Visioning sessions set for Uptown Small Area Plan

The Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development will host two visioning sessions this month to get public input for the Uptown Small Area Plan.

They are set for Nov. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Nov. 9 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both meetings will be in the former Borders Books space on the first floor of Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. The agenda will be the same at each session.

City planners want session participants to share long-term visions for the core of Uptown and Hennepin Ave. S., identify concerns and discuss the values of the area. Anyone interested in attending a session is encouraged to take an online survey about Uptown at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/planning/uptown-plan.asp.

The small area plan, a land use plan for Uptown, is expected to take 12-18 months to develop and last for about 20 years. The planning process began in the spring, when a steering committee made of local community members was assembled to advise city staff involved in the project.

City staff planned to hire a consultant for the project by the end of October. Steering committee members and city planners interviewed three companies for the job Oct. 23, but a decision had not been made by press time.

The companies interviewed were Hay Dobbs P.A., Cunningham Group and Damon Farber Associates. Each company gave a brief presentation and answered questions from committee members, who also filled out grading sheets to help city officials make the hiring decision.

The Uptown Small Area Plan Steering Committee includes a variety of community leaders, including representatives from the Hennepin Avenue and Uptown business associations and area neighborhoods, such as East Isles, Lowry Hill East, East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO) and Calhoun Area Residents’ Action Group (CARAG).

Uptown has seen significant development in recent years and has other large-scale projects in the pipeline, including the redevelopment of Calhoun Square at Lake and Hennepin and Mozaic, a large mixed-use project slated for Lagoon and Fremont that will feature a seven-story luxury hotel and 68 new condos.