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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: Minnesota

Main Street
Suburb's Downtown Keeps it Smart
Spring Hill Golf Course
Golf Courses and Wildlife Don't Mix

Main Street
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 other.

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 interim.

Spring Hill Golf Course
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 in shape.

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.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments

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