Archive for the ‘Eagan’


Apple Valley Convinced BRT to Aid Growth

According to this article in the StarTribune, Apple Valley continues to pin its hopes on Bus Rapid Transit aiding growth within the city’s limits, especially the near decade-long vacancies in the Central Village “downtown” area. While Apple Valley’s leaders hope this will help everything from residential growth to new business, questions remain to be answered on how effective this new transit line will be and whether it can help business growth when most of the metro’s transit system is developed to funnel people into the city from the suburbs and not the other way around.

From the article:

An office building — one with a large employer as an anchor tenant — is high on the city’s priority list for filling some of the empty space. Nordquist said the city would like to see up to 100,000 square feet of office space, a total that likely would require an anchor tenant taking about 50,000 square feet.

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“New construction is expensive, and there’s no shortage of existing space that would be cheaper for an office user,” Karkula said. Large chunks of vacant office space include the former offices of Delta Air Lines and Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Eagan and the former Brown College campus in Mendota Heights.

With so much other open development opportunities available elsewhere, Apple Valley appears to be jumping the gun on trying to build out and anticipate development needs around a transit line which hasn’t even opened yet and will remain in its infancy for years. The current transit system is oriented towards one-way travel: suburb -> city in the morning and city -> suburb in the evening. While BRT has the potential to fix this, somewhat, the City of Apple Valley is hoping that people from other areas are going to be willing to spend over an hour on transit systems with several transfers to get to Apple Valley. This will continue to be a non-starter for years to come.

What Apple Valley is currently doing here is very similar to what they did with the start of Central Village nearly 15 years ago. They are hedging bets on broken thought processes and a clear lack of understanding of how they fit into the metro area. They need to wait for BRT to mature (which it likely never will) and instead of using nearly $1 million in tax dollars to retrofit buildings now for companies which have already turned away from Apple Valley (hey guys, where was the huge press event where you admitted you lost the company you touted as the future of Apple Valley’s business sector?), the waiting game should continue for a while so you aren’t left with more unused and outdated development for business which will likely never come.

What do you think about this one? If you were located in another part of the metro would you be willing to take the LRT to BRT to work in Apple Valley? Do you think the city should be using nearly $1 million in tax dollars to build out commercial space for companies which are likely to never come? Do you think BRT will ever become the transit line the county and cities hope? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Bisecting Bike Trail Besets Lebanon Tranquility?

A recent Letter to the Editor over at SunThisweek cries foul over plans to include plans to add a 6.5 mile long paved bike path running east to west through the park. The letter writer provides references to many recent and long-standing accolades bestowed upon Lebanon Hills as a welcome respite from its urban surroundings and suggests the money set aside for paving may be better spent elsewhere within the park instead.

From the Letter to the Editor:

The lack of paved bike trails means people must make an effort and walk in order to access its beauty. Many times this park has been called an “urban Boundary Waters” due to its lakes and wilderness feel. In northern Minnesota, that feeling has been created by the lack of motors on the lakes. In Lebanon Hills it is due to the lack of paved trails and bikes.

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There are many other trails in Dakota County to bike and enjoy the easy access to nature. But there are very few places a person can experience a wilderness-like moment.

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Once this park is bisected by a paved trail, the feeling of solitude will be severely compromised, and this large park will “feel” much smaller. Yes, it will allow greater access for bikers and in-line skaters, but at what cost? This path will become a transportation line for people wanting to cross the park.

While I don’t agree that Lebanon Hills is anything at all like an ‘urban Boundary Waters’, it does not need a bike path bisecting the park like the one which has ruined Spring Lake Park Reserve or makes Lebanon Hills become similar to every other urban park we have around the metro. Leave Lebanon Hills alone and let people enjoy its tranquil beauty the way they have for years. Boosting visitors by adding a pass-through is like the BPAC counting people walking through the free art gallery as attendees. Boos all around.

What do you think about this one? Do you think a trail cutting through Lebanon Hills is necessary? Do you agree that it should be left as a natural wonderland for people to enjoy? Does bisecting it with a 6.5 mile paved trail change that? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What Makes You Attached to the MSP Metro?

According to this MinnPost article which discusses what makes people attached to a particular city. The article discusses with Katherine Loflin, a placemaking expert and lead consultant for a Gallup and Knight Foundation study on what drives attachment to a city. While the results of this study are interesting, most people may disagree with the findings.

From the article:

If people can find jobs and reasonable places to live, they’ll be attached enough. Worrying about quality of life, amenities, public spirit and all that squishy stuff seems a bit trivial in an economy that still recovering from one of the worst recessions ever.

But Loflin makes a business case for love of a place. These days, those people most likely to drive the growth of a city, namely young people between the ages of 25 and 34, have reprioritized. Quality of life registers high on their list of necessities. Corporations are finding that increasingly they have to sell talented recruits on the place where they would be relocating as well as the job.

As a hiring manager working in a field which is showing rapid growth and high competition during the turned down economy, I have been fighting to both recruit and retain people for my teams. While my experience is limited and certainly not as wide as the number of people looked at by this study, my experience in no way mirrors what Loflin has said. Talented recruits just out of school or with less than 10 years experience have just as much desire for high salary, regardless of their current location in our outside Minnesota, as anyone else I have talked to recently. You can sell them all you like on the greatness of the MSP metro but they know two things: money talks and it’s freakishly frigid here. When recent grad students are requesting six figure salaries without more than a few months of relevant real-world experience and getting offers from elsewhere with it, I can give you a 99.999% guarantee that this study is bunk.

What do you think about this one? Would you pass over a much higher income elsewhere just so you could stay where the people are? Are you surprised that recently minted masters-level students without much relevant experience are receiving such high offers when you hear in the news that this group is so hard pressed for cash lately? What attaches you to the MSP metro? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Savage Removes Hoops to Avoid Violence

According to this Savage Pacer article, the City of Savage had to take down basketball hoops at a park due to violence in the area which may have spilled into the modified lockdown at Burnsville High School last week. According to the City of Savage this has happened before due to violence in their parks and is an effective way to keep youth from the parks when there is a related public safety issue to the basketball hoops.

From the article:

Savage police received a call on Tuesday, April 30 about a possible fight that was going to occur at River Bend Park, 14347 Joppa Ave. Officers arrived at the park at about 6 p.m. and spoke with some of the teenagers who were gathered there. The teenagers denied the report of an impending fight, and the officers reminded them that they would take the basketball hoops down if criminal activity occurred. “We’ve told them before that if problems occurred out there, we’d take [the hoops] down,” Seurer said.

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Seurer said that the city took down the basketball hoops at River Bend Park about two years ago because of a history of altercations at the park, but that the hoops had since been put back up. In the previous period that the hoops were down, there were “dramatically” fewer altercations at the park, Seurer said. “We’ve got kids out there practicing ball, out there on the playground, and we don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Seurer said of the decision to take down the hoops. “It’s a public safety issue.”

Seurer said the hoops have made the park a popular place for lots of kids to congregate, which can sometimes cause problems. When asked if the hoops might be put back up at some point, Seurer said that “it won’t be anytime soon.”

Are you surprised that limiting public safety calls is as simple as removing a set of basketball hoops from a park? Do you think the basketball hoops should ever go back up? Do you believe the fights planned for this park are related to the one that occurred at BHS causing a modified lockdown (which really isn’t a lockdown at all and should be how every day is handled at the high school)? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.