Pollution clean-up at Superior Plating site continues, public input meeting set for Dec. 12

State officials and the owners of the former Superior Plating site at 315 First Ave. NE are continuing the decades-old pollution cleanup project there. Plans now include removing the building, taking out the soil down to the bedrock, and continuing the ground water cleanup below.The parking lot across the street is also on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) radar, but might not receive the full cleanup unless a future owner decides to dig on the property.Residents can weigh in on the current plans at a public meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, 7-8 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main St. NE. Continue Reading

Minneapolis: St. Anthony Parkway Bridge meeting set for Oct. 29

After years of meetings, plans, funding, historic preservation work and various setbacks, City of Minneapolis engineers say they are ready with a solution to the problems caused by the aging St. Anthony Parkway bridge over the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad yard.Their decision to replace the bridge, with which the project’s citizen advisory committee concurred, met with resistance from the historic preservation arm of the Federal Highway Administration, which urged them to make a greater effort to meet future transportation needs without taking out the existing bridge. Those obstacles appear to have been cleared.The new bridge design calls for a combination approach, with the western portion having a Warren through-truss structure similar in appearance to the existing bridge, and the eastern portion supported by piers and steel girders.A public meeting/open house for the project is set for Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6-8 p.m. at River Village, 2919 Randolph St. NE. Continue Reading

Northeast Minneapolis: Central Avenue could be closed for months

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) owns the deteriorating railroad bridge over Central Avenue just north of 14th Avenue NE, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) owns the railroad tracks on the bridge and on both sides of it. As MnDOT and BNSF negotiate terms of how the bridge will be replaced, local business people are looking at the possibility that Central Avenue—between 14th and 18th avenues—will be closed for at least several months next year.Later this month, residents and business people will have a chance to weigh in on the project. A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24, 4:30-8 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Logan Park, 690 13th Ave. NE.Anticipating the bridge replacement, MnDOT left out the stretch from 14th to 18th avenues when re-surfacing Central Avenue last year. Continue Reading

Hennepin County hazardous waste facility is on hold

Hennepin County officials have suspended work on a plan to build a household hazardous waste collection center at 27th and University avenues NE, according to 2nd District Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins.“We had meetings with DDONE (Don’t Dump on Northeast, a neighborhood group opposed to the facility) and others. Many people opposed this project,” she said.“I asked the staff to go back and re-work the numbers, and it got a little expensive,” she said.Higgins said county officials are exploring other options, including another site she said might be better for the project. She did not release the location of the new possible project site, saying that the idea is in “very preliminary stages.” She did say, however, that there are “no houses anywhere near it.”Casper Hill of the City of Minneapolis Communications Department said Friday that the city’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department is using the 340 27th Ave. NE property to store trash carts and recycling carts, but was not able to contact officials who might know of future plans for the site.The city bought the property for more than $2 million in early 2011, anticipating a city/county collaboration to construct a county household hazardous waste drop-off facility, plus a replacement for the city’s Southside transfer station, which handles residential construction and demolition debris. About a year later, city officials decided not to pursue a facility on the site, which left the county’s proposal for a household hazardous waste similar to the one it now operates in Bloomington. Continue Reading

Freeway noise in Northeast Minneapolis: Where there’s a will, there’s a wall…or not

State, county and city officials have set another round of public meetings on a plan to ease congestion on northbound Interstate 35W and nearby streets.The plan includes building a new ramp for northbound 35W from Fourth Street South, building an extra lane (called an auxiliary lane) between the University Avenue SE entrance and the Johnson Street NE exit; closing the Stinson Boulevard-New Brighton Boulevard exit; re-working the Johnson Street exit so motorists can still reach the destinations available from the Stinson-New Brighton Boulevard exit; and building noise barriers to reduce noise levels in nearby neighborhoods.Planners say the project will relieve congestion on Washington Avenue South, improve transit access to northbound I-35W from downtown Minneapolis, reduce the diversion of traffic through Northeast Minneapolis and improve safety and operation at the northbound I-35W ramps at Washington Avenue and University Avenue/Fourth Street SE.Federal highway rules require local officials to plan noise abatement in places along the project where noise barriers will make a difference for nearby residents. The noise abatement plan has to be evaluated for feasibility (will it actually reduce noise), reasonableness (“consideration of the viewpoints of the property owners and residents” affected by the barriers) and cost-effectiveness. Officials have developed a voting procedure to gauge residents’ opinions on the noise barriers; they plan to describe the procedure at the public meetings.The project was originally scheduled for 2012. In late 2011, however, residents raised concerns about traffic issues and the noise barriers. Planners decided to re-work the noise barriers and have more meetings with residents.Scott Pederson, project manager for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), said, “We agreed to take a step back…take another look.” The project is now scheduled for 2014.Three meetings are scheduled, with plans to discuss each neighborhood’s issues at a meeting near that neighborhood:For residents in and near the Mid-City Industrial, Beltrami and Northeast Park neighborhoods, the meeting is set for Wednesday, July 24, 5-7 p.m. at Logan Park Recreation Center, 690 13th Ave. Continue Reading

Volna gets development rights for Hollywood Theater in Northeast Minneapolis

Northeast developer Andrew Volna has exclusive development rights for the Hollywood Theater property at 2815 and 2819 Johnson Street NE.The Minneapolis City Council granted the status for the city-owned theater at its Dec. 14 meeting. City staff is also authorized to give Volna another six months of exclusive development rights if he requests it.Volna renovated the former Rayvic gas station at 1501 East Hennepin Ave., which is the home of Clockwork Active Media Systems; and the Hawkinson Building at 1325 Winter St. NE, which houses his business, Noiseland Industries, an audio media production company, and other businesses.He is working with structural engineer Meghan Elliot, a former member of the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission, and founder and head of Preservation Design Works, a Minneapolis real estate firm focused on redeveloping historic buildings.Volna has been talking with area residents and businesses for several months about the project. The new development would probably not involve a theater, at least at first. Continue Reading

Minneapolis: Will old Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad bridge last till replacement is ready?

State highway officials are reconsidering two key aspects of a plan to replace the railroad bridge that crosses Central Avenue NE south of 18th Avenue NE: The project schedule, and whether or not to close Central. They’re still working out the pros and cons of several alternatives, and when that work is complete, they plan another round of community meetings before deciding on how to proceed.

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