Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fast Times at MoreU Park?

From the University of Minnesota Daily:

UMore Park

Charles Muscoplat, vice president for statewide strategic resource development, and the University’s General Counsel, Mark Rotenberg , presented the University’s latest plans for the development of UMore Park.

To develop the 7,600 acre property into a sustainable community, research center and long-term source of revenue for the University, Rotenberg recommended that the Regents create a single-owner limited liability company to administer the property.

The Regents would still own the property, but would delegate the administration of the property to a board of directors they would appoint. This structure would provide fast decision making to develop the property and avoid diverting the Regents’ attention from the core University mission, he said.

And if MoreU Park is not part of the core mission of the University why are we involved with this at all? The Regents should jolly well keep their eyes on this fiasco. As I understand it $5 million has already been spent on it. This was inappropriate in the first place and even more so under our current financial circumstances.

It is time to come clean on the money sink that is MoreU Park.

Creating the company would provide a flexible tax structure and help the University avoid double taxation on income from the property, he said.

This sounds suspicious...

The Regents will vote on this proposal at their meeting on Dec. 12.

According to OurLeader:

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

According to Regent Metzen:

"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)

If this is true, gentlemen, then serious oversight from the Regents is going to be required especially since your optimism is not universally shared.

"To use this time to invest in some sort of cutting-edge conjecture [MoreU Park] about where residential communities might go strikes me as a stretch for a university,"
[State representative Alice] Hausman said, pointing out current economic and businesses struggles as other reasons to be wary. [Daily, July 2, 2008]

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