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City turns its attention to southern stretch of Hwy. 3

The area along Highway 3 south of County Road 42 will be the focus of redevelopment discussion over the next year.

Over the course of the next year or so, the city of Rosemount will try to peer into the future of a piece of property it's calling the city's South Urban Gateway.

The property, a roughly hourglass-shaped stretch along Highway 3 between County Road 42 and County Road 46, will be the subject of a redevelopment study that will help determine what development opportunities exist in the area, and whether the property is currently being used in the best way possible.

"It's going to provide recommendations of areas that we want to encourage reinvestment in existing structures or uses, areas where there may be some redevelopment and then how to use the agricultural land in a commercial manner," said city planner Eric Zweber.

Much of the southern part of the South Urban Gateway area is undeveloped farmland. There are businesses in the northern part of the area, but according to a staff memo to city council members some of that land might be underutilized.

The city targeted the South Urban Gateway for study in its 2009 comprehensive plan update, but Zweber said the process might not have started this soon if not for a grant from the Dakota County Community Development Agency. The city will have to match the $15,000 grant dollar for dollar.

The process is still in the very early stages. At a June 12 workshop meeting city council members talked about people they would like to invite to serve on a task force. Mayor Bill Droste and council member Mark DeBettignies volunteered. The city is also looking for port authority and planning commission members, property owners and others to serve on the group.

The city will hire a consultant to study the area and provide some ideas about what might be possible.

The city conducted a similar study when it looked at redeveloping the core downtown area. That process led to the construction of the Waterford Common development.

Zweber said any redevelopment that occurs in the South Urban Gateway area would be meant to complement what already exists downtown and elsewhere in the city. But what it might look like beyond that is unclear.

"I don't want to go in with any prepared recommendations," Zweber said. "That is the purpose of the committee, to come up with the recommendations on the future of this area."

Zweber hopes to have the committee put together this summer. The schedule from there will depend on when committee members are available. There will also be public meetings to discuss the committee's findings.

The process could take a year or more to complete.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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