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Resident discover Rosemount has a lot to offer

Nearly 30 residents attended a work session held by the University of Minnesota to create a list of the community's assets. A class researching asset-based community development will use the information to come up with a strategic plan to bring more development to the city. The class is one matched with the city through the university's Resilient Communities program.

It’s easy to dismiss Rosemount as a small town without much to offer. At least until you sit down and list all its assets.

That’s what a group of 25 or so residents did last week as part of an exercise for one of the University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities projects.

A class researching asset-based community development asked residents to determine the qualities of their city in areas including physical, social, human capital, financial and political.

“It was very uplifting focusing on all the positives in the community,” said mayor Bill Droste. “I really enjoyed the process.”

The lists were lengthy for all of the topics and it became clear Rosemount has a lot of assets, especially in the areas of human capital and physical attributes.

The human capital list included volunteer organizations including the Rosemount Area Arts Council, Rosemount Area Athletic Association, Rosemount Area Hockey Association, Leprechaun Days Committee, Haunted Woods Trail Committee, One Rosemount leadership group and more.

The physical assets list included the city’s parks system, the business park, the Rosemount Community Center, the Steeple Center, the Mississippi River and nearby county parks.

Brent Hales, professor of the class and senior associate dean at the U of M, led the exercise and said the results were fairly typical.

“We got a fairly decent snapshot of Rosemount’s strengths,” said Hales.

Hales said most communities have unrealized strengths they don’t capitalize on. The goal of his class is to help create strategies to tap into that resource.

Council member Mark DeBettignies said taking an inventory of Rosemount’s strengths was a good exercise and he’s hopeful it will result in setting some goals for future community development.

“Ultimately it will give us a guide post to where we can go and should go as a community,” said DeBettignies.

The class also conducted an online survey in the same vein. The students will take all the information and analyze it. Then they will create a strategic plan to use those assets to boost community development.

“This is not just an academic exercise. We want it to be a useful tool,” said Hales.

DeBettingies said he’s hopeful the results will include not only ways city government and city staff can improve the community’s development outlook but also how community groups can work toward a common goal.

DeBettignies said Rosemount is blessed with great organizations and he’s hopeful they will be willing to jump on board towards sustaining Rosemount’s future.

This is just one of the projects currently being worked on by University of Minnesota students and staff for the benefit of Rosemount as part of the Resilient Communities program. Resilient Communities involves more than 400 students and their faculty members working on 29 projects proposed by the city. The one-year partnership matched university programs with city-identified sustainability needs. Students and university staff have been working since September 2014 on the various projects.

Overall, DeBettignies said the city was fortunate to have been selected for the Resilient Communities program and he’s interested to see what comes out of this and the other projects.

“We have to take full advantage of this opportunity,” said DeBettignies.

Droste echoed DeBettignies, stating that the city will have the opportunity to incorporate the Resilient Communities work into the city’s future planning, especially the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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