Minneapolis considers closing barge port

The city of Minneapolis is considering closing its municipal port on the Mississippi River to make way for redevelopment along the city's northern riverfront.

The area now hosts a barge terminal used by commodity shippers to bring in raw materials like coal and fertilizer, The area is a unique opportunity because it is city owned and underused, said Minneapolis' Director of Community Planning and Economic Development Jeremy Hanson Willis. A plan developed by the city would turn the area into a mix of housing, offices and parkland, with possibly some retail space, he said.

"We really think that the upper river is a ripe redevelopment opportunity," he said. "We think more people want to work on the river and live on the river and be part of park and recreation along the river."

Mayor R.T. Rybak told a city committee he would like to see barge traffic end as soon as next year to make way for the changes. Although it would cost about a dozen jobs, the city thinks redevelopment could expand employment in the area.

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