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Scott Neal, January 22, 2014 | Scott Neal
Many people in the Twin Cities are surprised to learn that the 50th & France business district is not entirely within Edina. The corporate border between Edina and Minneapolis runs right down the middle of France Avenue in that part of town. The west side of France is in Edina. The east side is in Minneapolis.
Normally, we don’t make a big distinction about that. But, the fact that the business district is not wholly within one city can get annoying at times. Yesterday’s Star Tribune story entitled “Minneapolis seeks more people, no more cars” caused some annoyance, at least for me and a couple of members of my City Council.
Here’s some back story. Not long ago, a once thriving Blockbuster video store on 50th Street just east of France Ave (in Minneapolis) closed up shop. The store sat vacant for a while until a new bar/restaurant called the Red Cow moved in. The Red Cow has been a success, which has created significant conflicts over the demand for parking spaces in the neighborhood.
Neighbors eventually brought a court action, which was rebuffed by the courts, in part because “…the city noted that non-permit parking is available merely a block away, along with hundreds of spaces in a public ramp just over two blocks away.”
Yes, part of the City of Minneapolis’ position on this issue in court was that there are hundreds of spaces in a public ramp just two blocks away – in Edina. This is annoying to me because we are currently talking about doing over $5 million worth of improvements to those municipal parking ramps, which will be paid for solely by assessments to the property owners at 50th & France, but only on the Edina side of France Avenue. We don’t have the legal authority to assess these costs to property owners on the Minneapolis side of France Avenue, even though those property owners benefit from our municipal parking ramps, too.
It’s nice that the City of Minneapolis acknowledges the benefit of Edina-provided free public parking in the 50th & France parking ramps. It would be even nicer for them to work together with the City of Edina to create a new Special Services District that would allow Edina to be able to spread the cost of building and maintaining those municipal parking ramps over the properties that actually benefit from them – on both sides of France Avenue.