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Westminster leaders approve church expansion

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A landmark church in downtown Minneapolis has approved a major expansion plan.

Westminster Presbyterian Church leaders voted Thursday night to expand with a new wing that opens onto Marquette Avenue and the Nicollet Mall next to their historic 1897 building. 

Total project costs are expected to near 30 million dollars and include a two story, 41,000 square foot expansion with underground parking that can accommodate more than 200 vehicles. The financing campaign will also raise as much as 7 million dollars for affordable housing and other community programs.

The church includes Governor Mark Dayton among its members and hosts the popular Westminster Town Hall Forum, heard regularly on MPR news. 

Groundbreaking is scheduled for April 10, and is expected  to take two years to complete. 

MPR News host Tom Weber spoke to Tim Hart-Andersen, the senior pastor at Westminster about the expansion, why it's needed, and where the funds came from.