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Ramsey County Redevelopment Help (Maplewood,



  • Rodney Rutherford

    I would start with the classic Strong Towns question: Where do people in your community struggle? (reference)

    It's tough to tell what else is in this area...or where people might struggle. Are there any places for people to gather, connect, or play? Can those who can't drive meet their routine needs independently? Where do people feel unsafe?

  • Troy Yeager

    Thanks Rodney!

    I think the biggest motivation, that our city council is looking at, is affordable housing, but if they want to build strictly multifamily low cost housing in these areas I fear that they are missing an opportunity to increase the income tax base as well as provide walkable, sustainable neighborhoods. Aside from just saying, "read StrongTowns" I'm wondering what a good elevator pitch is to present at a city council meeting to try and think a little differently.


  • Rodney Rutherford

    Ah yes, that helps a bit. When you say 'walkable', are there useful places for people in this area to walk to? Or would those also need to be nurtured? Affordable housing could be well justified if housing affordability is a struggle for many in your community. Legalizing 'missing middle' housing (and ADUs, etc) could go a long way to unlocking affordable market-rate housing, increasing housing supply and diversity. And look for ways to allow the are to be developed while minimizing the cost of infrastructure. There's a lot of savings to be realized in building local street infrastructure at a smaller scale.

    For more ideas, check out this album I put together on jump-starting a vibrant village:



  • Charles Marohn

    Yeah, great assist, Rodney. 

    Troy.... my gut reaction is: Do you really need to develop here? 

    I get the need to do something with the correctional facility -- those kind of large facilities are difficult to repurpose. We had something similar up here in Brainerd and I don't think it's ever been redeveloped. Same with one in Walker and Fergus Falls. In every instance, it's too much to bite off but the assumed approach seems to be all-or-nothing. If you can find a way to break it down into smaller, viable pieces -- minimum viable product -- that might help chart a path.

    As for the golf course.... I totally get the affordable housing notion, but my inclination would be to develop it as golf course property, sell the course and the lots, and use that money to build affordable housing somewhere it is a better fit. That requires the city to get somewhat into the development game, but if you can't pull that off, you might be money ahead just letting it go (or divesting ahead to someone who shares your vision, at least somewhat).

  • Rodney Rutherford

    Building on Chuck's point, it's often best to focus new development into areas that have already been developed, rather than forge into developing on natural/green fields. It's usually more sustainable in every way: financially, environmentally, and even socially (by creating places where people can connect, and live healthy lives, reducing dependence on automobiles).


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