A new partnership between Green Minneapolis, MnDOT, the City of Minneapolis and area stakeholders has transformed the Hennepin Lyndale Crossroads into a green oasis, and created a more beautiful and welcoming experience for residents and visitors.
The Hennepin Lyndale Crossroads is a primary gateway for Minneapolis. The convergence of Hennepin Ave, Lyndale Ave, 35W and 94 is a nexus for some of the region’s most important institutions and civic spaces, including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Loring Park, the Cathedral of St. Mark, Basilica of St. Mary’s and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. To date, the intersection has been traffic focused and uncomfortable for pedestrians.
Green Minneapolis, the non-profit conservancy working to enhance the livability of downtown Minneapolis through greening and park projects, partnered with Citizens for Loring Park Community, The Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association, the City of Minneapolis, and MnDOT to turn the famous bottleneck into a greener, more pedestrian friendly area. Funding for all the plant materials was granted by MnDOT through their Community Roadside Landscape Partnership Program, stretching public dollars further and supporting improved aesthetics by partnering with cities and neighborhoods.
“Green Minneapolis is the critical link that makes public-private partnerships like the Hennepin-Lyndale Crossroads possible to execute, said Beth Shogren, Executive Director of Green Minneapolis. “This project aligns with our mission to enhance greening in downtown Minneapolis, and we contribute the fundraising capability and the operations expertise to get the job done.”
The project’s first phase added a new garden at Douglas Avenue and additional plantings in the center medians south of Vineland. With the support of adjacent property owners, ongoing maintenance of all medians will be provided.
“It’s been exciting to see the investments in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Irene Hixon Whitney pedestrian bridge. The opportunity for The Basilica of Saint Mary to come together with our neighbors and Green Minneapolis united these major institutions to transform the landscaping along this important gateway into the city. We are grateful to be a part of this coalition, and look forward to bringing future improvements to our corner, said Terri Ashmore, Managing Director of the Basilica.
The project grew out of a green vision championed by the Lowry Hill and Loring Park neighborhood organizations. When planning for the Hennepin-Lyndale reconstruction began in 2015, the groups, together with representatives of the adjacent institutions, formed an advisory committee to advocate for improved walkways and crosswalks, boulevard trees and other green infrastructure. “We were pleased with the resulting design, but also understood that it was just the first step in accomplishing a broader transformation of the entire corridor,” said John Van Heel, the project leader for Citizens for a Loring Park Community. “We also knew the new landscaping required an additional level of maintenance that neither city nor state agencies could provide, so we created the coalition of corridor stakeholders and Green Minneapolis.”
Green Minneapolis envisions future phases that extend the footprint of the project both north and southward, adding new trees and ground cover along the freeway adjacent to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Loring Park. The conservancy will seek support from the broader community to complete this greater vision. MnDOT plans to support highway beautification under its newly launched Highway Sponsorship Program, which allows private sector entities to contribute to the beautification of MnDOT roadways and roadsides across the state. “Engaging in public-private partnerships for roadside greening and beautification will improve the aesthetics of our state to support Minnesota’s economic vitality and improve our quality of life,” said Charles Zelle, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation.
About Green Minneapolis:
Green Minneapolis is a non-profit conservancy established to advance the vitality of downtown Minneapolis through parks, greening and program activation. Green Minneapolis engages in strategic public, private and philanthropic partnerships to advance the common goal of creating a vibrant public realm.
About Citizens for Loring Park Community:
Citizens for a Loring Park Community is a non-profit neighborhood organization that has served as a forum of civic engagement and community action since 1974. It has a proud history as a champion of community safety, historic preservation and sustainable urban planning.
About The Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association
The Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association is a volunteer run organization and the oldest neighborhood organization in Minneapolis. Its purpose is to work toward the preservation and improvement of the Lowry Hills neighborhood and provide a forum fostering communication, participation, and advocacy for Lowry Hill neighborhood stakeholders regarding issues and events meaningful to the neighborhood. Efforts to improve our community include developing, encouraging and promoting programs, activities and government action directed toward the maintenance, preservation, improvement and beautification of the area known as the “Lowry Hill Neighborhood.”