(BLAINE) – The bus transfer station at Northtown Mall will likely move within the mall’s property footprint, but its new proposed location has those who live nearby concerned about how it could impact their quality of life. The quirky location shift pits mall ownership, city leaders from Spring Lake Park and Blaine, and even a state lawmaker in a bit of a dispute over how to move forward.
According to sources, Northtown Mall management and Washington Prime Group has notified Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council it has to move the bus transit station on the west end of the property and hopefully re-locate it to a seldom-used parking lot on the far south end, which is along and against Sanburnol Drive NE, which is the boundary between Blaine and Spring Lake Park. Among the residents who live there and who have voiced opposition to the plan is Representative Erin Koegel.
“Nobody really wants to see the increased bus traffic,” said Rep. Koegel. She and others estimate that 175 buses use the transit station every day. “The buses start at 4:00 a.m. We already have a lot of noise here form the mall. We’d like to keep it as quiet as possible, so the increased bus traffic would be a bit of a burden on the neighborhood.”
At its meeting on August 19, Spring Lake Park City Council unanimously passed a resolution officially opposing the move based on complaints from residents in that neighborhood.
“We’re taking a position to protect this residential neighborhood from a use we don’t think is compatible with the neighborhood,” said City Administrator Dan Buchholtz.
Blaine city leaders, however, say they will welcome any plans that the mall submits through the normal planning and permits process.
“Anything the city can do to help support the growth of Northtown to make sure they’re a viable entity in our community,” said Community Development Director Erik Thorvig. “They are our largest taxpayer.”
Thorvig expects plans to be submitted to the city within a few months, and Blaine officials say they will address the neighborhood matters.
Koegel and Buchholtz hope all sides can meet to come up with an alternative solution to the move.
Northtown Mall management did not wish to comment about the story, saying only that nothing was finalized and therefore was not official.