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Bottineau Community Works

Collaborative corridor planning for the METRO Blue Line LRT Extension

To prepare for the planned METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) light rail transit project, Hennepin County is partnering with cities in the northwest metro to identify and pursue community and economic development opportunities.

Through the Bottineau Community Works program, Hennepin County and cities in the Bottineau corridor (Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, and Robbinsdale) are making policy and infrastructure improvements that benefit our communities.

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Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County Introduce New Blue Line Extension LRT Route Options 

Minneapolis, Minn. – March 11, 2021 – Today, the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County released revised potential route options for the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension which will connect communities from Downtown Minneapolis northwest to Brooklyn Park. The routes represent technical and community discussions over several months since project partners announced a new direction for the project last August. Partners believe they present the best opportunities to deliver a light rail project that maximizes community benefits and connects even more people to jobs, education, healthcare and other key destinations.

These route options provide an opportunity to advance a conversation many years in the making with the goal of identifying a single community-supported route by the end of this year to advance through official design and environmental review processes.

“The routes released today are a big step forward for the Blue Line Extension Project,” said Met Council Chair Charles Zelle. “The Blue Line Extension is an important element of the region’s transportation system. While these potential routes are a good first step for seeing this project to completion, much work remains. We need community input from all our neighbors and businesses, because while these new routes begin the discussion, there will be more questions than answers at this early stage. For me the biggest measure of project success is community support, and the Met Council is determined to deliver a project the community feels is an investment that directly benefits those who currently live and work in the corridor cities.

Last fall, project partners worked together with stakeholders and community and business members to create a set of project principles to guide project work and engagement, including:

  • Maintain the existing alignment as much as possible
  • Engage, inform, and consult diverse communities to co-create project solutions that reduce disparities
  • Complement existing and planned transit investments
  • Mitigate negative impacts
  • Meet Federal Transit Administration New Starts criteria

View the full Project Principles

Project leaders believe the revised route options meet those goals and are supported by our engagement conversations thus far. Presenting these possible options is a next step in a larger process of choosing a revised route and implementing a project that benefits corridor communities and the region. 

“As a Hennepin County Commissioner and North Minneapolis resident, I’m excited for the transformational benefits light rail will bring to our communities. The new direction of the Blue Line Extension is positioned to serve among the most racially and economically diverse communities in Hennepin, while also connecting transit-reliant residents to the broader regional transit system. This will change the trajectory of what’s possible for so many of our neighbors - connecting students to education, patients to healthcare, and workers to jobs. To pursue this work equitably, we must also recognize that large-scale public investments can accelerate patterns of residential and economic displacement, and work together to ensure this investment benefits corridor residents, builds community wealth, and meaningfully addresses decades-long patterns of disinvestment,” said Irene Fernando, Hennepin County District 2 Commissioner and chair of the Regional Railroad Authority.

As project work continues, a new phase of engagement will kick off in the coming weeks. Project partners will work closely with community consultants to support engagement efforts with a focus on collecting community and business leaders input on the new route options, as well as potential community and economic development strategies and initiatives.

Project leaders want to hear from the community about the new routes, potential station locations, important destinations and what they want to see from their transit system. Project staff will be performing outreach work in several different ways:

  • Virtual town hall meetings are scheduled for Thursday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 30 for community members to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback on the project.
  • A community survey is available on the project website for community members wanting to give feedback on the initial route options by April 30.
  • Project staff are available to provide presentations to community and business groups.
  • General projects comments can be submitted here.
  • Follow the project on social media: Facebook and Twitter.

To learn about upcoming community town hall meetings, additional outreach efforts and to keep informed about upcoming Blue Line Extension project announcements, please visit the project website at www.BlueLineExt.org.

Bottineau Community Works Steering Committee

The Bottineau Community Works Steering Committee provides policymaker guidance for the Bottineau Community Works program. It includes elected officials and policymakers from Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, and corridor cities. 

The Bottineau Community Works Steering Committee meets on the third Monday of every month at 10:30 a.m. All meeting will be hosted virtually until further notice.

