A very big “thank you” to all who contacted our elected representatives to speak on behalf of parks, trails, and open space in our community.
At the August 26, St. Paul City Council meeting, Council Member Dai Thao, Ward 1, spoke about the importance of parks, especially in an urban setting, and didn’t believe this ordinance would do enough for them. The vote for the proposed ordinance, which Friends of the Parks opposed, was 6-1, with CM Thao being the one vote against it.
We send our sincere thanks to him and ask that you thank him, too. As he said at last week’s Council meeting, “Green space doesn’t grow on its own; we have to fight for it. It doesn’t have a voice. We need to be the voice.”
Friends of the Parks will be mindful of how effective the new ordinance will be in the future. Not only did it set the percentages well below the rates of our neighboring communities, the new ordinance has added multiple exemptions, shifted the burden to residential development, and several other major changes that bear watching.
An OpEd by Executive Director, Shirley Erstad, and two letters to the editor regarding Parkland Dedication were published in the August 26 edition of the Pioneer Press. The Press also published stories on July 15, August 18 and 19, the Sunday editorial on August 23, and a story on August 27. (The Highland Villager printed an article in the second-to-most-recent edition and interviewed Shirley after the August 26 vote. Watch for an upcoming article in that print publication.)
http://www.twincities.com/opinion/letters/ci_28701881/free-lunch (second and third letters)