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Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde said that plans to expand W. Broadway have circulated for a decade. He acknowledged that widening the project for the light rail is a newer development but said it will ultimately benefit the city. The LRT path through Brooklyn Park was one of four northern routes studied.
“If we are saying no, we could send the light rail to Maple Grove. They will reap the benefits. Their residents will have access to affordable transportation,” Lunde said. “We have to look at the long-term health of the city. … We had to take homes for [Hwys.] 252, 94 and 610. Those are painful things but they are important at the end of the day.”
Lunde said he’s received several e-mails from residents who support the project.
Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat said: “We are planning this complicated project. We’re always taking the long view of 50 to 60 years.”
Opponents say there are other possible routes that would do less damage to neighborhoods, and some note that the proposed LRT line would end near the doorstep of Target’s Brooklyn Park campus. “The cynic says that this plan is about bringing a train to Target’s front door,” said City Council Member Jordan.
Jordan also said it’s hard to explain to his constituents why they must sacrifice their homes and neighborhood while the upscale Kenilworth neighborhood in Minneapolis could get tunnels for the Southwest line.
Lunde said comparing the Southwest LRT and Brooklyn Park project is unproductive.
At last week’s meeting, resident Mike Holzinger pointed to the red X marking the split-level house he bought in 1982.
“There were horses still out there,” Holzinger said. He was moving away from city life; now it has come to him, and the house where he and his wife raised their children may be razed.
“I’m upset, of course,” Holzinger said. “It was brand new when I bought it. I am still updating it — siding, windows and roof.”
Holzinger attended the meeting to learn more about the acquisition process. He and others are worried they won’t recoup the money they’ve spent keeping their homes up.
John Holm’s home is just outside the right of way. He said that’s almost worse than getting marked with an X. His home would rattle and shake 20 hours a day if the light rail barrels through, he said. Having the county take it “would have been a way out.”
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804