Downtown - North side connector gets funding

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May 10, 2004 // UPDATED 1:32 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

Hennepin County has agreed to contribute $7.6 million for the southern segment of Van White Memorial Boulevard, a new north-south parkway that will connect Downtown to the near North side.

The county funds and federal transportation aid will cover the $19 million cost of the half-mile stretch through the Basset Creek Valley, said Lois Eberhart, the city's project manager.

New bridges and property costs contribute to the high price tag, she said. One new bridge will span the Linden Yards railroad tracks and a second smaller one will cross Basset Creek, just before it is diverted into underground tunnels.

The project is paying $1.63 million to buy Scrap Metal Processors, Inc., 150 Girard Ave. N., said Darrel Washington, senior project coordinator with the city's Department of Community Planning and Economic Development. The recycling business impeded area redevelopment.

Once completed, Van White will run 1.4 miles from Dunwoody Boulevard near I-394 to 7th Street North near Plymouth Avenue. The city is working on the boulevard's northern section in conjunction with Heritage Park, the mixed-use redevelopment of the former Sumner-Olson public housing project.

Van White Boulevard already exists between Olson Memorial Highway and 11th Avenue North. This year, crews will work on the boulevard between 7th Street North and 4th Avenue North, near Glenwood. Eberhart said. Crews will work on the Basset Creek Valley section between Glenwood and Dunwoody Boulevard in 2005/06, and open the boulevard end-to-end by late 2006 at the earliest.

Work on the southern section includes a 10-foot-wide bicycle/multipurpose path on one side of Van White and pedestrian level lighting. Washington said the city would request more federal aid for additional amenities.

Van White will bisect the city's impound lot, with the more heavily used area to the east and the overflow lot to the west, Eberhart said.