Franklin Avenue Light Rail Station to Become Cultural Center for Native Americans

Updated: 11/18/2013 8:40 AM By: Tom Durian

 A light rail station in Minneapolis is undergoing a transformation. Opening beneath the Franklin Avenue station next year is a new marketplace that has special meaning for local American Indians.

Since the 1930s, Franklin Avenue has been the corridor through the heart of the Native American community in the Twin Cities. But in the coming months, what used to be just a road will transform into the Anpetu Wa'ste Cultural Arts Marketplace.

"A lot of times our communities are so separated between neighborhood boundaries or streets," says Jay Bad Heart Bull of the Native American Community Development Institute. " This is really a place we can coalesce and create energy and positivity in our community."

The institute has been working on the project for two years, and just recently received funding from Art Place, a national organization that invests in arts and culture projects. The total is likely to come in just shy of $500,000.

The new project will incorporate landscaping, lighting, art, and places for vendors and food trucks. The institute says Hennepin County will be working with them to divert traffic away from the median by adding a bike lane and taking away a lane of traffic when they resurface the road this summer.

The marketplace should be completed by May.

You can learn more about the project here and give your input at a public meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday at Verdant Tea on Franklin Avenue.