Protest against train yard proposal Wednesday

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January 18, 2010 // UPDATED 11:49 am - January 25, 2010
By: Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas

Harrison residents want “jobs not storage”


BRYN MAWR — Harrison residents plan a candlelight vigil and march Wednesday to protest plans for future commuter railcar storage in neighboring Bryn Mawr.

Organizers of the march warned that Hennepin County’s proposal to use a 13-acre parcel in Bryn Mawr for train storage would jeopardize long-term redevelopment plans for Bassett Creek Valley. The largely industrial valley west of Downtown is divided between Bryn Mawr and Harrison, and residents from both neighborhoods have contributed to a decade of redevelopment planning.

In February, the City Council is expected to consider a city staff recommendation to negotiate a sale of the parcel, known as Linden Yards East, to Hennepin County by the end of the year.

Linden Yards East was one of three sites in or near Downtown included in a county study for future rail storage. With up to six commuter rail lines planned to connect to Minneapolis in coming decades, county planners were attempting to identify a site where rail cars could layover between trips.

The study is expected to be made public this spring.

At a public meeting in Harrison in December, neighborhood leaders warned that parking trains in Bassett Creek Valley would alter the long-term vision for the valley, which was laid-out in a redevelopment master plan adopted by the City Council in 2007.  Opponents of the sale warned it would make the area less appealing for new housing and office space, costing area residents hundreds of jobs and new housing units.

City staff said they hoped to retain air rights to the Linden Yards East site even after a sale. That would keep open the possibility that new office space or housing could be built over the train yard, although it may ultimately prove too expensive.

Harrison residents planned to gather at 5:30 p.m. at The Living Room, 1716 Glenwood Ave. S., and march about one mile to the Minneapolis Impound Lot.

Bassett Creek Valley redevelopment proposals also called for the impound lot to be relocated. That move is likely to be delayed, as well, city staff said in January.