Now that Edina held its last “open house” Thursday night (March 23), it’s up to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to receive proposals for redevelopment of the Southdale Regional Library on York Avenue in Edina.
I was the “ambassador” Thursday night for one of the groups providing input to the Edina city and library officials and here’s what we recommended:
Don’t rush into redevelopment now. The retail property picture is changing rapidly and the Southdale Mall could be available to the county for a library and other uses at bargain basement prices.
Avoid providing Tax Increment Financing for redevelopment. We don’t need to give Fortune 500 companies tax breaks.
Buildings bordering Richfield’s residential area should be low so they don’t cast a shadow over the neighboring homes.
Don’t allow “big box retailers” as tenants in this development and provide adequate and accessible parking so that library patrons don’t have to compete with restaurant customers for parking spaces. Also, underground parking spaces should not be narrow and difficult to navigate. Edina has a sorry record in planning for parking in its commercial areas; Grandview Library/senior center case in point.
The “plan” presented by Edina refers to limited “discreet” above ground parking and that needs to be defined.
Remodeling the existing library building was an option presented at previous meetings but apparently has been ignored. Edina Economic Development Manager Bill Neuendorf said the remodeling option is being “tracked.” Another official said although their are no cost estimates for remodeling, he thought it was not economically feasible to remodel the existing building.
It was previously reported in the Sun Current: “The space could be used for an indoor concert facility, suggested Doris Rubenstein, a member of the Richfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority. While Richfield has two outdoor stages under development, it lacks a venue for indoor performances, Rubenstein said.”
County Commissioners need to hear from taxpayers and remain flexible. I hope hearing dates will be announced in the media.