Regional Leaders Travel to Twin Cities for Learning Visit

With support from the Iowa West Foundation and the Peter Kiewit Foundation, a group of Heartland 2050 Executive Committee members, community and business leaders, and elected officials took a learning trip to the Twin Cities in October. The group of twenty-eight received a firsthand view of how long-term investments in regional collaboration and public transportation can build a prosperous region.

Heartland 2050 coordinated with the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities to show projects and hear presentations from officials, developers, and community leaders that came about due to the Minneapolis 2040 Plan and highlighted what can be accomplished when collaboration, communication, equity, and access are the top priorities.

The group learned from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative about the efforts to set forth a regional affordable housing goal and ensure business growth along the blue line expansion of the light rail system.

One of the highlights of the trip was learning about the Midtown GreenWay bike trail, a 5.5 mile bike and pedestrian only corridor that links midtown to downtown Minneapolis. This corridor has spurred development throughout the area and is connected to a light rail stop and a BRT station.

Metro Transit ORBT will be built on Dodge Street in 2018-2019.
The group was able to ride the A-Line in Minneapolis, a new BRT corridor that launched in April. Officials from the transit authority shared with the group the development that has occurred around the corridor and the outcomes connecting people to employment opportunities.

The conversation continues back in the metro. Leaders from the Heartland 2050 Site Visit team continue to meet on a regular basis and have committed to sharing with at least 10 other people what they learned from the trip to the Twin Cities.

As Willie Barney (President and Facilitator of the Empowerment Network) said, “transportation can be a project that connects all the great projects happening in our region.” Be on the look out for a more detailed report of the trip and what steps have been taken to take the lessons learned and move to implementation.