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.
"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...)