The third meeting of the Upper Harbor Development Committee met and conducted a Learning Table Community Engagement conversation Oct. 23 at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, 1256 Penn Ave. N.
This meeting focused on sustainability and connectivity. The general question was, what work completed on this project will be sustainable over time? And what connections are both necessary and visionary, that are not now existing?
Four agencies/organizations presented their information for review and discussion. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Minneapolis Public Works Department and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) all offered materials and information for presentation to the attendees.
Officials with the MPRB presented the 48.5-acre site plan indicating the location of a new park within the boundaries of the site. While this new park is not physically connected the riverfront park at 26th Avenue North, it will extend new parkland into the mixed-use nature of this development. There is one preliminary design or final location for this park.
LEED officials discussed certifications for projects that achieve energy and environmental “green building” goals. The LEED organization offers bronze, silver, gold, or platinum, certifications based on the levels of environmental and energy efficiencies in the design and materials installed for the project. Through lots of engineering, research, analysis, testing, and more post-installation analysis, products are more available and suitable for both new construction and remodeling projects. LEED reviews projects and offers the appropriate certifications.
The Minneapolis Public Works Department presented information regarding the roads that enter the sites. Dowling Avenue North, Washington Avenue North, and the Interstate 94 exit, all converge at nearly the same. The test will be how will all of this traffic be managed? The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), is currently reviewing this section of interstate as it splits into Highway 252 and Interstate 694. Will the Dowling Avenue exit need to accommodate three lanes of exiting traffic, from both north and south, for purposes of staging traffic for large scale public events? Will the Dowling Avenue bridge need to be rebuilt to accommodate more traffic? What will it look like? Will it look like the signature bridges at Lowry Avenue, or at Hennepin Avenue downtown as they cross the Mississippi River? Will it have lighting? Will Washington Avenue need to be rebuilt or widened? Lots of questions seeking answers for this project. More information should be forthcoming as the project evolves.
MWMO officials discussed both surface water runoff and sub-grade water movement, that may impact this site. Their office seeks to manage water before it flows into the river. Will there be day-lighted ponds or streams as a water flow management methodology? As this site evolves into its preliminary design, MWMO will begin reviewing their design and site management process to align with the new overall sit plan.
As with previous Learning Table meetings, there were general comments following the presentations such as how to justify the sale of this land to a private for-profit developer, or will there be a connection to the future LRT. Will there be sound walls or any other type of sound abatement? How large will the music venue be?
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 20 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in rooms 5203 and 5205 at NorthPoint.