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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Major Progress on Fish Creek

Last Monday's council meeting, February 28th, had a couple of agenda items representing major progress on Fish Creek. First was a grant application that required a public hearing. We did get some comment from the public, and it was all in favor of conservation for Fish Creek.

Second was City Council approval of a joint powers agreement with Ramsey County and the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District. This agreement lays out a strategy for acquisition of the former CoPar parcels, with monetary commitments from the county, the city, and the watershed district. Our city's contribution will come from the Park Acquisition Charge Fund. PAC fees, which are paid by developers, are limited to being spent on acquiring or developing new parks and park facilities in the city.

While the joint powers agreement and funding commitments are a huge step forward, there's still a gap between those funds and the purchase price for the property, even though (thanks to real estate values going in the tank) the current asking price is far lower than it was when we first began to seriously look at acquiring some or all of it for conservation. My hope is that between the local funding commitments and the relatively small size of the gap, it will be easier to find or more more ways to fill it.


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