Park Board Set to Buy Land Along N E Riverfront for $1.37 Million

The following article by Nick Halter was published in the May 14, 2012 edition of the Southwest Journal:

PARK BOARD SET TO BUY LAND ALONG NE RIVERFRONT FOR $1.37M

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board plans to purchase a 1.75-acre parcel of land along the upper riverfront in Northeast Minneapolis that would help with the expansion of bicycle and pedestrian trails along the river.

The land is a couple parcels north of the Scherer Bros. lumber site, which is just north of the Broadway Bridge. Some may know the space as the valet parking lot for Psycho Suzi’s.

The Park Board on May 2 approved a purchase agreement for the land — at 1720 Marshall St. NE — for $1.37 million.

The land is currently owned by Marshall Street Properties. It includes 354 feet of riverfront.

The land has a market value of $1.3 million, according to a Park Board memo. It was purchased in 1988 for $700,000.

Funding for the project is expected to come from the Park Board’s Riverfront Development fund, which has a $1.25 million balance, and from the Metropolitan Council. Additional funding could also come from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

There is currently a 37,780-square-foot building on the property, which is used for storage. Previously, it was a manufacturing facility. Park Board Superintendent of Planning Bruce Chamberlain said the Park Board would use the facility for storage and operations for the short-term, but the land would be primarily open when parks are developed.

The Park Board in March passed a design plan and framework for the upper riverfront called RiverFirst. This property, according to the resolution, would be a “critical acquisition” for that plan.

The thinking at the Park Board has been that trails along the east side of the river would be the first step in implementing the RiverFirst plan, which also includes developing a park at the Scherer Bros. site, connecting North Minneapolis to the river via a greenway, and adding bike bridges to existing bridges.

The Park Board is in line for a federal transportation grant that is administered by the Met Council. Staff, as of last month, still hadn’t found out if funding was made available. That grant would fund trails along the east side of the river.