Plan for rooftop golf facility moves into the foreground

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An indoor driving range that sits atop a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp. It sounds like a fantasy, but the project took a step toward becoming reality on Tuesday as the city council's transportation and public works committee approved a measure to execute an agreement to lease the air space above the ramp.

Although this proposal surfaced last month, a report in the Star Tribune noted that the concept is nothing new. The idea for such a facility has been kicking around for 15 years.

KSTP's story said the proposed privately funded project would be built on top of Ramp A and the Hawthorne Transportation Center, adjacent to Target Field and connected to the skyway system. The proposal includes outdoor green space, a club house, locker rooms, retail and food services, playing fields, a walking and running track, a youth center, and education facilities and comes with a $70 million price tag.

El Tinklenberg, a consultant on the project and a former commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told the station the development could be as big of a deal as the National Sports Center in Blaine or even the Hiawatha Light Rail line.

"We're creating an amenity in downtown out of space that is otherwise totally underutilized," Tinklenberg said.

Tinklenberg said construction would take about 18 months, and could begin in 2015.

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