UPDATE: This measure was passed by the City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee Thursday afternoon.

The committee considered a plan to put an indoor golf facility atop the Seventh Street (or Ramp A) parking garage, an idea that has been bandied about for many years.

Actually, the idea has morphed since the late 1990s to include the roof of the adjacent Hawthorne Transportation Center parking ramp, as well.

Now, two groups, Downtown Rooftop Golf LLC and Downtown Rooftop Youth Center LLC, are proposing additional activities for the vast space, including playing fields, a running/walking track, clubhouse, retail/food outlets and perhaps a green roof performance space -- in addition to some type of golf facility. Part of the space is expected to be indoors, and part outdoors.

Details have yet to be worked out, according to Elwyn Tinklenberg, former commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, who is a spokesman for the effort. The first step involves the committee authorizing city staff to negotiate a long-term airspace lease with MnDOT over Ramp A. (MnDOT owns the ramp.)

Tinklenberg did not know how much the facility would cost to build, but said it would be funded through private sources and perhaps grants from foundations.

The idea is to offer the city's burgeoning residential population access to open space, and offer athletic space for youth-enrichment activities.

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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