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Hennepin County to approve ambitious Target Field transit hub

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The Hennepin County Board on Thursday is expected to approve a plan for a $79.3 million rail hub near Target Field that will amount to Minneapolis' Grand Central Station, Twins President Dave St. Peter said, the Star Tribune reports.

The station is being expanded to better accommodate Twins-game rail traffic and what will be a hub for four light-rail lines and a commuter line, the newspaper reports. But the county is going big, with grander visions than a utilitarian station. It plans to boost Minneapolis' North Loop area by creating a multi-use station, the Star Tribune notes. Plans include retail, a public plaza and a park.

Money to finance the project is coming from a variety of sources, including about $17 million in state bonding funds, and more than $20 million in federal grants, the Star Tribune reports. The county is expected to pay about $16 million.

Construction is already under way at the site. The station is slated to open in 2014, according to a county fact page about the project. That page also has more information about the rail lines that will funnel into the hub, and about how project managers expect the project to revitalize the North Loop neighborhood.

The neighborhood has evolved through the decades from a trolley loop to a hip home to restaurants, bars and the three-year-old Target Field, the Star Tribune notes. Area advocates have a conceptual design of the station project (also known as the Interchange) on the North Loop Neighborhood Association website.

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