Foley park and ride area concept to be unveiled

A concept plan for future development around the Foley Boulevard park and ride facility will be unveiled at an open house in the Coon Rapids City council chambers Tuesday, April 29, 4:30-6 p.m. There will be a presentation shortly after 4:30 p.m.

A consulting team of HHGi and SEH was hired by the city with $40,000 in grant dollars from the Metropolitan Council to prepare a plan to guide future development and infrastructure improvements in a 100-acre area, generally bordered by Foley Boulevard, Coon Rapids Boulevard and East River Road.

Three development scenarios were developed followed meetings with various agencies, including Metro Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Anoka County, Northern Lights Express, property owners, a design workshop open to the public in January and a February meeting with three developers to get their insight.

The scenarios were presented to a Coon Rapids City Council work session in late February and following council discussion, city staff and the consultants came up with the concept plan, which contains some elements of all three scenarios, for the open house.

Following the presentation, there will be a question and answer session and an opportunity for people attending to speak informally with city staff and the consultants, according to Matt Brown, city community development specialist.

Mailings inviting them to the open house have been sent to residents and property owners in a wide area from the Mississippi River to Egret Boulevard to Highway 10 to 85th Avenue NW, Brown said.

The three initial scenarios were continued light industrial development, corporate campus and mixed high density residential and office.

The concept plan to be presented at the April 29 open house features:

• High density residential to the north of Foley Boulevard and south of Coon Rapids Boulevard.

• Mixed uses, while not required, that would offer opportunities to incorporate the existing Head Start center or day care uses as part of a larger project.

• Flexibility for commercial, identified in the plan at the northwest corner of Foley and Coon Rapids boulevards and on the south side of Foley, to be retail or office as redevelopment occurs.

• Light industrial use in the area south and north of Coon Rapids and Foley boulevards between East River Road and the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railroad double tracks.

• Opportunity for a plaza and parking on both sides of Foley to support the proposed Northern Light Express Foley station in the short term and Northstar Commuter Rail in the long term.

• Transit supportive, but not reliant, as the high density residential area would be served by existing bus service using the Foley park and ride.

According to the proposal, there would be 29 acres of high density residential with some mixed buildings,16 acres of commercial retail or office and 40 acres of light industrial; 350 to 675 new housing units would be added; and there would be net growth of 750 jobs.

The concept plan also includes a new loop road from west of Foley to Coon Rapids Boulevard; an extension of 95th Lane to provide more traffic circulation in the study area; a new signalized intersection at the loop road and the park and ride entrance; and existing intersections on East River Road to remain.

In addition, the concept plan includes reconstruction of Foley with a bridge over the railroad tracks, for which Anoka County has been seeking federal dollars, thus far unsuccessfully.

According to the plan, while a median would be constructed in the long term on Foley, the county and the city are exploring whether the median could be delayed until traffic counts warrant it.

The plan also proposes trails and sidewalks on both sides of local streets as well as trails extended to the south and north to improve connections to nearby parks, the river and businesses.

Following the open house, a final plan will be recommended for action by the Coon Rapids Planning Commission and the council.

Information on the study can be found online at www.foleyblvdstation.com.

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