The master plan for the Elk River 171st Avenue FAST outlines a course for change responding to both the near and long term development & transportation realities impacting the site. The FAST ultimately becomes a series of unique, interconnected districts showcasing residential, office, retail and industrial uses within the fabric of an enhanced open space and transportation network centered on the Northstar Commuter Rail Station and Highway 10/169. The 25-30 year planning horizon recognized and guides land use and transportation changes for the area to allow for both near term investment with a constant eye toward the future vision. The master plan for the FAST provides the framework for a future development pattern recognizing strong development potential in the area today and the economic, political and environmental constraints for future development. To some degree, the vision challenges the current pattern of development, but is also grounded in reality ensuring the master plan doesn’t exceed the development capabilities of Elk River and that the timetable for implementation is feasible.
With the City owning 75 acres of land in the center of the study, known as the Gateway Business Park, and the Northstar Commuter Rail Line beginning operation in fall of 2009 the time is now for planning major investments in the area to maximize the long term benefits for the community. The transition from the Northstar commuter bus to commuter rail will likely bring more than just trains to the FAST. As the first commuter rail line in Minnesota, the arrival of the train presents an opportunity for both near term and long-term investment in the area. The Northstar station will provide an attractive location for business and housing like Elk River Station over the next several years.
Over time, as development and intensifies, the master plan envisions the station area transforming into a unique, successful transit-oriented district with the economic and cultural benefits of other station