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While the Burnsville Planning Commission has recommended plans for the Black Dog Amphitheater, a petition with nearly 7,000 signatures from neighbors in Burnsville and neighboring Bloomington asked the Metropolitan Council to step in and review the project. If the Met Council agrees to review plans for the outdoor amphitheater, the project could be set back by up to a year.

Given that the project, which has been proposed by the owners of the new Minnesota Wild professional hockey team in conjunction with concert promoter Rose Presents, is competing against three others in the Twin Cities, such a delay could jeopardize the project. The Twin Cities is one of the last big markets in the country without one.

The facility, which would host 25 to 35 concerts per season, is planned to built on the site of the former Freeway Landfill and Quarry, a 159-acre site located just south of the Minnesota River to the west of I-35W. The promoters forecast that only about four concerts a year would fill the amphitheater to its 19,500-person capacity.

Burnsville city officials consider the project an important step in a larger city vision to reclaim the riverfront, turning it from an area of heavy industrial use to one of more environmentally responsible activities and long-term economic growth. The planning commission’s recommendation will be considered at the Burnsville City Council’s meeting Aug. 21.

In asking the Met Council to review the plans, the citizens’ groups submission cited concerns about increased traffic and noise during concerts, and about drug and alcohol use by boaters nearby, plus a belief that plans to use tax-increment financing for infrastructure improvements involve public subsidies that merit further study. The groups also have expressed a desire for a more complete environmental review of the project.

Chairman Ted Mondale, who normally would determine whether to conduct the review, recused himself, citing “personal relationships on both sides.” Council vice chairman Matthew Ramadan will make the determination instead.

Burnsville city officials released a statement calling the petition for Met Council review a “delay” tactic. The city of Bloomington, across the river from the amphitheater site, already has authorized two lawsuits to seek further environmental review.

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