Light rail plan draws adversaries in St. Louis Park - KMSP-TV

Light rail plan draws adversaries in St. Louis Park

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Public transit in the southwest metro is about to get a major makeover as a new light rail line connecting Minneapolis to Eden Prairie is in the works but many residents are worried about the potential impact on their neighborhoods.

A St. Louis Park, Minn. rally begged the Metropolitan Council to keep the heavy train traffic away from the city's neighborhoods.

"What will our school look like? What will our playground look like? Will there be a playground?" resident Leigh Nelson said.

A controversial tunnel is still on the table and set to be built under a popular Minneapolis neighborhood.One idea is to re-route the heavy traffic right through the heart of St. Louis Park, taking homes and potentially changing the landscape around the Central Community Center and the Spanish Immersion School where Nelson's children study.

"The biggest fear for us is the loss of community -- to have something divide the whole neighborhood," Nelson said.

Leaders recently pushed back some of the critical southwest corridor decisions until autumn hits due to safety and cost concerns.

Resident Marlene Touchberry's property sits in limbo – she wonders if her home of three decades will still be hers once the train is completed.

"I'd like to keep my house. We wouldn't have put in a second floor if we're not going to keep it. We wouldn't have gone through the expense," Touchberry said.

A Metropolitan Council spokesman said more decisions will be made in September, and there's a concern about a timetable and funding for the $1.25 billion project. Several rail safety enhancements are part of the proposal.

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