Mpls. Strives to Protect Public Land Along Proposed Southwest Light Rail Route

Updated: 08/27/2014 1:35 PM
Created: 08/27/2014 8:18 AM
By: Katherine Johnson

The Minneapolis City Council is preparing to vote on whether to move forward with the proposed $1.6 billion Southwest Light Rail line. Since the vote on Friday cannot come with any conditions, the city voted on a few conditions ahead of Friday's official vote, like protecting public land ownership.

Railroads generally have unprecedented authority to make changes as needed as a project moves along. The Minneapolis City Council voted to secure communication with the Metropolitan Council in an effort to ensure there are no surprises after construction starts.

"I think this is as strong a statement as we can make given the perimeters of the vote that we have before us," said council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden.

Wednesday's unanimous vote is supposed to give better protection over the preservation of parks and trails in the Kenilworth corridor.  Changes could still come up, even once the deal is struck and construction is underway. However, with this vote, the city of Minneapolis should at least know about changes before they happen. The council will now be able to hold meetings and, perhaps, even be able to sway the rail line to serve the public's best interests along the way.

"What we have in front of us is tremendous pressure by every outside government entity in the state of Minnesota," said council member Lisa Goodman on potentially approving the route.

Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Hennepin County have all approved moving forward with the project. The city of Minneapolis votes on Friday.

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