Partnering on parks, playgrounds and clean water
By Joe Atkins, Dakota County Commissioner, District 4
The evening news is filled with footage of federal officials yelling at each other, pointing fingers, and disagreeing over seemingly everything.
The opposite is typically true here in Dakota County. Local elected officials at the city and county spend most of our energy quietly seeking common ground and commonsense solutions.
A good example of local efforts to work together to get good things done is underway right now in Rosemount. The Dakota County Board is partnering with the city of Rosemount on a series of park projects at Horseshoe Lake, Carroll's Woods and Schwarz Pond Park, as well as for two sections of the Rosemount Greenway.
The largest portion of the county's funding support will go to Horseshoe Lake Park, which is just the second park in Rosemount with a lake in it. Approved park plans include a fishing pier and a playground, for which Rosemount residents helped select the equipment, as well as a picnic area, shelter and trail connections.
Additional county grant funds are going toward restoration of Carroll's Woods and Schwarz Pond Park, which will begin in the fall. This project will help restore native plantings and improve the water quality of the pond.
Two other county grants will be used for design services for the Rosemount Greenway connections along the east side of the Dunmore development and the segment through the Belle Vista development adjacent to Horseshoe Lake.
To secure this county funding, Rosemount's projects had to compete against projects from across Dakota County. There were 19 applications from five different cities totaling $7.8 million in requests, and only a handful received support.
I want to commend the work of Mayor Droste and the Rosemount City Council, as well as city staff, who submitted a detailed grant request to Dakota County in order to secure county funding and support for these projects. The City's comprehensive application helped Commissioner Gerlach and I convince our fellow county commissioners to fund Rosemount's park, playground, pier, and pond protection projects.
Notably, the source of the county grant funding for these projects is not property taxes. Rather, it comes from our Environmental Legacy Fund pilot program, derived from state-approved fees from landfill companies.
By law, the landfill fees are to be used to mitigate landfill effects and for projects to protect, preserve and enhance the environment. Since Rosemount is a landfill host community, the County Board agreed that it made sense for the city to receive some of the available grant funds. Coates was also awarded funding for a drinking water study.
You will seldom see these sorts of stories about city-county cooperation on the evening news. Local officials working together to get good things done does not make for good TV ratings. But it usually makes for good government. Thanks again to Rosemount city officials and staff for all their hard work that resulted in this quietly productive, city-county partnership.