Friday, October 23, 2009

Exactly how long is the UMore Park craziness going to continue?

“I don’t think anybody should put a dime into the University of Minnesota unless we use the money well, we invest it well and that we’re efficient in how we use resources.” Robert Bruininks (Daily - 9/26/08)

[And now much has been spent on this fiasco already?]

"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.'"

[How about unintelligent and sneaky?]

"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 if that is the case maybe we should have a little more openness and transparency about what, exactly, is going on? How much money has been spent already, on what, and where did it come from?]

In October 2008, only a year ago, a remarkable document appeared. This happened at a time when the financial collapse of the state as well as continual erosion of funding to the University was evident to anyone.

Compact, Complete and Connected Community

The locations of schools, recreation and civic facilities, places of worship, retail, transit stops, commercial, mixed-use, and dense development were carefully designed to be within walking distance of places of employment and residences (see plan, page 6).

Small neighborhood commercial centers are also located to provide a gathering place for those living within walking distance. The spacing of transit stops particularly shaped the locations of the dense centers.

The Concept Master Plan calls for a series of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines to connect the UMore Park property with other suburban destinations in the southeastern portion of the Twin Cities region. The plan calls for two transit stations for BRT along the northern edge of the UMore Park property, and its route would divert to the south of the Dakota County Technical College campus to accommodate student traffic from the campus as well as nearby high schools and civic facilities in the community.

A proposed light rail line, running from the eastern neighborhood center of the UMore Park property through the western neighborhood center and west toward Minnesota Highway 3, would eventually connect the community with the proposed Robert Street corridor light rail line and a comprehensive mass transit system serving the Twin Cities region. The consultant team recommends three transit stations along the line, to be developed over time.

Consultants are acknowledged in this amazing document:

Design Workshop, Inc.
Aspen, Colorado 81611

Land Planning and Design

Kurt Culbertson, Principal-in-Charge
Anna Gagne, Project Manager

Stephen Faber, Project Designer

Jennifer Pickett, Graphic Designer

Judy Navarro, Graphic Designer

Britt Palmberg, Editor

Sara Tie, Landscape Designer

Pablo Silveira, GIS Specialist

Brandon Hardison, Landscape Designer

Izzi Gailey, Executive Assistant

Adrian Rocha, Designer

Peter Adams, Economics

Annie Sutherland-Watts, Project Assistant

Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Mark Koegler, President

Jeff McMenimen, Director of Design

Bryan Harjes, Landscape Architect

Rusty Fifield, Public Finance Specialist

Anna Claussen, Project Designer

Robert Charles Lesser & Co.

Real Estate Advisors

Adam Ducker, Managing Director

Jon Trementozzi, Senior Associate

Jonathan Bartlett, Vice President

Bethesda, MD 20814

Urban Design Associates (UDA)
Pittsburgh, PA

Community Design

Rob Robinson, Chairman

Joe Nickol, Project Manager

RLK Incorporated

Joe Samuel, Senior Professional Engineer

Minnetonka, MN 55343

Short, Elliot and Hendrickson (SEH)

Mark Benson, Transportation Planner

Dave McKenzie, Railroad Specialist

Haifeng Xiao, Transportation Modeling

St. Paul, MN 55110

Applied Ecological Services (AES)

Kim Chapman, Principal Ecologist

Doug Mensing, Senior Ecologist

Prior Lake, MN 55372

Avant Energy

Derick Dahlen, President

Molly Andvik, Project Manager and Senior Analyst

Minneapolis, MN 55402

Broadband Group

Tom Reiman, President

Las Vegas, NV 89144-4584

Some questions:

1. Who, exactly, paid for this fiasco and how much did it cost?

2. We have been sold gravel mining as a task for an LLC. The money from this speculative venture is to go into a quasi endowment. What does this have to do with the above project?

3. Why is the University, on the UMore Park site, soliciting contributions to this project?

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