I am concerned about the possible loss of two tracts of county-owned open space and wildlife habitat in southeastern Ramsey County:
- The 77-acre tract bounded by Battle Creek Regional Park (on two sides), and by Century Avenue, and by the correctional facility on Lower Afton Road (“Site A” in the city of Maplewood’s planning documents);
- The Ponds at Battle Creek golf course, bounded by Lower Afton Road on the north and Century Avenue on the east (Site B).
The city of Maplewood has initiated plans for development of these properties. Both properties provide wildlife habitat, water infiltration, climate regulation, and opportunities for passive recreation and nature study. These properties have far greater value for the metropolitan area in their current state than they would have as housing or commercial developments.
I am astonished that the county would consider selling the 77-acre tract (Site A). That tract is especially valuable as grassland habitat for birds and other wildlife. (The National Audubon Society reports that grassland species are among the most imperiled birds in the U.S.) The tract harbors bird species (including American Kestrel, Clay-colored Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Dickcissel) that are in steep decline in Minnesota and North America. A complete biological inventory should be undertaken to inform management of this tract.
Please do the right thing:
- Expand the boundary of Battle Creek Regional Park to include the tract adjacent to the park, and manage it as grassland wildlife habitat.
- Retain ownership and management of The Ponds at Battle Creek as open space with passive recreation.
The citizens of Ramsey County and the surrounding area, and the wildlife that use these lands, will benefit.
[Your name and address]