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Golden Valley Officials Concerned About Upcoming Bottineau Meeting

In a letter sent to members of the Hennepin County Board and Metropolitan Council, Mayor Shep Harris asked for clarification regarding the purpose of the upcoming Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s community meeting.

On Feb. 27, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will host a public meeting to discuss how plans for the Bottineau Transitway may impact open space near Theodore Wirth Park.

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In a letter sent last week to the Hennepin County Board and Metropolitan Council, Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris outlined concerns regarding the upcoming meetings and intended outcomes.

Harris said that city staff was “informed” that outcomes of the Park Board meeting might be used as part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) application needed to begin preliminary engineering.

“We believe that broad-scale public input over number, location, and function of light rail station(s) in Golden Valley must be facilitated through Golden Valley’s established public procedure at a later stage in the Bottineau Transitway planning process,” Harris wrote in the letter, which was sent to Mike Opat, Chair of the Hennepin County Board, and Susan Haigh, Chair of the Met Council. “Altering or pre-empting local municipalities’ methods of conducting public meetings and soliciting public input establishes a negative precedent for further Transitway decisions.”

Harris reiterated that Golden Valley is overall supportive of the light rail coming through the community, but that the process to build the light rail will require two-way communication.

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Candace Oathout February 20, 2013 at 04:37 PM
I have to agree with Mayor Harris. This project will disrupt neighborhoods, infringe upon the peaceful scenic environment, and has little to no benefit to Golden Valley residents and taxpayers in general. Additionally, in order to secure support from local residents and other grassroots activists their interests and opinions must be considered. There is a procedure in place that Golden Valley elected officials and residents are following. It should be continued not circumvented by a perceived "higher Authority" like the Metropolitan Council.
Karen Lehman February 20, 2013 at 11:46 PM
I am glad that Mayor Harris has expressed reservations about the process. Though the next phase of this work was presented as "continuing the study," it is clear that the scope is in fact more ambitious, and that the Hennepin County board viewed the Golden Valley City Council's vote as the go-ahead to begin planning construction for the application. I disagree, however, with Mayor Harris' statement that the view of Golden Valley residents is generally favorable to the line. That can be said of the council, once Joanie Clausen switched her vote. But no scientific survey of Golden Valley residents has been done, and most of us are unclear about what is truly at stake. I continue to believe that Golden Valley is being sacrificed for more politically important objectives (not objectives justified by sound planning principles).
Candace Oathout February 21, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Karen, I agree with you. It seems that this proposal is a forgone conclusion and that these public meetings are being orchestrated to produce a pre-determined outcome. I wonder why?

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