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UMore Park, Another Fiasco in the Making?


Ann Forsyth is a former U of M faculty member who was the Director of the U's Metropolitan Design Center before she left the U to become Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. It would appear that this move is a step up and she has quite impressive credentials on her Cornell website.

Thus one might think that the opinion of a former U of M faculty member, who actually did some work on UMore Park planning, is worth considering.

Here is some of what she had to say:

"There are these huge contradictions about it, and there are these unrealistic ideas that it can both make money in the short run and be a model community," Forsyth said.

"It's expensive because you're putting all of this new innovative infrastructure in up-front and you don't recoup it in the long run," Forsyth said. "That kind of counteracts the quick money side of it."

Forsyth said a model community would be much more practical near the university's St. Paul campus rather than in Dakota County.

"It would have to be a fantastic development to counteract its location," she said. "There is no way you're not going to have a number of traffic concerns coming out of it. Unless it is highly designed and then it becomes very expensive."

But what would a former U of M faculty member with expertise in the matter at hand know?

Some BrightBulbs at the U apparently think otherwise.

A well known aesthetician and urban transportation expert says:

"Bruininks said he didn't know of a university in the United States that was doing something [MoreU Park] as 'courageous and innovative.'" Daily, 6/13/08

And a regent, former Gopher hockey captain, and motivational speaker says:

"Regent David Metzen said he thought the future of the project is the most important decision to face the University in the last 15 years." (Daily - 6/13/08)

(And here I thought it was the football stadium or perhaps becoming one of the top three, yadda, yadda, yadda...)

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