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The UMore Park sign

The land at UMore Park is the largest contiguous property in the United States owned by a land-grant university.

Creating a community

U solicits ideas for a future city at UMore Park

September 11, 2007

It's not often that the public has a say in designing a new community, but that's exactly what's going to be happening this month.

The University is hosting six listening sessions in September to gather ideas and input for a new community being planned at the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research, and Education (UMore) Park in Dakota County, which includes 5,000 acres of land owned by the University.

After preliminary studies of how best to use the land, the Board of Regents in November 2006 directed the University to begin a concept master planning process to guide the development of the new community, which will evolve over a 25- to 30-year period.

"The vision is that, over time, we will help create a University-founded, culturally rich, diverse community of 20,000 to 30,000 people," said Charles Muscoplat, the University of Minnesota vice president responsible for the development. "We are hosting the listening sessions to involve people very early in our planning process. We'd like to hear what people would like to have in a community if they could help build it from the ground up."

The sessions are tailored around six topics and correspond with the work of six academic task forces formed to identify University strengths that can contribute to the quality of life in the community. The sessions and their topics (in bold) are:

Each session will include a brief presentation about the vision for the new community, an overview about the specific subject being discussed, and roundtable discussions to hear from those attending.

Now that some of the U's faculty have provided input through the task forces, the University is excited to be capturing ideas from the citizens of the region.

"We need to hear from the public," said Carla Carlson, chief of staff for statewide strategic resource development. "If there's anything you could envision having in a community that would really enhance your quality of life, what would those things be?"

The September 17 and September 19 listening sessions will be held in the Dakota Room at the Dakota County Technical College, 1300 145th Street E., Rosemount, Minnesota. All other sessions will be held in the Banquet Room at the Rosemount Community Center, 13885 South Robert Trail (Highway 3), Rosemount. The sessions, which will run from 5 to 7:15 p.m., are free and open to anyone who would like to attend. Because a light meal will be served, RSVPs are appreciated. Registrations can be made online at www.umorepark.umn.edu or by calling 612-626-3976.

People who are unable to attend the sessions may provide input by submitting their comments at www.umorepark.umn.edu, or by calling 612-624-6252.