Blue Line Extension construction begins in 2025, connecting Brooklyn Park to downtown Minneapolis
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The Metro Blue Line extension officially has a new route that will run through the Northside of Minneapolis, and the community said it could be good or bad for business.
The new route will run from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park, making West Broadway Ave a gateway to the northwest suburbs.
“I’m kind of on the fence about it. It could be a good thing if it is done right,” said Teto Wilson. Wilson owns Wilson’s Image, a barbershop on the Northside.
Wilson’s Image has been located on West Broadway for nearly nine years. It quickly became a community hub on the Northside.
“My passion is to be able to connect with the community and offer a number of resources that’s beyond just cutting hair here,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he has every intention to stick around, but the new Blue Line route may be bad for business.
“If you take away a couple of lanes out here on a narrow road, then that’s going to leave us with no parking,” Wilson said.
He explained parking in the area is already limited.
Wilson said black-owned businesses are gaining momentum, and this is not the time to slow it down.
“You have a lot of black business owners right now that are tapping into purchasing their buildings, so it’s been a good time,” Wilson said.
Metropolitan council officials call the blue line project a “critical transportation investment for communities and the region.”
The goal is to connect people to new destinations, create jobs and invest in communities of color, while limiting displacement.
An anti-displacement workgroup led by the Met Council and Hennepin County has been meeting to discuss different ways to keep displacement to a minimum. The group was facilitated by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs.
“I think that’s a great idea, it’s going to be better for the community to be able to get from point A to point B without waiting on buses,” Pearlie Collins, Northside resident, said.
Some say bringing the Blue Line to the Northside will drive people to the area and help the neighborhood get back on its feet.
“People need to start realizing that this community is in trouble, and we need different avenues, different organizations, and different people to come in and invest in it,” Collins said. “Let us know that we’re important too.”
Wilson explained the project could be beneficial to businesses if there were multiple stops on West Broadway.
“It can be a good thing if people realize that this is a destination versus somewhere you just pass through,” he said.
Metropolitan Council officials say they will continue conversations with community partners to get this project to the finish line.
Construction is expected to start in 2025.