West metro suburbs celebrated the opening of a third lane on Interstate 494 last week between Hwy. 55 in Plymouth and Fish Lake Road in Maple Grove, the last remaining two-lane section of the heavily used freeway.

City leaders from Plymouth, Maple Grove and Minnetonka joined Minnesota Department of Transportation representatives and state lawmakers to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday to mark the end of the $86 million construction project. The section opened to traffic on Nov. 4.

More than 95,000 vehicles use the freeway each day, according to MnDOT.

For 15 years, city leaders had lobbied for the third lane. Construction work began in April on the project, which included repairing ramps and replacing bridges.


HCMC tops off its $220 million specialty center

A year after breaking ground on its new specialty center in downtown Minneapolis, Hennepin County Medical Center celebrated a construction milestone this month when it topped off the building’s highest beam.

Officials hosted a ceremony on Nov. 10 for the $220 million center, which is slated to open in January 2018 and represents the biggest expansion in the hospital’s history. The final structural beam was raised with an evergreen tree, a construction tradition.

“We think it’s going to be an incredible opportunity to improve the care for our patients,” said Scott Wordelman, vice president of ambulatory administration, at the ceremony. “It’s going to be a magnificent building when we open it up in this really growing and developing part of downtown Minneapolis.”

The 377,000-square-foot building, under construction between 8th and 9th streets and Chicago and Park avenues, will consolidate clinics from nine other HCMC buildings. The building is being built by Mortenson Construction and BWBR Architects.



County puts Century Plaza up for sale

The fate of a 1930s-era downtown Minneapolis building will be determined when Hennepin County puts it up for sale.

Century Plaza, a 500,000-square-foot building located on the edge of downtown, houses services provided by the county’s Human Services and Public Health Department. But over the last few years, the county has moved those services to regional service centers to be closer to residents, and a new south Minneapolis service center that will open in April.

As a result, the county is putting out a request for proposals to buy the four-story property. County officials decided not to spend money to renovate the 84-year-old building, saying that it had reached the end of its “functional life span.” Selling the property also will return it to the county’s tax rolls.

The building is located on nearly 3 acres at 1101 3rd Av. S.



Applicants sought for boards, commissions

The city of Edina is looking for applicants to fill 10 commissions and boards next year.

Residents who are at least 18 years old can apply to be members of the Arts & Culture Commission, Heritage Preservation Board, Planning Commission, Energy & Environment Commission and others. The full list of open seats can be found at EdinaMN.gov/apply_bc.

“It’s a rewarding way to serve the city, and there are such a wide variety of boards and commissions; there’s something that’s a good fit for nearly everyone,” said project coordinator MJ Lamon.

Most appointments will begin in March and last for three years. Applications are due Jan. 31, with interviews to be held in February. For more information, call Lamon at 952-826-0360.



County to host household repair clinic

Hennepin County will host its next free Fix-It Clinic on Dec. 11, giving residents a chance to get assistance in repairing household items.

Participants can bring small appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and other items to the clinic, where experts will help them take apart, troubleshoot or repair the items. The clinic will be open from noon to 4 p.m. at Grace Center for Community Life, 1500 NE. 6th St., Minneapolis. The next event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the Hennepin County Library-Ridgedale, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka.

Nancy Lo, a waste reduction and recycling specialist with the county’s environmental services department, started the monthly clinics in 2012 to help residents learn new skills and repair items instead of throwing them out.