2021 membership roster (PDF)

Upcoming BCW Steering Committee meetings

View meeting notice (PDF)

Past meetings

Date

Agenda

Materials

Minutes

 April 13, 2021 Agenda Presentation Minutes

Preparing businesses for light rail

The planned METRO Blue Line Extension will connect customers, employees and investment to area businesses. To help businesses prepare for light rail, Hennepin County is working with several local organizations to provide free technical assistance to businesses near the planned LRT route.

Local businesses can access free one-on-one individualized consulting tailored to your specific business and needs.

Services offered include:

  • Accounting and record keeping
  • Budgeting
  • Financial and business analysis
  • Business plan development
  • Financial planning
  • Marketing and branding
  • Website and social media
  • And much more

View the business resource list

To access these services, contact:

Denise Butler
African Career, Education and Resource (ACER)
dbutler@acerinc.org
612-217-0282

Natalia Halls
Neighborhood Development Center (NDC)
nhals@ndc-mn.org
651-379-8424

Anna Schmiel
Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON)
anna@neon-mn.org
612-302-1505

The area within a half-mile radius or a ten-minute walk of planned light rail transit stations is commonly referred to as the “station area.” Typically, this is where investments in transit infrastructure are expected to generate the greatest community opportunities and impacts. Most Bottineau Community Works program activities are focused on enhancements within station areas. Activities include:

  • Improving mobility and connections for people walking, biking and rolling
  • Increasing the impact of public and private investments in housing, commercial development and infrastructure
  • Creating economic opportunity through increased access to jobs, as well as business recruitment and development
  • Fostering healthy communities connected to regional services and amenities, educational institutions, public spaces and natural places

Map of planned station areas (PDF)

Minneapolis stations

Van White Boulevard

Penn Avenue station

Golden Valley/Minneapolis stations

Plymouth Avenue station

Golden Valley Road station

Robbinsdale station

42nd Avenue station

Crystal station

Bass Lake Road station

Brooklyn Park stations

63rd Avenue, Brooklyn Blvd, 85th Avenue, 93rd Avenue, Oak Grove Parkway stations

FTA grant for transit oriented development planning

Hennepin County recently completed work on a multi-year $1.2 million planning grant from the Federal Transit Administration to support advanced planning in several key subject areas to prepare for the opportunities of light rail in the Northwest Metro. Key tasks, reports, and outcomes are included below.

Task 1: Development plans

Task 2: Infrastructure

Task 3: Housing

Task 4: Economic Development

Marketing and Branding:

Bottineau Corridor Development Guide:

Tying Theory to Practice:

Youth Internships:

Small business support:

Task 5: Innovative Financing (led by Metropolitan Council)

Task 6: Community engagement:

LISC CDI work:

Infrastructure CE:

Development & Housing CE:

Small business CE:

Marketing and branding CE:

Wayfinding:

Report back community engagement:

Communications materials:

Cultivate Bottineau

Cultivate Bottineau: Culture, Community, and Commerce was a collaborative effort to activate spaces, build connections, celebrate diversity, and promote opportunity through local artist-led creative placemaking projects in the Bottineau Corridor. Supported by the McKnight Foundation, this project was coordinated by Hennepin County Bottineau Community Works and Springboard for the Arts in partnership with the cities of Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park, and other community partners from January 2018 to October 2019.

Some highlights:

  • Over 200 local artists were engaged, from a few hours at an information session or an art activity, to over dozens of hours to create a large commission.
  • The nearly 50 lead artists worked with another 50 artists.
  • Over 50% of the lead artists are artists of color.
  • Nearly 50 collaborators worked with local artists.
  • Over 4800 community members attended, participated in, or encountered a local artist-led project activity. This does not include people who view permanent projects (installations, murals) as they pass by.

View the final report (PDF).

View the one page overview (PDF).

Learn more on the Cultivate Bottineau website.

Check out Cultivate Bottineau on Instagram or Twitter.

Other reports and plans

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