City, U of M will partner on sustainability projects
Rosemount has been selected as the 2014-15 University of Minnesota Resilient Communities Project community partner. As part of the competitive program, Rosemount will work on more than 40 sustainability-related projects with the help and expertise of hundreds of graduate students and the University of Minnesota staff.
Mayor Bill Droste said the city council has made it a top goal to work toward Rosemount’s environmental, financial and cultural health. Participation in the program, he said, will help the city move toward those goals.
“It will be a great advantage to consult with the University of Minnesota on ways to make Rosemount a more sustainable community for our growing and diverse population,” said Droste.
The resilient communities program provides the city access to the university’s sustainability expertise and offers a unique chance to assess a wide variety of issues in a short time frame.
Each academic year, RCP chooses a community partner through a competitive request-for-proposal process, helps identify potential projects based on community-identified sustainability issues and needs, and matches the community’s project needs with University of Minnesota courses.
Rosemount’s proposal identified 40 projects with which the city would like assistance. Those projects include affordable and multigenerational housing, neighborhood and resident engagement, recreational programming for youth, services for new immigrant communities, open space restoration, turf management, community gardens, public art, employee wellness and staffing, alternative and renewable energy, climate adaptation, energy and water conservation, stormwater management, business clustering and economic development, green business parks and transportation planning.
“The city’s proposal showed a clear commitment to advancing sustainability and resilience and outlined a wide range of projects that will provide community-engaged learning opportunities for University of Minnesota students,” said RCP director Carissa Schively Slotterback. She is also an associate professor for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
City and university staff will start working together this spring to define the scope of the projects and match them with courses offered at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2014. RCP program manager Mike Greco will direct the university’s side of the partnership, while Rosemount Community Development Director Kim Lindquist will coordinate the city’s side of things. Other city staff will contribute as needed.
Rosemount will be the third community to work with the university as part of the RCP program. The program launched during the 2013-2014 school year. The university first partnered with Minnetonka on 14 projects that engaged 25 classes and more than 200 students across eight University of Minnesota colleges.
Student work helped Minnetonka develop programs to reduce phosphorous and sediment pollution in local lakes and rivers, evaluate and improve local housing assistance programs, plan for transit-oriented development around future light-rail stations, reduce traffic congestion and increase engagement with local residents.
Currently, RCP is concluding its academic year partnership with North St. Paul. That partnership has matched more than 40 courses and 300 students with 17 projects. The projects ranged from implementing a “living streets” policy and creating environmental education programming for local parks, to helping residents age in place and promoting redevelopment and pedestrian improvements in the downtown business district.
RCP is an initiative of the Sustainability Faculty Network at the University of Minnesota, with funding and administrative support provided by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and the Institute on the Environment. To learn more, visit rcp.umn.edu. The city’s website also has more information about the program available on their website.