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UMore Park, Proceed With Caution

From Netlets (StarTribune)


Last update: June 20, 2008 - 4:43 PM

The June 12 Star Tribune contained two contrasting articles about the University of Minnesota's use of its resources.

The lead editorial celebrated the foresight of the founders and the stewardship of Peter Olin in the development of the Landscape Arboretum, a crown jewel of the university and the state.

Another article raised serious questions requiring close public scrutiny of the university's plans for its other gem, UMore Park. When "the university says it's committed to building a community of the future on the Twin Cities rural fringe," it implies the planners view their radical alterations of UMore Park as a done deal. The fact they've already traded off land to help finance a stadium suggests they view the unique property President Robert Bruininks calls "insufficiently used as a research station" as a piggy bank to loot for pet projects and résumé padding.

The university should instead strive to enhance the value of UMore as a visionary research station in the increasingly critical realm of generating productive and responsible advances in agriculture. Development of a resource like UMore should follow the model of the Arboretum, where something great increases in value. The university president and regents must not be allowed to sponsor gravel groveling, speculative development and suburban sprawl at the expense of altering, undercutting, dismembering or selling off the priceless asset and public trust that is UMore Park.

ROLF ERDAHL, APPLE VALLEY

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