Friends of Patrick Eagan Park

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-----Original Message-----
From: John Ward [mailto:dawkins321 @]
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 11:12 PM
To: Jack G. Conrad
Cc: Friends_of_Patrick_Eagan_Park
Subject: Summary of City Council Deliberation

Dear Friends of Patrick Eagan Park,

At tonight's Eagan City Council meeting, suspense mounted in the moments leading up to Friends of Patrick Eagan Park's presentations. According to one Parks Commission member in attendance, only two votes were secured beforehand in favor of the resolution originating from last month's Parks Commission meeting: [Eagan Advisory Parks Commission, Recommendation from February 13]

FOPEP representative Jack Conrad made the first presentation, advocating the acquisition of the Anderson property adjacent to Patrick Eagan Park---about 10.0 acres just south of the Art House---and describing FOPEP's extended mission for the Eagan Core Greenway: assisting the Caponis in the long term preservation of the Art Park (to the south) and Mr. McCarthy in the lasting protection of his farm land (to the north).

Jack spoke of our long term plan: to work with The Trust For Public Land, Dakota County and others to acquire first the Anderson property and then others near the park, while applying to the DNR's Metro Greenways grant and the DNR's Natural and Scenic Areas grant. We have been told by funding agencies that we need to show we can establish a "reliable network of partners" and "master the acquisition process" on a smaller area in order to prove we have both the resourcefulness and determination to pursue this long and involved process, in order to distinguish ourselves for further requests. As a demonstration of our efforts---we have been endorsed by the DNR's Metro Greenways Advisory Committee for a $100,000 grant, now on the desk of the DNR Commissioner. Jack also noted that these are grants contingent upon our ability to leverage additional funding from other private and public partners.

Dakota County Commissioner Nancy Schouweiler spoke next and addressed the recent Dakota County Referendum vote for preservation of natural areas; the County Commissioners are finalizing the criteria for land selection and hope to be operational by the end of this year. She noted that, without any commitment of the county, the Anderson property meets several of the early, rough criteria for land selection for county funds:

  1. it has never been developed
  2. it has been previously identified as a natural area
  3. it is contiguous to a similar area (that would be Patrick Eagan Park)
  4. the habitat is appropriate, local not invasive species
  5. the land owners are willing to sell

Commissioner Schouweiler said that the county will look for local municipal support and other partners in financing so Dakota County wouldn't bear the full cost of the property. She has recently returned from a trip to Washington DC to make sure Minnesota was eligible for the preservation funds in the recently approved farm bill. She is happy to report that Minnesota seems to be receiving $5 million and Dakota County is the only county in our state that has met requirements to acquire these funds.

Lastly, Cordelia Pierson of the Trust For Public Land spoke noting that TPL is an independent, nonprofit agency which would not serve as an agent for any of the parties involved. In this case, TPL would be willing to pay for an independent assessment of the property, anticipate purchasing the property and working to aid the city acquiring the remainder of the funds necessary to buy the land from TPL. Ms. Pierson was professionally optimistic about FOPEP and the City of Eagan's ability to qualify for future grants.

On questioning, Jack repeated that nonprofits, foundations and governments like a track record of success, since they know that "past performance predicts future success" and that leveraging regional funds for the Anderson acquisition would actually enhance chances of receiving future grants for the much larger Caponi and McCarthy properties. He also reiterated FOPEP's commitment to subsequently work with the Caponis and Mr. McCarthy to secure their own long term visions: the preservation of their properties for the benefit of Eagan long after they are gone. And thus the Eagan Core Greenway would be largely complete.

The Council then voted on the four point resolution. See [Eagan City Council, March 4th Resolution and Vote] for the outcome.

John Ward

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