Key Acquisition for Eagan, MN, Greenway
Eagan, MN, 6/8/04 ?- The Trust for Public Land (TPL) acquired and conveyed a nine-acre property at the entrance to Patrick Eagan Park to the city of Eagan to be incorporated into the natural city park and the Eagan Core Greenway. The property, previously owned by local residents, will provide a natural gateway to the popular Patrick Eagan Park and protect McCarthy Lake’s water quality and trails. The conservation effort was funded in large part by four sources: the Dakota Farmland and Natural Area Program, which provides funds approved by voters in a 2002 county-wide referendum; the Minnesota DNR Natural and Scenic Area Program; the DNR Metro Greenways Program; and the city of Eagan through its Park Site Fund. An official celebration is scheduled for mid July.
“Eagan is already well developed, placing increased pressure on its remaining lakes and woodlands; there is little space left for new parkland,” said Susan Schmidt, Director for TPL- Minnesota. “TPL was able to negotiate a solution agreeable to both the landowner and city officials. And a tremendous amount of effort and support was generated by local citizens and state and county conservation programs.”
The idea of protecting the land as a public park was brought to TPL by local citizens concerned that development might encroach on the already heavily-used Patrick Eagan Park. The Friends of the Eagan Core Greenway is a group dedicated to protecting a swath of natural rolling woodland and lakes in the midst of one of the Twin Cities’ most popular suburbs. The nine-acre acquisition creates a natural buffer between the existing parkland and the busy four-lane Lexington Road. TPL is in discussions with other landowners surrounding the park and hopes to continue to work with the City to protect additional acreage as part of the Eagan Core Greenway.
Wayne Sames of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources noted that state-funding assistance encourages local governments to commit to open space protection. “Funding from these state programs such as the Natural and Scenic Areas Grant Program and the Metro Greenways Program enables local governments to purchase areas that might otherwise be beyond the financial means of the community.”
“This result is exactly what we hoped for when the Dakota County Commissioners approved the referendum ballot question,” said Dakota County Board Chair Nancy Schouweiler. “We knew we couldn’t afford to preserve much open space by ourselves, and we’ve been counting on using our funds to leverage funding from other groups. We are very pleased to have such willing and determined partners like the Trust for Public Land and DNR — we can accomplish so much more when we collaborate than when we work alone.”
“This is a great partnership that demonstrates once again that the people of Eagan care about greenspace, and city government is committed to working with valuable partners like TPL to respond within available resources,” said Eagan Mayor Pat Geagan.
The Minnesota Environmental Initiative provided assistance with evaluating the environmental condition of the property. The DNR Metro Greenways program, which is working to protect other projects within the Eagan Core Greenway, provided funding for this project as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources from the Minnesota Environmental Trust Fund.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Established in 1972, TPL is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for public enjoyment and use. In Minnesota, TPL has protected more than 25,000 acres of land and worked with fast-growing communities to identify and set aside critical open space for people. TPL depends on contributions from supporters to continue protecting land throughout the state. Visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org