Please attend if you can! Parkland Dedication will be before the St. Paul Planning Commission at their April 24 meeting. Room 40, City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Meeting begins at 8:00am, but Parkland Dedication is last on the agenda, so come late if you can make it. It is important to have a visible presence to let the Commissioners know we are paying attention and that we understand this to be an extremely important issue.
The Parkland Dedication ordinance is a tool to diversify the funding structure for our park system. As drafted, it is a weak ordinance. For example, in cases where cash would be accepted instead of land, the per residential fee is proposed at $1200 per unit. Minneapolis has a $1500 fee and other cities throughout the metro area have much higher fees, with an average of $3,284. How can we compete for new residents wanting (demanding) the amenities that parks and trails offer when we set the bar so low we’re at the bottom of the chart? St. Paul, we can, and must, do better!
Studies have repeatedly shown that parks increase the value of investments. Throughout the City, but especially in areas that NEED investment, increasing funding for our parks is a way to INVEST in these communities.
Having parks accessible to ALL our citizens is important as we build EQUITY in our City. We have wonderful parks in our community, but if they are difficult for many of us to access, how is that equitable? There are about a dozen parks throughout the City that most people don’t even realize are parks because they are just areas filled with weeds and trash. The money from Parkland Dedication can be used to improve these areas and make them look and function as parks.
Climate change will affect all of us, but the MN Department of Health has projected that it will affect the most vulnerable amongst us the most. Green space is important for many reasons, but especially to help cool the urban heat island, to filter water, to cleanse air, as places to mentally refresh ourselves, as habitat for wildlife and food for pollinators, and to connect and build community.
The City of St. Paul has adopted wonderful neighborhood and city-wide plans, including The Great River Passage Master Plan, that call for improvement and acquisition of parks, trails, and green space. But, where will the funding come from? Parkland Dedication is a tool to help us achieve these shared community goals.
Please show your support for a strong and robust Parkland Dedication ordinance by attending the meeting on Friday. Please also call or write a letter to your City Council member and the Mayor, urging them to support our recommendations.