You can finally get there from here easily on the Hiawatha LRT Trail following the announcement that a long-closed key segment south of downtown will reopen Thursday at 7 a.m.
The section of trail for bikes and pedestrians between 11th and 15th Avenues S. is reopening after a lengthy closure by the Metro Council for construction of the adjacent extension of the light-rail transit line to St. Paul. The bike path generally parallels the light-rail tracks, and about 1,300 cyclists a day use it in warm weather.
The section of path closed just as the city was completing a $1.3 million extension of the north end of the trail farther into downtown,which mooted the utility of the extension. The extension pushed the north end of the trail from 11th Avenue S. to S. 3rd Street, meaning cyclists no longer were tempted to cut through several bumpy parking lots to access it. The extension connected the trail with on-street lanes on S. 3rd and 4th Streets.
During the construction closure, trail users were routed through a bumpy, narrow, noisy sidewalk route adjoinng the S. 5th Street freeway entrance to downtown.
The city said in a news release that bikers and pedestrians should keep an eye out for light-rail workers using the trail to access work sites and complete remaining tasks. The reopened section of trail includes the junction of the blue (Hiawatha) line and green (Central) sections of track. That means there's a new surface-level track crossing where bikers and other users are required to stop for gate arms, the city said.
(Staff photo bvy Matt McKinney, looking west toward downtown at the point of the former detour.)
The owner of an apartment building on Lake Street sued by the city for pumping groundwater into the Calhoun-Isles lagoon asserts that the city approved its plans.
Lake and Knox LLC said in an answer to the city lawsuit that city reviewed and approved its building plans and specifications, which included included information about two permanent dewatering pumps each rated at 500 gallons per minute.
The city asserts that Lake and Knox obtained temporary permits to pump water for its construction site at 1800 W. Lake St., but that it is now pumping illegally on a permanent basis. The city, later joined by the Park Board, is suing to block the discharge and recover damages.
But lawyers for the apartment owner assert that the city expressly approved a storm drain permit, certificate of occupancy and building permit that involved permanent dewatering of the property.
Lake and Knox said it applied for a permanent Department of Natural Resources water use permit after conferring with the city. It applied in April, 2013, after construction was completed, according to state records, but the city asked the state to hold off on acting on the permit, according to Jack Gleason, a DNR area hydrologist. He said the need for a permanent permit didn't come to light until after the city inquired whether the building had one.
The owner's attorneys also deny the city's claim that a temporary water use permit was limited to lowering the water table at the construction site for excavating a foundation, insisting that the dewatering was to lower the water table in the vicinity of the property. The company also denied the city's assertion that the apartment's connection to the storm sewer system was only for drainage from the property's land and roof.
It admits that the pumping of water into the lagoon may thin the ice, but denied that the pumping impairs the lakes or the city's sewer. It said it has worked "diligently and steadfastly" with the city to address its concerns.
The proposal for what became 56 upscale apartments was controversial in surrounding neighborhoods before it was approved and constructed in 2011. The city and Park Board recently installed for the second straight winter a drainage pipe to carry discharged water from the nearby sewer across the lagoon ice to a point in Lake Calhoun. That was done in part to accommodate skiers participating in this weekend's City of Lake Loppet events on Isles, Calhoun and the lagoon between them. .
(A temporary 12-inch drainage pipe in the background is temporarily carrying the storm sewer discharge from the lagoon to Lake Calhoun to avoid further thinning of the ice in the lagoon)
A second Minneapolis agency has sued the owner of an apartment building at 1800 W. Lake St. for discharging groundwater into the lagoon between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun.
The complaint served last week by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board against Eden Prairie-based Lake and Knox LLC follows a city lawsuit last month over the discharge of groundwater. The Park Board will ask that the two lawsuits be joined, attorney Brian Rice said.
The city and Park Board allege that the apartment owner exceed the limits of a temporary permit it was issued during construction of the 56-unit building to lower the water table to permit construction of a lower-level garage. The Park Board cites its statutory authority over waters adjacent to parks.
The Park Board asked the court to declare the discharge illegal, to enjoin further discharge and to award unspecified damages.
Lake and Knox is not due to file an answer until late this month in Hennepin County District Court to the allegations against it, nor has its attorney responded to Star Tribune inquiries.
The lawsuits allege that the apartment project is pumping an annual 89 million gallons into the lagoon. The Park Board alleges that causes thin ice and open water on the lagoon, creating hazards for skiers and others, mars the scenery, uses storm drain capacity, and impedes the effectiveness and hinders the maintenance of a grit chamber intended to remove sediment and accompanying pollutants.
You can’t keep an ex-mayor down.
Last Wednesday, an aide to R.T. Rybak told a reporter that Rybak felt he had said all he needs to say about his recent heart attack.
Last Thursday, Rybak blogged 650 words on the topic.
In his post, Rybak said he’d suffered no permanent heart damage and was feeling better than he had in years. That’s not surprising, considering that he’d had the cardiology equivalent of a Roto Rooter job on several arteries, with multiple angioplasties and stents.
Rybak said he’s doing cardiac rehab on a treadmill at Hennepin County Medical Center, but put in three full days at his new gig heading Generation Next’s focus on the achievement gap.
He said he’ll soon be back to a maniacal workout schedule, but not in time to ski this year’s City of Lake Loppet. He’ll be at its Luminary Loppet that’s more of a social event, he said, but didn’t say whether he’ll be on skis.
He said that people have wondered how someone in his condition could have a heart attack. He said the blame is strictly attributable to genetics and his doctors have told him that conditioning contributed to his survival. So his takeaway is to keep on sweating, with the help of medication to address his predisposition.
Hennepin County charged former Minneapolis parks employee Hashim Yonis with felony theft on Friday for allegedly collecting money for rental of a soccer field and then pocketing the money.
The county attorney's office charged Yonis with theft by swindle for allegedly pocketing more than $5,300 after renting to adults an artificial turf field at Currie Park that was built for youth soccer.
The charges follow Yonis's resignation of his job as a youth specialist with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in late October, shortly before a Park Board election in which he was a candidate.
Park officials moved to fire Yonis in August after an investigation, but later agreed to let him resign. Yonis, 26, who was also employed by Minneapolis schools, was put on administrative leave by the school district. He worked at South High School.
Yonis could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. In October, when asked about the criminal investigation by park police, he commented: “I believe the county has higher expectations than this petty stuff.”
According to the complaint, Yonis got more than $3,500 in cash from the organizer of an informal weekend soccer league for Latino adults and children. But the largely East African community round the park began to complain to Commissioner Scott Vreeland and other park employees that fields weren't available for neighborhood children.
Afterward, Yonis tried to cover his tracks, according to the complaint filed by park police Sgt. Richard Doll, by telling the soccer organizer not to tell park officials that he had rented the field, or he'd not rent to the organizer. The complaint also alleges that Yonis tried to postdate permits. In addition to the previous rentals, Yonis said he had collected another $1,320 in cash rentals that the complaint said an investigator and supervisor found in a bag on the shelf of the office used by Yonis, hidden in a pile of notebooks.
The organizer asked Yonis for a receipt for the rentals to show to neighbors, but told investigators that Yonis repeatedly refused to do so. The complaint said that that he paid Yonis inside an equipment shed at the field, where Yonis would count it and put it in his pocket.
Yonis finished midway down the list of 10 candidates for three at-large Park Board after the news broke.
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