City Hall update // Railgating plan would give fans another pre-game option

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September 24, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

The city of Minneapolis has rolled out a plan to allow for “railgating” near the Metrodome in an effort to increase the pre-game experience even before a new stadium is built. 

What exactly is railgating?

The city would shut down three blocks of 5th Street between Park Avenue and Fourth Avenue, according to a preliminary plan released by Chuck Lutz, deputy director of the Community Planning and Economic Development for the city. A beer stand would sell local brews and 16 food trucks would be allowed in the area. The city would also set up portable restrooms. 

Mayor R.T. Rybak called the idea part of a “Purple Path” concept that is meant to connect the Metrodome and, later, the new Vikings stadium with the west side of downtown. 

“There really isn’t an urban model for a football stadium yet, and what we really want to do is reinvent the game day experience,” Rybak said. 

The city planned to begin railgating for the Sept. 23 game, but Rybak said a few days before the game that complications will prevent beer sales for the first week. 

Rybak said the city is also exploring the extension of some type of tailgating to First Avenue in the Warehouse District.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Stadium Facilities Authority, which was formed to oversee the new stadium, is close to selecting an architect to design the new facility.

The finalists for the job include AECOM, designer of Spartak Stadium in Moscow; Ewing Cole, designer of the new Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey; HKS, designer of the new stadiums of the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts; HNTB, the company that will design the new San Francisco 49ers stadium; and Populous, the designer of Target Field. 

Michele Kelm-Helgen, the chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority, said she expects to select a firm by early October.  

City awarded grant to install 25 electric vehicle charging stations downtown

A $220,000 state grant will allow the city of Minneapolis to install 25 electric vehicle charging stations in downtown parking ramps. 

The grant is from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and requires the city and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to chip in another $55,000. Two of the ramps are DOT-owned and two are city owned.

The grant would allow for 13 charging stations at Ramp A and four at Ramp B. Both of those ramps are near Target Field. Four would be installed at Haaf Ramp, near the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, and another four would be installed at the Leamington Ramp near the Hilton. 

The city would have to pay $16,000 and the DOT would have to pay $39,000, according to a resolution discussed during the Sept. 11 Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting. 

A city spokesman said the city has not yet decided if it will charge customers for using the stations. The city currently operates three charging stations at the Haaf ramp and customers who pay for parking can use them for free. 

The charging stations are expected to be running sometime next year. 

City bike tour draws 4,000 riders

Almost 4,000 cyclists participated in the annual Minneapolis Bike Tour, which raises money for the Minneapolis park system. 

Riders chouse between a 14-mile or 36-mile ride around the park system’s Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The Park Board closes the pathways to motor traffic.

The tour, which was held Sept. 16, ended in Parade Field.