Minutes for March 24, 2015

2020 Partners Membership Meeting

HGA, Ford Center

Meeting Minutes – Approved by The 2020 Partners on July 28, 2015

Attendees: Dave Albersman, Bill Blanski, Deb Brisk, Peter Callaghan, Joan Campbell, Ehsan Dehbashi, Alice Eichholz, Chelsey Falzone, Christine Fleming, Sandy Forberg, David Frank, Brad Henry, Denise Holt, Bob Iwaskeayez, Dan Kenney, Nick Koch, Rick Kreuser, Ryan Kronzer, BJ LaVelle, Joe Leyba, David Loehr, Sherman Malkerson, Peter McLaughlin, Chelsey Oosterhuis, Mark Oyaas, Duane Petersen, Jonah Ritter, Peter Roos, Karen Rosar, Rick Rud, Marcy Schulte, Mark Spanton, Mark Stenglein, Ralph Strangis, Carletta Sweet, Albert Swintek, Marsha Wagner, Dale White

1. Welcome and Introductions – Nick Koch, Host, HGA; David Frank, Interim Chair

2. Approval of Minutes from 2020 Partners Meeting on January 27, 2015 
Minutes were APPROVED and have been posted on The 2020 Partners website.

3. Announcements

  • Dale White: ProBid’s final continuing education classes of this quarter, including a
    seven-credit class on license renewal, will take place on Saturday, March 28. An eight-class course on pricing strategies/estimating and bidding begins on March 31. For more information or to register visit www.probidtraining.com.
  • Karen Rosar: The North Loop Neighborhood Association is digitally connected. You can find them at northloop.org and on Facebook.
  • Al Swintek: CenterPoint Energy is beginning a large construction project in the North Loop area. To learn more visit www.centerpointenergy.com/construction.
  • Mark Oyaas: Neerland & Oyaas moved from the downtown core to the North Loop. A suite of Techline office furniture remains in its old office and is available free of charge to anyone who wants and is willing to move it. Contact mark@neerland.oyaas.com.
  • Ralph Strangis: Major League Soccer officials are in Minneapolis for a news conference on Wednesday, March 25, where they will announce that an ownership group headed by Bill McGuire and including the Pohlad family, Glen Taylor, and Wendy Carlson Nelson has been awarded a franchise. The Steering Committee saw a presentation by Dr. McGuire at its March meeting, and it is likely that the membership will see something similar at an upcoming meeting. In his presentation Dr. McGuire did not address who will pay for the new stadium, purported to be in the vicinity of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Governor Dayton and key legislators have said there would be no government subsidies for this stadium. Dave Albersman clarified that public assistance could come in the form of infrastructure changes/improvements and district energy.
    Mr. Strangis continued by saying that in the fall of 2013 The 2020 Partners were the first to endorse the idea that a soccer stadium would be a good anchor for an improved Farmers Market and a catalyst for further development in the area. The presentation seen by the Steering Committee referenced Eataly, a combination of raw and prepared food markets located in New York and Chicago, and said something similar could fit well in this location. It also has great transit connections and the soccer stadium could enhance and activate the station.
    Considering the statements from Governor Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Bakk, indicating that there would be no public funding for a soccer stadium, Mr. Strangis indicated that his clients are willing to step up in a major way financially to further their beliefs that (a) soccer should be made more accessible to minorities and youth and the tickets should be affordable, and (b) a soccer stadium will anchor development and be a community asset. As this project progresses The 2020 Partners will be involved and consulted.

4. Target Field Station Programming – Chelsey Falzone, Ballpark Operations Assistant, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club
Ms. Falzone began her presentation—titled “Target Field Station: Where Transit Meets Culture” —by recapping some of the events that took place in 2014, the first year of programming at Target Field Station (TFS). One thing they learned is that there’s a lack of awareness about TFS as an event venue, and they are working to get the word out. This year they will be repeating some of the successful events from 2014, and have some creative new ideas that they are excited to activate. Ms. Falzone showed some new features at TFS: a ribbon board with news feeds and updates from the Twins, Star Tribune and others; and light totems that have been programmed to display the date, time and temperature.

The 2015 calendar of events includes several Go 96.3 events, women’s cup soccer games, and movie nights. Programming collaborations have been developed with several organizations, neighborhood associations and nonprofits. There is no charge for events held at TFS beyond cleaning and other ancillary costs, and there’s a list of preferred vendors for tent rental, etc.

Major League Baseball and the Minnesota Twins have first priority in scheduling events at TFS. The Master Calendar for TFS is operated and updated internally by Chelsey Falzone. If you are interested in holding an event there or have any additional questions, please contact her at chelseyfalzone@twinsbaseball.com, 612.659.3669.

Mr. Frank added his thanks to the Twins and Hennepin County for building TFS. It is a beautiful venue, and people enjoy using it and attending events there.

