A call for a climbing wall on Hennepin, plus a plea for senior housing

One Journal reader imagines a reinvigorated riverfront without the downtown post office. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.org Credit:

#mplswishlist: Share your dreams for the city 

Thanks to these readers who responded to our call for wishes for Minneapolis for our new #mplswishlist feature. This is our chance to showcase our hopes for the city and our readers’ visions, too.

We’re hoping this becomes a comment box of sorts for the city. To share your wishes with us, tweet them using the hashtag #mplswishlist, post them on Facebook.com/SWJournal or email smckenzie@southwestjournal.com.

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Why not a climbing wall and zip line for downtown? 

As a downtown Minneapolis resident and strong supporter of all great things Minneapolis has to offer, I have a few suggestions to make the City by Nature an even better place to live, visit, and explore:

— To connect the Laurel Village/Loring Park area to the Theatre District, the empty parking lot at North 10th Street and Hennepin needs to be developed. It’s a dead-end for out-of-towners coming from Hennepin Avenue. Let’s connect the two neighborhoods for a better biking and pedestrian experience. How about a residential building, movie theater, and REI urban mountain climbing wall? A lot of glacier-like glass could pay homage to our urban winters and people who brave the outdoors year round. Climbing a rock wall while overlooking our beautiful skyline?  YES, you betcha!

— Paint the pedestrian crosswalks on Hennepin with art. Maybe hopscotch or rainbows? Be bold.

— With the new People’s Stadium and all the amazing development going on in Downtown East, let’s make the new park off-the-charts. How about an urban zip-line course? Let’s put Minneapolis on the map with our innovative way of thinking. Could a Fortune 500 company sponsor this like United Health Care to promote our health and quality of life in Minnesota? If not a zip-line, how about some great water features?  After all, we were a city that was built on water and the Vikings will be the park’s neighbor.  

— Build the streetcars (Lake Street to Northeast) and light-rail lines (Southwest and Bottineau)! What are we waiting for? If we want to be a world-class city, let’s get this done already.  

— Tear down the U.S. Post Office parking ramp and connect downtown Minneapolis to the riverfront. Redevelop the Post Office into condos/apartments and have a farmer’s market/restaurant/coffee shop retail spaces along the river under the Post Office porticos that are currently walled off.  With new developments on Hennepin/Nicollet Mall, let’s open the space for a dramatic and beautiful approach to the St. Anthony Falls. Water Power Park will be a nice addition to the area, but how do we move people from Nicollet Mall to the riverfront?  Tear down the ugly parking ramp and re-envision the area.

— Our gateway to the city or the downtown area is passing the interstate into the downtown core via the light rail. With the new People’s Stadium at the doorstep for people coming from the airport, let’s make it a grand entrance.  I’m hoping the new skyway from the new parking ramp development to the stadium will shout a “Welcome to Minneapolis!” with great fanfare. LED lights and art will be key at this location to impress visitors and the like as the light rail speeds below.

— Eat Street needs a little TLC. How about a new high-rise convention center hotel or some new residential buildings next to some empty parking lots on 15th Street in Loring Park? The freeway dead ends the space to some great restaurants along Nicollet Ave. Nobody will walk it because from a street level pedestrian experience, the area looks shady. Let’s make it bright.

Loving Minneapolis,
Derek Nyberg
Loring Park 

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More senior housing, please 

My dream for the city is that it will work with developers to provide senior housing so we empty nesters don’t have to leave our neighborhoods when we downsize.

A couple years ago, the school board sold the Northrop School property to a charter school for $500,000 less than United Properties offered for land on which it planned to build a senior co-op. That senior co-op, by the way, would have paid property taxes, unlike the charter school. Another opportunity for senior housing is the Hiawatha Golf Course, which flooded and will be closed for two years while millions are spent redoing it. Why not offer part of that property for senior housing and reduce the golf course to nine holes? Or perhaps the land could be senior housing and parkland, which could be used by many, rather than the declining number of people playing what is a dying sport. There are 20 golf courses within 10 miles of Hiawatha, and there is a serious shortage of senior housing.

Larry Werner