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Public Works
350 South 5th Street
RM 203 City Hall
Minneapolis, MN  55415-1390

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Hiawatha Campus Expansion Project

The Hiawatha Campus expansion will allow the City to relocate and consolidate the Public Works Water Distribution Maintenance and Meter Shop operation from three sites to a centrally located facility. The project will replace the existing Water Distribution facility, which is more than 100 years old as well as eliminate non-ADA compliant work spaces for staff.

For more information on the project, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Project Updates

On July 23, 2019, City staff presented an update on the Hiawatha Campus Expansion project to the City Council Ways & Means committee. 

Progress Report

The following seven staff directions were issue by the City Council. Updates on efforts below are ongoing.

Staff Direction 1

Establishing a Hiawatha Advisory Committee to meet at least every other month starting February 2019 comprised of residents from Little Earth and the area’s neighborhoods, the community economic development sector, local building trades and City unions, the departments of Finance and Property Services, Public Works, CPED, and the City Coordinator’s Division of Sustainability to serve as an advisory group on the planning and implementation of the Hiawatha Maintenance Facility Campus Expansion with an emphasis on the job recruitment and training center. This Advisory Committee shall provide feedback on space requirements, operating scenarios, and potential costs and partnerships to create a structure for the jobs recruitment and training center that provides formal workforce training as well as additional government functions and community empowerment activities that activate ground floor uses during the weekend and evening hours. These services may include, but shall not be limited to:

  • Establishing an office for the Elections and Voter Services division and a Municipal ID issuance office
  • Provide workforce development trainings, resume builder classes, and certification programs
  • Provide ELL, citizenship, and know your rights classes
  • Provide retail and business incubator opportunities as well as support for entrepreneurship activities that meet the needs of the campus and generally align with the Southside Green Zone vision 
  • Provide meeting space for gatherings and events such as community-wide workshops, conferences, or summits

HAC process completed (meeting notes and recommendations are posted here), design progress is continuing. The new space will have two classrooms, some general community gathering space and business incubator space, and will be able to accommodate early voting activities. The City (F&PS with NCR) is developing an RFP to find a partner to help plan and manage the business generator and community spaces and their uses, and is working with local labor unions on a partnering agreement for management of training activities.

Staff Direction 2

Directing Finance and Property Services, Public Works, CPED, and the City Coordinator’s Office to develop a process and plan for community participation in the new facility’s public art, landscaping, sound buffers, and fencing treatments along with the mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of operational activities on the surrounding residential area and the Midtown Greenway.

The Minneapolis Arts Commission’s Public Art Advisory Panel has allocated $212,000 from the City’s Art in Public Places program for one or more public art projects for the Campus. In late fall, the City will recruit members for a community-based public art steering committee that will establish goals for the project, define art opportunities, draft the Call for Artists, and advise the selected artist(s) on their design. The call for artists will likely be posted during the winter of 2019-2020.

Community participation in programming and design of landscaping, sound buffers, and fencing treatments, along with the development of mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of operational activities on the surrounding residential area and the Midtown Greenway, will be solicited during the Schematic Design phase over the winter of 2019-2020.

Staff Direction 3

Directing Public Works and Human Resources to create a jobs recruitment and hiring plan to prioritize the recruitment, training, and employment of Minneapolis residents from within the three-mile radius of the facility. The plan should include resources to enact an outreach plan that partners with local non-profits and utilizes culturally relevant and creative strategies.

Public Works and Human Resources are developing a plan for community engagement to support expanded recruitment efforts. Strategies will be listed on this site in late 2019/early 2020.

Staff Direction 4

Directing Finance and Property Services to commence the process of establishing a community solar garden including identifying at least 100,000 square feet of available rooftop or canopy space to accommodate solar using a program design to serve low-income households in the surrounding area.

Building design will accommodate solar, and F&PS will work with providers to establish a community solar garden once building footprints, construction types and schedules are firmed up.

