Planetarium survives, will be built closerto the sky

Share this:
June 18, 2002 // UPDATED 1:25 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Ellen Nigon
Ellen Nigon

Much like the "roof-ready" stadium that baseball fans want, the New Minneapolis Central Library Implementation Committee endorsed a "planetarium-ready" library design on June 18.

Known as "Option R," the plan places the planetarium on the 5th level (or roof) of the new Central Library, 4th Street and Hennepin Avenue.

Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed $9.5 million for an initial planetarium design approved by the 2002 state legislature. The original library/planetarium design, known as "Option F," placed the planetarium on the skyway level. The veto left planetarium funding uncertain, and planners didn't want to risk having a potentially vacant space in a high-traffic location.

The Implementation Committee concluded that a rooftop planetarium would work if funding materializes, and not hurt the overall library project if it doesn't. With option F, should planetarium dreams die, the library's Nicollet & 3rd Street corner would be just one story tall.

Mayor R.T. Rybak disliked the compromise. "I don't think F works," he said. "I love it if the planetarium is in, but hate it if the planetarium isn't there."

Rejected options included eliminating the planetarium altogether, building the planetarium at another site and designing two schemes concurrently -- one with a planetarium and one without.

All were most costly, said project manager Rick Johnson, with the last option most expensive.

State Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis), the chief author of the planetarium bill told the committee that with Gov. Ventura's announcement that he would not run for re-election, chances looked good that the planetarium would receive $9.5 million from the state in 2003.

The Implementation Committee's decision will be forwarded onto the Minneapolis City Council and Library Board for final approval.