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City leaders celebrate North Side’s new link to the South Side

The Van White Memorial Boulevard project will re-establish an important north Minneapolis connection to the rest of city

 June 12, 2012 (MINNEAPOLIS) City and community leaders are celebrating the start of a landmark project that will bridge a big divide between the North Side and South Side of Minneapolis. For decades, Interstates 394 and 94 and rail lines have contributed to physical and cultural barriers between these two sections of the city. Work has now begun to extend Van White Memorial Boulevard south of Glenwood Avenue to Dunwoody under I-394. When the work is completed next year, the street will provide both communities of Minneapolis a vital connection to each other, the rest of the city and the metro area.

The mile of roadway being built will connect the Harrison and Bryn Mawr neighborhoods to Interstate 394 and neighborhoods south of the freeway. It includes a 600-foot bridge that will span the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail lines and the Cedar Lake Trail. A smaller bridge will cross Bassett Creek.

The resulting boulevard will provide an important link between north and south Minneapolis. The barrier created by the freeway and tracks have contributed to the isolation of the North Side. Crossing this barrier should help strengthen the North Side’s connections to jobs and recreational, cultural and educational resources throughout the city. It will also help spur development in one of the most undeveloped areas near downtown Minneapolis. 

The project was born out of the City’s efforts to de-concentrate family public housing in the city. The new Heritage Park mixed income neighborhood has replaced old public housing buildings in the near North Side as part of those efforts. This reconnection of north Minneapolis to south Minneapolis will also help further that goal.

The first section of Van White Memorial Boulevard was completed in 2002. It serves as the main street for Heritage Park, which is now home to around 620 families. When the extension of Van White Memorial Boulevard is completed at the end of 2013, the street will stretch from Interstate 394 and Dunwoody Boulevard in the south to Plymouth Avenue in the north.

The boulevard is named in honor of the City’s first African-American councilmember. Van White represented the 5th Ward from 1980 to 1990, and also worked for the City’s Public Works Department from 1956 to 1968. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 68.

The $22.3 million project is funded in part from federal, county and city funds. For more information on this and other street projects in Minneapolis, go to www.minneapolismn.gov/cip/2012.

 

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Published Jun. 12, 2012