The Metropolitan Council will vote Wednesday on leasing its Midway-area bus barn site to St. Paul for redevelopment associated with the planned professional soccer stadium.

The 10-acre site owned by the Met Council, on Snelling Avenue north of Interstate 94, was used for years to store Metro Transit buses. A site plan presented to the community last week by Minnesota United FC team owner Bill McGuire showed that the site might contain part of the proposed stadium as well as retail businesses, office space and other uses.

The city would lease the space from the Met Council, but the team would pay the Met Council $556,620 annually for use of the site, said Todd Hurley, St. Paul’s financial services director. The 52-year lease would generate $29 million for the Met Council “that can be used as transit program income,” documents state.

The Met Council will pay up to $4.5 million to clean up pollution at the site, according to the documents.



north metro

$200 million project planned for I-35W

State officials last week reviewed with the Arden Hills City Council their plans to add a third lane onto a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 35W in the north-metro suburbs.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is finishing preliminary design work for a third lane in each direction on the freeway between County Road C in Roseville and Lexington Avenue in Lino Lakes, council members were told.

A construction start is projected for spring of 2019, although it’s also possible it may happen in 2018.

The state is more than halfway to obtaining the $200 million needed for the project, including at least $80 million in federal funds, according to documents provided to the council.

There are no plans to obtain more private property along the freeway, state officials say. But the creation of noise walls is a key issue for cities, and the council saw numerous slides showing where they could go.

David Peterson



Hovland announces bid for fourth term as mayor

James Hovland, mayor of Edina since 2005, said last week that he’ll run for a fourth term.

“I’ve loved working for our town and the people in our community, and also trying to make our region one of the most economically viable in the country,” Hovland said. “I’d like to continue that work a little longer.”

Hovland, an attorney, has focused on redevelopment and financial management as mayor. He serves on several regional boards and commissions, including the Municipal Legislative Council and the Transportation Advisory Board of the Metropolitan Council.

The Edina City Council consists of the mayor and four other council members. Hovland already had served eight years on the council before he was elected mayor in 2004. He beat former City Council Member Linda Masica for a third term in 2012.




Fitzgerald drug case to be subject of Dateline feature

The tragic story of a Woodbury teenager who died from a drug overdose will be featured Sunday on “Dateline,” the NBC newsmagazine.

Tara Fitzgerald, 17, was midway through her junior year at Woodbury High School when she placed a tiny tab of pink paper on her tongue. After her death on Jan. 11, 2014, authorities found out the paper, which she was told was LSD, was instead coated with a deadly chemical known as 25i-NBOMe.

The case resulted in the convictions of two adults and three teenagers who had bought and sold the specific drug package that eventually reached Tara.

Her parents, Tom and Mai Fitzgerald, told “Dateline” that they never expected their daughter would experiment with drugs. After her death, Tom Fitzgerald said, it became apparent to him that “it can happen to anybody.”

The new episode of “Dateline,” airing at 6 p.m. and reported by Kate Snow, also highlights the nationwide issue of synthetic drug use.

Kevin Giles