With the opening of the much-awaited Hiawatha
Light Rail Transit line, we celebrate the completion
of a major public project in Minnesota. Among the
many destinations along the route is the Downtown
Central Public Library - just a moment's walk from
two Downtown LRT stations.
Any passenger can disembark at the Nicollet Mall
station or Warehouse District station, walk to the
Central Library and find they are at the doorstep to
the world. Surf the Web, or pick up a book in our
history section and be instantly transported to the
days of the Roman Empire. You can pick up a book
in our travel section and learn where to get a good
cup of coffee in London's West End, or dine in one
of Mumbai's waterfront restaurants. Visit the
library's art section and read about ancient Mayan
weaving techniques or African Mask carvings.
Best of all, you can pick up a book at the library
when you arrive Downtown for work and read during
your commute home.
The Hiawatha line is only the beginning of travel
and exploration in our city. The Downtown Central
Public Library is your connecting stop to thousands
of other destinations.
Director, Minneapolis Public Library
[Regarding Skyway News' June 28-July 4 series of
articles on conversion of Minneapolis industrial
The industrial transition in Minneapolis has been
occurring for more than 80 years, since the lumber
and milling operations peaked around 1920. The
vacation of multistory industrial operations is nothing
more than an extension of that transition. The
Procolor proprietors acknowledged that in their
article. Modern industrial operations want singlestory
buildings. They also want room for future
expansion and parking. Minneapolis cannot usually
offer that. Therefore, industrial operations have
been moving to the suburbs - now into the third
and fourth ring - since World War II.
The conversion of North Loop industrial and
warehouse buildings should be viewed as a blessing.
These converted buildings provide a tax base
and residents to shop Downtown. The conversion
to residential brings a lot of vitality to the city.
I don't think the city needs to spend $300,000 to
find out the city's strongest industrial niches. A simple
phone call to CSM (development) about why
their relatively new single-story flex space building
at I-35W and New Brighton Blvd. has been halfempty
for three years would probably be very
revealing. Then ask Scott Tankenhoff at Hillcrest
Development about conversion of old warehouse
buildings along Stinson Boulevard and other city
locations to loft office spaces. He knows the business
What the city does need to look out for is compatibility
of uses. For example, the Riverview
Homes development at 2225 W. River Rd. is a disaster
waiting to happen. The project is new townhouses,
not a converted warehouse. Not only is the
site plan very bad, with too much crowding and
poor circulation, but the Cemstone plant is right
The city authorized this spot-zoning proposal
and allowed a residential use right in the middle of
one of those areas of the city that has single-story
industrial buildings with adjacent parking. It is an
area of the city where public money was spent to
create a "modern" industrial park in the 1970s.
Then, 30 years later, the city allows a poorly
designed townhouse project.
I guarantee you that those folks who live
there are not going to be walking to the adjacent
businesses. The city has shot itself in the foot on