Richfield Parkway project goes forward, one homeowner continues hold-out

With 11 of 12 homeowners agreeing to sell their homes to the city, a project that will extend Richfield Parkway and displace several homes in the process will go on as planned.

The Richfield City Council unanimously approved a number of resolutions Tuesday, Feb. 12, that officially set the project in motion.

The east-side construction project, which will connect Richfield Parkway to Bloomington Avenue at 63rd Street, is slated to begin next year to allow for the city and a row of homeowners living on the project site to close on the sales, and for the houses to be demolished or removed from the construction site.

One of the final holdouts in the project, which is meant to improve the parkway’s access to northeast Richfield and southeast Minneapolis by connecting the parkway to Bloomington Avenue, signed an agreement on Friday, Feb. 8, to sell, Public Works Director Mike Eastling said during the council meeting.

That leaves Bernard Hurley as the final holdout.

Hurley, who has lived in his home for 60 years, had previously stated he had come to a basic agreement with the city, with some contingencies.

He spoke last week during a public during that directly preceded the council’s vote to approve a feasibility report and order the project. His words amounted to the meeting’s only statement from the public regarding the project.

Hurley characterized his interactions with negotiators as cordial.

“I do sort of want to thank your representatives that have come and talked to me at my house. I have not signed. We’re still negotiating,” said Hurley, who has lived in his 17th Avenue home for the past six decades with wife Marjorie.

“I know that it’s pretty difficult to beat city hall, and I’m not intent on beating them. I hope to come along pretty well with them.”

With city council approval, the design phase of the project is set to commence. It will detail how 17th Avenue will be reconstructed between 63rd Street and 65th Street to form the connection.

The Richfield Parkway Project will be completed in coordination with Three Rivers Park District, which is overseeing the construction of a bike path that will run along the road and be integrated with the Three Rivers trail system.

The city is issuing a special assessment bond of nearly $3 million to primarily fund the project, covering the cost of acquiring the homes and a portion of the construction, according to a staff report prepared for the council meeting Hennepin County will contribute $627,000.

Residents can now begin the process of closing on the sales and moving out. After expecting a buyout since 1996, when the city’s Cedar Corridor Redevelopment plan called for the neighborhood to be wiped clean, many residents there have forgone maintaining their properties in the belief their home would soon be sold and demolished anyway.

But one resident, Hurley, came forward at a city council meeting in December to note his pride in his home.

“You all are very welcome to come over to my home and look it over,” he told the council at the time. “It’s in excellent shape and we hope to maintain it in excellent shape.”

He has since moved closer to selling.

“I’m trying to get a little more money out of them,” he said following the meeting.

 

Contact Andrew Wig at andrew.wig@ecm-inc.com

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