Opportunity is knocking at Hopkins’ front door. Now the city wants to take a good look at what might be on the other side of that door.
Hopkins is inviting residents to take part in a series of design workshops focused on the area around the planned Blake Road light-rail transit station along Excelsior Boulevard. Four workshops will be held at two-week intervals, and the city is urging participants to commit to attending all four. Through exercises led by design and development experts, residents will come up with a vision for the area that will be presented to the Planning Commission and City Council.
“We’ve called this area the front door of Hopkins,” said Meg Beekman, the city’s community development coordinator. “And we see that there is real potential for major transformation around this light-rail station in the next five to 10 years.”
With the station not projected to open until 2019, Beekman said, there’s ample opportunity for real, substantial input from the community.
The city does have its own ideas for the area, Beekman said. Like other cities along the Southwest LRT line, Hopkins hopes to see transit-oriented development: apartments and retail that would be attractive to transit users.
The city would also like to see “additional intensity of land use,” Beekman said, especially on the 12 acres available for development at the Cold Storage site on North Blake Road. That could include some office space.
Work will begin this summer on a $2 million renovation of Cottageville Park that will make the park more visible and accessible from Blake Road. The park project, being done in collaboration with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, will help set a tone for future development in the area.
Embracing transit-oriented development along the light-rail line will help the city’s financial position while protecting existing single-family neighborhoods, Beekman said.
The Met Council is hosting meetings this month in all five cities along the light-rail line on the design of stations; they will take place April 2 and April 8 in Minneapolis, April 8 in St. Louis Park, April 9 in Eden Prairie and April 14 in Hopkins on both Hopkins and Minnetonka stations.