By Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages, May 15, 2014
Rosemount city staff has started collecting information for the city’s STAR Communities benchmark. And while there’s still a lot of work to do, city administrator Dwight Johnson said the preliminary information is encouraging.
Clarissa Hadler, who is working on the project for the city, said city staff has accomplished about 60 percent of the evaluation. With that information, Rosemount will likely receive a three-star rating. Hadler said at this point she doesn’t think a four-star rating is obtainable.
Considering Rosemount is one of the smallest communities participating in the program, Johnson said he thinks a three-star rating is excellent.
STAR is an acronym for Sustainability Tools for Accessing and Rating Communities. It’s meant to give local governments a better understanding of their community’s strengths and needs to support current and future generations.
Parks and recreation director Dan Schultz said going through the process has helped the parks department figure out where they are on a number of issues and what the department would like to focus on going forward.
“We’re really eager to see what the outcomes are,” said Schultz.
The program offers extensive support to participating governments through the process. City staff across all departments have worked to gather the needed information.
Initially, Hadler said city staff worked to put together the easily obtainable information. Going forward, Hadler will be in contact with various organizations to gather additional documentation to complete the process.
The two areas in which the city has scored the lowest are Climate and Energy and Equity and Empowerment. Community development director Kim Lindquist said the city’s participation with the Resilient Communities through the University of Minnesota could help the city received a higher score in the first category.
The Equity and Empowerment score is the harder area to improve. Lindquist said STAR Communities reports the Equity and Empowerment objective has been the most challenging to complete for pilot communities. The category assesses civic engagement, human rights, environmental justice and poverty.
Lindquist said the city will work with the CAP Agency, Dakota County and others to evaluate the issues and to see where improvements could be made.
Council member Kim Shoe-Corrigan said one bonuses of participating in the program may be identifying areas where the city lacks and finding a way to start addressing those areas.
In other business the city council met with members of the advisory commissions to get a summary of a recent market study.
Maxfield researcher Mary Bujold summarized the study by saying that Rosemount will continue to grow and the city needs to concentrate its efforts on bringing more commercial business to town.
The presentation included information on Dakota County Housing Needs Assessment. Additionally, the study touched on the work of the South Urban Gateway Task Force.
The study can be viewed on the city’s website at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us.
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'. Contact Emily at EZimmer@rosemounttownpages.com or (651) 460-6606.