We're Celebrating 50 Years


Partnerships to ensure a prosperous and sustainable region

50 years ago, the Minnesota Legislature had a visionary idea – to create a regional body focused on fostering efficient and economic growth for a prosperous region. They realized that our region is stronger when we collaborate on shared priorities and form partnerships based on mutual goals.

Since 1967, the Council has partnered with communities across the seven-county region. From parks, to clean water, housing and transit, our focus has been on supporting communities as we together build a prosperous and sustainable metro region. 

Today, the Twin Cities is one of the best places to live in the nation. And as we face the challenges of the future, it is in these partnerships that we will continue to find success and prosperity.  - Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff

50th Anniversary Celebration!

Chair Tchourumoff, Governor Mark Dayton, and nearly 200 local officials and former Council members gathered on Jan. 25, 2018 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Metropolitan Council at MacNamara Hall on the University of Minnesota.  

A panel discussion between former Council Chairs Sue Haigh, Ted Mondale, and Curt Johnson, with moderator Brian McDaniel (former Council member), reflected on their service and discussed how to tackle the regional challenges of the future. More about the 50th Anniversary, including Chair Tchourumoff's full remarks.

Council Chair Alene
Blue Lake Plant
From ‘disaster’ to award-winning wastewater treatment system  

Dr. Russ Susag’s mom was proud of her son’s status as a University of Minnesota assistant professor and research fellow. But she couldn’t bring herself to say what subject he taught. Ladies didn’t say “poop.” Susag, a former Metropolitan Council member and one-time manager of the former Metropolitan Sewer Board, reflects on how collaboration created our region’s award-winning, cost-effective wastewater treatment system.

Transit investments spur development, serve employers and neighborhoods

The METRO Gold Line bus rapid transit (BRT) service in the East Metro will begin carrying passengers in 2024. Transitways have proven to attract billions in development and redevelopment investments, and provide workers expanded access to employers. A strong system of local roads, highways and freeways is supported by a robust transit system. A good transit system gives people options and creates economic opportunity. 

A Line Bus Stop
Lady Paddling
Creating connections for people to the regional parks 

A new world opened for Paola Aguila after she accepted a Facebook invitation from the Metropolitan Council’s new Parks Ambassador Program to “Join us for Kayaking” in a nearby regional park. The Council and its partners, the 10 regional park implementing agencies, are stepping up efforts to reach populations that are underrepresented as a share of parks visitors. Partnerships with community groups is a key strategy.

Dancers at Monarch Fest
cyclist riding on snow
Acres of regional parks
1975 - 38,439     2017- 54,660

Patty Headshot
Metro Cities: Watchdog, liaison and partner to Council

Metro Cities monitors the Council to make sure city interests are represented, informs cities about Council actions and programs, and shares Council information that member cities find useful in local planning. Executive Director Patty Nauman says “there’s no question” that services like wastewater collection and treatment, transit and transportation planning, and regional parks planning are more efficiently and effectively coordinated and provided at the regional scale.

Partners in water quality monitoring: Developing leadership in the next generation

Bonnie Juran, a retired educator in Lake Elmo, has monitored water quality as a volunteer “citizen scientist” for 18 years. She supplies the Council and her local watershed organization with valuable data. Five years ago, she decided to mentor an 11-year-old neighbor, Haley Jostes. They are among dozens of volunteers who assist the Council in tracking water quality on metro area rivers, streams and lakes. 

Girl testing pond water
Red truck on road

Local officials central to decision-making on transportation projects

Every two years the seven-county metropolitan area receives approximately $200 million in federal transportation funding. This funding is dedicated to specific programs like relieving congestion, improving safety and enhancing mobility—through highway, transit, and biking and pedestrian projects. The Council relies on a group of local elected officials and residents to review those local project proposals and make funding recommendations. 

Partnerships that connect families with housing they can afford

At Project for Pride in Living (PPL), Leslie Angel helps to connect landlords with individuals and families on rent assistance. “When people get housing stability, and then their lives start turning around, it’s a wonderful thing…” Angel and PPL are among the many partners it takes for the Council’s Metro HRA to provide thousands of metro-area households with federal rent assistance.

