By Amanda Schwarze
Maple Plain officials could give approval for construction to begin on the proposed park-and-pool site as soon as July 23.
City officials have been working for about four years to bring a Metro Transit park-and-ride lot to Baker Park Road in Maple Plain. Now plans for the lot have been drawn and approved and five bidders are vying for the project’s contract.
The Maple Plain City Council is scheduled to review the bids at its July 23 meeting, City Administrator Jason Ziemer said. If the council decides to award the contact at that meeting, Ziemer said the next steps would be to get all of the required agreements in place and to start construction. Bidders were told that work on the project must be completed by Oct. 31.
While the goal is to ultimately turn the lot into a park-and-ride, it will start out as a park-and-pool lot for carpoolers. Metro Transit officials are still seeking funds to operate a bus route to the area and bus service may not be available in the city for years.
Maple Plain officials began discussions in 2008 with Metro Transit officials about constructing a park-and-ride lot in the city. Prior to agreeing to locate the lot in Maple Plain, plans had placed a park-and-ride in Orono off of Highway 12 at County Road 6. City officials were successful in persuading Metro Transit officials that the area on Baker Park Road, not far from the intersection with Highway 12, would be a more ideal location for the lot.
By the end of 2010, design work on the project began, which was finished at the end of last year. Also last year, the two homes that once were located on the site were burned during a fire department training exercise and demolished.
The city purchased the two Baker Park Road properties with the help of a $460,000 grant from Hennepin County. Maple Plain has also received a $691,600 from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to build the site. Metro Transit is paying for the design and engineering of the facility.
Plans for the site call for 156 parking stalls on the lot. Proposed furnishings on the site include light fixtures, benches, trash receptacles and bicycle racks, which will all be painted black. Currently there are 104 trees on the site and the plans call for 84 of them to be removed and for 34 new trees to be planted after construction, which would leave the site with 54 trees.