News release: County board actions for April 14, 2015

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Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

News release

County board actions for April 14

County board adopts 2040 Bicycle Transportation Plan

The county board adopted the 2040 Bicycle Transportation Plan, which replaces the 1997 Bicycle Transportation Plan. The county has made great progress under the current plan and gap study, building and funding more than 136 miles of new bikeways and closing 59 gaps. Bicycle commuting has doubled in Hennepin County since 2000 from 0.8 percent to 1.6 percent of trips to work.

Development of the plan began in spring 2013, with community engagement activities in summer and fall 2013 as well as throughout the plan drafting process in 2014. The plan was available for public comment between October 6 and December 5, 2014. The Hennepin County 2040 Bicycle Transportation Plan has been revised based on comments received. This plan is a guide for supporting the vision of increasing bicycling within Hennepin County. Implementation of the plan requires additional action by the county board through the annual capital appropriations and cooperative funding agreements. For more information see the news release.


Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board and Lower Minnesota River Watershed District Board appointments

The board reappointed Sherry White and appointed Kurt Rogness to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board. The watershed district coordinates the management of the water and related land resources in the watershed that drains into Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Creek. The newly appointed members will serve three-year terms on the watershed district board.

The board also appointed Leonard Kemer to a three year term on the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District Board. The watershed district coordinates the management of the water and related land resources in the watershed that drains into the Lower Minnesota River from the north and south bluffs of the river to the confluence of the Mississippi River at Fort Snelling.

To apply for a citizen advisory board position visit


Board approves relocation of Southdale service center

The board approved the relocation of the Hennepin County Service Center in Edina to Southdale Center shopping mall. The current service center is located at the Southdale Regional Center facility which has infrastructure deficiencies, outdated building systems and circulation and way finding concerns. The relocation to Southdale Center provides a secure environment with free parking and convenient access via major bus routes and is the first step to improving services in south Hennepin County. The county will lease approximately 6,735 square feet of floor space on the first level of Southdale Center near the JC Penney and Herberger’s entrance and is scheduled to open February 2016.

Moving the service center will allow for the eventual redevelopment of the site of the current regional center located at the southeast corner of York Avenue South and 70th Street West. Relocating the service center first will allow thoughtful planning and collaboration between court staff, the City of Bloomington and residents in south Hennepin County for new court facilities. The Hennepin County Library will also have time to conduct a thorough planning process with the cities of Edina and Richfield and library patrons for a new, state-of-the-art library and other potential development opportunities on the current site. This outreach will include community meetings, surveys and discussions. Today’s board action only applies to the service center relocation. Further planning will occur  before the board considers the relocation of the courts and the redevelopment of a new library.


County nursery to provide replacement trees for ones soon to be destroyed by emerald ash borer

A significant amount of trees in the county will be affected by the Emerald Ash Borer and will need to be replaced.  To address this, the board approved an initiative to add a gravel-bed nursery at the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility. The cost to construct, purchase trees and operations of the nursery are estimated at $170,500. As already demonstrated by over 20 Minnesota communities, a gravel-bed nursery offers a cost effective way for the county to replace trees on county property, diversify the county tree canopy and provide job skills training. The project will involve University of Minnesota students through the Hennepin University Partnership to conduct a canopy assessment that will guide future planting efforts throughout the county. The source of revenue for the nursery project will be from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund. 


Board commits funds for Better Together Hennepin (teen pregnancy prevention program)

The board approved $288,000 in contingency funds to be used as bridge funding for the Better Together Hennepin (teen pregnancy prevention) initiative. The funds will provide a reduced set of programs and services after federal grant funds end August 31, 2015. The initiative has seen significant results in reducing birth rates for teenagers in Hennepin County. Better Together Hennepin has been supported with a substantial federal grant ($3.3 million annually). Hennepin County is well-positioned for the next round of federal funding. However, funding will be highly competitive among organizations and, even if obtained, will be significantly lower ($1.5 million annually) than the current grant. 

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