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Eden Prairie / Minnetonka, Minnesota
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Open Space Victories

NOVEMBER 18, 2003
RECENT WEST METRO OPEN SPACE PROTECTION VICTORIES

WAYZATA BIG WOODS IS SAVED
The Friends of the Wayzata Big Woods (FWBW) had successfully staved-off two development proposals on 14 acres of mostly old-growth woods between Highway 12 and Wayzata Boulevard. With assistance from the Trust for Public Land, FWBW has now also prompted the acquisition of the parcel by the City. The $7 million dollar price tag is through to be the highest of its kind yet for open space preservation. On November 5th, Wayzata voters narrowly approved a $3.1 million referendum and shortly thereafter, having raised $1 million in donations, announced it had commitments for an additional $800,000 in donations. Another $2 million will come from the sale of a former religious retreat within the area to a chemical abuse treatment operation. For more information visit http://www.wayzatabigwoods.org/

CHANHASSEN’S SEMINARY FEN
First the good news: Led by the Friends of the Minnesota Valley. the DNR and local legislators including Representative Joe Hoppe and Senator Julianne Ortmann (who took the lead from retired legislators Tom Workman and Ed Oliver), Governor Pawlenty approved a $1.5 million bonding bill last spring to help acquire land surrounding the Seminary Fen in Chanhassen.

Now the bad news: Challenges remain for this extremely rare type of wetland: (1) Another $1.5 million will be needed to acquire land in and around the fen and (2) the Friends of Birch Island Woods has heard rumors that the MN Department of Transportation is quietly making plans to re-route County Road 41 through downtown Chaska through the fen area. Former Chaska Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau is Governor Pawlenty’s Leiutenant Governor and is MNDOT’s Commissioner. Again, stay tuned.

OAKS FOLKS: MINNEHAHA OAKS IS SAVED FOR HOPKINS
Patricia Isaak of the Minnehaha Oaks Association (the Oaks Folks) has told FBIW that 1,467 private donations have enabled the Oaks Folks of Hopkins to pay off a loan from the City of Hopkins which enabled them to secure an acre of oaks as the Hiawatha Oaks Preserve. In 1990 town homes were proposed for the parcel but the Olks Folks went to work. In 1992 Developer Mark Z. Jones reduced the price of the land by $100, 000 (in effect a huge and generous donation) leaving a balance of $185,000. The City of Hopkins agreed to pay the balance to Mr. Jones if citizens would reimburse with interest the city over 15 years. In 1993 former Hopkins City Council member Fran Hesch persuaded the city to not charge interest. For the rest of the saga visit http:www.oaksfolks.org/.

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