A South Loop street will pay homage to a former Bloomington mayor this spring.

The Bloomington City Council has approved renaming 28th Avenue as Winstead Way, a change that will take effect this spring, in honor of 20-year mayor Gene Winstead, who retired at the end of 2019.

The north-south street in the South Loop District stretches from Old Shakopee Road to American Boulevard. There will be a special commemoration of the renaming involving Winstead, at a date to be determined, according to City Manager Jamie Verbrugge.

In an interview following the council’s November decision, Winstead said he appreciates the honor, and framed it in his patented self-deprecating way. “It has very few addresses on it, and it was an easy street to rename without too much energy or effort or problem,” he said.

Renaming comes at a cost to both the city and Metro Transit, which operates a light-rail park-and-ride stop along 28th Avenue. Changing the city’s street signs to reflect its new name will cost approximately $1,700, according to City Engineer Julie Long. The Metro Transit park-and-ride ramp and light-rail platform has been referred to as the 28th Avenue Station, and will be renamed the 30th Avenue Station, Long said.

Metro Transit estimated it would cost $15,000 to replace its signs at the station, and noted that those will be done by this summer. The new station name will be incorporated into the Metro Transit schedules during one of the periodic updates of the Blue Line light-trail schedule at no additional cost, Long noted.

Former Community Development Director Larry Lee endorsed the decision. “South Loop was a very big, calculated risk the city took,” he said, adding that it is “appropriate to name streets after people who were instrumental in that calculated risk.”

“His impact is seen all over Bloomington,” Mayor Tim Busse said. He cited the development of Mall of America and the South Loop District, as well as the city’s smoking ban in bars and restaurants, ahead of state law, as evidence of Winstead’s leadership dating back to the 1980s, when he was a member of the city’s Planning Commission. “He has done so much to shape this community in so many different ways,” Busse said.

Prior to being elected in late 1999 to his first term as mayor, Winstead served on the City Council for five years and on the city’s Planning Commission and Housing and Redevelopment Authority, starting in 1986.

Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.

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