Social Design Issue: SEMI Area
The Southeast Minneapolis Industrial Area (SEMI) is located just East of campus. What was a running industrial yard is now a barren wasteland littered with grain elevators. I find it very strange in such an intense urban environment to have this much land used for absolutely nothing. It should be possible put this space to use without destroying the existing structures which I should mention, have a significant importance in the history of this city.
Fifty years ago, Minneapolis looked very different. This is a topic that comes up very often with the senior citizens who swim at the Courage Center, where I’ve been a lifeguard for just over two years. I’ve had a number of old ladies reminisce of the times when they took the train to get downtown. One of the big changes is the disappearance of the trains during the 1980’s. Minneapolis had one of the most advanced train systems of the time and somehow the city planners decided to take all the rails out and dump the steal in Lake Minnetonka. Now, about twenty-five years later we’re trying to put the rail lines back in to improve the chaotic bus system.
One possibility of the SEMI Area to good use is to build a central light rail station for lines going to St. Paul and Northeast Minneapolis. None of the grain elevators would have to be knocked down, and some of the taller structures could be turned into observation towers. The rest of the rail yard could be converted to a park maybe with a pond. There should also be an extension of the bike greenway system that follows the train lines. More than anything there would need to be a reason for people go to this part of the city and use the train station. It might not be too bad an option.