Sierra Club / FOPEP

Press Release


FROM: Sierra Club      CONTACT PERSON:Trevor Russell
TO: Twin Cities Press Associates     TELEPHONE: 612-659-9124
DATE: Wednesday, May 7, 2003       E-MAIL ADDRESS:

SUBJECT: Green Space / Smart Growth Campaign

Eagan, MN - At a time when the state budget deficit is forcing huge cuts to Local Government Assistance, some towns and cities are scrambling for additional tax revenue. Unfortunately, some cities have their sights set squarely on one economic development target: developing into city parks and open spaces. This comes at a time when urbanization claims 60 acres of farms, forests and wetlands every day in the region. (Regional Strategies Working Group 02')

In response, the Sierra Club has launched the Green Space / Smart Growth Citizens Project. The Campaign aims to educate citizens on how local development processes work and to highlight threats to local open spaces. The group will focus this month on the City of Eagan, and the proposed Eagan Core Greenway.

This cornerstone of their effort is a free open space preservation workshop to be held May 17th at the United Methodist Church in Eagan. The free half-day workshop will host a range of speakers including land use attorneys, successful activists and media experts.

"The workshop is designed to give citizens the tools they need to protect local parks and open spaces," says Sierra Club Organizer Trevor Russell. "Our communities already have all the tools they need to preserve open spaces and parks from unnecessary development. We just need to get local folks to speak up and make sure we make the right choices."

The Sierra Club will provide examples of smart growth projects, development alternatives that conserve open space and financial studies that demonstrate the value of smart growth for local housing, commercial, and retail developments.

"The point we'd like to make is that community development doesn't have to mean the loss of our parks and open spaces," Russell adds "There are a number of tools available to reign in the fiscal, social and environmental costs of expanding into undeveloped areas. This is all about local empowerment."

"If we don't act now, we will wake up one day and find our open spaces and natural areas - our parks and playgrounds - are gone forever." Says Sharon Stephens, Chair of the Sierra Club's Sprawl and Land Use Committee.

This Spring's Sierra Club Sprawl Buster Workshop Schedule:

April 26th--Anoka, MN, Rum River Community Library

May 17th--Eagan, MN, United Methodist Church

June 28th--Eden Prairie, MN, Eden Wood Center

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