According to this blog post (the minutes of the meeting are not yet available online but I did receive a copy via e-mail), Charles Muscoplat, the University of Minnesota’s Vice President for Statewide Strategic Resource Development continues to believe that UMore Park is a potential money maker for the University. Several others on the Senate Research Committee are not so sure.
Dr. Muscoplat spoke to the committee and seemed optimistic about the financial returns of planned gravel mining on the UMore property. While the University has already thrown about $5 million at the project and probably needs to put more towards it in the immediate future, Muscoplat said that he expects the investment to be paid back “all at once because of the value of the gravel to the University’s mining partner.” In other words he feels that the added real estate development costs will be offset by the mining operation even though the gravel mining is a long-term project and will have to take place over the next few decades.
To me, the entire discussion seems a little far-fetched. They are hoping that real estate development will follow their preset plans created supposedly after public input was made in mid-2008. Gravel mining and the resulting traffic is continuing to cause headaches for Apple Valley’s City Council and more importantly, the residents nearby. In 20 to 30 years, will developers really be all that impressed with building on land that was once (and possibly still will be) heavily contaminated and dangerous all while gravel pit mining continues in undeveloped areas around the property?
You can check out the meeting minutes here (PDF) and decide for yourself whether or not this is a viable venture. Does the University have the best interests of the general public surrounding UMore in mind when it wants to make money on contaminated land all while continuing to permit it to be mined for gravel? Do you think that this project will be successful for the public at large or will this just be a benefit for the University and its mining partners?
Whatever you believe, go ahead and comment on, I’d love to hear what you have to say about the future of Rosemount and the UMore property.