Current Related Research and Consulting

By robb, July 2, 2008 7:43 am

The Minnehaha-Hiawatha Community Works Strategic Development Framework initiative is a partnership between Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and other governmental agencies to define coordinated strategies for future public and private investments in the Minnehaha-Hiawatha corridor.

The corridor is defined as the area bounded by Minnehaha Avenue, the LRT tracks, the Midtown Greenway, and Minnehaha Parkway. The Framework will take about 18 months to assemble and will have three primary parts:

  • A comprehensive data inventory that compiles information from past plans and collects new information as appropriate
  • The identification of corridor issues and priorities
  • Recommendations for short, medium, and long-term improvement initiatives. These are expected to address improving neighborhood livability for both residents and businesses, potential long-term land use changes, and improving the balance of the corridor transportation system including bus, LRT, vehicles, and pedestrian/transit movement.

Community members will be actively involved in creating the Framework, with a Community Advisory Committee serving as “stewards” of that engagement. The Minnehaha-Hiawatha Community Works project will incorporate previous plans and studies as well as the following efforts by County consultants.

Primary Project Consultant: HKGi

In order to assemble the Framework, Hennepin County has retained a consulting team led by Hoisington Koegler Group Inc. (HKGi), a Minneapolis firm with expertise in community planning, landscape architecture, urban design, strategic planning, public finance, and stakeholder participation. Other members of the HKGi team include IBI Group, an international transportation/transit planning firm; Emmons and Olivier Resources, a local engineering firm with expertise in creative solutions for urban storm water issues; EcoDeep, addressing environmental and economic sustainability; Carroll, Franck and Associates, working with the Community Advisory Committee to bring stakeholder voices into the planning process; and W-ZHA, providing additional market research.

Railroad Study: Byron Olsen

This 2007 project examined the current and future operational characteristics and current users of the CP rail line that extends throughout the corridor along the east side of Hiawatha Avenue. This information will be used by HKGi and policy makers to determine the function of the rail line with regard to existing and future businesses and uses within the corridor.

In addition, rail operations information that was gathered provides useful data to plan for future transportation and infrastructure improvements within the corridor. The results of this study will be incorporated into the work being completed by HKGi and corridor area committees.

Project Reports
Freight Rail Operations in the Hiawatha Corridor
[Note this document is 5 MB]

Community Forum Materials
Rail Corridor Presentation Video [30 minutes long]
Rail Corridor PowerPoint – Part 1
Rail Corridor PowerPoint – Part 2

Cultural Resources Inventory: Landscape Research LLC

Retained in 2007, the historical consultant is reviewing the early history of the project area and identifying potential historical and cultural “themes” that should be considered as part of the study process. Additionally, the consultant will be determining if there are properties potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and, if so, preparing a preliminary evaluation of potentially eligible properties. This work is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

The cultural resources information is an important component of this study since it establishes a framework and context for the evolution of land uses and facilities within the corridor area. Information from the cultural resources study will be used by HKGi, corridor area committees, and others to determine how the physical and social history for the corridor should be incorporated into future planning activities.

Project Reports
Historic Context Development and Cultural Resources Evaluation
[Note this document is 12 MB]

Community Forum Materials
Cultural Resources Presentation Video [30 minutes long]
Cultural Resources PowerPoint – Part 1
Cultural Resources PowerPoint – Part 2
Cultural Resources PowerPoint – Part 3
Cultural Resources PowerPoint – Part 4
Cultural Resources PowerPoint – Part 5

Market Analysis: McComb Group

The McComb Group is preparing a multi-faceted corridor market analysis for the County. McCombs Group staff identified, inventoried, and conducted individual interviews in early 2008 with corridor area businesses to identify trends, likes and dislikes about their current location, business needs, and future plans. They then began identifying how well existing retail, food services, and other service establishments serve residents within the corridor, and determining if additional stores are warranted. Finally, socioeconomic and business data will be collected and summarized in a report.

Project Reports
Minnehaha-Hiawatha Corridor Market Analysis
[Note this document is 6 MB]

Community Forum Materials
Market Analysis Presentation Video [30 minutes long]
Market Study PowerPoint – Part 1
Market Study PowerPoint – Part 2

Environmental Property Assessment: Geomatrix

AMEC Geomatrix has compiled a database of the known and publicly available environmental information regarding the environmental conditions of all properties (approximately 1,013 contiguous parcels) within the corridor area. AMEC Geomatrix began their work in 2007, and it is expected that the final product will be completed in 2008. The results of their work will be a report and database of general environmental property conditions (as of 2007) to be incorporated into Hennepin County’s geographic information system (GIS).

The information sources for the environmental inventory include federal, state, and local environmental regulatory databases, land use and zoning databases, and historical maps and photographs. The database will provide guidance to HKGi and corridor committees in determining potential land use and infrastructure issues and developing overall future planning strategies, and should assist individuals interested in general property conditions on specific parcels in the corridor.

This information will help HKGi and corridor area committees determine future business needs for the corridor and identify mechanisms to attract businesses that serve existing and future residents of the corridor area. The information will also be helpful to County, City and neighborhood economic development initiatives and programs.

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