Construction end is positive for residents near 54th & Morgan, with slight drawback

(From left to right): Ward 13 Council Member Linea Palmisano, Minneapolis Chief Field Inspector Kyle Wallace, Rev. John Sommerville of City Church and Morgan Avenue resident Steve Jewell cut a ribbon Sept. 28 to commemorate the reopening of a section of 54th street. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Sept. 28 was slightly bittersweet for residents near 54th & Morgan, where two years of street construction ended.

Sweet because it meant the opening of a major street in the neighborhood. But it also meant the street would no longer be an open space where residents could gather.

“It was life-giving to have it be shut down,” resident Mickey Mikeworth said. “… It was life-giving to have it be just completely quiet.”

Everyone took walks on the street at night, Mikeworth said. Grandparents and parents would bring their kids down to watch the construction. One family put their basketball hoop in the intersection.

The project included the reconstruction of 54th street between Penn and Lyndale avenues. Construction from Humboldt to Lyndale took place in 2016.

It included the addition of 113 trees and bike lanes and the removal and replacement of street pavement, curbs and gutters, driveways, storm drains and sidewalks. It was expected to cost $6.7 million, to be paid for mostly by municipal state aid and net debt bonds.

Other features included upgraded CenterPoint Energy infrastructure and new infrastructure for the expansion of US Internet’s fiber optic network.

The bike lanes meant the elimination of parking on the south side of the street.

At a street-opening ceremony, Ward 13 Council Member Linea Palmisano thanked residents for their patience during construction. Robin Hutcheson, director of the city’s Public Works department, said neighbors would benefit for 50 years from the new street.

“I think you’re going to love it,” she said.

Resident Rebecca Surmont said she appreciated the tremendous amount of handwork that went into the project. She said construction staff was helpful in making sure people could cross the street and get to their busses. The manager would come to resident’s doors and let them know when construction would be loud, she added.