Staff Direction 5

Directing Public Works to apply the City’s Complete Streets and Vision Zero policies to perform continued analysis of improvements to 26th Street and 28th Street to improve multimodal mobility and community safety.

A preliminary review has been completed and Public Works staff will advance concepts to improve safety in alignment with Vision Zero.

Staff Direction 6

Approving master plan concept A with the modification that the job recruitment and training facility and associated economic development and community program space will be increased in size and its location will be evaluated in the first quarter of 2019 to maximize community access and activation as well as to leverage additional municipal functions and partnerships with labor groups.

The job recruitment and training facility and associated economic development and community program space was increased in size, and its location was evaluated in the first quarter of 2019, to maximize community access and activation as well as to leverage additional municipal functions and partnerships with labor groups.

Staff Direction 7

Directing CPED to work with the City Coordinator’s Division of Sustainability, the new Southside Green Zone Council, and members of the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute to craft a business plan to launch an urban agriculture pilot project that strengthens the local food system, creates green jobs, and addresses racial inequities. The business plan should include identifying the type of technical assistance needed, feasible locations, start-up funds required, an implementation timeline, necessary partnerships, among other key facets. Staff and community groups shall report back to the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Committee no later than Q3 2019 with a status update on the progress of the work.

CPED staff, in consultation with staff from the City Coordinator’s Division of Sustainability, met with representatives from the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) to discuss the staff direction. The group discussed and CPED staff followed up on various site alternatives. The EPNI group was not interested in exploring the potential of alternative sites. CPED staff reported back to relevant City Council Members on the work.

Committee Members

Hiawatha Advisory Committee Members - as of April 29, 2019

Hiawatha Advisory Committee Members - as of May 13, 2019


April 22, 2019 Agenda

May 6, 2019 Agenda

May 20, 2019 Agenda      

June 3, 2019 Agenda

Meeting Notes

April 22, 2019 Meeting Notes

May 6, 2019 Meeting Notes

May 20, 2019 Meeting Notes

June - July 2019 Small Group Meeting Notes

Upcoming Meetings

The next Hiawatha Advisory Committee meeting will be held:

June 3, 2019, 3:30-5 p.m.

Meeting Location:
City of Minneapolis Hiawatha Campus
1901 E 26th St

June 17, 2019, 3-5 p.m.

Meeting Notes:
We will plan to meet for a tour of the exterior of the Roof Depot Building at 3 p.m. and convene the presentation and discussion portion of the meeting at the Hiawatha Campus (1901 E 26th St) at 3:30 p.m. More details will be provided prior to June 17.

Project History

1991: A Public Works Comprehensive Facility Master Plan was completed. This plan recommended that the City expand the Hiawatha Campus in the East Phillip's neighborhood to allow for better management of Public Works' Water Distribution Services operations.

Public Works Comprehensive Facility Master Plan

2001: The City Council authorized discussions with the Roof Depot for acquisition.

June 2010: Phase 1 of the Hiawatha Master Plan is completed with the remodel of the north end of the site. The project focused on good environmental practices and achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Hiawatha Campus - Before and After

June 19, 2015: The Council authorized City staff to negotiate with the owner of the Roof Depot site for the acquisition of property to allow for the campus expansion.

February 22, 2016: The City Council voted to approve acquisition of the properties. The Council also directed staff to redevelop the site following the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold level of quality.

June 2016: The City of Minneapolis acquired the property formerly known as Roof Depot, which was paid for with $6.8 million from the water enterprise fund.

2017-2018: Project design, community meetings and engagement, and staff recommendations are developed.

Why an Expansion is Needed

The main objective of the Hiawatha Campus Expansion project is to relocate water distribution employees and operations to one central site. The current Water Distribution facility is more than 100 years old and must be replaced. Additionally, the facilities are not ADA compliant and do not meet the current needs of the staff.

The three facilities that would be consolidated at this site (East Side Water Yard, the Meter Shop, and Surface Water & Sewers) will be better able to respond to every day essential city services.