5. West Loop Update – Neil Reardon and Devon Lundy, UrbanWorks Architecture
[Due to its size the PPT was split into two parts, Part 1 (Pages 1-29) and Part 2 (pages 30-65)]
The West Loop geographic area, the other half of the North Loop, is almost identical to The 2020 Partners area. Its location, on the edge of I-94, from Highway 55 to the I-394 trench, is challenging. It is not well connected, not safe for all users, and not intentional in ways that the land is used. It is also not functional; its 206 acres are 30 percent publicly owned and 70 percent privately owned, and much of it is underutilized.

There are unique opportunities to leverage transit investments, enhance development commitments to the north side, create new employment, and accelerate tax base growth in this distinctive neighborhood. Transit is in place and more is planned, and there’s a demand for urban renaissance.

A lot of plans currently exist for development in this area [many of which can be found on the 2020 Partners website], and this vision—that the West Loop is better than the sum of its parts—will build on those. Elements of this vision include reconnecting the urban street grid, building green infrastructure, and creating an infrastructure of opportunity, all of which will lead to quality urban development. A twenty-year build-out plan includes an urban street grid, newly developable land (i.e., grade change at I-94 entrance ramp, removal of I-94 Fourth Street exit causeway, reconfiguring the intersection of Seventh Street and Sixth Avenue, and restoring streets capturing approximately 18 acres of new developable land).

Green infrastructure could be improved by repurposing the former Lyndale Bridge to a pedestrian-bike bridge, and a connection could be made between the North Loop and the north side with a West Loop Greenway (linear park). The Target Field promenade could be extended north towards the river and south to Royalston, and a new farmers market located next to the Green Line Royalston Station.

Some infrastructure of opportunity possibilities include employment training, supportive housing, schools, added Blue Line Bottineau station, bus rapid transit transfer facility, indoor public market, and reconfigured outdoor Farmers Market. There’s room for quality urban development along new Fourth Street Boulevard (created by removing the Fourth Street North overhead viaduct) that includes housing, office and retail flanking the West Loop Greenway, and dense development near the Blue Line station, reconfigured Farmers Market and new soccer stadium. By the year 2035 the new tax value of the West Loop could be close to $25 million.

Nick Koch added that in San Francisco an earthquake removed a viaduct, and freeway removal turned out to bring about good development. As concrete starts to spall, it could be nature’s way of saying we should move forward. Alice Eichholz added that the congested convergence at the end of Fourth Street North needs to be straightened out.

6. Transit Development – Southwest/Bottineau/Royalston Station – Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner
Commissioner Peter McLaughlin reported that enormous progress has been made in the last two months on Southwest LRT. The cities have signed off, and the Park Board has reached an agreement with the Met Council. Planning has begun around the stations and line. In its annual review the federal government raised the rating on Southwest LRT from medium to high, putting it in the top tier for funding priority. President Obama has budgeted $150 million for next year, hoping to get this project done before he leaves office.

The Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature have a transportation plan that is big on roads and bridges, primarily suburban and rural, but allocates no money for transit. Senator Scott Dibble has introduced a Transportation Policy Bill calling for an increase in taxes of three-quarters of one percent to fund a major investment in LRT and bus, filling in areas between radials. Governor Dayton has proposed a one-half cent sales tax to invest in roads. Commissioner McLaughlin says he remains optimistic that the funding shortfall of $122 million will be met because the legislature cannot pass a roads-and-bridges only bill. At any rate Southwest LRT has gone too far and will not be killed at this point.

Bottineau: In Crystal, the Canadian Pacific and Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroads are attempting to buy property to create a new track turn, which would allow oil trains to travel through the North Loop and across Nicollet Island. Railroads have a lot of eminent domain power, and neither local nor state government has power to influence railroad actions. Hennepin County bought the property in question and now has better standing to get additional language inserted in legislation asserting safety concerns and challenging movement of prohibited cargo through residential and highly-populated areas. Keeping this new track turn away from the railroads is important not just for safety reasons, but also for the future Bottineau route and potentially the North Star line.

In concluding his remarks, Commissioner McLaughlin said that they need help the issues of eminent domain and transit funding. When asked how and when members of the 2020 Partners could help, he said that mid-April would be a good time for action. Since this group will not be meeting again until the end of May, Mr. Frank said that the Steering Committee would write a letter on behalf of The 2020 Partners, and also communicate the information to its members so they can contact their legislators.

Before adjourning, Mr. Frank thanked HGA for hosting the meeting and Fulton Brewing for providing several growlers of beer. He then made one last announcement. The Steering Committee has found the right person to be the next Chair of The 2020 Partners, someone who knows the neighborhood, is committed to this group, and committed to harness energy and move forward with items of interest: Nick Koch, HGA. Mark Oyaas, speaking on behalf of The 2020 Partners, offered thanks to David Frank for standing in as interim chair.

The meeting was adjourned by Nick Koch at 6:20 pm.

7. 2020 Partners Meeting Schedule
The next meeting of the 2020 Partners will be on Tuesday, May 26, from 5:00-6:30 pm, at HGA.

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