Located roughly 25 miles south of the Twin Cities in Dakota County, UMore park is the largest contiguous property in the United States owned by a land grant university.
Community envisioned for UMore Park
Long-term plan calls for research-based development focused on sustainability and quality of life
By Jim Thorp
Brief, Nov. 15, 2006
University-owned UMore Park should be developed over the next 25 to 30 years into a sustainable new community in Dakota County "that embodies the future of better living," according to a report presented to the Board of Regents Nov. 9.
The recommendations from the University's Strategic Planning Steering Committee are the result of a process begun in February 2006 and facilitated by land-use consultants Sasaki Associates, Inc.
Charles Muscoplat, the U's vice president of statewide strategic resource development who co-chaired the steering committee with UMore Park director Larry Laukka, said that creating a master-planned community for the property is in alignment with the charge given to the steering committee to "develop UMore Park in a manner that furthers the University's mission ... prioritizes University needs and considers current regional planning and development activities."
He emphasized that the University should proceed with a concept master plan, noting that other local jurisdictions are working on comprehensive plans that must be submitted to the Metropolitan Council before the end of 2008.
University President Robert Bruininks gave his support to the recommendation.
ABOUT UMORE PARK
>> 12 square miles of property roughly 25 miles south of the Twin Cities campus
>> 7,686 total acres, the largest contiguous property in the United States owned by a land-grant university
>> 2,840 acres under joint oversight of the University and the Department of Natural Resources for a nature preserve
>> Former site of Gopher Ordnance Works and current site of several U agricultural and other research activities
"Think of an integrated approach to healthy living that incorporates an active lifestyle, recreation and education on nutrition and diet-related chronic disease," Bruininks said. "Think of a community and region that incorporates new ways to tread lightly on the earth, uses environment-friendly materials and fosters sustainability in multiple ways. Think of a new model of lifelong learning that benefits learners of all ages--and at the same time strengthens community bonds and community pride."
Committee members visited similar developments in Colorado, Florida and British Columbia and consulted with local officials in Dakota County, Empire Township and the city of Rosemount prior to developing the recommendations. The committee examined other options for the property but concluded that none of those alternatives met the board's charge to the committee.
Bruininks added that while more work needs to be done, the U must continue to move forward in order to partner with neighboring jurisdictions and dovetail with their ongoing planning efforts.
In the short term, the steering committee recommended making the land ready for development via the careful extraction of existing concrete structures and gravel deposits from the property, as well as environmental remediation if necessary. Sale of gravel and recycled concrete could help fund the development of the new community
The board took no action on the recommendations, but will consider formal action as soon as December.
For more information or to download the steering committee's
complete report (PDF 2.51 MB), visit the UMore
Park web site at www.umorepark.umn.edu.
ADDITIONAL READING: U of M outlines vision for future of UMore Park in Dakota County New expanded vision for UMore Park needed, Board of Regents told Proposed deal with state would increase funding for stadium