Met Council gives $1.6M to West Side Flats project

St. Paul’s plan to create a “riverfront urban village” at West Side Flats just got a financial boost from the Metropolitan Council.

The Met Council on Wednesday approved two grants totaling $1.6 million for improvements to the area, a 40-acre brownfield site located on the Mississippi River across from downtown. Half the money will go toward development of two apartment buildings with a total of 264 units at Fillmore and Livingston avenues. The buildings will include affordable and market-rate units.

The other $800,000 will help pay for a greenway that will include stormwater management infrastructure, landscaping and pathways.

The Met Council approved Livable Community Demonstration Account grants for a number of projects across the metro. Another St. Paul development, Catholic Charities, received $662,000 for the Dorothy Day Center expansion downtown.

Jessie Van Berkel

St. Louis Park

City releases plan to use renewables, cut emissions

St. Louis Park last week unveiled an energy plan aimed at reducing the city’s greenhouse emissions and increasing use of renewable energy.

Sustainable SLP, the city’s sustainability commission, worked with Xcel Energy to develop the plan.

The city hopes to have all its energy come from renewable sources by 2025, and to be carbon neutral by 2040.

“We strategically chose electricity as the area to focus first,” said Ryan Griffin, a commission member. “It’s about a third of our greenhouse emissions in St. Louis Park.”

The commission wants local businesses to improve their energy efficiency and residents to power their homes using wind or solar energy.

According to the new energy plan, the city hopes to have a climate action plan ready by March 2018.

Miguel Otárola


Library reopens after 14-week renovation

A celebration to mark the reopening of the renovated Hennepin County Library in St. Anthony was canceled Saturday due to winter storm forecasts, but the library did open for patrons to use and visit.

The library had been closed since September for the $850,000 renovation project, which included adding new carpet and furniture, a larger meeting room and a new interactive learning space in the children’s area.

“Our investment in St. Anthony’s library is an investment in our community,” Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins said in a statement. “This library will continue to be a gathering place for residents, and provide resources, information and enjoyment for years to come.”

The library, at 2941 Pentagon Drive NE., opened in 1963 at the St. Anthony Shopping Center before moving to its current location in 2002.

The Hennepin County Library, the state’s largest library system, aims to update each of its 41 libraries at least once every 10 years.

Seven libraries are due to be renovated next, while construction continues on a new Webber Park library in north Minneapolis.


metro area

I-94 named ‘Zero Emissions Corridor’

Interstate 94 through the Twin Cities and in Minnesota is now part of a national corridor that promotes alternative fuels and helps drivers find vehicle-charging stations nationwide, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

MnDOT and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency submitted an application to designate I-94 as a Zero Emissions Corridor, a type of alternative fuel corridor intended to promote electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The designation is used to promote electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas vehicles by encouraging development of fueling and charging stations along the route.

“Interstate 94 from Minneapolis to St. Cloud has been designated as ‘signage ready,’ ” said Tim Sexton, MnDOT’s Construction and Operations Section director, meaning drivers of today’s electric vehicles can rely on its existing network of fast-charging stations.