Transit-oriented development that includes retail, housing, office and entertainment options in what is considered an urban village is the stated goal of developers, team owners, city officials and neighborhood residents for the area surrounding a new Major League Soccer stadium planned for St. Paul.
Still to be determined over the next few months is just how much of that is possible -- and how quickly it can be developed.
The team hopes to break ground on the stadium in 2016 and to play its first game there in 2018.
On Thursday, the Community Advisory Committee for the Snelling-Midway Redevelopment Site held its first of what will be many bi-weekly meetings designed to collect community hopes and fears about not just the stadium, which will be home to Minnesota United, but a broader development plan in the surrounding area.
St. Paul Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckman said the committee will have input into the look, feel and composition of the redevelopment of the 34.5 acres that includes the 10 acres where the stadium will be built and the surrounding land now occupied by Midway Shopping Center. There will be much to go over and balance before the group is expected to make recommendations to the city Planning Commissioni in March or April. The planning commission would then forward its recommendation to the St. Paul City Council in May, she said.
"It's a tall order," she said of the work facing the 22-member committee.
Thursday's meeting was just the first step, a getting-to-know-you meeting that filled in committee members on several other development plans that were completed for the area long before a soccer stadium became part of the conversation.
Nearly everyone in attendance agreed that a detailed, broader development that includes the surrounding neighborhood and offers much more than weekly soccer games will be critical to the project's success and the area's hopes for new vitality.
"This has to be a place where people show up," said United owner Bill McGuire.
Committee members said they hope their hopes and fears about the stadium and related development -- from traffic jams and parking to sufficient green space and other amenities -- will be heard.
"I hope that the community feels that this is happening with them and not to them," said Emily Goellner, whose husband owns a nearby Play It Again Sports and who just bought a home in the area.