Hopkins and Minnetonka are set to sign off on an agreement with Hennepin County and Minnetonka that will use $3 million in Community Works money to make up for hardships associated with the Shady Oak Road expansion.
At Tuesday’s Hopkins City Council meeting, members will formally review an agreement that would direct Community Works funds to the corridor with the provision that it lead to at least one 10,000-square-foot redevelopment site.
Minnetonka City Council is expected to take up the issue on Oct. 29, after it is reviewed by the Economic Development Authority earlier that evening.
City leaders have been searching for a way to help businesses ever since word came down that the road would be narrower than expected. That would leave the road within a few feet of some Shady Oak businesses—just enough to remove essential parking without paying property owners enough to help them move.
To compound the problem, Hopkins and Minnetonka are getting $3 million in Community Works money to improve the corridor instead of the $9 million earmarked at the earliest planning stages.
The tentative plan for the money is similar to an arrangement discussed in March, said Kersten Elverum, the city’s director of economic development and planning. Under that plan, someone would buy two properties, demolish one building, build a new structure, renovate another and then rearrange the tenants.
(Check out the PDF above to see how the project could look. Click here for a more-detailed look at the plan.)
That would require the Leaman’s Liquor property and the Dorholt property. If those owners aren’t interested, the city could talk with the VFW. If the city wants to go in a different direction, it could also approach the County Board for permission to change the requirements.
As it stands, the Community Works agreement establishes the following priorities for the money:
- First priority: Purchase of land, relocation of tenants, demolition, environmental abatement and restoration of properties
- Second priority: Construction of new parking lots
- Third priority: Improvement of existing parking lots
- Fourth priority: Façade improvements
- Fifth priority: Other public amenities
“The bottom line on all of this is it’s only going to be successful if we have willing sellers,” Elverum said.
Hopkins staff will begin negotiating with potential sellers once the Community Works agreement is signed, she said. There will also be an open house for property owners and tenants in the project area to discuss the environmental assessment for the road expansion project that’s driving the redevelopment.
The road project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014 and conclude in the fall of 2015.
“I think everybody wants to know their future in that particular stretch of the corridor,” Elverum said.