Since 2005 the City of Hopkins has been working in partnership with Hennepin County, Hopkins School District, and other stakeholders to form a collaborative to address community concerns in the Blake Road Corridor. A lot of progress has been made including youth summer programming, increased police presence, the creation of multiple Neighborhood Watch groups, and the adoption of the Blake Road Corridor Small Area Plan.
Redevelopment in the Blake Rd Corridor is inevitable. Land costs and other market conditions, as well as future Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the area will attract higher intensity development. The City of Hopkins is preparing for future redevelopment through its Comprehensive Plan to guide certain sites toward Transit-Oriented-Development, and by conducting the Blake Road Corridor Study.
Beginning in August of 2008, the City worked with consultant Hay Dobbs, Hennepin County, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed, and residents and businesses to create a long-term vision for the Blake Road Corridor. In 2008, the City received $40,000 from Hennepin County for a plan for the corridor and the City contributed an additional $10,000. On May 19, 2009, the Hopkins City Council approved the Blake Road Corridor Small Area Plan 6MB.
The result is a plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle conditions, connect green spaces and amenities, and guide redevelopment opportunities in the short and long term. The Blake Road Corridor Small Area Plan addresses a proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit Station and a vision for redevelopment around the Station that will bring activity to the Corridor while protecting insular single-family neighborhoods.
Implementation of the plan will be an ongoing process and began with the construction of sidewalks on the east side of Blake Road in 2009.
The Blake Road Corridor Collaborative (BRCC) is a partnership of governmental and community organizations working to address community concerns in the Blake Road area of Hopkins. In response to some of the social service recommendations from the 2005 Wilder Study, local agencies ResourceWest and InterCongregation Communities Association (ICA) have overseen additional community outreach and engagement in the Corridor. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has provided funding for these efforts, including a staff position coordinating the collaborative and the development of a Community Action Plan unveiled in February 2010.
Other organizations involved in the BRCC include the City of Hopkins and the Hopkins Police Department. Since 2005, the Blake Road neighborhood and the BRCC have experienced a number of important successes, including the establishment of the Cottageville Park neighborhood garden, increased participation of Blake Road youth in after-school programming coordinated by the Hopkins Public School District Community Education Department, and many neighborhood improvements including the addition of sidewalks along the east side of Blake Road North.
The Stakeholder Collaborative raised enough money to fund increased police patrols, youth summer programming, and an extensive community assessment carried out by the Wilder Foundation. The goals of the assessment were to clarify community concerns, identify long-term solutions for those concerns, and inform a plan to engage and empower stakeholders. Completed in April 2008, the assessment utilized interviews with residents, an online survey, focus groups and other research tools.
All of these efforts were important steps toward stabilizing the community in the short-run, and the Wilder Foundation Community Assessment has now provided the City with guidance on how to support and bolster those efforts so that community improvements continue and are maintained.
The Cottageville Park expansion project, a joint partnership between Hopkins and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, was recognized by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with one of its 2014 Innovation Awards. Read more...
In August 2010, The National League of Cities (NLC) announced that the City of Hopkins was a finalist for the 2010 Awards for Municipal Excellence. The Awards for Municipal Excellence recognize cities and towns for outstanding programs that improve the quality of life in America’s communities. Hopkins was chosen for the Blake Road Corridor project.
In September 2011, a Hopkins community-police partnership was recognized with a national MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award for innovative community safety efforts that have reduced crime, eliminated blight and renewed economic vitality in Hopkins neighborhoods. Read more...