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Central Corridor : Buzz

3 Central Corridor Articles | Page:

MSP top metro for innovatively solving urban issues

Minneapolis-St. Paul was recently named one of the top 10 innovative cities in the U.S. by CNN Money.

"From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability," the article stated, the cities included are "leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues."

About MSP, the article stated, "June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example of transportation infrastructure done right -- it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development."

The Twin Cities were also selected as "early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems. The Cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities."

Federal funding for Central Corridor makes national news

News of the finalization of the federal Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Central Corridor light-rail transit line made business pages nationally, with Bloomberg Businessweek and other news outlets running Associated Press stories on the topic.

The AP report what we probably know: that the feds have committed $478 million, half of the cost of the 11-mile line, expected to be completed in 2014. The AP reports that the project has created 570 jobs, just a fraction of the 3,400 construction, management, engineering and operations jobs the Met Council claims will be created.

In a related local story, KSTP Eyewitness News reported on scuttled plans to build a temporary sidewalk in Downtown St. Paul for a public celebration of the funding agreement. The 2,000 square feet of concrete would have been pulled out days later and cost taxpayers "tens of thousands of dollars," reports KSTP's Jay Kolls.

Local, state and federal officials did join to sign a six-foot section of light rail in celebration.

Will light rail force artists, small businesses out of St. Paul's West Midway?

An article in the November 30 StarTribune takes a wide-ranging look at the possible impact of the Central Corridor Light Rail line on Saint Paul's West Midway, near the border of the two cities. This "amalgam of arts, industries,housing, services and transportation" could see major economic shifts as the line is completed and property values ramp up, writes Chris Havens,

Among the questions he asks: "Will artists be forced to move because of rising property values? Will new city land-use rules stifle business expansion? Will there still be room for manufacturing jobs? Will the neighborhood lose its character?...The area has some of St. Paul's most valuable land, thousands of jobs, hundreds of artists, small businesses and nonprofits, and accessibility to many major thoroughfares."

Havens talks to people with these concerns, as well as to organizations working to ensure that the area maintains its character and continues to offer opportunities for a diverse mix of residents.

"One group is looking at the area as a 'Creative Enterprise Zone' to figure out how the arts community can remain and thrive. Another group, the West Midway Task Force, is looking at business and jobs. The city is considering changes to its zoning code to encourage more mixed-use, high-density development along the light-rail line."

3 Central Corridor Articles | Page:
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