Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Light Rail Transit)
Extending the Blue Line and improving transit service in Hennepin County’s heavily traveled northwestern suburbs will help reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption and pollution, spur development, shorten commuting time, and provide people with more access to jobs around the region. Commissioner Opat is chair of the BLRT Community Works Steering Committee, a combination of public and private agencies and leaders formed to mobilize resources, align public policies and focus on new development opportunities within the Bottineau Boulevard corridor.
Read about the Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT)
Preventing teen pregnancy
Commissioner Opat launched a pilot project toward teen pregnancy prevention efforts, for which he was awarded the Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting (MOAPPP)'s Policymaker of the Year award in 2003. Since 2007, the Better Together Hennepin program has helped to cut the teen pregnancy rate by more than 50 percent in Hennepin County.
Read more about efforts to prevent teen pregnancy in Hennepin County
Victory Memorial Drive
Victory Memorial Drive, North Minneapolis’ unique commemoration of the 568 men and women of Hennepin County who served and died in World War I, is getting new investments to maintain its honor and distinction for future generations. In 2003, the Legislature created the Victory Memorial Drive Task Force, co-chaired by Commissioner Opat and Commissioner Stenglein. Already, the Task Force has extended the green space and led the restoration of the historic street grid. Plans for 2010 include building landmark gateway monuments at Lowry Avenue North and Humboldt Avenue North, redesigning and expanding the flagpole plaza, and adding lighting for the streets and parkway. Soon, when motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists approach Victory Memorial Drive, they will know exactly what they are entering – a living tribute to the soldiers and nurses of Hennepin County who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I.
We'll post updates on the District 1 homepage as progress on this great project continues.
Youth Sports Program and extended library hours
Excess sales tax proceeds from the Twins ballpark have allowed us to keep libraries open and expand athletic opportunities for youth across the entire County.
Since 2009, Hennepin County has granted $19.6 million for 122 youth sports facility projects and 221 small equipment projects. Projects like Lee Park in Robbinsdale, the fields at Northwoods Park in Brooklyn Park, and the New Hope Ice Arena would not have come to fruition without the grant assistance. Also due to this funding, 15 library locations are open 100 additional hours each week.
The ballpark sales tax (15 cents of every dollar, or about 3 cents of every $20 taxable purchase) also is coming in more quickly than anticipated, and we are prepaying more than $11 million of the debt each year. This has translated into more than $120 million in interest savings. The ballpark is projected to be paid off more 10 years ahead of schedule. We can make these prepayments in addition to the $4 million set aside each year for library hours and the Hennepin Youth Sports Grants.
Learn more about this program.