Mar 19, 2024 - News

Fight over Midtown Greenway on-ramp will go before Minneapolis park board

A mulch path running through a public garden with multiple plots cordoned off by chicken wire and metal posts. In the background, a bike and pedestrian path runs under an overpass and the word "Protect" appears on a utility pole.

Minneapolis' Midtown Greenway runs immediately south of the Soo Line Community Garden between Harriet and Garfield avenues. Photo: Kyle Stokes/Axios

Minneapolis park board members will meet Wednesday evening to consider a plan to pave an on-ramp to the Midtown Greenway through a community garden.

Why it matters: From I-35 to almost Bde Maka Ska, there are no access points to the greenway that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This on-ramp would change that.

Yes, but: Many who till the Soo Line Community Garden worry the path would rob them of growing and outdoor classroom spaces, and that bikers whizzing through would disrupt the peace of the garden.

The other side: Hennepin County planners disputed that construction would rob the garden of plantable square footage, the Star Tribune reported.

Friction point: If Hennepin County can't finalize plans by April 1, Streets.mn says the project risks losing out on $1.1 million in federal funding.

The intrigue: On Tuesday, the park board paused gardening activities at Soo Line after finding elevated contamination levels in soil samples.

  • On-ramp opponents had raised similar concerns.

The latest: A Hennepin County spokesperson told Axios officials are working with the park board to "get clarity" about how the test results affect the process.

  • The county previously argued the risks of unearthing toxins are low.

What's next: The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board meets at 5pm Wednesday.

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