Benefits of an Expansion

Opportunities that come with an expanded campus include:

  • Improving the City’s responsiveness and delivery of every day essential services including sharing of resources and a central location, which will result in lower operating costs and faster response times.
  • Job creation for the neighborhood
  • Integration of green site development and construction practices that can serve as a catalyst for Green Zone development including solar energy, storm water retention, and a LEED building.
  • Replacement of an outdated facility with a new green buffer between operations and the neighborhood. The neighborhood has been asked to help design the buffer so it can best integrate with surroundings.
  • Mitigation and management of the effects of site development in a responsible manner. The Public Works Department is and will continue to be a responsible neighbor in the community.

City Community Meetings

Presentation from Sept. 24, 2018 Community Meeting

At a community meeting on September 24, 2018, City Staff presented a project overview and four options for the site.

September 24, 2018 Presentation

Presentation from Nov. 30, 2017 Community Meeting

(PDF of slideshow)

Presentation from April 13, 2017 Community Meeting

(PDF of slideshow)

Recap of Feb. 11, 2017 Community Meeting

Notes from the community meeting at East Phillips Recreation Center

Public Works divisions planned for expanded Hiawatha Campus

(Overview of operations)

Site Development Guidelines Advisory Committee (GAC)

The Site Development Guidelines Advisory Committee (GAC) is an advisory body to the City of Minneapolis that provides input and recommendations throughout the study process for the City’s Hiawatha Campus Expansion project.

GAC Community Feedback and City Response

July 19, 2017 GAC meeting presentation

June 28, 2017 Property Services/CPED presentation

June 28, 2017 GAC meeting minutes

June 7, 2017 GAC meeting minutes

(Overview of GAC's community engagement and framework role)

Roof Depot property site studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Hiawatha Campus Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this expansion necessary? 

A core goal of the City is to provide safe drinking water and fire suppression to all residents of Minneapolis. To accomplish this goal, the Hiawatha Campus Expansion project will relocate water distribution operations and employees to one central site. The current Minneapolis water distribution facility (also called the “Wateryard”) is more than 100 years old. It is too small for the current demands on the system, and does not meet City workplace minimum standards or accessibility standards. The current water distribution facility site is too small to build a new facility on and would also not benefit from the efficiency of being on the same site as the existing Hiawatha staff and buildings.
Other Public Works staff and functions important to storm water management and protecting our creeks, lakes and the Mississippi River will be relocated from other City facilities.  

Where else in the city are similar facilities located? 

Both the City and the Park Board have maintenance facilities throughout Minneapolis.  A new Public Works facility is under construction in northeast Minneapolis at 27th and University Ave.  This map below shows the locations of these facilities.
City of Minneapolis Operations Map Image

What are the opportunities with an expanded Hiawatha campus? 

The expanded campus provides a single location for the Public Works operational teams working in the right of way provides great opportunities to communicate and coordinate our work. It creates opportunities to share equipment and other fleet vehicles, makes it easier to shift staff to the highest priority work, reduces the overall footprint of material storage and because it is centrally located in the City there will be fewer vehicle miles traveled. 
Over 470 jobs will be based out of the expanded campus surrounded by neighborhoods with historically higher unemployment rates.  A new training facility on the campus will enhance opportunities for Minneapolis residents to be placed in living wage jobs with high-quality benefits.
An important part of the project is to include green site development and construction practices that can serve as a catalyst for Green Zone development including solar energy, storm water retention and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building, which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The expansion will also reduce soil contamination that exists today. 

What did the City Council decide in December 2018?

The City Council endorsed the Hiawatha Campus expansion plan known as “Option A” with all of the former “Roof Depot” site designated for municipal uses.  The endorsement was included in a staff direction, which allows the Council to set parameters for City staff to follow over the course of the project.  The staff direction in its entirety is available on the City’s website. 

