Letter: Don’t put public riverfront at riskFive years ago Red Wing began to create a plan for our riverfront.
By: Michelle Meyer, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Five years ago Red Wing began to create a plan for our riverfront. This was the end of the boom years and many river towns watched as their portion of Ole Miss was overtaken by poor development. Here in Red Wing, citizens fought hard to ensure that what happened in Prescott, Wabasha and Lake City would not happen to us. It was a long exhausting fight with unforeseen obstacles, but overwhelming community support in favor of public space on the river was the sword that won the battle, and our riverfront is free of what would have become empty, foreclosed buildings atop a floodplain.
Now the city is in a position to guarantee public access forever through a partnership with the Minnesota Land Trust, the same organization who collaborated with the city and helped to raise the money to preserve Coon Hill.
We as a community fought to preserve our right to public space on the river. We saw the value in what we have. The Minnesota Land Trust agrees with our assessment and is offering to partner with Red Wing once again to honor our wishes.
I am disheartened to see a few people spreading false information about what this means. “Forever is a long time” is a mantra I hear. Seeing condos sitting on the river for “forever” is a long time too. What would we rather have, guaranteed public space or the possibility of yet another development proposal and another fight?
“We’re handing over control” is another assertion. If the riverfront land is ever handed over to developers the community loses all control.
What would we rather have, a partnership with an organization that will honor the community’s request for public space or the possibility of complete loss of public space?
Without the security of a conservation easement a future city council can re-zone the land and the riverfront will once again become fair game for private development leading to a loss of our public space — forever. And that is a very long time.