Mpls residents can comment on proposed power linesby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A public meeting will take place tonight to discuss plans for two high-voltage power lines in south Minneapolis.
Xcel Energy's preferred route for the new lines is along 29th Street, next to the Midtown Greenway. They would be strung overhead on 70-foot-tall towers. The plan also calls for two new substations in the area.
Betty Mirzayi is Xcel's manager for the project. She says heavy loads have caused power fluctuations in the area.
"It's that accumulation of revitalization in the area -- new businesses moving in, expansion of existing businesses. The population density has been growing in the area, and the amount of electronic devices that we all have and rely on in our daily lives has multiplied tremendously over recent years," said Mirzayi.
But some neighborhood residents oppose the lines, saying new development in the area will be in jeopardy if the new lines are installed.
"We anticipate ... growth concentrated along the Greenway to pick up again and accelerate," said Tim Springer of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, "unless these lines are here. And then it won't, because we hear from developers that they will not build under these lines," Springer said.
Springer says more conservation and local generation would be preferable. They say if the lines must be built, they should be buried underground.
Xcel says it would cost an additional $12 million to bury the new lines, and it is talking with the city and county about how to pay that extra cost.