The Metropolitan Council awarded more than $10 million Wednesday to development projects across the metro area for cleaning up polluted sites and encouraging innovative project designs.
The grants were doled out under the council’s Livable Communities Act program, created in the 1990s in part to incentivize cities to set affordable housing goals. It is funded through property taxes. Fourteen of the grants, totaling more than $3 million, will help clean polluted sites in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington and Maple Grove.
“For more than two decades, the Livable Communities Grant Program has turned polluted land across the Twin Cities into fertile ground for economic growth and opportunity and invested in our local communities,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement.
Some of the largest individual awards went to development projects in Minneapolis, Roseville and Edina.
A plan to turn a north Minneapolis industrial area of what are now empty buildings into office space and a five-story apartment building of mostly affordable units was awarded about $1.8 million in grants.
Two Edina projects won funding in part for their street-level design elements. A $1.4 million grant will help pay for a shared street and public plaza at the Collaborative, replacing a parking lot and ramp at 50th Street and France Avenue with housing, retail and underground parking. Closer to Southdale, the Avenue on France won $1.3 million to help pay for paths, benches, landscaping and lighting for the multiphase redevelopment of a suburban office park into a medical building, office complex, hotel and condominiums, said Edina Community Development Director Cary Teague.
The grants are “critical in being able to enhance the public realm — the sidewalks, the benches, the plazas — to create a place … that’s not only for the development, but it benefits the city as a whole,” Teague said.
Another $1.8 million will be used to install solar panels at the Edison, a 209-unit apartment building proposed for Roseville. About 60 of those units are set aside to serve as affordable housing, with some reserved for veterans and others who have been recently homeless.
The Met Council awards the grants on a rolling basis every year. It gave out nearly $14 million in similar grants last year.