Brooklyn Park officials know that the areas around the city’s future light-rail stations will look different once the train arrives. But then, they already do.
One area is surrounded by mostly single-family homes. Another is ringed by a community college and a library. Open land invites development near a third.
But residents and city leaders already have ideas of what they’d like to see take root once the proposed $1.5 billion Bottineau Blue Line light-rail project comes to town. Now it’s just a matter of making sure the zoning matches the planning.
“We’re going from visioning to tactical,” Mayor Jeff Lunde said.
For the past year, the city has been fine-tuning its regulations near the five proposed stations in a planning study expected to wrap up this summer. To complete the study, City Council members froze new development around those areas in a yearlong moratorium last June.
As the city prepares to make zoning decisions in the coming months, it has been working to keep residents in the loop on the process, said Kim Berggren, community development director.
“The city doesn’t set the pace of development, but we make a welcoming environment to allow good development to happen,” Berggren said.
The proposed 13-mile Blue Line extension would connect downtown Minneapolis to the northwest suburbs. The line would have 11 new stations, including the five in Brooklyn Park.
At a recent community meeting, about 60 people listened to updates on the project and offered their ideas on biking and walking improvements they would like to see near the station areas.
Brooklyn Park officials say light rail could be a boon for the city of 80,000. Some envision high-density development in a walkable layout at the line’s proposed terminus, dubbed Oak Grove. The area is now home to Target Corp.’s northern campus.
“We think of that as our future activity hub,” Berggren said.
Planned and recent development along the Blue Line extension already totals more than $500 million in investment, according to the Metropolitan Council. That includes two new hotels going in near the proposed 93rd Avenue Station, Lunde said.
The mayor said the hope is that whatever development comes along the proposed route, it will complement the existing neighborhoods and align with the community’s vision.
“We think each stop is unique,” Lunde said. “We’re trying to make sure the people at each stop get engaged.”