County Board actions: Relocating district court to Bloomington, jury room move, public health innovations




Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

County board actions

Votes Tuesday move ahead plans to relocate district court to Bloomington and jury assembly room into Courts Tower, apply new innovations for public health and set public hearings for Southwest and the Blue Line Extension light rail projects.

District Court move progresses

Hennepin County Board OKs negotiations with City of Bloomington

The county board authorized negotiation of an agreement with the city of Bloomington to lease space at the city’s civic campus for a relocated district court facility. The proposed long-term lease would allow the county to build a two-story, 28,000 square foot addition on the city campus at 1800 West Old Shakopee Road. Hennepin County and the city will share proportionately operating and maintenance costs associated with the new facility. The City of Bloomington will provide property management functions. The next step necessary to move forward is authorization to negotiate the agreement by the City of Bloomington.

This action is part of a larger effort to relocate the county’s service center and district court facilities from the Southdale Regional Center to enable redevelopment of the site at 7009 York Avenue South in Edina. The service center will move to space at Southdale Shopping Center; the county will work with the City of Edina on a mixed use development that will include a new library.

Board approves design for relocated jury assembly room

The board approved the schematic design for a relocated jury assembly room on the 24th floor of the Courts Tower of the Hennepin County Government Center. The new facility would take up 6,400 square feet of available space in an area that currently is part of the Hennepin County Law Library. Unlike the current space, on the below-ground A-Level, the proposed new location will be inside the security boundaries of the Courts Tower. The project also will bring together the jury pool and the court’s scheduling unit. The objectives of the project are to improve court operations, including better juror transfer, enhanced protection  and better proximity to court functions. The schematic design’s cost estimate is $2.25 million, as approved in the 2015-2019 Capital Improvement Program. 

Foundation grant will enable health care reforms

The board voted to accept a grant for $125,000 from the KRESGE Foundation for the Emerging Leaders to apply the findings from a Public Health Resource Action Learning Project. In December 2014 Susan Palchick, Hennepin County Public Health Director, and Stephanie Abel, Manager-Public Health Integrated Care, were selected to participate. The Hennepin County team was one of only 12 selected in a nationwide search. The goal of the 16-month program is to position participants' agencies to thrive as health care reform and market forces transform the way public health agencies provide services and impact population health. The Hennepin County Public Health team worked to strengthen and centralize primary care and behavioral health resources along Hennepin County’s health care line of business, including Hennepin Health, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Metropolitan Health Plan, Hennepin County Medical Center and the Medical Examiner’s Office. The Public Health Department intends to use these funds to build a framework to determine if public health interventions and services contribute to local health system cost control. 

Federal grant to continue and expand teen pregnancy prevention work

The board voted to accept a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund the county’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts, through the Better Together Hennepin program. The sum is part of a five-year, $7.5 million grant that the program will use to continue and expand current programming. The county’s teen birth rate is half the rate it was when Better Together Hennepin launched in 2007. Better Together Hennepin brought together the county, schools, parents, faith communities, libraries, and community organizations together in new ways. These organizations partnered together to provide four key elements that all young people need to delay parenthood until they become adults—healthy youth development programs, open and consistent communication with parents about sex and relationships, responsible sex education, and accessible reproductive health services. New programming will enable the county to target services in five Hennepin County cities with the highest birth rates.

Negotiations will proceed for Blue Line extension design

The County Board voted to authorize negotiations with Kimley-Horn and Associates regarding a $2.2 million contract to provide design services for the reconstruction of West Broadway Avenue and 93rd Avenue North in Brooklyn Park. The county is seeking design, public involvement, and coordination expertise for this project while accommodating for future transit along West Broadway (Metropolitan Council’s Blue Line Extension light rail transit project). The reconstruction project is to include new multiuse trails on each side improving the bicycle and pedestrian experience, boulevards for landscaping, and curb and gutter to route and treat stormwater. Construction is anticipated to occur between 2018 and 2020.   

Negotiations to move forward for 66th Street right of way purchase

The County Board also voted to authorize the county administrator to negotiate a right of way agreement with the City of Richfield to acquire right-of-way access for reconstruction of 66th Street, from Xerxes Avenue South to 16th Avenue South. The purchase will cost the county an estimated $5.5 million; the city will be responsible for an equal amount. The county will be responsible for acquiring the necessary right of way, preparing the plans for the project, soliciting bids, awarding a construction contract, and administering the construction contract. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2016 with substantial completion expected in the fourth quarter of 2018. 

Listening sessions, other channels produce ideas for efficiency 

The board approved the use of $230,000 of funds designated for innovation projects to reduce costs and improve collaboration and efficiency. As the result of administration listening sessions, an online form and email submissions, county employees generated 260 ideas. From that list, ideas were chosen based on how easy to implement the idea is, what the impact of the idea is and how sustainable the result will be. Six ideas will be funded as projects and include new ways to offer taxpayers customer service via text and chat, new olunteer programs, and communication kits for county employees holding public meetings. 

Public hearings scheduled

  • Housing block grant: The Public Works, Energy and Environment Committee will hold a hearing for public comment on the program year 2014 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report related to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships, and Emergency Solutions Grant programs in suburban Hennepin County. The hearing will be held Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. The hearing will be held in Room A-2400 of the Hennepin County Government Center in the City of Minneapolis. Read the draft report at  
  • Southwest Light Rail: The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council will hold a joint public hearing on the physical design components of the revised preliminary design plans for the Southwest Light Rail Transit project. The hearing will be held on Thursday, August 27, at 6 p.m., at the Hennepin County Library – Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. The hearing will be preceded by a public open house, which will start at 5 p.m.  

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