Corridors of Opportunity Funds Innovative Master Plan for Prospect Park

by: Caryn Brooks, The Cornerstone Group
Special thanks to Corridors of Opportunity where this story first appeared on January 18, 2013

Prospect Park’s dedicated neighborhood group, PPERRIA (Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association) has been working for years to ensure that future Central Corridor LRT riders will be greeted by a modern urban village when they enter Prospect Park, inspiring citizens of all ages and backgrounds to live, work, and play in this Minneapolis neighborhood just east of the University of Minnesota.

Teaming up with socially responsible developer The Cornerstone Group and architects Close Associates and Cuningham Group, the partners are working to create a potential master plan for the 4-block Station Area from 29thAvenue to Malcolm Avenue and University Avenue to north of the Intercampus Transitway. 

This key area off University is currently home to several vacant industrial buildings and worn out roads.  The project team’s vision involves adding open space to the LRT station area that will greet visitors, and having a mix of walkable uses including new housing, commercial, retail, and cultural centers. 

Because of its high-profile location just east of TCF Bank Stadium and the University of Minnesota, the team is also looking at rebuilding 4th Street SE (which is in need of major repairs) as a pilot project for a green, or living, street coined “Green Fourth.”  Green Fourth would integrate storm water management, urban gardens, and pedestrian and bicycle uses, while still allowing for some vehicular traffic but in a much safer way.

“We are very excited about the potential pilot project for Green Fourth and demonstrating how vibrant a street can be with pedestrian access to housing and retail, as well as unique focal points such as parks, public art, and functional areas like dog walks, rain gardens, and urban agriculture,” says Colleen Carey, President of The Cornerstone Group. 

The project team is talking with potential partners including the City of MinneapolisCentral Corridor Green Infrastructure and Storm Water Study (a Corridors of Opportunity project), and Green Corridor Parks and Commons (part of the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative). 

“This is a unique opportunity to enhance an area of critical importance to Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the University and to create an innovative gateway to the University of Minnesota,” stated Carey.

The team’s master planning work is funded by a grant from Corridors of Opportunity’s Local Implementation Capacity (LIC) fund.  Planning and design work on the project will continue through next fall.