City Facilities & Downtown Study
Golden Valley's 2040 Comprehensive Plan identified the downtown as an area that required further exploration. The downtown core is identified as the four quadrants surrounding the Winnetka Avenue N and Golden Valley Road intersection. The Downtown West planning district includes the properties between Highway 169 to the west, the Golden Valley Country Club to the east, the Luce Line Regional Trail to the north, and Highway 55 to the south.
The City's central government center campus is located in the northeast quadrant of Winnetka Avenue and Golden Valley Road.
City Facilities Study
The City is studying its facilities in the downtown area to better understand and plan for long-term building needs. The goal is to determine how the facilities can best serve the community while maximizing opportunities for a future downtown Golden Valley.
The study process and outcomes include:
- identifying and analyzing the City's existing facilities, operations, and space needs, resulting in detailed recommendations for required facility sizes and space requirements for City Hall, the Fire Department, the Police Department, and Public Works
- facilitation of a community task force
- a long-term phased implementation plan that prioritizes the departments and facilities most in need
- aproposed budget for each facility that allows the City to plan project financing that will maintain the City's debt rating, execute projects in a fiscally-responsible manner, and ensure the efficiency and quality of City services for years to come
Recommendations from the Downtown Study for long-term redevelopment of this parcel include opportunities for private development by relocating Public Works away from downtown.
The City campus area sits at the northeast quadrant of Winnetka Avenue and Golden Valley Road, which is a desirable location that could be better configured to incorporate private investment and support businesses and activities in the downtown area. The City wishes to create a long-term plan for a phased approach to develop new facilities on a portion of its current campus, relocate Public Works operations, and make portions of the site available for private investment. An important principle guiding location decisions is keeping City Hall in the downtown area to attract and support civic, social, and business activity.
The City is in the middle of the third and final phase of a Downtown Study, which includes several concepts for how this might be accomplished. Collaboration with the Hennepin County Library to construct a shared facility is a potential opportunity. Other opportunities may also exist with the County or the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Investing in Facilities
By establishing a detailed strategy for future improvements, the City will be able to plan for reinvesting in its facilities, work with stakeholders, and take advantage of opportunities that emerge.
Investment in City facilities is a significant decision that has financial implications in terms of capital outlay and operational expenses. Additionally, such buildings have a significant influence on the social and civic fabric of a community, necessitating careful thought and thorough stakeholder and community engagement. Changes, challenges, and conflicts have emerged over the years that affect the building's intended use and the efficiency of services provided.
Public Safety Operational Changes
Golden Valley's Public Safety buildings all have limited space for training, storage, and operations and lack the appropriate facilities to accommodate different genders equitably. The Public Safety building on the City campus houses both the Police and Fire Departments. Fire Station 2 (Laurel Avenue and Turners Crossroad) and Fire Station 3 (Golden Valley Road and Bonnie Lane) are remote locations to serve other parts of Golden Valley.
Golden Valley's fire stations were established to support a paid on-call staffing structure, which is becoming unsustainable in today's society. To provide the community with adequate response times, a recent study concluded that Golden Valley Fire Department operations should transition from paid on-call staffing to a duty crew structure, which allows scheduled staffing and 24-hour support of a two-station model. Full-time staffing could be considered in the future. The department currently operates duty crews when call volumes are higher.
Public Works Operational Conflicts
The Public Works facilities are housed in three different buildings on campus and lack equitable facilities for different genders. Building sizes and configurations create inefficiencies and do not accommodate modern vehicles and equipment well. The movement of large equipment often conflicts with other activities and services on campus and in the downtown area. An unheated storage facility and storage yard are located off-site.
City Hall Service Challenges
Instead of being a prominent community destination, City Hall is set back from Winnetka Avenue and Golden Valley Road, largely out of view. Although recent interior improvements have been made, the building is dated, with a main corridor that separates operations and does not accommodate the public well. Besides general municipal business functions, the City's busy DMV service center also operates out of City Hall.
Soliciting public input was a major component of the City Facilities Study.
Phase I solicited input from the community through a virtual open house and survey. Watch the Facilities Study Virtual Open House video.
Phase II solicited input through a virtual community forum that outlined the City’s operational and space challenges to be addressed in coming years for Fire, Police, Public Works, and City Hall. The two-session forum was followed by an audience Q & A session. Watch the recorded event online.
In Phase III, the City used an interactive online survey tool to help the public share their input on proposed concepts for both the Facilities Study and the Downtown Study. The concepts were developed with input from earlier community engagement efforts, insights from the Facilities Study Task Force, and guidance of the Facilities Study Steering Committee.
City staff also hosted an information table at the Aug 15, 2021 Market In The Valley, with the option for residents to participate in guided tours of City Campus facilities. While several residents stopped at the table with questions, no one took the tour.
All community input opportunities were promoted multiple times in CityNews, on the City website newsfeed, on Cable Channel 16, and through social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and NextDoor.
In 2018, the City kicked off the three-phase Downtown Study by working with the Urban Land Institute to investigate a number of questions around redevelopment. This included assembling a panel of real estate, development, and finance experts to help evaluate the market potential of this district and how to best position the area for future improvements and redevelopment. Phase II focused on establishing an overall vision and guiding principles for redevelopment in the downtown core, and Phase III focuses on further refining those concepts.
Learn about Phase I of the Downtown Study.
Phase II of the Downtown Study focused on establishing a small area plan.
Phase III, the current and final phase, is focused on refining redevelopment concepts for the southwest and northeast areas as catalyst sites for downtown redevelopment, as well as public space improvements, including streets, sidewalks, trails, Bassett Creek corridor, and gathering spaces.