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Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) Gets Critical Approval from Federal Transit Administration

On November 14th the FTA issued the long-awaited Letter of No Prejudice to the Metropolitan Council. The letter makes preliminary construction spending on the line eligible for federal reimbursement once a full funding grant is awarded, which is expected in 2019. The next day, the Council approved the spending of $435 million to begin construction and awarded a construction contract.  Some site clearance, demolition and utility work is to begin this winter, with heavy construction work to follow. The line remains subject to challenge from a lawsuit filed by a citizen group known as the Lakes and Parks Alliance that alleges that the project violates federal environmental laws. Although a federal judge rejected the challenge, the citizen group has appealed.

The total cost of the project is budgeted at $2.003 billion, with $929 million to come from the FTA. Service is now expected to commence in 2023. When completed, the 14.5 mile line will extend the Green Line from Target Field to Eden Prairie with a stop in our neighborhood at a West Lake station to be accessed from Abbott Avenue or Lake Street.

Proposed New Developments

Calhoun Towers Approved by City Planning Commission

On July 16th the City Planning Commission, over objections from the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council and residents, approved Bader Development’s plans to build 744 residential units in two 26-story towers and two 6-story apartment buildings adjacent to the current Calhoun Tower on List Place. The project is to be built over a 5-7 year time frame and would be adjacent to the planned West Lake light rail station. Construction is likely to begin in the summer or  fall of 2019.

In its statements to the Planning Commission the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council  asked for a reduction in the scale of the project in view of the inadequate road and public transit infrastructure serving the neighborhood as well as the continuing uncertainty about the light rail line. Links to documents concerning the project can be found below:

Boutique Hotel at Lake/Excelsior

Elevage Development Group is proposing to build a 100-room hotel with 20 condo units, a restaurant and 107 enclosed parking spaces on the BP gas station site at the corner of Lake and Excelsior. The developer is currently negotiating road changes with the county and will need to hold a preliminary development review with the City before applying for permits.

Southwest Area Parks Planning

Pedestrian Safety Project

Skate Park

Skate Park Activity Plan page link

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council

West Calhoun Phase II Neighborhood Action Plan

Multi-Modal Transportation Study

West Calhoun Treasures Award