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Editorial: Forward motion is needed

It's been two years now since the city of Rosemount selected a developer to start redeveloping the city's downtown. And while we agree when city representatives say it's better to do something right than to do it fast, at a certain point people start to wonder whether this downtown redevelopment effort will go the way of any number of efforts that have come before it.

Oh, the city has plans this time around. It has bought property. At a certain point, though, people want to see walls going up.

So, while we understand the concerns people have about a city using its power of eminent domain to acquire land for redevelopment, we also know such a move can be necessary in certain circumstances.

The city of Rosemount has been criticized by many during this process. And no doubt the city has made some mistakes with its handling of parts of this redevelopment process. Yet the city, especially recently, has shown a willingness to work with property owners. People complained about the height and the modern appearance of a planned mixed-use building meant to be the first major project downtown and the developer came back with a building that was one floor shorter and had exterior more in keeping with downtown's historic appearance. Residents lobbied to save three old houses on Third Street currently occupied by businesses, and the building was reshaped so those houses could stay.

Now, the city is working with Dr. Kurt Hansen to buy the one piece of property it still needs to allow work to begin downtown. Dr. Hansen says he's willing to sell, but city representatives say he has neither accepted their offer nor made a counteroffer.

The Rosemount Port Authority's decision Tuesday to start the eminent domain process is not a guarantee the city will take Dr. Hansen's land. It simply gets the process moving in case that ultimately becomes necessary. The city says it will continue to negotiate along the way and there is no reason to believe it won't. It would be better for everyone involved if the two sides could come to an agreement.

Tuesday's decision is about making sure this project continues to move forward. We think that's a good thing.