I couldn’t sleep last night because I couldn’t get today’s City Council vote on Parkland Dedication out of my head.
I was thinking that in the old days, a city could be obstinate about its approach to progress and address growth differently from its neighbors and the negative fallout wouldn’t be as swift nor as harsh because the cities of the world were more separated. In today’s global marketplace and mobile society, a city that isn’t progressive, innovative, and connected to what its citizens want is going to get left behind and become a backwater in far less time than it took in bygone eras.
When Mayor Coleman gave his recent budget address, “Parks” loomed large in the word cloud behind him. Clearly, St. Paul citizens are concerned about parks.
The Port Authority thinks the proposed Parkland Dedication ordinance “strikes a good balance”. Based on what criteria? If you want to see what the market will support, look to see what your neighbors are doing successfully for an excellent measure of a “good balance”.
The St. Paul Chamber said in reference to development on the Ford Site in a July 20, 2014 Star Tribune article, Minneapolis is Key to Jobs Surge, “We can’t turn it into a giant park. There needs to be jobs there. There’s a term for communities that don’t have industry: They’re called bedroom communities.” To my knowledge, no one is asking for the Ford site to be all one big park. The Chamber statement is enlightening when trying to figure out their position. In Sunday’s Pioneer Press editorial, the Chamber also said, “Parks are a net drain on a city”.
I don’t want St. Paul to become a forgotten city, either. “St. Paul is a ghost town” is a phrase I used to hear a lot more than in the past few years, and I don’t think any of us want to hear that going forward.
We do hear a lot about how we need to be creative and innovative to solve today’s global problems and the importance of attracting and keeping the best talent. Maybe the “best talent” is already living here, but she’s glued to a video game in her apartment on the Green Line. If only Dickerman Park were a park, we could get her and her friends outside to nurture her creativity and get the juices flowing in her brain.
For more information, the Pioneer Press also published an OpEd by me today and two letters to the editor on the Parkland Dedication ordinance. They also published articles last week Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Highland Villager published an article in their second-to-last edition.