Minneapolis and Edina beefing over 50th & France parking

Palmisano (left) said her dispute with Neal (right) embodies "the suburban versus city approach in terms of addressing a parking problem."
Just last month, Linea Palmisano took over for Betsy Hodges as the City Council representative for Minneapolis's affluent 13th Ward in the southwest part of town.

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Heading in, Palmisano recognized that the parking situation near 50th and France is a major issue that needs to be dealt with. So she was less than thrilled to see a blog post on Edina's city website criticizing Minneapolis officials for their handling of the situation before she even had a chance to meet with her counterparts on the west side of France Avenue.

In a post entitled "No Fair," Edina City Manager Scott Neal points out that Minneapolis officials have gotten in the habit of acknowledging "the benefit of Edina-provided free public parking in the 50th & France parking ramps."

"This is annoying to me because we are currently talking about doing over $5 million worth of improvements to those municipal parking ramps, which will be paid for soley by assessments to the property owners at 50th & France, but only on the Edina side of France Avenue," Neal wrote. "We don't have the legal authority to assess these costs to property owners on the Minneapolis side of France Avenue, even though those property owners benefit from our municipal parking ramps, too."

Neal concludes by urging Minneapolis officials "to work together with the City of Edina to create a new Special Services District that would allow Edina to be able to spread the cost of building and maintaining those municipal parking ramps over the properties that actually benefit from them -- on both sides of France Avenue."

Reached for comment Friday, Palmisano said Neal "should not have started that conversation in this way," adding that she has a meeting with him scheduled for tomorrow.

"It started as a very confrontational, negative thing about Minneapolis," she said. "We definitely need to do something, but investing in free parking never solves a parking problem."

Tactics aside, Palmisano said Neal's position doesn't account for the fact that the Minneapolis side of 50th and France is more residential and less dense than the Edina side.

(For more, click to page two.)

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