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Working to protect the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities area
Photo: Metropolitan Design Center Image Bank. ©Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
FMR recently threw its support behind a riverfront land exchange in St. Paul. As part of their agreement in building a new barge terminal just south of Holman Field Airport across from downtown St. Paul, the Saint Paul Port Authority was to donate a nearby former barge facility to the city for potential use as parkland. However, when the tenant on this land — Barge Terminal #2 under the Lafayette Bridge — proved less than excited about a potential move downriver, the authority looked into alternative arrangements. In the end, the port authority agreed to donate 16 acres of riverfront land — six times as many of the original 2.3 acres to be swapped, and assessed at four times the value — in exchange for being able to keep both shipping facilities open.
Among other things, the donated land is needed to complete St. Paul's first off-road riverfront trail to run the entire length of the city. The trail improvement was one of many elements included in the City of St. Paul's Great River Passage Master Plan which will be brought to fruition thanks to the exchange.
FMR joined with the neighborhood group West Side Citizens Organization and the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation in supporting the deal. In testimony to the St. Paul City Council FMR described the arrangement as a classic "win-win" deal: it helps a key riverfront business while expanding the protection of key portions of St. Paul's riverfront.
The Star Tribune reported on the exchange as it was being finalized. Attached below are FMR's letter of support, which outlines the deal in more detail, as well as a specific listing and map of donated properties.