Light rail’s effect on west metro historic places considered

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As the Blue Line Extension chugs along in the West Metro, planners are considering ways in which they can avoid affecting historic properties near the planned light rail line.

The State Historical Preservation Office, in conjunction with the Federal Transit Authority, looked at 17 properties near the rail corridor that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and identified 11 that could be adversely affected by the light rail project. Project planners will figure out ways to mitigate those potential effects in a variety of ways.

The office identified five properties that might require mitigation despite no direct effect from light rail: the Sumner Branch Library and Labor Lyceum in Minneapolis, and the Historic Hennepin County Library (currently home to the city’s historical society and Robbin Gallery), Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and the city water tower in Robbinsdale.

Those spots, explained Assistant Director of Environmental and Agreements Kathryn O’Brien, were identified in order to make sure the forthcoming project doesn’t interfere with the buildings’ aesthetics.

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