Since 2016, Forecast has facilitated the PLACES initiative for the upcoming Southwest LRT project (the Green Line Extension), which was sparked when the budget for public art was cut from the project budget. PLACES—Public Art and Community Engagement Southwest—will tell the story, character, heritage and culture of the communities along the Southwest LRT corridor through thoughtful public art and place-based design adjacent to LRT station areas, supported by a mix of public and private funding. Forecast is currently in the process of identifying private sector partners and sponsors interested in participating in this unique civic project on a regional scale. PLACES is envisioned as a 15-mile rail and bike corridor punctuated by community-engaged arts interventions and artful gathering places—a linear string of pearls that links diverse urban and suburban communities.
PLACES is guided by a multi-jurisdictional committee that provides guidance and direction to support the planning, design and funding of this long-term initiative. Participating cities include Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie. Additional partners include Hennepin County Community Works and the Metropolitan Council/Metro Transit. PLACES builds on the extensive public engagement employed to develop the Green Line Extension, and strategies for development in the neighborhoods surrounding those stations.