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Good news and bad for transit project

Getting the Rosemount Park and Ride on the schedule for construction in 2011 was a long shot in the first place, but some recent finds have made the accelerated schedule impossible

The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority had hoped to push up federal funding for the project up to this year; however, soil contamination and compliance with National Historic Preservation laws has killed that plan.

"It's frustrating," said community development director Kim Lindquist.

Lindquist said engineers were trying to complete the project memo to help move along the construction process and possibly get the project date moved up a couple years. But the potential for archeological artifacts on the Burnley Avenue site and contaminated soil have put the project off at least for a year. The project is scheduled for construction in 2013.

To get funding approval the $2.4 million project must meet National Historic Preservation laws. The main concern is archeological artifacts that could be located in an old privy hole on the site. Several years ago members of the Rosemount Area Historical Society did an archeological dig on the property and recovered old pottery shards and some other trinkets from an old outhouse hole for tenement housing that sat on the property.

While none of it was of real value, it gave a glimpse of life in Rosemount, which was interesting to area history buffs. Little did they know it would drum up more interest in the site.

Now the Minnesota Department of Transportation will conduct a dig on site to assess whether the artifacts previously found indicate the presence of a significant find.

Lindquist said the state's findings would not be finished in time to allow completion of the project memo, which must be done to access to the federal funds for fiscal year 2011.

A house which will be razed on the property also brought up some concern. Dakota County historical records show the house as very old. Rosemount historian Maureen Geraghty-Bouchard discussed her knowledge of the home with the state agency and it dropped the issue.

In addition to the archeological component, soil borings taken on the site turned up some contamination. The preliminary analysis found polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and selenium in the soil. Lindquist said she isn't sure what the clean up requirements will be but will report the findings to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The soil issue also could not be rectified before the project memo needed to be completed.

While the delay is disappointing, Lindquist said staff will keep trying to get the project memo completed so that the project could be up for 2012 funding.

"It's good to be getting everything out in the open now," said Lindquist.

With all that in mind the council reviewed several building elevation plans at an April 13 work session to see what the site could look like with the park and ride facility on it. While no formal decision was made, the council seemed to like a concept that featured a pitched roof and used architectural precast with brick wainscoting.

Mayor Bill Droste said he liked the concept because it had a railroad depot feel and said he thought it would fit in well with the downtown.

Rosemount has been a member of the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority since it started. In 2009 the city threatened to pull its membership due to lack of services within the city. The MVTA has since added services to Rosemount out of the Rosemount Community Center parking lot.

The planned park and ride will have about 100 parking spaces and will include indoor and outdoor waiting areas.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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