Cedar Cultural Center adding outdoor plaza this summer

The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, aka the West Bank, has big changes afoot, and one of the main ones centers around the Cedar Cultural Center. This summer, construction will begin on a new multi-use plaza next to the venue that will host concerts.

For the project, the fencing around the Cedar's existing patio will be removed, and the area will resurfaced as a unified meeting spot to hold concerts and host travelers as they dart from the Blue Line LRT stop to the new Green Line stop opening on June 14. Poles for nighttime lighting will be added to the space, as well. (See a rendering below.)

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About $400,000 has been raised for the project so far, but the Cedar seeks another $300,000 for the improvements. Under the agreement with the city, temporary fencing will be allowed 12 times a year for outdoor music events at this destination point between the two light rail stations.

For ticketed events that would be similar to some of the programming done indoors, the Cedar would isolate the entire space with banners between the perimeter poles. But a smaller performance section for more free shows similar to what they've done in the past is also an option.

The initial design for the plaza space is almost exactly the same size as Cedar's hall (about 5000 square feet), so Cedar executive director Robert Simonds is expecting the capacity to be similar (450 seated, 625 standing). "Since our longer-term goal is to expand our lobby and offices, we expect the size of this outdoor space will likely shrink when that happens down the road," he notes, and adds that many aspects of the plan are subject to change.

Another look at the plans for the renovated space from directly above: 
The entirety of Cedar Avenue will start to look different as construction begins this summer to widen the sidewalks, increase street parking, and add pedestrian lighting. Hopefully this means no more stepping into slush puddles while squeezing past crowds gathered in front of the many bars along the street. A new $52 million residential rental unit is on its way too. Star Tribune details all of the projects here.

But what will become of Medusa? No word on that yet.

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