Family at table
Bus Stop Board Members

Using community wisdom to design better bus stops

During Metro Transit’s Better Bus Stop initiative, the agency and 11 community partner organizations built relationships with community members, shared information and listened to the ideas and feedback they heard across 22 neighborhoods. Residents influenced criteria for bus-stop investments, and Metro Transit is halfway to its goal to add 150 new shelters. Corcoran neighborhood resident Marvin Applewhite played a good role in the initiative. 

Livable Communities grants help 'nail down the deal'

Working families found a new, affordable place to live when Village Commons opened in Savage four years ago. City residents’ fears about nearby property values and increased crime did not materialize, said Savage Mayor Janet Williams. For more than two decades, the Council’s Livable Communities grants have helped communities leverage partnerships that create housing and jobs, and revitalize neighborhoods.

Moline Apartment
Regional Population
1967 - 1,807,208     2016 - 3,041,526
Guys looking at sod

Partnership with U of M promotes water savings

Sam Bauer’s family is in the tire business. But as a teenager, he worked at a local golf course and fell for the outdoors and the lush green turf. Today, Bauer is an Extension Educator at the University of Minnesota. He’s finishing a two-year water efficiency project with the Council. Preserving our precious water supply is a goal both organizations share.

Region benefits as airport, Council cooperate on transit

Though differing in mission and perspective, the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the Metropolitan Council have a history of working together to produce positive results that benefit the entire metro area. A good example is airport-related transit services, which bring more than 2,000,000 passengers and workers to the airport each year. The result is a better-functioning airport and a stronger regional economy.

Man waiting for LRT

People laying out sandbags

Council, communities join forces to prepare for climate change

Like most people, Tara Brown experiences the increasing frequency and impact of severe weather in the Twin Cities, signals of a changing climate. She’s also in a rare position to help guide her city’s response to the changes. As Sustainability Coordinator for Edina, Brown is one of many local government professionals working in partnership with the Council and others to prepare communities for the challenges ahead.

Council grants support community planning

Under state law, communities in the seven-county metro area are required to develop, once each decade, a comprehensive land-use plan that looks forward 30 years. The City of Carver, in Carver County, used a planning grant from the Met Council to engage its residents in thinking about the future of the small but growing community.

Photo of Chris Buhl and his aunt Marilyn

Metro Mobility: A life saver for people with disabilities 

Chris Buhl used to drive himself wherever he needed to go, until the effects of muscular dystrophy ended his ability to drive. Muscular dystrophy, a disease that affects muscles and causes them to lose strength, can make everyday tasks a challenge. For Chris, Metro Mobility means independence. For his aunt Marilyn, it’s also about the health and well-being of her beloved nephew.

Contracting programs help level playing field for disadvantaged businesses 

Gerald Ben-Ami’s company – Big G Tech Support LLC – sets up and services temporary, on-site IT systems used by construction contractors. His work as a subcontractor supported construction of the METRO Green Line, as well as other projects. Opportunities for small companies to work on big projects have grown because of the Metropolitan Council’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program.

Portrait of Gerald Ben-Ami’s

Guys in front of solar panels

Regional collaboration delivers sustainable energy

Tenacity. Strategy. Communication. Persistence. It took two years of hard work, but a partnership of forward-thinking solar energy enthusiasts generated a Big Idea that’s now producing solar power for the electric grid. Delivering again on its original 1967 mission “to foster efficient and economic growth for a prosperous region,” the Council played a central role as partner and leader in a project that includes 31 communities.

First female Council Member was not afraid to speak truth to power

Looking at a photograph of the first group of Metropolitan Council members—appointed by Governor Harold LeVander in 1967—it’s impossible to miss the sole woman in the group. She’s about five feet tall, African American, and the only person of color amid 14 white men. She was a prominent member of the Rondo community in Saint Paul, and beloved by the many youths she guided at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center.

Portrait of Taylor
50 years 1967-2017 mark