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City notes: Plenty of progress on UMore property

We’re coming up on a seven-year anniversary in Rosemount marking a process that has taken a long time — and that will shape our community for decades to come.

It was in December 2006 that the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents authorized creation of a master plan for the UMore Park property. Next year, we may see the final steps to start the development of neighborhoods on that land that could double Rosemount’s population. Not only that, but we could become a world-class destination for people who want to see a sustainable community — a demonstration of wise development practices for the 21st century.

The economy has gone through ups and downs these past seven years. But I was pleased to hear the Re-gents indicate at their meeting this month that they remain committed to their vision for the UMore property.

The path so far has been a long one. We traveled it in public with many meetings along the way, but I know from talking with our residents that it’s hard sometimes to see what’s been accomplished:

• Master plan completed, January 2009

• UMore Development L.L.C. created to carry out project, October 2009

• University completed remediation study of environmental issues, February 2012

• City council approved mining permits for Dakota Aggregates, December 2012.

• Council gave final approval of study on ways to minimize environmental impact of development, October 2013

Of all those steps, the one with the most visible impact so far is the mining project. UMore will be a major provider of the gravel and sand needed to build roads and other big projects in the Twin Cities for years to come. There’s heavy demand for the product. But the agreement with the city limits mining to a maximum of 160 acres at a time out of 1,500 acres that eventually will be worked.

The university’s other work will benefit financially. Once the development corporation’s costs are covered, extra income from the Rosemount site will go into a legacy fund at the U designated for long-term support of its academic mission.

Two more major milestones for the future of UMore are planned next year. The UMore Development L.L.C. will start the process to choose a developer to carry out the project. And the U will apply for changes in the city’s Comprehensive Guide Plan to permit development that fits our community. Like other steps in this process, those plan changes will involve public hearings to explain the project to our citizens and take their comments.

The city is already busy planning major roads and the water and sewer connections needed for new neighborhoods. That work is being coordinated with the Met Council.

Looking back at the process, it’s clear we’ve accomplished a lot. I’m gratified to see how close we are to the first residential and business development. Wise development of UMore Park is our best chance to realize Rosemount’s potential.

Written by Mayor Bill Droste.