A key component of Option A municipal use is a training and job recruitment facility that will also provide space for potential community and entrepreneurship opportunities. Details for Option A can be found on the City’s webpage.

How large will the jobs recruitment and training center building be?

A committee consisting of building trades, unions that represent city workers, City staff, area businesses, local non-profits, and neighborhood representatives will provide input to the City Council on the exact size of the building.  The City Council will then decide on how large the job recruitment and training facility will be and how the cost of the construction should be paid. The original concept plan assumed about 9,000 square foot of building footprint with some parts of the building on two levels.

Can I attend the meetings of the Hiawatha Advisory Committee?

Yes, the meetings are open to the public and there will be an opportunity to address the Committee and City staff at the end of most of the committee meetings.

Who will pay for the capital and operating costs of the jobs recruitment and training center building?

It will be up to the City Council to decide how costs are split among the various public, non-profit and private entities that may use the job recruitment and training center.

What is the schedule for the Hiawatha expansion project?

Generally, the City will spend 2019 working on planning and design.  Environmental site and building cleanup, along with demolition, is also expected to start in 2019.  Construction will occur on both the existing Hiawatha Campus as well as the former Roof Depot property from 2020 to early 2022. 

Will the City be requesting permits or determinations from the MPCA?

Once the master plan is more defined, the City will be submitting the applicability determination request to the MPCA which will inform additional submittals and next steps. The project will submit a Response Action Plan (RAP) to the MCPA which will define the proposed environmental remediation procedures.

How will the expansion impact traffic around the site?

This consolidation of work groups increases the number of employees at the location by 140 people. That means there are more employees walking, biking, taking transit and driving as well as more work equipment entering and exiting the site. There will be an increase of almost 100 work vehicles and equipment. That number includes skid steers and trailers that are pulled by a truck.
The traffic study shows a total increase of 1.6% of average daily vehicles traveled on the adjacent streets and most of that increase is related to employees arriving for work and the beginning of the day and going home at the end of the day. The project will work to mitigate the impact by staging start times to distribute the peak, follow the idling policy and work to grow our pipeline of employees from the neighborhood.

What kind of vehicles and equipment will be at the Hiawatha Facility?

Employees get to work by walking, biking, transit and vehicles. In addition to the 400 plus personal vehicles there are 494 work vehicles, equipment and trailers anticipated at the Hiawatha Campus. The city vehicles generally fit into three categories:
  1. Trucks and cars used to clean the sewer system, flush hydrants, respond to water main breaks and move people and material around the city 
  2. Equipment which is most often not used at the Hiawatha Facility and instead hauled to work locations throughout the city
  3. Trailers which are pulled behind trucks to get material and equipment to work sites throughout the city.
Cars and Trucks    
  Gas 282
  Diesel 28
  Electric 6


  Diesel 102
  Electric or Propane 2
Trailers   61
Total City Vehicles & Equipment   494

The staff direction mentions Green Zones. What is a Green Zone?

The City Council has designated Green Zones in two locations in the city. Read more about the details of these Green Zones. 

How is the Hiawatha Campus expansion being paid for?

The cost of the expansion will mostly be covered by revenues from the water fund.  Some of the cost will be allocated to the sanitary sewer fund and the storm water fund for their portions of the improvements.  A smaller portion of the costs related to street maintenance facilities and central stores at the site will be paid with property taxes. The exact breakdown of costs will be known when the design is finalized for all components, including the job recruitment and training facility. 

How do I provide input on the site and how it will look?

The City will invite input on the exterior materials, public art, landscaping, sidewalks and trails through a public engagement process.  In 2019, the City will arrange for open houses and other forms of public engagement.

What is happening to the old water facility that is being relocated?

The site will become a new City fire station. 

Project contacts

Project Manager Bob Friddle: 612-673-3387; [email protected]

Senior Community Specialist Christina Kendrick: 612-673-3952; [email protected]


Last updated Sep 26, 2019



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