MINNEAPOLIS - If you take the train to a ball game this spring you will likely notice a lot of construction near the Target Field stop.
"This is going to be the busiest transit hub in the state of Minnesota," said Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.
Labeled, the "Interchange," the hub is anticipated to bring all sorts of transportation to one big stop.
The $79-million project will be the new stop for light rail, Northstar and all of the buses that come to Minneapolis from the suburbs. Additionally, the project includes a 250 space parking underground parking lot.
Touted as a 21st century connector, the "Interchange" will be open to the skies and have plenty of green spaces. It will contain lounging areas, there will be retail and it will serve thousands not only on game nights, but 365 days a year.
"You'll be able to go to the airport, the mall of America, downtown St. Paul or the Capitol, you'll be able to get up to the Target suburban headquarters up in Brooklyn Park and you'll be able to get down to the Opus, Eden Prairie jobs, as well as getting up to Big Lake on the Northstar and ultimately you're going to be able to get up to St. Cloud," said McLaughlin.
The Interchange will also be a destination. One of the centerpieces will be an amphitheater that has room for 2000 people.
It will sit right next to the big Hennepin Energy Recovery Center or HERC next door and if you think that's an eyesore, think again.
"We think it's an asset," smiled McLaughlin.
The HERC releases a lot of heat and some of it will be captured and piped in underground to help melt the snow on the sidewalks during the winter. As a sort of tradeoff, all of the snow and rain runoff from the Interchange will be piped back into HERC to help power the plant.
Naming and operating rights for areas around the "Interchange" are currently under consideration, but you can bet by 2014 everything will be all finalized.
"This is going to be up and operating by opening day of 2014," said McLaughlin. "The All-Star game will be in early July in 2014 and this will be in full operation at that time and I can just imagine the things that will be happening. It will be just spectacular."
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