City Council passes plan to green up Washington Avenue and market, develop North Loop

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March 15, 2004 // UPDATED 9:50 am - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

A City Council committee has approved a $193,000 plan for Downtown's North Loop neighborhood after rebuffing it in January.

When North Loop's Neighborhood Revitalization Project plan first came before the Council's Community Development Committee two months ago, Councilmembers, including Downtown's Lisa Goodman (7th Ward), argued that it duplicated the city's master plan for the area.

They also said the plan put too much emphasis on marketing and didn't set aside enough dollars for public safety.

Since the January hearing, City Planners have clarified some Council concerns, distinguishing the North Loop plan as more detailed in some areas than the city's Downtown East/North Loop master plan.

A staff report noted that the city's master plan for the area doesn't provide development guidelines for the entire neighborhood, which covers Downtown west of 3rd Avenue North and the riverfront west of Hennepin Avenue south to Washington Avenue.

Councilmembers passed the plan at a Community Development Committee hearing March 9 without discussion. It will go before the full City Council on Friday, March 19.

The North Loop plan would set aside $76,000 for a comprehensive neighborhood master plan. It would also focus on developing a Washington Avenue boulevard plan, improving neighborhood lighting and traffic management, among other things.

It also calls for spending $75,000 on bolstering neighborhood identity and $8,000 on an "Explore the North Loop" plan to raise awareness about the neighborhood's arts, historical and entertainment groups.

The city's master plan for the neighborhood, meanwhile, focuses on high-density housing near the light-rail transit (LRT) line along 5th Street through Downtown. It places an emphasis on creating "complete communities" in Downtown East and the North Loop -- self-contained areas where residents would work, shop and find entertainment in a largely car-free area.