Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council are inviting community members to join an Anti-Displacement Workgroup for the Blue Line extension. The line extension will link downtown Minneapolis with Brooklyn Park. Photo: Sam Wagner/Shutterstock
Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council are inviting community members to join an Anti-Displacement Workgroup for the Blue Line extension. The line extension will link downtown Minneapolis with Brooklyn Park. Photo: Sam Wagner/Shutterstock

Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council are seeking applications from community members and others to serve on a 21-member Anti-Displacement Workgroup for the Blue Line light-rail line extension, which will link downtown Minneapolis with Brooklyn Park.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 14.

The goal of the workgroup is to ensure existing residents and businesses along the line are not displaced during its construction. It will include 21 initial members, with representation from community members, government staff, as well as staff from foundations and philanthropic organizations serving the project area.

The Metropolitan Council has tasked the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) with the responsibility of working with the communities in north Minneapolis, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park “to evaluate the potential for current and future displacement related to planning, construction and operation of the Blue Line light rail,” according to a statement.

Community members that join the workgroup will be asked to commit to twelve to eighteen months, depending on the needs of the work.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Lunde, whose district includes all of the cities the extended line will go through except north Minneapolis, said in a statement that the anti-displacement efforts will be critical to the success of the project, adding “I am proud to have pushed for this initiative in partnership with Commissioner Fernando. While our districts experience different challenges and have different development landscapes, we share the goal of having this project benefit current residents.”

The proposed route for the Blue Line extension from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park. Photo: Courtesy Metropolitan Council

Commissioner Irene Fernando’s district includes north Minneapolis. She said in a statement that the workgroup gives the community a chance to “co-design policy and have their experiences inform programming that will ensure current corridor residents experience the lasting benefits of light rail.”

Metropolitan Council Member Reva Chamblis, who lives in Brooklyn Park, said the long-term success of transit projects rely on strong community support.

“Throughout the METRO Blue Line Extension Project planning, I heard the concerns from the community about how the project may adversely impact neighborhoods and the fear of being displaced from their homes and businesses. I applaud the projects willingness to hear and address these concerns,” Chamblis said.

Apply to join the workgroup

You can apply online at https://mybluelineext.org/anti-displacement or call CURA at 612-625-1551. The deadline to apply is Jan. 14.

About Tom Gitaa

Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, President and Publisher of Mshale. As the founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation. Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dishnetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. Tom also served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. He retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on half marathons.

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