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Como Community Council position paper 1996

Como Park on Como ParkComo park on Como Park

This trifold was endorsed by the People of the Como Community Council on Nov 19, 1996.

It is formatted for printing on 8.5 X 11 paper. I will work on typing it as a text file. I hope this position from 13 years ago will not get lost.

Clicking on the pictures will make them larger. Typed version follows (thanks Sally)

Como Park on Como Park

(A Position Paper adopted by District 10 Council in 1996)

HOLISTIC TREATMENT OF COMO PARK

The Como Community Council values responsible stewardship of Como Park. The park’s development, operation and maintenance must be placed within a holistic framework that embraces:

*Balancing preservation with development and use, and

*Ensuring fiscal responsibility

Even though it is demanding, these aspects must be periodically and jointly reviewed to protect and enhance the Como Park experience.

Balancing Preservation With Development and Use

Como Park’s character reflects a valuable part of the urban culture that cannot be easily duplicated today. It provides a unique turn-of-the century landscaped park experience to be shared by all who seek respite from the urban and built environment. As a result, Como Park must be treated differently than today’s new metropolitan developed parks. Initially, there must be an understanding of what natural and historic features are significant in the park. Such features must be documented, and a public policy must be developed to guide the treatment of these important aspects of the park, and capital monies identified to carry out preservation treatment.

Como Park is the smallest and yet second most used regional park in the state of Minnesota, attracting approximately two-million visitors each year to its 450 acres.

In creating responsible stewardship for Como Park, it is necessary to build a public opinion for what the park is capable of producing and sustaining from a natural, recreational, historical, and economic perspective. Development of the park’s potential should not be focused only on the most prominent features – Zoo, Conservatory, and Lake Como – but should look beyond these popular attractions to encourage visitors to experience a l l the park’s amenities.

Ensuring Fiscal Responsibility

Responsible stewardship cannot be accomplished without careful discussion and planning pertaining to fiscal prudence. Through out the evolution of the park, no other aspect has had a greater influence on the park than the allocation of economic resources. The impact the workhouse had with providing near-free labor around the turn-of the-century, and the significant resources allotted during the Works Projects Administration era have significantly shaped the Como Park experience. The role that the Metropolitan Council plays today, with the establishment of Como as a regional park, has tremendous influence on park planning. Such an institution has the capacity to affect how the park will be treated, perhaps more forcefully than any individual. Securing such funds is critical, but they should not drive the planning process away from the commitment to responsible stewardship.

Of particular concern is the desire by some agencies to undertake new capital intensive projects. While development of the park is one function, its effect must be balanced with the rehabilitation of the existing resource. Special consideration must also be made for daily operation and maintenance needs. As well, it is the community’s desire to have Como Park remain accessible for all people, without causing undue burden to the taxpayers of Saint Paul during the present conservative fiscal climate. For these reasons the fiscal health of the park must be ascertained, and capital intensive projects must be referenced with operational and maintenance funds that have dollars committed before planning is approved.

Responsible stewardship means that there is a delicate balance that must be struck in treating Como Park. By incorporating these values and needs the Como Park experience will be enhance today, and for future generations to come.

This position is an outcome of more than two years of meetings and discussions with community members and service agencies. The community will continue to advocate for these concerns and develop more detailed positions on the park, out of concern for sustaining a quality park experience for the City as a whole, and for all of Como Park’s users.

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