Minneapolis city and park officials are discussing a joint new facility in the Holland neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis where the city and Hennepin County not long ago gave up on a creating a recycling center.
The six-acre city-owned site at 340 27th Av. NE, just off University Avenue, could handle the forestry and maintenance operations of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for both the east and north sides of the city.
The city hopes to expand the site to almost 10 acres to develop a governmental campus there that includes both Public Works vehicles and repair areas, plus space for several other departments, according to Greg Goeke, the city's property services director.
Hennepin County dropped out of an earlier proposal with the city to create a site to collect household chemicals, construction waste and other items not collected in regular trash pickup. That happened after area opponents sued unsuccessfully to block the facility.
The proposed acquisition of a piece of state-owned land on the site's west side at the 27th and University intersection will be reviewed by a Planning Commission meeting Thursday. The city is also interested in buying another parcel on the railroad side of the parcel to the east, and potentially eight homes south of the state parcel, Goeke said. He plans to seek council approval next month for negotiating to buy land.
Goeke said the larger site adjoining University forms a gateway to the city. He said he envisions a facility resembling the city's nine-acre Hiawatha public works facility on the South Side at E. 26th St.
He said the facility could handle public works transportation and maintenance operations, with snow plowing and street repair operations for that sector of the city. Goeke said the facility also could handle trash vehicles from the riverside North Transfer Station at 2710 N. Pacific St., which the city has been trying to vacate as part of the long-term upper riverfront redevelopment. But trash wouldn't flow through the 27th Avenue site, he said.
He brought the concept to the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association, which said it would help bring the issue to a community meeting when it's fleshed out. "We need something a little more firm," said Adelheid Koski, the association's chair.
The proposed facility would represent the third iteration of the Park Board’s quest to replace or renovate antiquated maintenance sites at Columbia Park in northeast Minneapolis and at Webber Park on the North Side.
Originally, park staff proposed renovating a riverfront building the system owns at 1720 NE Marshall St. to replace the two sites. But about 35 speakers spoke against that idea at a board meeting last year. Some opposed using a site on the river for operations instead of a park; others opposed the loss of parking that has served as overflow for Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge nearby.
So staffers next advanced the idea of using the Marshall site as a temporary home for operations while the two existing centers were renovated. But they’ve now shifted to exploring a joint home with the city, park planner Dana Murdoch said, although that concept hasn’t been brought formally to the board for approval.
A timeline for the project identified a spring, 2018 completion date.
The proposal would allow all park maintenance and forestry equipment to be stored inside, prolonging its life, Murdoch said, while the Marshall site would require forestry equipment to be stored outside. Inside equipment storage of expensive machinery has been a priority for Superintendent Jayne Miller.
(Photo above: University Avenue NE is on the left side and 27th Av. NE is on the upper edge, with Burlington Northern tracks on the right.)