The first of four open houses to allow the public to give their thoughts and ideas on the preliminary plans for the stations that will be built along the Southwest Light Rail line will be held tonight at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center.

It will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 3700 Monterey Drive.

So far, initial drawings for the 17 planned stations have been completed and they incorporate options for providing access for people who walk, ride a bike, drive or take a bus to connect with the train.

Officials from Hennepin County and other agencies also are seeing input from the public on how to improve the stations and areas surrounding them.

Each open house will include an overview of the station planning and an overview of the line, which will run 15 miles from downtown Minneapolis through St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.

Construction on the line, which has a proposed budget of $1.25 billion funded by a combination of federal, state and local sources, is expected to begin in 2015.

The Southwest Light Rail line is projected to be operating by 2018.

Beside tonight, future open houses are scheduled:

5 to 7 p.m. April 23 at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins.

6 to 8 p.m. May 2 at Bryn Mawr elementary School, 252 Upton Av. S., Minneapolis.

5 to 7 p.m. May 13, Eden Prairie City Hall, 8080 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie.

For more information see


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