(Hopkins) Suburb's Downtown Keeps it Smart
Hopkins is an example of a suburb that grew up smart. Founded in 1893 and famous for
its raspberries and its farmers' market, this city has a walkable, vibrant downtown and is
linked to Minneapolis and other communities by public transportation.
Farmers Flock to Downtown Market: THe hopkins, Minn., farmers'
market is just one of the attractions that have kept downtown vibrant.
What sets Hopkins apart from other suburbs of the Twin Cities is its downtown.
With ample sidewalks and other details that make drivers more aware -- like cutouts for
parking and well-marked crosswalks -- pedestrians feel at ease. Good planning has helped
keep this downtown thriving, and civic buildings, office space, stores, restaurants and
homes are all within walking distance.
The downtown cultural and civic destinations add to its appeal. The new Hopkins Center
for the Arts, which houses a theater company and dance troupe on the site of a former car
dealership parking lot, is popular with residents and visitors alike. The dealer's
showroom across the street has become a movie theater and restaurant. Half a block from
the arts complex is the public library on one side of the street and a food market on the
There is a small downtown park where concerts take place, and a larger park with
ballfields built on a landfill site. Innovative local transportation planners have allowed
a right-of-way being held for a future light-rail line to be used as a bike path in the
Golf Course (Orono) Golf Courses and Wildlife Don't Mix
In Minnesota golf courses are spreading quickly, and since they are hardly indigenous,
they're exacting a toll on wildlife habitat, open space and the environment. Aside from
the traffic any development on the fringe brings, the main problem with golf courses is
their highly manicured greens. Though pleasing to the eye, they are harsh on the
environment. Most golf courses use tons of fertilizers and pesticides to keep those lawns
Bulldozing Forests Isn't Par: The Spring Hill Golf Course was
built on part of Minnesota's Big Woods forest.
The Spring Hill Golf Course was constructed in the summer of 1999 on part of the
maple-basswood Big Woods. These forests once extended over a large expanse of central and
south central Minnesota, but in Hennepin County -- the county in which Minneapolis and the
western suburbs are located -- less than 1 percent of this forest remains.
The golf course development was made possible by the lack of land-use standards that
would have helped protect the site.