested parties such as apartment dwellers, government agencies, downtown employers, civic organizations and neighborhood groups have a common goal: reduce dependence on individually-owned cars and lower vehicle miles traveled. The change agents are millennials and empty-nest baby boomers, who embrace a high-experience, low-tether way of living.

Car-Free Life is introducing a joint marketing program to promote and facilitate a Car-Free Lifestyle with three strategic design elements: (1) educational outreach and engagement; (2) carport availability security, utilizing rental car fleet at MSP; and (3) web-based consumer marketplace (www.carfreelife.org, not yet live), a resource for locating transit real estate, commercial and transportation services, and community which will be funded by selling advertising on the website.

10. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
All meetings will be held at HGA’s office in the Ford Center, from 5:00-6:30 p.m., unless otherwise specified in the meeting notices.

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