The Minnesota Department of Transportation invited leaders from Latino organizations to join a bus tour of the 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown project to show and recognize the progress and benefits of the project.

The purpose of the tour was to share information about the project, demonstrate its scope, and discuss the impacts on the local community, which includes the prominent Latino community near Lake Street and 35W who are directly affected by the construction.

Enthusiastic leaders boarded the bus at Midtown Exchange and started a journey led by Aaron Tag, MnDOT West Area engineer, who guided participants with a clear and concise description of the project.  Participants stopped at three locations throughout the project to view construction and enjoyed a picnic at Franklin Steele Park to socialize, comment, and offer new questions for the moderators. Gustavo Mancilla, founder of MLatino Media, said, “Enjoying snacks and conversation at the last stop reaffirms the effectiveness of these MnDOT initiatives to incorporate community views towards current and future projects.

Rosa Tock, Executive Director of Minnesota Council of Latino Affairs, commented that “The visit with leaders and Latino businessmen was a very good opportunity to understand the scope of the project and how vehicular traffic will move through the zone. It was also important to learn about the economic development and opportunities for local artists to be involved in the project which helps connect this metropolitan corridor to the different cultural communities that live and work near Lake Street and Highway 35W.”

Leaders from the Mexican Consulate in Saint Paul, Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, the City of Minneapolis, Latino Economic Development Center, Latino Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota,  COPAL MN, Casa de Esperanza, MN Immigrant Movement, and local activists and business owners from the area participated in the event.