Parkway, trail closing at Franklin extended
Hennepin County announced Tuesday that a West River Parkway closing that’s in its 11th month will be extended further south to accommodate a long-planned rehab of the Franklin Avenue Bridge.
Workers will be chipping away at the bridge near its west pier to remove spalling concrete. The closing of the parkway and the adjacent pedestrian and bike trails is expected to last for several weeks until the work shifts out over the river.
The parkway closing will begin 500 feet south of the bridge, or about a mile south of the existing roadblock caused by a massive mudslide last June that followed heavy rain. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board hopes to have new retaining walls installed in the area below the Fairview medical complex by next fall, allowing that section to reopen.
The Park Board already has a detour for bike and foot traffic, but the county has added a route for motorists.
Learn to paddleboard at Cleary Lake Park
Park visitors can learn to use a stand-up paddleboard at a class from 5 to 7 p.m. May 22 at Cleary Lake Regional Park, 18106 Texas Av. in Prior Lake.
Equipment will be provided. Reservations are required. The park’s website cautions that the paddleboards available at Three Rivers Park District have a manufacturer’s recommended weight limit of 220 to 250 pounds. Beginners at or above that weight may have trouble standing or balancing on the boards. The cost is $35 to $36. Register at http://tinyurl.com/q4p9j6l.
City gets off the ‘worst’ list for child poverty, but …
St. Paul has dropped off the top 25 list for child poverty among the nation’s 71 biggest cities, a national research institute has found. But the figure is still quite high.
The National Center for Children in Poverty at New York’s Columbia University does an annual reckoning based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
In 2011, St. Paul ranked 21st, just below Chicago, with child poverty at 35.2 percent. The most recent report, though, has neither St. Paul nor Minneapolis on either of its widely publicized lists — the highest poverty rates or the fastest rising rates.
Officials at the center said St. Paul dropped to 29th place for child poverty, at 30.4 percent, with Minneapolis in 42nd place at 27.4 percent.
Stephanie Hogenson, research director at the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, said statistically the two cities aren’t that far apart. The year 2011 was a recession-induced worst case for child poverty, she said, and things have improved “modestly.”
Both cities are well above the state rate of 14.5 percent, she said. But more than half of children in poverty live outside the metro, and counties with some of the highest rates are actually rural, notably ones with American Indian concentrations.
“Recovery from the recession is taking longer for lower income people than for others,” she said. “The recession is still affecting them.”
City: We’re still open for business in construction
Drivers going through Minnetonka will start seeing billboards advertising another west metro city: Wayzata.
The small lakeside town is starting the ads off Interstate 394 and Interstate 494 to remind Twin Cities residents about getting to Wayzata on Hwy. 12 — a way to offset the major reconstruction of County Road 101, parts of which have been shut down and hampered business in Wayzata.
“We just want to do all we can to support our local business community,” City Manager Heidi Nelson said. “[It’s] just a reminder we’re open for business.”
Wayzata worked with the city of Minnetonka to use the billboard space. The road, which winds along Lake Minnetonka, is considered the eastern gateway to the lake, used by more than 11,000 motorists each day. It shut down last September, with the $41 million construction project wrapping up in fall 2016.