County board actions: funding for improvements near future SWLRT, clean up of contaminated sites, environmental education, natural resources

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

County board actions

Votes Tuesday approved funding for projects along the Southwest Light Rail Transit corridor and awarded grant funding for clean up of contaminated sites, environmental education and natural resources projects.

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Funding approved for fiber network along Southwest Light Trail Transit corridor 

The board approved funding for improvements related to the Southwest Light Rail Transit project, including $2.2 million for installation of fiber optic infrastructure along the entire transit corridor. Laying the fiber optic infrastructure will lower county operating costs and support Hennepin County’s growing need for a high-speed, reliable broadband network.

Hennepin County will also provide $1.7 million to construct a trail and $400,000 to reconstruct traffic control systems at two intersections along Flying Cloud Drive (County Road 61) in Eden Prairie.

Read more about the improvements planned for the light rail corridor

Read more about the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.

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Grants awarded to clean up contaminated sites

The board awarded $1.3 million for nine projects to assess and clean up contaminated sites where added environmental costs hinder site improvements or redevelopment. The Environmental Response Fund grants will fund asbestos and lead paint removal, contaminated groundwater monitoring and contaminated soil clean up. 

Hennepin County awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission, Minneapolis: $150,300 for disposal of contaminated soil along the streambank to help improve water quality and habitat along Bassett Creek
  • City of St. Louis Park: $166,000 for cleanup of contaminated soil associated with development of new stormwater management structures and planned park improvements
  • City of Lakes Community Land Trust, Minneapolis: $230,000 for asbestos and lead paint removal associated with the renovation of 10 houses
  • Ebenezer Park Apartments, Minneapolis: $142,654 for lead paint and asbestos removal at a 200-unit complex for low-income seniors and people with disabilities
  • City of Minneapolis: $71,994 for contaminated soil cleanup associated with building 118 units of affordable housing at the Hook and Ladder Apartments development site
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board: $142,000 for contaminated soil disposal during construction of the Sheridan Memorial Park in northeast Minneapolis
  • Minnesota Brownfields, countywide: $250,000 to continue the Brownfields Gap Financing Program, which provides small environmental assessment grants to government entities and nonprofit organizations
  • City of Minneapolis: $41,769 for contaminated soil clean-up associated with development of affordable and market rate housing, a restaurant and office space at the Penn Avenue Union development site
  • City of St. Louis Park Economic Development Authority: $92,230 for demolition and contamination cleanup in preparation for a multi-use development that will include 300 affordable and market rate apartments, a 110-room hotel, coffee house, bike shop and microbusiness space at the PLACE development site

Read more about the Environmental Response Fund program and grantees.

Environmental education grants awarded to 13 organizations

The board awarded $147,600 of Green Partners Environmental Education grants for projects than engage and empower residents to protect and improve the environment. Groups will engage 2,700 residents to protect the environment by reducing waste, recycling, composting organics, conserving energy, improving air and water quality and protecting pollinators.

Hennepin County awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • Black Storytellers Alliance, Minneapolis: $12,000
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, Mound and Minneapolis: $15,000
  • Center School, Minneapolis: $14,500
  • Clean Water Fund, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony and Wayzata: $8,000
  • Cycles for Change, Minneapolis: $15,000
  • Greater Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church, Minneapolis: $12,000
  • Kids for Conservation, Minneapolis: $5,100
  • Metro Blooms, Minneapolis: $15,000
  • Minneapolis Toy Library, Minneapolis: $15,000
  • Minnesota African Women's Association, Brooklyn Center: $15,000
  • Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, Minneapolis: $8,000
  • Pollinate Minnesota, Minneapolis: $8,000
  • Wayzata Community Sailing Center, Wayzata: $5,000  

Read more about the grants and award recipients.

Grants awarded for natural resources projects

The board approved a total of $284,015 in grant funding for projects to protect natural resources and water quality throughout the county.

Hennepin County awarded $225,000 of Natural Resources Opportunity grants to the following organizations:

  • City of Greenfield: $25,000 to capture and filter stormwater onsite at the city’s Central Park
  • Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission, Plymouth: $50,000 to stabilize and restore streambanks along both sides of Plymouth Creek
  • Metro Blooms, Minneapolis: $50,000 to work with property owners in the Harrison Neighborhood to install stormwater best management practices
  • Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Minneapolis: $50,000 to install stormwater best management practices for commercial properties along targeted corridors
  • Riley-Purgatory-Bluff Creek Watershed District, Minnetonka: $50,000 to remove invasive plants and restore seven acres of forest at the Scenic Heights School

The county also awarded $59,015 for six Good Steward grants for smaller projects.

Read more about Hennepin County’s natural resources grants and grantees.

HRA leadership elected

Acting as the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) on January 10, the board elected District 2 Commissioner Linda Higgins as chair and District 5 Commissioner Debbie Goettel as vice chair of the authority. 

Read more about HRA organization.

Volunteers sought for Minnehaha Watershed District Board vacancies

The board is accepting applications for two vacancies on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Board, which coordinates the management of water and related land resources in the watershed that drains into Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Creek. For more information, visit

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