Minnehaha Creek Restoration Progresses with Cold Storage Property Purchase

Thursday, September 29, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 29, 2011

Minnehaha Creek Restoration Progresses with Cold Storage Property Purchase

Partnership with City of Hopkins Helps Achieve Watershed and City Goals

Map of the Urban Creek CorridorDeephaven, Minn. – The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) Board of Managers has approved the purchase of a 16.9 acre piece of property adjacent to Minnehaha Creek in the city of Hopkins.  The property, located at 325 Blake Road, is an older industrial property with cold storage buildings currently operating the site.

The $14.95 million purchase is part of a larger effort by the MCWD to restore Minnehaha Creek, which has been adversely impacted by industrial development over the years.  At the Blake Road property, the MCWD plans to restore about 1,000 feet of shoreline in one of the most degraded sections of the creek.  The area will become a natural buffer to help clean and slow run-off water before it enters the creek, provide reasonable public access and improve water quality.  The rest of the property will be sold for re-development, which is consistent with the city’s comprehensive land use plan.

"The city of Hopkins and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District have found complimentary goals - first in the opportunity to improve water quality, expand Cottageville Park and expose Minnehaha Creek to our residents and now in the ability to redevelop a key parcel in the heart of the Blake Road corridor,” said Hopkins Mayor Gene Maxwell.  “This partnership will bring new life, cleaner water, improved livability and protection and enhancement of the natural environment."

“Our effort to improve Minnehaha Creek is one of the most significant environmental restoration projects being undertaken in the Twin Cities,” said MCWD Administrator Eric Evenson.  “This partnership with the City of Hopkins will help us turn back the clock on the creek’s neglect in a financially responsible way that minimizes costs to taxpayers

The acquisition will be financed by MCWD bond proceeds with repayment through the MCWD watershed tax levy.  Lease payments by the existing tenants will help cover annual financing costs and tenants will continue regular tax payments to the city of Hopkins.  Proceeds from the sale of the balance of the property, once tenant leases have expired, will allow the District to recover a good portion of the original acquisition costs.

Initially, the MCWD approached the current property owner for an easement that would have allowed restoration of the Minnehaha Creek shoreline, but buildings and other infrastructure on the property would not have allowed enough access to the site to complete the restoration project. The MCWD determined that a purchase of the property was the best option for achieving MCWD and city goals, while being fair to property owners and responsible to taxpayers.

Prior to the Board’s approval of the purchase, the MCWD obtained an independent market appraisal and conducted due diligence and negotiation to ensure that it was paying market value for the property and that there is a sufficient market interest in the eventual resale of the property for the District to recoup a large portion of its purchase costs.

The restoration project by the MCWD is one component of a larger partnership with the cities of Hopkins and St. Louis Park aimed at restoring creek watershed areas between Highway 169 and Methodist Hospital.  For more information, visit our website www.minnehahacreek.org.

City of Hopkins

Hopkins is a dynamic community of over 17,000 residents located just 13 minutes west of the Twin Cities. Founded rich in tradition and growth, Hopkins offers the advantages and conveniences of a large City but yet the security of a small town.Hopkins has enriched its spirit of community by remaining a place where people are treated with respect; where the community participates in building culture, character and common bonds; where business growth is supported while a vibrant City Center is maintained; where people feel safe, support outstanding schools and celebrate cultural heritages; and where people enjoy quality parks, housing and public services. For more information, visit www.hopkinsmn.com.

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District                
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District covers approximately 181 square miles, including Minnehaha Creek, Lake Minnetonka, the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes and Minnehaha Falls. The District is charged by state law to protect, improve and manage water resources. It does so through scientific research and monitoring, public education, cost share grant programs, permitting and collaborative efforts with the 27 cities, two townships and two counties (Hennepin and Carver) that are in the District. For more information, visit www.minnehahacreek.org.

Contact: 
Telly Mamayek, MCWD Communications Manager
952-594-5672; tmamayek@minnehahacreek.org