BY NICK FERRARO, Pioneer Press, March 26, 2014
A University of Minnesota project aims to make Rosemount a more sustainable community.
The city beat out Carver County to become the U’s Resilient Communities Project partner for the 2015-15 academic year, the school announced this week. Other past partners were Minnetonka and North St. Paul.
The partnership means hundreds of university graduate students will work on sustainability-related projects identified by Rosemount city staff and community partners. The city’s winning proposal identifies 40 projects, including recreational programming for youth, open space restoration, energy and water conservation, transportation planning, business clustering and economic development, community gardens and public art.
“We’re excited,” said Kim Lindquist, the city’s community development director. “This is work that bubbles up from time to time and you want to do, but you don’t have the time to delve into or the money for consultants.”
The project will include work at the university’s UMore Park, a 5,000-acre property where the school wants to create a sustainable commercial and residential community over the next 30 years, said Mike Greco, the project’s manager. Work could include wetland and habitat restoration and an oral history of the land, which once was the exclusive domain of the Mdewakanton band of Dakota Indians, followed by farmers and then the federal government and its Gopher Ordnance Works facility.
The estimated cost of the project is $250,000, with the city and community partners pitching in $40,000, Greco said.
The project is concluding its academic year partnership with North St. Paul, which has matched more than 40 courses and 300 students with 17 projects, from implementing a “living streets” policy and creating environmental education programming for local parks to helping residents age in place and promoting redevelopment and pedestrian improvements in the downtown business district.
Nick Ferraro joined the Pioneer Press in 1997 after graduating from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He's been a reporter covering Dakota County communities since 2007. Nick can be reached at 651-228-2173. Follow him at twitter.com/NFerraroPiPress.